What I learnt at a fitness test with a personal trainer

 

How healthy do you think you are? And how healthy are you, actually? The divide between these two things can be bigger than you think, as 30-year-old writer JENNY ATKINS discovered when she went for a health and fitness audit at Anytime Fitness.

I’ve been quite happy with my level of health in the last few years. I’m reasonably active; I ride my bike to and from work –  about ten kilometres each way – most days, I play sports twice a week, and I have a dog who lives for walks. As a social weekend drinker and someone who is quite partial to the 3pm office cake snack, I know my eating habits could be better, but in general, I figured I was doing OK.

I jumped at the chance to undertake a fitness assessment at Anytime Fitness. I thought of it like a check-up at a GP; it’s great to speak to a professional and see where you’re at with your health every now and then.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. Luckily Stephen, the personal trainer who administered the test, was super nice and put me immediately at ease. Thanks to his openness and clarifications for each part of the process, I even felt fine during some of the more uncomfortable bits, like the pinching implement that came out during the body fat percentage test.

The audit was a mixed bag of health tests. I answered some easy ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions about my exercise, drinking and eating habits, and had my body fat percentage measured. Then I did a series of physical tests including a squat test, a sit up test, a balance test, and a VO2 test to check my cardiovascular system’s ability to deliver oxygen to my muscles – which is a fancy way of saying a three-minute step test onto a platform to measure my heart rate afterwards.

There were a few surprises in my test results. For example, I could do the hardest level of sit-up, and my waist-to-hip ratio showed that certain diseases were of lower concern. Bonus! But on the other end of the spectrum, I learnt that my cardiovascular efficiency could be improved, and that my level of alcohol consumption classed as ‘risky’. It made me second guess a glass of wine I was offered that night, and opt to decline.

I found plenty of opportunities for improvement. Despite being reasonably physically active five days a week, I wasn’t meeting the minimum 30 minutes of daily physical activity because I tended to slack off on weekends. Stephen recommended this could be helped along with mild levels of physical activity on the weekends, like walking, swimming, or a yoga class –  an easy lifestyle fix on my part. It also confirmed that I can improve my eating habits to make sure I’m getting the nutrition I need to fuel my body.

There’s a peace of mind that comes with having your health audited. I feel a lot more conscious of where I stand when it comes to my health, and I left armed with some lifestyle modifications that can help improve my health in the longterm. I think now that I’m 30, I need to start giving these considerations a lot more weight, as I want to make sure I’m healthy for years to come.

 

Want to undertake an audit of your health and fitness? AIA Vitality rewards members who undertake a fitness assessment, and each myOwn policy includes access to AIA Vitality. AIA Vitality is a personalised, scientifically-backed program that supports you every day to make healthier lifestyle choices with amazing rewards.