Five Heart Rate Tests to Determine Your Fitness Baseline

When someone asks me if I’m fit, I generally respond yes. But there are many degrees of fitness and I’m certainly not the girl I was when I was training for road races and marathons three decades ago. Back then I stood at nearly 5’2” and weighed between 100 and 103 lbs. A former boyfriend would comment, “She’s just a slip of a girl”. I have an entry in my running logbook from 1991, where I wrote “oink oink” because one morning the scale said 105. Imagine that!

For me, all it took was to run about 40-miles per week and I was able to have my carbo-loading pasta dinners, and without any weight gain.

Today, I vacillate between 118 to 120 lbs, but I’m able to get down to 113 to 115 lbs, when I lace up my running shoes more consistently. Yes, I even have trouble getting out the door. Running is hard and when you’re a baby boomer it gets even harder. Sometimes I just don’t feel like it. And you know what? That’s OK. Because fitness has many metrics that can be attained without running 40-miles per week.

The Non-Exercising Fitness Tests

I love metrics and numbers! As a professional running coach for 30 years, my coaching world is full of numbers. Distance. Pace. Time. Heart Rate. Just like a runner logs their training with these metrics, you can log the results of heart rate and breathing tests. The beauty of these tests is that you do them when you are not exercising. They are used to create a baseline and are especially helpful at the start of an exercise program. Then follow up with the same tests every week or so to show your improvement.

The best way to test yourself is to take these measurements at various times of the day and before or after different activities, and to keep track of the date and time to get a picture. This will help to show what your “norms” are and if your heart rate is elevated, you can use your best judgement as to whether you need to rest instead of working out.

The Five Heart Rate and Breathing Tests

  1. Resting Heart Rate: After a good night’s sleep.
  2. Ambient Heart Rate: Taken during the day.
  3. Delta Heart Rate: The difference between sitting and standing.
  4. Resting Breath Count: Breathing rate in 60 seconds.
  5. Belly Breath Test: Find out if you are a belly or chest breather.

BB Babes Ultimate Fitness Coaching Program can guide you in establishing baselines and will also keep you on track with our Balance-Fit, Walk-Fit, and Run-Fit programs. Find out more by scheduling a complimentary 15-minute phone coaching chat and contact us to receive your free BB Babes Self-Assessment Profile for Fashion, Fitness, and Health which includes more information about how to take the tests.


The BB Babes E-Book is a Self-Assessment Profile for Fashion, Fitness, and Health.

It is a first step to:
Create Your Unique Fashion Style
Optimize Your Fitness Exercises
Improve Your Health and Wellness