Victor: Add more tools to your fitness toolbox

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Probably the most frequently used tool when determining our health is the bathroom scale.

Approaching this small box, we step onto the “podium of destiny” which we empower to tell us our level of health. At times, we feel accomplished for having reaped the benefits of saying “no” to those late-night salts or sweets, while at others, we watched in horror as we observed months of culinary discipline completely reversed by a long weekend full of temptations we deemed irresistible.

While the famous bathroom scale has become our basic litmus of fitness, the bigger questions are not only what your body is composed of (muscle or fat), but what tools you use to measure your health.

There are a number of other factors that determine progress in your fitness pursuit and are too often neglected. While strength and endurance are additional categories we can measure, other components of our fitness pursuit should be included in progress assessment.

It is easy to become disenchanted with our fitness program when we base everything on weight loss and, in some instances, weight gain.

For those of us suffering from tightness in the hamstrings, low backs and upper shoulders, the tenets of flexibility through stretching are frequently touted but infrequently practiced.

Sit-and-reach tests are an essential component of measuring flexibility of the lower body. A person who works consistently at improving hamstring and low-back flexibility can better appreciate the merits of a good stretching program.

How about your blood pressure and resting heart rate? How effective is your body at using available oxygen, also known as a “Max VO2” test? Just because you are not seeing meteoric decreases in your weight doesn’t mean a good cardio program can’t lower your blood pressure, decrease your resting heart rate and help you utilize oxygen more effectively.

Undoubtedly, a good cardio and resistance-training program will play a role in your weight decrease.

Whether you are trying to lose weight or gain muscle, when was the last time you used a tape measure as yet another tool in assessing your road to success? It is an equally effective tool for measurement limb circumferences for those intent on muscle gain, fat loss or a combination of both.

Very frequently, a person will lose inches before weight loss is reflected on the scale, yet this test is frequently omitted from client assessments.

As you move forward into your plans for the new year, make sure that you have access to a comprehensive pre-testing evaluation before you begin your fitness journey. If you are in the midst of a fitness program, it is never too late to know the current status of your body’s health. Using a greater number of testing tools will allow you to evaluate your fitness success beyond the tale of the scale.


Bill Victor is the owner of Victor Fitness System Professional Fitness Trainers, Flashpoint Athletic Speed & Agility Specialists, and Performance Nutrition Consultants. He can be reached at victorfitsystems@gmail.com and online at http://theflashpoint.org and http://VictorFitnessSystems.com.