FitBit : What is Personal Fitness
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NOTE to IFPA Certified Personal Trainers: Many of your clients are asking you: What is Personal Fitness? Please feel free to provide this to them as a potential answer
What is Personal Fitness?
The question: What is Personal Fitness? Is a more difficult question than: What
is Fitness? Let’s answer the easier question first: What is Fitness?
The concept of fitness actually comprises ten separate components: The IFPA Ten
Components of Fitness. The IFPA Ten Components of Fitness are:
Strength: In physics you have probably seen the formula Force x Distance
= Strength (or Work). Therefore, your Strength is determined by your ability
to move a given Force (or Weight) over a given distance. The typical fitness
tests to determine your strength are One-RM Tests or One-Repetition Maximum
Tests. Examples of One-RM Tests are the One-RM Bench Press, to determine the
strength of your chest and arms (pectorals and triceps brachii); the One-RM
Squat, to determine the strength of your hips and thighs (gluteals and quadriceps);
the One-RM Shoulder Press, to determine the strength of your shoulders and arms
(deltoids, trapezius, and triceps brachii); the One-RM Arm Curl, to determine
the strength of your biceps brachii; the One-RM Seated-Row, to determine the
strength of your upper back (latissimus dorsi); the One-RM Heel Raise, to determine
the strength of your calf (gastrocnemius); and other movements that you may
deem important as a way of measuring your progress to your own individual strength
Maintaining significant levels of Strength is critical to prevent injury,
chronic pain, and loss of functionality. The super human strength of Power Lifters
and Olympic Lifters can be greatly admired, but the Senior Citizen, who cannot
stand or walk without assistance, can greatly improve their functionality with
strength training! Strength can be increased by all! Research on Master Athletes
shows men and women in their 80’s and 90’s are STRONGER than untrained 20 and
30 year olds!
Speed: Is how quickly you can move your body or a light-weight object
such as a baseball or baseball bat, tennis racket, football, hockey stick, soccer
ball, etc. Speed Tests are the 40 Yard or 100 Meter Sprints.
Power: Is your ability to generate strength as rapidly as possible.
The Jump-and-Reach Test is a classic Power Test for the lower body. You will
observe that the Jump-and-Reach Test utilizes some of the same muscles that
you measure in the One-RM Squat Test, but even though you are measuring some
of the same muscles, you are measuring two completely different abilities. For
example, you are testing two World Class Athletes, one a Professional Basketball
Player and the other a Nationally Ranked Power Lifter. When you perform a One-RM
Squat on both, the Power Lifter can squat over three times what the Basketball
Player can do, but when you perform the Jump-and-Reach Test, the Basketball
Player scores over three times what the Power Lifter can do. In physics, Strength
(or Work) = Force times Distance (S=F x D). Power, in physics, is Force times
Distance Divided by time (P= (F x D) ÷ T). This means that your Power is a measure
of how rapidly you can generate Force as measured against your bodyweight or
an outside force such as a Shot Putter, Javelin Thrower, Discus Thrower, or
a Guard on a Football Team blocking a Defensive Linebacker to protect the Quarterback!
Anaerobic Endurance: Anaerobic Endurance or Muscular Endurance is
far more critical for general health benefits than has been previously believed.
There is growing evidence that higher intensities are a critical stimulus to
the body’s Endurance System that controls every other system in the body. Anaerobic
Tests are: Maximum Push-Up, Pull-Up, Chin-Up, Dips, Sit-Ups, Crunches or other
Repetition Maximum Tests. 15 RM Tests or the YMCA Bench Press Protocol are typical
weight-lifting tests for Anaerobic Endurance which utilizes the Lactic Acid
Aerobic Endurance: A measure of the body’s ability to utilize oxygen
and efficiency of your “Krebs Cycle”: the body’s Aerobic Energy System. Typical
Aerobic Endurance Tests are: Walk/Jog/Runs of 1 mile, 1.5 miles or 2 miles,
the Step Test, or the 6-Minute Aerobic Test programmed into many Aerobic Machines.
Agility: Is a measure of body control during movement; the ability
to rapidly change direction under control. You marvel at the Agility of a Gymnast
or Dancer or watching a Football player, Basketball Player, Hockey Player or
Soccer Player cutting and weaving through a field of defenders on their way
to score. Fitness Testing using Agility Drills can measure your Agility as well
as performance improvements as you train to increase your Agility.
Balance: Static Balance is demonstrated by a Gymnast holding a handstand
or a Senior Citizen trying to hold their Balance when standing on one foot.
Dynamic Balance is demonstrated by a Tennis Player sprinting full speed to get
to the ball while maintaining their Balance to make a winning return or a Baseball
Player sprinting to catch a ball then quickly deliver an accurate throw to “throw-out”
the base runner trying to score!
Coordination: Usually refers to smaller muscle unit motor functions
like dribbling a basketball, serving in tennis or swinging a baseball bat effectively.
For Senior Citizens, Coordination refers to Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
like walking, dressing, grooming or even eating. If you are fortunate to live
a long and fulfilling life and you fail to maintain your Coordination, you may
find seemingly simple tasks like buttoning a shirt or brushing your teeth to
become quite a challenge!
Flexibility: Is the measure of a muscle’s Range of Motion (ROM) around
a joint. You have probably admired the Flexibility of a Gymnast, Martial Artist,
Wrestler or Dancer, but everyone needs to maintain adequate ROM to prevent injury,
chronic pain, and loss of functionality. You can measure Flexibility in each
joint by using Goniometers.
Body Composition: Is a measure of your body’s fat mass versus non-fat
or lean mass! Any cells in the body that are not fat are classified as lean.
Most of the lean mass in the body is muscle, but organs, connective tissues,
blood, bone, skin, etc, are all classified as fat-free, lean tissue! Controlling
and/or reducing fat mass is a primary goal of most Americans. Research shows
that excess fat mass leads to inflammatory responses in the body. Inflammation
is the cause of all chronic disease, disability or dysfunction. Reducing fat
mass is the best protocol for the treatment, care, and prevention of all chronic
disorders. The Journal of Endocrinology published their findings in the September
2011 issue: that increasing muscle mass was by far the best protocol for reversing
Type II Diabetes! In the not too distant future, you may find that increasing
muscle mass may very well be the ONLY way to reverse Type II Diabetes!
Until 2012, most doctors believed that reducing fat was the most critical factor
in reversing chronic disorders. Abdominal Fat is by far the biggest cause of inflammatory
hormones so there is a very critically important reason to reduce abdominal fat.
The good news is that these goals are not mutually exclusive. Increasing muscle
mass, increases metabolism as well as regenerating the Endocrine System to increase
production of healthy hormones which in turn regenerate every physiological system
in the body.
Body Composition measures are Skin Fold Calipers, Hydrostatic Weighing, Bioelectrical
Impedance, Infrared Interactance or Circumference Measurements.
The more difficult question: What is Personal Fitness? This has become extremely
difficult to answer since so many individuals have been physically inactive for
so long. The difficulty becomes exasperated by the ever increasing percentage of
the population becoming overweight and obese. Currently, approximately 70% of the
population is overweight or obese and the numbers are increasing. What is even more
alarming is the increasing numbers among our children!
Personal Fitness must start with personal responsibility. The most difficult
part of a Personal Fitness Program is to start! Anything you DO! Anything over and
above what you are currently doing is a START and ANY start is a very good thing.
You do not have to start with all Ten IFPA Components of Fitness; you only have
to start with ONE! Even walking is a start! Walking may not reverse chronic disorders,
but it will slow the progression of disorders. Strength Training may be the most
critical component of your personal fitness program, but if you hate Strength Training;
Don’t Do It! Start with something else; start with anything, but please start!
If you need motivation, please do volunteer work at your local hospital or retirement
home and observe the patients dying of heart disease, COPD, HBP, cancer, diabetes
or the 60 other chronic disorders. Do you want that to be your fate? Your Personal
Fitness Program can prevent this from happening.
Dr. Jim Bell, CEO IFPA