Ah, the Bleep Test.  For some in our class it’s their favourite time of the month.  For others it results in a symphony of groans.  However, the rules of the class are clear.  First week of the month is Fitness night, and as such, Bleep Test Night.

Everyone’s probably done at least one of these at school.  Essentially, you line up along one line, and when you hear a bleep you run a set distance to another line.  Where you then wait for another bleep, and run back.  The bleeps are done in levels, and with each level the time between bleeps gets shorter and shorter.  How many you can do can give you an idea of how fit you are, although admittedly, things like height, weight and gender play a part in the level you should be able to achieve.

Our teacher used to do outdoor runs to test fitness, but since we live in a city that is in a constant state of rain and not particularly safe for the pedestrian runner, he adopted the Bleep Test as an alternative 2 years ago (much to the universal delight of everyone who no longer had to run in the rain).  At the end of the year, the top 10 runners also have a final to see who gets crowned champion.

Needless to say I’ve never been in the Top 10.  Nor do I expect to be any time soon.  When the tests first started my rather humiliating time for 6.5.  Which is pretty average – and pretty bad for someone who had been doing Taekwondo for a good year.  Although I was pretty overweight then.  Ironically, I went on a holiday with an awful lot of walking not long after, got some tips on how to pace myself, and the next time I got an 8.3, which was much better.  I’ve managed to stick around the 8’s for the past 2 years, but did once make it to level 9.

Today, I managed to achieve it again.  Last month I was at 8.3 – this month I made it to 9.3!  Yay for me!  Definitely think the diet (that’s helped me managed to drop a good half stone this month) has helped.  More importantly, I felt like I could have gone longer – the reason I fell back was not completely exhaustion, but my right foot.  I must have sat on it or done something to it during the day, because it was acting up the more I ran.  Just avoided limping off the mats.

Course, it’s not just a Bleep Test Night, but fitness night.  So once both sets had run the gauntlet (most improving, a few people ‘bringing shame upon their families’ as our teacher likes to claim), we had the press up challenge and the plank challenge to worry about.  Press ups are exactly how they sound – how many press ups can you do in 60 seconds without dropping to the floor (up from 7 to my belt requirement of 10!).  The plank challenge is a little more gruelling.  The plank is where you lie on the balls of your feet and lower arms, keeping your body close (but not on!) the ground.  It’s a lot harder than it sounds, especially for 60 seconds, followed by 15 seconds each of:

  • Level 2 – Right arm out
  • Level 3 – Left arm out
  • Level 4 – Right leg out
  • Level 5 – Left leg out
  • Level 6 – Left arm and right leg out
  • Level 7 – Right arm and left leg out

The last part is the normal plank again, for 30 seconds.  The whole thing takes about 3 minutes, and it has bested most of the class.  Only a handful can make it all the way through.

Sadly, not part of that handful – but I can make it to level 5.  I lack the co-ordination to pull off the double limb levels – so need to practice them in my spare time so I can pull them off.

Overall though, very happy with my progress.  And definitely solidified my opinion on the Herbalife products.  I’ve only been on them a week but my weight is dropping fast, and my endurance and stamina have gone way up in such a short time.  For the first time since I started training I don’t feel ready to drop from exhaustion after class, despite giving it my all.  If I can keep to it and the improvement rate stays constant, I might actually make it to level 10 next month (though I’ll happily settle for 9.5).