Blog, Health Measurements

Habit # 1

Where to Start?

There are many different ways to get fit, so it can be overwhelming to know where to start. I like to begin by considering the basics. The most fundamental questions I want to know before building a get fit plan for a client are who, what, where, when and how. You might know the answers to all these questions, but you’d be surprised how often people skip one of these steps when building their plan. 

Rethink What You Measure

Your weight isn’t a measurement of your fitness

Of course, what brought you to this blog is concern over your weight, and I get it. I will explore different diets and their effectiveness, but it really shouldn’t be your first concern.

Let’s start with answering the question: Who? You know who you are. But let’s take a second to consider your current fitness level and take some measurements. Most people only consider their weight when starting a fitness journey, but we can’t lose weight indefinitely. Sooner or later, we’ll have to maintain our weight or get sick. So rather than get on the rollercoaster of losing and gaining weight and thinking you are failing because you aren’t losing weight, here are best the measurements for you to care about. They will give you an accurate measure of your current fitness level. It doesn’t make sense to start a healthy journey without knowing where you are when you start

1-Waist to hip ratio:

Abdominal Obesity Measurement Guidelines

OrganizationMeasurement usedDefinition of abdominal obesity
American Heart Association, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (10)Waist circumferenceWomen: > 88 cm (35 inches), Men: > 102 cm (40 inches)
International Diabetes Federation (11)Waist circumferenceWomen: > 80 cm (31.5 inches), Men: > 90 cm (35.5 inches)Different cut-points for different ethnic groups
World Health Organization (12)Waist-to-hip ratioWomen: > 0.85, Men: > 0.9

2-Blood Pressure

Measure your Blood Pressure, this is a number most people don’t know and it is a really easy way to measure your overall health. Great news is that it responds really quickly to regular exercise.

Exercise is a fantastic way to lower your blood pressure but you need to know where it is before you start. Most pharmacies have free machines to measure your BP. Please see your doctor before you start any exercise program, especially if it’s elevated.

3 Cardiovascular Measurement. 

This is a super simple test to do if you have a watch that measures your activity but you can do this old school as well. You need to walk a mile (measured out).

 To perform the Rockport walking test:

  1. Warm-up for 5 to 10 minutes with easy walking.
  2. Start your stopwatch and immediately start walking as fast as you can. Make every effort to push yourself, but avoid jogging.
  3. At the end of the 1 mile, stop your stopwatch and record your time in decimals. For example, 11 minutes plus (30 seconds ÷ 60 seconds) = 11.5 minutes.
  4. Take your heart rate immediately. If taking your own pulse, count the heartbeats for 15 seconds and multiply by four. For example, if there are 40 heartbeats in 15 seconds, your heart rate would be 160 beats per minute (bpm).

Calculating Your VO2 Max

Upon completion of the test, you will need to do some math to determine your VO2 max. In addition to your heart rate, you will also need to measure your weight in pounds. The formula is as follows:2

VO2 max = 132.853 – (0.0769 x your weight in pounds) – (0.3877 x your age) + (6.315 if you are male or 0 if you are female) – (3.2649 x your walking time) – (0.1565 x your heart rate at the end of the test)

For example, if you are a 33-year-old man who weighs 160 pounds and completed the test in 11 minutes, 30 seconds with a post-exercise heart rate of 160 bpm, you would calculate your VO2 max as follows:

  • 132.853 – (0.0769 x 160 pounds) = 120.549
  • 120.549 – (0.3877 x 33 years of age) = 107.7549
  • 107.7549 + (6.315 because you are male) = 114.0699
  • 114.0699 – (3.2649 x 11.5 minutes) = 76.52355
  • 76.52355 – (0.1565 x 160 bpm) = 51.48355

Rounding off to the first three digits, your VO2 max would be 51.5 ml/kg/min.

If you aren’t comfortable with long math, there are a number of online calculators you can use that allow you to plug in the individual values.

VO2 Max Norms for Women
AgeVery PoorPoorFairGoodExcellentSuperior
13-19Under 25.025.0-30.931.0-34.935.0-38.939.0-41.9Over 41.9
20-29Under 23.623.6-28.929.0-32.933.0-36.937.0-41.0Over 41.0
30-39Under 22.822.8-26.927.0-31.431.5-35.635.7-40.0Over 40.0
40-49Under 21.021.0-24.424.5-28.929.0-32.832.9-36.9Over 36.9
50-59Under 20.220.2-22.722.8-26.927.0-31.431.5-35.7Over 35.7
60+Under 17.517.5-20.120.2-24.424.5-30.230.3-31.4Over 31.4
VO2 Max Norms for Men
AgeVery PoorPoorFairGoodExcellentSuperior
13-19Under 35.035.0-38.338.4-45.145.2-50.951.0-55.9Over 55.9
20-29Under 33.033.0-36.436.5-42.442.5-46.446.5-52.4Over 52.4
30-39Under 31.531.5-35.435.5-40.941.0-44.945.0-49.4Over 49.4
40-49Under 30.230.2-33.533.6-38.939.0-43.743.8-48.0Over 48.0
50-59Under 26.126.1-30.931.0-35.735.8-40.941.0-45.3Over 45.3
60+Under 20.520.5-26.026.1-32.232.3-36.436.5-44.2Over 44.2