Sunday, February 28, 2010

"What are 'assessments' and why are they important?"

Wow, another great question!
I always recommend that before beginning (or re-starting) a health, fitness, weight-loss program your Fitness Professional administer a few basic health, fitness, flexibility assessments, and base-line measurements to get a good idea where their client is starting from. That way your Fitness Pro can help set realistic goals for you, that will also be measurable as you continue your LifeStyle program.

Most basic fitness assessments include:
  1. A health/fitness history questionaire. To help determine your physical readiness to begin a fitness program.
  2. Basic health assessments such as resting pulse rate, blood pressure, and oxygen up-take. This will help identify any possible over-looked issues that need to be addressed by you and your physician.
  3. Your weight will be taken and recorded.
  4. Some method to measure your "body-fat percentage" (calipers, electronic, hydrostatic) is very important! Your body is going to begin changing, and the only way to be sure what is going on ('cause the scales are gonna lie to you!) is by checking in on that body fat percentage from time to time (about every 4-8 weeks...especially in the early parts of your program).
  5. Your body measurements should be taken and recorded including at least the chest, belly, butt, thigh, and arm.
  6. Some basic postural assessments (you know, like rounding shoulders, etc) should be taken to determine if there are structural issues that need to be addressed and possibly corrected as part of your program.
  7. Some basic strength assessments for upper body (push-ups), core (ab crunches), and lower body (squats) will help your Pro "fine-tune" your program by knowing where you are starting so you are not "over-doing", or "under-doing" it!
  8. And flexibiliy assessments, for example hamstrings, will help determine if additional stretching will help any issues you might be experiencing. For example tight hamstrings (behind the legs), which usually come from spending so much time today in a seated position, many times are the actual culprit that causes "low back" discomfort.

These are just the basics that you should expect when you have a Fitness Professional help you get started on a Safe, Effective Fitness Lifestyle.

Then every 4-8 weeks (or sooner if you or your Pro have concerns) it's a good idea to check back where you are with where you were, and with where you are wanting to go. If you are right on track, great...just get back out there and stay with it! If, however there are areas that are not responding as you and your Pro would like, those specific areas can be addressed, corrected if needed, and then you get back out there!

I really believe these basic assessments are so important that I include them in my package pricing...without them, you are just "shooting in the dark"!

I hope that's answered your question, and thanks for asking.

Bobby Morrow, cPt

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