Fitness Profile – Defining fitness and measuring your fitness.
Fitness is a broad term that encapsulates different traits and abilities. The definition of fitness to one person may be very different to the next person. For example the marathon runner thinks fitness is your ability to jog. The strongman says it is how much you can lift while someone who is into yoga would suggest it is to do with flexibility and balance.
The different definitions of fitness exist not only between exercise types, e.g. flexibility versus strength training but also within the same category. If you have ever watched the TV show ‘Superstars’ you would see this. Superstars would have professional athletes from different sports compete in various events. You would see an olympic cyclist look very average when he was forced to do a jog and vice versa when the olympic runner was forced to ride on the bike. This is because aerobic fitness is specific to the event you train for.
Creating a new and comprehensive definition of fitness.
During the latter part of 2008 I was trying to find out why I kept getting injured training for my favoured event the 400m sprint. In searching for answers I decided to take almost every possible measure of fitness I could think of to see how my body was functioning.
What I discovered was some very strong points in certain areas but some equally weak points in other areas. As a result I decided to focus on the weak points over the strong points. The result was a very rapid improvement in performance and injuries greatly decreased.
I then set out to create a system that could measure anyone’s fitness easily and comprehensively to give you an accurate assessment of your current abilities and thus be able to identify what your strengths and weaknesses are. It would also allow comparisons of different elements of fitness. So you could see if you were better at jogging or squatting and if your posture was better than your body fat level.
The Fitness Profile Test.
After spending some time reviewing the general schemes, definitions and performance levels within element of fitness I have brought everything together into a single Fitness Profile. It uses 26 different definitions of fitness to produce an overall picture of exactly where you are at present. This can easily be put into graph form for simple comparisons and the overall average score tells you the state of body.
measurements classify you on a 1- 7 ability level, where 1 is poor and 7 is excellent within each category. The goal is not to classify you as good or bad but rather to identify possible weak area and thus understand how best to apportion your training time and focus.
The body is as only as strong as its weakest link so
understanding your weak areas will allow you to make progress much more quickly than continuing to focus on
your strengths while ignoring your weak links.(like most people do)
There twenty five different measurements taken in your complete profile which can be grouped under seven broad categories, these are:
Lifestyle and body composition
This refers to measuring your body fat levels, identifying your current nutrition regime and understanding your emotional system. These tests are performed through question and answer or by simple non invasive body fat
test using calipers.
In addition to this your goals and potential blocks to success may be covered. Though not for use on the fitness
profile your weight and clothes size should also be taken. Please note weight is not a reliable measure of
progress. Weight is used for strength calculations in many of the other exercise tests.
This refers to your ability to perform cardio exercise. I am a firm believer in jogging as the most functional
aerobic exercise the fitness profile is graded based on your ability to run. If you are unable to run due to injury
or pain a rower can be used for testing or another form of exercise such as walking.
This test may be done via a sub-maximal test, e.g. doing 50% effort and estimating your maximal performance
ability or through a maximal effort e.g. going as fast as you can for the set period. If appropriate the test can be
done by estimation from yourself without any exercise (requires a knowledge of your current abilities). .
Inner unit functioning
The inner unit refers to the deep muscles that surround and protect the spine. They form the underlying structure
upon which the rest of the body can move against. The tests are designed to test your endurance, co-ordination and function of these inner muscles.
Outer unit functioning.
These muscles are foundational to holding the joints and the body in place. They are larger than the inner unit
muscles and are concerned with holding the whole body still and static against gravity. The tests are endurance
based and involve you holding different poses for as long as you can.
Balance and co-ordination
The goal of these is to look at the ability of your body to balance and co-ordinate on one limb. The test involves
trying to balance on one leg in a variety of positions depending on your ability.
Posture and flexibility
The aim of these tests is to identify your flexibility within a squat movement and to analyze your posture. From
these tests the key stretches you should be focusing upon can be identified.
The role of these tests is to analyze both your strength and ability to co-ordinate within the six main basic
movement patterns. These are your ability to lift, push, step, pull, jump and twist. The exercises are start off
easy and build to your current level. The maximal strength in each of these can be estimated from your
performance or tested maximally if you have appropriate strength training experience.