Friday, October 1, 2010

Evaluating the Fitness Assessment

Whenever I see a "Fitness Expert" on a News segment giving information, I notice that the seemingly unfit and unhealthy in the audience are simply handed the Fitness Toy Du Jour or a pair of Dumbbells and are told, "That's all you need!" While it's nice to see these people finally start to take control of their health and fitness, I can't excuse the apparent blasé attitude that so called "Experts" have towards fitness training. Any Professional of value would first explain the benefits of a comprehensive fitness assessment before developing any kind of fitness program. A quality assessment should include a Health History Review, followed by measurements of Resting Blood Pressure, Cardiovascular & Muscular Strength along with a comparison of the Anterior and Posterior Muscles. A ROM assessment along with either a Body Fat Analysis or a BMI Measurement is also suggested. Further assessment may also be performed of an individual's Dietary Habits.

I understand that limited time is allotted for these News segments, but I don't feel that Fitness (or lack thereof) is something that we should just squeeze into the news. After all, the next news segment is about how Diabetes and Adolescent Obesity are on the rise. Just look at the statistics; Heart Disease is still the leading killer. The largest costs for those taking prescriptive medicines are for Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure and Pain Medicine (usually for Arthritic Conditions). All of these can be partially treated with a sensible and intelligent exercise program. I guess my question is: Why don't news segments report more on the cure and less on the problem? As Fitness Professionals we are on the front lines in this battle. Let's not contribute to the problem by allowing complacency into our field.

The reason for Fitness Assessment is not to sell more Memberships or Personal Training Sessions. Rather, it is to educate and motivate our clients. It provides the blue print and the basis for our exercise selection. As the Cliché says, "If you not assessing, you're just guessing".

It's an interesting time for Fitness Professionals: practical know-how and science are now at our fingertips, so let us use them. Although Fitness Training is an Art, Science is a tool of that Art. We know that Fitness is not a one size fits all business, let's make sure that the public and our clients understand that, too.

-Frank Pucher

Note: I was provoked into writing this article after watching 'another' news segment with a Trainer and an audience (some dressed in heels and some in flip flops) jumping rope and performing lunges. In favor of movement - just not at the expense of safety!

A Graduate of East Stroudsburg University, Frank has over 15 years experience in the Fitness Industry. His Certifications include The American Council on Exercise (ACE), The National Endurance Sports Trainers Association (NESTA), and The Cooper Institute of Aerobic Research. A sought out speaker and author on topics from Athletic Performance to Injury Prevention; Frank is the owner of Fitness 121: a personalized Fitness & Pilates studio located in Roseland, NJ. Visit his website:

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