Do you know how to evaluate your wellness, health and fitness?

NUTRITION March2008I’ve used these terms for a while, until I actually understood what wellness, health and fitness was about. It happens so many times to have clients for a consultation and to ask them a simple question, why do they exercise, and have them not to know what to answer… they need it, they feel good, they don’t want to lose weight because is hard, and don’t need muscle because is ugly, it’s just makes them feel good…

But why ???

It makes them feel good because they health parameters are improving; they feel a change but it cannot be described.

And of course is hard, how can you sense an improvement in your blood pressure from 120/80 to 115/75? Is that good or bad? How do you notice a change in your triglycerides level? A change in leaky gut sindrome?  In your cholesterol level, blood sugar? You cannot get all those tests done every day, that’s insane, that’s the researcher’s job. But I am telling you, for sure the extra energy and the good feeling felt after a few sessions of exercising are because of slightly improvements or self regulatory mechanism of these health parameters …

And that’s how you get addicted … Makes you feel good. Healthy.

In my career, I have used different methods of evaluation or protocols of measuring the health and fitness capabilities of people. In the same way you can’t have a precise definition of fitness and what means to be fit, you can’t clearly define what a fitness evaluation is.

The basic reason for testing fitness capabilities is to show people their evolution and progress. As I’ve said before, most of the clients I consult and train come to the gym without any precise objectives or goals. I have to teach them that simply saying that “I need to lose weight” doesn’t give the same results like saying “I need to lose 5% body fat in the next two months”. Or “I want to exercise more” comparative with “I will exercise five days a week for 20 minutes each day”.

With most clients I have to “fool” them into motivation to start and continue their training, activity, and healthy nutrition habits. People are still very confused, because of the amount of (dis)information available. Best case scenario, I motivated people for about 6 moths into going to the gym. Meanwhile, they’re more energetic, stronger, fitter, and of course, much happier.

Another reason for the fitness assessment is to properly introduce the basic exercises, equipment, and machines. A lot of beginners tend to think that certain exercises or machines can hurt them. There is no such thing. The way we move and execute the exercises leads to accidents or pain. In other words, form or our inherited movement patterns will get us injured or in pain.

So, to start: what does adipose tissue and muscle mass evaluation mean and what is the correlation with health and fitness? Cardiac rhythm and blood pressure have a direct correlation with exercise intensity and your workouts. Specific adaptations to progressive resistance exercise, static and dynamic posture, functional exercise, proper breathing, lifestyle and nutrition, nutrients and organic food, exercise associated risks, aging and degeneration process and so on.

If I don’t stop in time, the clients will burst our the door, because of the amount of stuff they have to do. Experience has taught me that it is better to split this type of evaluation into smaller bits:

  1. First, I use a questionnaire to identify the major health risks that the participant is exposed to during his/her workouts. PAR-Q. In other words, are going to benefit or be in danger from high intensity workouts? Will running on a treadmill trigger a heart attack or will it strengthen your cardiovascular system, will be enough to oxygenate your brain or to produce a stroke?  Another issue is lifting weights off the floor and the risk of musculo-articular injuries, lower back, hip or shoulder subluxations.  In this phase we learn about the moderate sub-maximal effort and how to properly use a cardio machine and some stretching exercises. And it’s enough for 2-3 weeks, a light beginner schedule, just enough to stimulate the cardio-vascular system, overall strength, and flexibility of the musculo-articular system.
  2. In the second phase the client is more confident and we increase the intensity with exercises for strength development. I teach what dynamic/static posture is and I create a program to correct the unsymmetrical features. To do this I have to use an appropriate language and terminology, avoiding fancy words, to not cause confusion. The communication is so important, the best way is to use several channels, visual and kinesthetic are highly recommended by al exercise specialists. That’s the reason why all gyms are taped with mirrors, to auto-correct our technique, not to check our muscle size … Mostly, I show and exemplify the exercises to everyone. We’re still in the moderate sub-maximal intensity zone so you must be able to talk relaxed during exercise or it might be too intense.  Most of the time I use Borg Scale to help define the exercise intensity. This concludes another 3-4 weeks of training.
  3. This is where we get to nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. The body is starting to adapt to the physical changes, so a new approach must be introduced. A few changes in nutrition will prove major benefits in the gym and in the client’s life. Most clients stop here, because they want a bit of everything and this is where the tough gets going so to speak. For the ones who want a real change there are a lot more to do!
  4. From here on everything goes on at an athlete’s level of training. People who want an athletic body, must behave accordingly. Scheduled trainings, technical execution, and food diary. The evaluation techniques change a lot, according to each individual and their dominant bio-motric qualities and their objectives, weight loss, mass gain, flat abs, and so on. I use a primary exercise analysis and a sub-maximal strength analysis. Also, I test 1, 2, 3 Maximal Repetitions, for people who need increased maximal strength. We also test endurance capabilities with 3 minutes of squats, 3 minutes of push-ups and 1000 jumps on the jump rope. This way, the participant will be motivated to break his record the next time.

I’m crazy about my work, it’s never routine, so there’s no time to get bored. I’m in a complete trance and I hope it’s worth it, the results my clients are getting makes my motivation go on! Health is priceless.

Let me know in a comment below – How do you evaluate your wellness, health and fitness?

 

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2 thoughts on “Do you know how to evaluate your wellness, health and fitness?

    1. Ana,

      thanks for your question,

      A trainer with your experience cannot get confused or curious by what I’ve wrote,
      This is for ppl who wants to find ou tmore about health and fitness:)
      C u

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