Fitness Assessment

When I went in for my RMR test, I scheduled a complete Fitness Assessment, which I completed last week. I was surprised the number of things that I was evaluated on. Here's the list of tests and my results:

Resting Heart Rate The Resting Heart Rate establishes a baseline measure of cardiovascular fitness. This number is also key when calculating your Heart Rate Zones for training.

My RHR is 65.

According to the chart, for my age group, its "Good." I would have preferred "Excellent", but when I look at the categories, "Poor", "Below Average", "Average", Above Average", "Good", "Excellent", "Athlete", I guess its above a C average.

Body Composition Body Composition is the amount of fat compared to lean body mass. This has a direct impact on health, activity level and life expectancy.

My body composition was 25.1%, which falls on the borderline of "Underfat" and "Healthy" for my gender age group. I almost made the trainer do this test again because I was skeptical of the results; I thought it would be higher.

BMI Body Mass Index (BMI) is a tool that indicates weight status in adults.

The formula to calculate this is:

Weight in LBS x 703 / Height in inches x Height in inches

My BMI test results was 24.9 which falls into the "Normal" category. Had it been 25, it would have been in the "Overweight" category.

I've always been skeptical of the BMI because I've known other people who fell into the "Overweight" category when it was so obvious that they were anything but.

Waist-to-Hip Ratio I had never heard of this metric before. When I asked about this, I was told that where you store your fat on your body is an indication of diseases you may be prone to have.

For example, if you carry more fat in your waist (aka "apple-shaped"), you could be prone to have such diseases as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Its better to carry fat in your hips (aka "pear-shaped).

This has everything to do with genetics. While you can't change your DNA, you can take care to maintain a healthy weight by nutritious eating, exercise and healthy habits.

My Waist--to-Hip Ratio is .78.

According to the chart, this falls into the "Low" risk category. Most everyone in my family has high blood pressure and eventually get diabetes. Knowing that, at least for right now, I'm in the "Low" risk category was a relief to me.

Posture Assessment For this test, I had to stand in front of a wall-sized chart and do a few squats with my arms raised above my head. I had to do this facing forward, on each side and facing backwards.

What the trainer was looking for in this assessment was any type of "kyphosis" or abnormal curves in the spine. Any imbalances can cause pain and soreness when the corresponding side has to compensate for the imbalance.

My results were a slight raise in my left shoulder and hip. This was not surprising to me at all being that last Fall I dealt with a pelvic misalignment on my left side. This is definitely something I need to take note of and pay closer attention to.

Aerobic Capacity Now for the fun part, assessing my cardiovascular fitness. I was particularly interested in this test because the results will help me with my running.

"An Aerobic Fitness determines a body's ability to perform an activity for a prolonged time and determines the body's ability to transport and utilize oxygen for the release of energy in active muscles."

To administer this test, I had to wear a heart monitor and walk on a treadmill, using the Fit Test setting. The goal was to have my heart rate reach a certain level. The test seemed to go on forever, with the treadmill constantly adjusting the incline and speed.

My "Run Race VO2 Value" aka "VO2 Max" is 40 ml/min/kg. According to the chart, this is "Good" (3rd in a 7 category scale). This is definitely an area that I want to improve on. When I am able to improve on this, I know I'll see improved performance in my running.

As for my Training Zones, if you go by the standard calculation of 220-Age = Max HR, then my 65-85% HR zone is 143-167 bpm.

For me, I'm not quite sure how accurate that is because just a couple miles into a run and my Garmin is already (annoyingly) beeping that I'm passed this range. Britney, the trainer who conducted this Fitness Assessment, recommended that I go to a track and do some sprints/recovery intervals (taking myself to the point of puking) to see what my Max HR really is.

Flexibility For this test, I had to use stretching machines, something I never even knew existed. We tested the flexibility of my quads and hamstrings. Surprisingly enough my left side was more flexible than my right side. I say surprisingly because the left side was where I was injured for most of last year.

Strength Test To test my strength, she used a "submax" testing procedure. Essentially the goal was to see what the maximum weight was that I could do 1 rep of. This would calculate what my overall max strength is.

- Leg Press: 213 lbs - Chest Press: 70.8 lbs - Lat Pull Down: 90 lbs

I'm not going to lie; this was hard, really hard! Especially since the weight machines are programmed not to count a rep unless you went full range. No cheating was allowed!

Measurements The last assessment is my measurements. I hadn't had my measurements taken in about 4 years so I was anxious to see how the results compared:

-2006 Abdomen: Not measured Hips: 38 Biceps: 10.5 Calves: 14 Thighs: 18.85 Waist: 29.5

-2010 Abdomen: 30.5 Hips: 37 Biceps: 11 Calves: 13.75 Thighs: 20 Waist: 28.9

I was surprised, and relieved. I thought my measurements would be a lot bigger than they were 4 years ago.

Conclusions This was a lot of data to digest, and a week later I'm still trying to make sense of what it all means. While I've had components of this assessment done over the years, I have never had such a complete fitness evaluation performed on me before.

With running, I'm always looking at numbers; i.e., pace, distances, elevation, calories, heart rates, etc; so naturally, I am thrilled to have these metrics to give me a base of knowing where I am today. Its recommended to do this on an annual basis, and a year from now, I will go through this again and see how I've improved, or digressed.

Its important to note that there are so many individual factors that go into these tests - genetics, the type of training (if any) that you are doing, diet, your stress level, and existing medical conditions. But knowing the state of your health can be a guiding factor in helping you make decisions about your personal health moving forward. What you don't know "can" hurt you!