4 Fitness Tests Every Trainer should Record

Hey FitPros!

I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be, but I recognize the importance of preventative health, and so should you. Clients often come to us with pictures of magazines with their favorite celebrity on the cover and say, “help me get into shape. “ I, on the other hand, look at every client and wonder, “how can I get you to understand health?”

Clients come to us very poorly conditioned both internally and externally and clients erroneously tend to focus on two markers of health which I find to be inefficient and outdated. BMI and weight are poor markers for fitness because:


BMI only measures the ratio between your height and weight. The BMI was introduced in the early 19th century by a BelgiaBodies-BMIn named Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet. He was a mathematician, not a physician. He produced the formula to give a quick and easy way to measure the degree of obesity of the general population to assist the government in allocating resources. BMI doesn’t give any clear distinction of your clients health.

Scale weight
Weight on the scale can fluctuate
5%-10% over the courscalese of a day based on food and liquid consumption and again gives no real insight on a person’s overall body composition. The inconsistency that exists in most peoples eating can lead to discouragement when checking their weight. 

Now let’s go over 4 fitness markers that you can take to help your clients better understand their current health state.

The Fantastic Four

Body Fat Percentage

Omron-Athlete-Body-Fat-Analyser1-300x214Unlike BMI, body fat percentage is an indication of how much of your weight is fat weight. In the picture below we have an images of someone at 158lbs but with a vastly different physique. On the right his body fat is much lower. If however, this individual based his goal on his BMI or weight, he would say that your training is ineffective. A 30 second test with an Omron Body Fat Monitor will give you a fairly reliable approximation of your clients’ body fat.  A healthy body fat for men falls between 8% and 20% while a healthy body fat for women falls between 21% and 32%. These monitors are very affordable at $30 and can help give your clients better perspective on their health.(Note: Body fat monitors are not advisable for pregnant women or clients with internal electronic heart regulating devices.)


Waist Circumference  

waist-measure-image-7-1-10Your body is made up of water, fat, protein, carbohydrate and various vitamins and minerals. If you have too much fat — especially if a lot of it is at your waist — you’re at higher risk for such health problems as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. That increases your risk for heart disease and stroke. (American Heart Association). Simply wrap a tape measure around the smallest girth of your clients’ abdomen and record. Men’s waist girth should be below 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women. Tape measures can be found for about $5.

Blood Pressure

blood pressureBlood pressure is one of the most important screenings because high blood pressure usually has no symptoms so it can’t be detected without being measured. High blood pressure greatly increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. ( American Heart Association ) In many cases high intensity exercise is not advisable for clients with extremely high blood pressure. Your training could elevate your clients’ risks if proper health screens aren’t administered. During your assessments it is good practice to check your clients’ blood pressure. A healthy person’s systolic reading should be between 90 and 120 and their diastolic reading should be between 60 and 80. I prefer the Omron Blood pressure monitor.

Resting Heart Rate

Clients usually base their progress primarily how they look and secondarily based on their performance with high loads or high intensities. However, it is more important for your clients to understand how efficiently their hearts beat throughout the day. A lower resting heart rate is a good sign of a more efficient heart as fewer beats are needed to pump the necessary blood throughout the body. A great indicator is your resting heart rate. As mentioned above the Omron Blood Pressure Monitor can also test heart rate, your main goal is to make sure the client is at rest and hasn’t consumed stimulants like coffee.

Big Finish

So that’s it, there’s more to health than the scale or a height weight ratio. Do your due diligence because clients come to us more than frequently than they go to their doctors for physicals so if we can catch a problem early we can extend our clients life expectancy by years or even decades. All of the testing items can be purchased on Amazon with this link for a total of less than $100.

If you haven’t made use of it already, I’d invite you to try the FitProCalculator. A web application made for you to deliver a simple, detailed fitness report to your client without the hassle of saving paper.exam-624x414

Whatever option you take make sure to keep your clients well informed on their health, it will lead to better results which always leads to more referrals.

Dedicated to your fitness Success
Jonathan FitPro

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