Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fitness Assessment Results

The UCF Faculty and Staff Research and Wellness Center administers fitness assessments for free that measure the following areas: Blood Pressure, Resting Heart Rate, Body Composition, Cardiovascular Fitness, Flexibility, Muscular Endurance, and Muscular Strength. Each test is given a score and rated on a scale from Needs Work, Fair, Fit, or Excellent.

I had my first assessment done on October 13, 2009 and my second one today. The first was after triathlon season ended, and about a month after I began marathon training. During triathlon season, I had a hard time balancing the amount of food I ate with the increased level of activity, and I gained about 15 lbs. After Thanksgiving, I got serious about losing the extra weight.  Now that marathon training is over, I wanted to see how much I've improved in the last four months.  I'm very pleased with the results. Below is a summary of the results compared to those from 4 months ago in October.

Body Fat = 17.8% (Excellent)
This test involves pinching skinfolds in 3 different areas, then the computer does the calculations to give you the body fat percentage. I've lost over 15 lbs since Thanksgiving, but I was curious to see how my body composition changed. The numbers on the scale only tell part of the story. In October, my body fat content was 26.5% placing me in the "Fair" category. I've lost almost 9% body fat, now placing me in the "Excellent" category, so that's a huge improvement. The report I received says that on average, female athletes have a body fat score of 12-22%. Below are the measurements used to determine this.

October Today Difference %
Weight 138 124 -14 -10.1%
Tricep Skinfold 17.5 12.5 -5 -28.6%
Suprailium Skinfold (mid section) 27.5 13 -14.5 -52.7%
Thigh Skinfold 26 19.5 -6.5 -25%

Resting Heart Rate = 54 bpm (Excellent)
It was 60 bpm in October, which was also Excellent. I need to do this in the morning when I wake up to get a more accurate reading, but I keep forgetting. I'm going to try to incorporate that into my morning routine.

Aerobic Fitness = 52.1 ml/kg/min (Excellent)
This test involves stepping up and down on a step at a given cadence for 3-5 minutes while wearing a heart rate monitor. Every minute your heart rate is recorded until it levels out. My score was 37.3 in October, placing me in the "Fit" category. I was at first surprised to see such a big improvement in this area, but then I remembered that I have 5 months of marathon training behind me now. The scale in this category goes up to 55, so I'm truly at the peak of my aerobic fitness.

Sit Reach = 19 cm (Needs Improvement)
This test measures flexibility and as you can see, I am pretty inflexible. This is at the very low end of the "Needs Improvement" scale and only 2 cms better than last time. It surprises me a little that I am not more flexible since I do so much yoga, but this specifically measures hamstrings and lower back flexibility, and I've never been able to touch my toes. I'm going to work on this more and hope to show a significant improvement next time.

Crunches = 29 (Fit)
This test measures the strength of my stomach muscles and how long they can move before getting tired. I basically had to do as many crunches in a row as I could while maintaining a specific cadence. I have been working on strengthening my core, so I was pleased to see that I did 9 more than last time, moving me from the "Fair" category to "Fit." However, I still have lots of room for improvement. The scale goes up to 55.

Push-Ups = 32 (Excellent)
This test measures the strength and endurances of my upper body muscles. Like the previous test, I had to do as many push ups (on my knees) as I could while maintaining the same cadence throughout that I set when I started. I knew I would see an improvement in this category because I completed the 100 push up challenge since the last time. Last time I did 21, which barely put me in the "Excellent" category. This time I exceeded the scale, which only goes up to 31! That's awesome! I've definitely seen better definition in my upper body and I feel stronger than ever.

Total Fitness Score = 77 (Fit)
My total fitness score in October was 62, out of 100, placing me in the "Fit" category. I improved by 15 points since then, but I still have room for improvement -- 80+ is Excellent, so I'm not too far off.

I'm glad I redid this test at this point in my training and weight loss journey. As nice as it is to see the numbers on the scale go down, it's even better to see how my hard work has improved my body and physical abilities. I'm going to continue working on my weak areas and do this again in another 4 months, when I hope to see an Excellent rating across the board.

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