Each new client begins with a comprehensive fitness and health assessment, which is generally considered the most important tool available to a personal trainer. This is because it gives us a pretty well rounded look at several aspects of your health when you start a program that let me develop the most safe and efficient strategy and method for achieving your goals. It also lets both of us know how well a particular mode of training is working in an objective and accurate fashion as we go through a program, as well as how well it was achieved at the end of any period of time, whether this be every three months or so as a health status update of sorts, or if it is at the end of your time training with me to see how far you’ve come. It is important, however, to take a moment and point out what a fitness and health assessment is not: while it can give some excellent data on not just fitness and mobility, but markers for heart health and many risk factors as well, it is not the same as or adequate compared to a checkup or diagnostic evaluation by a doctor or like medical professional.

That aside, let’s take a look at how the process works and what we will actually do during your assessment. Each of my clients fills out a form that will help me see their current health situation and their health history, including some family history for the purposes of seeing risk factors. This will cover topics such as any pain and discomfort experienced, family and self history of diseases ailments or injuries as appropriate, your activity level and work/home environment, stress levels, any kinds of medications or supplementation, and some other topics and figures. This form is preferably done in advance as this saves a lot of time, and we will go over the information you provide when we have our first session. I’ll take a moment to note that all of your information is completely confidential. Also, if you do have a medical condition, depending on its nature you may be asked to seek the assent of your primary care or most relevant physician that you are healthy enough to partake in an exercise regimen, along with requesting any indications of contraindications (things we should either do or avoid) for your given situation.

Along with and after looking over your form and speaking about some elements of it, we will discuss the goals you are looking to reach and anything else you have questions about. We will then gather several measurements, such as your resting heart rate, blood pressure and body composition. Your resting heart rate and blood pressure readings will give us an indication of your overall heart and cardiovascular health as well as somewhat about your body’s potential fitness conditioning. The body composition test is done by using a measuring tape to find the circumference around numerous points on the body, as well as a caliper test, in which a device is used to pinch the skin at several more points. These two methods will give us readings, which by themselves will let us chart your progress over time when it comes to muscle size and body fat, but when put into an algorithm and calculated will tells us your lean and fat body weight and percentages so that we can tell exactly what any weight gain or loss means during and after your program.

We then move on to postural and functional movement assessments. Here I will see how you hold yourself during standing as well as how you execute certain movements. This will tell me what muscles and joints are out of balance (which are possibly too strong, tight, or short, and which may be too weak, loose and stretched out, which inhibit proper movements) and are likely already causing pain and dysfunction, or what will need to be strengthened and what needs to be loosened up in the pursuit of your goals and lowering risk of injuries. What particular tests we do to find any potential imbalances are based on each individual persons situation.

Finally we conduct any performance based tests depending on what your particular goals are, which can be any number of tests for some of the following goals, among others:
-muscular endurance
-cardiovascular endurance

Other tests and questions get covered in this process, but that is the general structure: filling out and discussing the form, body measurements, posture and practical analysis, followed by any performance tests. This is all generally done across two one hour sessions, with it transitioning into a workout depending on the time flow. Make sure to wear comfortable exercise ready clothing for both sessions, if there are two, so that measurements can be taken in an accessible manner, and please ask any questions during and in advance of your assessments!