Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fitness Assessments

I have been extolling the virtues of fitness assessments to a few people of late.  My wife for one and to fellow Blogger Mandy over at ‘The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life’.  The reasons for this are actually quite lengthy and reasonable.  Mainly they give something other than weight to measure progress, they actually give a whole host of things to measure and to indicate progress.  It is something that you can not do regularly, seeing as you need a trainer to do the different measurements for you and it would be quite costly to have them all the time it allows you time between measurements for actual progress to take place.  It helps you to see progress in different ways than just a slimming waistline.

Now for me I did not do a fitness assessment before I actually embarked on my mission to lose weight.  The “assessment” I had was a work out at the karate club that was maybe 15 minutes of actual work yet it left me feeling like I was dying from the inside out with lungs burning, heart racing and muscles weak.  My first actual assessment at the gym was the first thing I did with a trainer and by that point I have already lost about 60lbs. So I unfortunately do not have the horrifying stats that truly indicate how far I came from point A to point B

So here I will show you the assessments I have done and break them down a bit for you.

Here are sort of the main stats, the categories are pretty self explanatory, weight is in kg because I’m Canadian and we use metric apparently, even Wii Fit forces kg on me.  77.3kg is about 170Lbs, my lowest weight shown here, 69.3kg is about 152lbs.  Most charts and such indicate that a “perfect” BMI is about 22, though most of those things are just using height, age and weight to calculate that and do not take into consideration the ratio of muscle to fat.  Percentage of body fat is a nice indicator, though keep in mind women have a higher percentage than men usually.  According to this Wikipedia article I’m teetering around the athlete/fitness percentage during all of these assessments.  6-13% being athletic range and 14-17% being fitness range.

main stats

The next section is about measuring skin folds and ability and such.  The skin folds were taken at the same point on my body for each measurement, triceps and biceps are self explanatory, subscapular is just under the shoulder blade, iliac crest is at the top of the hip bone on the side and calf is at the mid point on the back of your calf.  You can see pretty dramatic drops from June 10th measurements to the July 13th ones as up until June I was only doing cardio, eat nothing weight loss, after I met with my trainer we started muscle building programs and that took up some space inside my skin and tightened it up.

The final two numbers for each of the push-ups and partial curl ups are how many I could do in a minute while the first 3 numbers are going for a minimum required to be considered “excellent” by the standards of the assessment.  Trunk flex is how far forward you can reach past your toes and the vertical jump numbers are how high my hand touched up the wall, on a sheet somewhere is the starting point (how high I can reach just standing there).


skin folds

This next one is muscle measurements, and it is something I really wish I had done in the beginning as Jodi was surprised and disappointed that we did not.  It would have been great to see the real changes from beginning to end.  The measurements are in centimetres

muscle measurments

As you can see there are so many things you can measure besides weight and many of them are exciting as you can see the increase in ability that goes along with those measurements.  One of the other things we decided to do was an obstacle course after Jodi and I decided that we had run these assessments past their usefulness, and now I have taken up running as you are surely aware of if you read this blog.  These give me a fantastic idea of how fit I may be.


  1. Hi Chris! Thanks for this. I can really see the benefit of measuring the different progress points rather than just the scale. It seems a lot more accurate and like it adds a lot more motivation too.

    I appreciate all the tips you've shared with me, and this post really details a lot of great progress measurements I hadn't thought of.

    Thanks! And thanks for the link ;) I'm going to add you to my blogroll because this is great information.

  2. Hey thanks Mandy! Yeah for me the drive to improve was my best motivator during my whole experience, it still is really. I love seeing an increase in the actual abilities I have so being on the elliptical, which is all I did at the start and at first going for 10 minutes, then going for a certain distance that would take me just longer than 10 minutes, then getting to that distance and say well I'm almost at 15 minutes, so I'll stop when I get there and just adding in different ways, that at the time don't seem monumental, really add up to big changes and increases.