Testing Your Fitness When You’re Hungover is a Bad Idea

"Good job, maggot!"

“You can do better, Parker!”

It’s been 23 months since I last tested my fitness level in February, 2013. So on New Years’ Day I re-tested. My standard is the Army Physical Fitness Test, which is required for U.S. Army soldiers to pass every six months. I’ve never served in the military. The other military branches probably have their own fitness standards, but my dad was in the Army, so that’s what I use.

Unlike 23 months ago, I didn’t pass this time. I don’t like to exercise but I’ve been pretty good about doing it for 60–70 minutes a week, a combination of weight training and HIIT on a stationary bicycle.

My performance:

  • 2-mile run: 21 mins, 16 secs (FAIL; need 19 mins, 54 secs to pass)
  • military sit-ups: 25 (FAIL: need 27 to pass)
  • push-ups: 31 PASS
  • chip-ups: 7 (not part of the Army test but something I monitor)

My run, if you can call it that, was pitiful. I know I gave it my best effort because my thighs were sore for 48 hours thereafter. At one point I wondered if I could “speed walk” just as fast as I was jogging.

Military sit-ups are done with hands behind your head or neck. Doing sit-ups with my arms folded over my chest, I can do 30.

Yes, I’m disappointed. Why did I fail? I’m almost two years older, probably six pounds (2.7 kg) heavier (at 176 lb or 80 kg), and missed too many workouts.

My remedial plan to pass: Miss fewer workouts and lose six pounds of fat, then re-test. I don’t know if it’ll work.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Just kidding; I wasn’t hungover.

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