Monthly Archives: June 2017

5 Pillars of Reaching Your Fitness Goals

Reaching fitness goals can be challenging for anyone. If you want to achieve peak fitness and life-long health you must set and obtain fitness goals. But, how do we do this? Through understanding, focus, and commitment you can reach your goals.

The 5 pillars of Reaching Fitness Goals will provide the foundation to get you there. The 1st Pillar is the set your Ultimate Fitness Goal Mindset. In order to do this you need to find a fitness goal and set out a program to achieve it.

Pillar 1: Setting your Fitness Mindset

Set your goal. Then, find a workout program and diet program to fit your individual needs. Excellent! Now all we have to do is get motivated and in the proper mindset to start training towards our goals.

Pillar 2: Form Workout and Nutrition Habits

So you’ve set a Fitness Goal, and you’ve set your fitness mindset. Now what? Just like most things in life, we need to form a habit to accomplish our goals. The basic idea of habits is the same for everything, both personal and fitness related.

Patience! When you set your goals they may take longer than expected. Most people feel like they’re not making the kind of progress they want, so they think they don’t have enough self discipline. That’s not true. We all have plenty of discipline but the problem lies in the fact that we are often disciplined to habits that are not in line with our goals. We need to form meaningful habits that align with our workout and nutrition goals – this is Pillar 2.

The key to achieving fitness success is to form these new habits. New habits that are in line with where we want to go, the things that we want to achieve, the goals that we want to reach. How do we do this? There is a specific formula to form habits, which can be implemented in all parts of our lives. All it takes is 21 days.

Habit Forming Basics

The way you form a new habit is by doing it and tracking it for 21 days straight. It takes at least 21 days to reform the pathways in our brain and the muscle memory that is involved in making these habits part of the daily routine. If you can do it for 21 days straight, you’ll find that you no longer have to think about it very hard, because it’s now a habit.

Start with one habit at a time and build from there. For instance, your first habit might be to workout 5 days per week. Then, after these 21 days of implementing that habit, start the next habit of eating a healthy diet. Don’t try to force too many changes too quickly.

Pillar 3: Eat Like an Athlete

Water!

Water is so important it should almost be a Pillar on its own. Just remember, if you feel thirsty, you’re dehydrated. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to start hydrating! As little as a 1% loss of water can translate to an increase in core temperature during exercise, and reduced performance. A 3-5% loss of water can put serious strain on the cardiovascular system and impair the ability of the body to dissipate heat, resulting in heat stroke. When the body loses 7%, the result is most likely unconsciousness.

Make sure you drink at least 8 cups of pure water per day. You can drink other things, but make sure that at a minimum you consume your 8 glasses of water. Also, don’t drink it all at once. Sip water all day.

If you drink it all at once, you could actually get dehydrated even more. Your body will release diuretic hormones to excrete as much of the excess water as possible. Hypernatremia is the condition of drinking an extremely large amount of water in a short amount of time. It is important to know about this condition so you don’t overload you’re body with water.

Another thing to avoid is drinking large amounts of water with your meals. A large amount of water with meals will reduce the processing ability of your digestive system. Give your body 15 minutes before and 30-60 minutes after the meal before you start drinking water normally.

Balanced and Nutritious!

Athletes require higher quantities of vitamins, protein, and carbohydrates. Eat whole, organic foods to achieve the most nutrition possible from what you consume. Also, take daily supplements. You should strive to eat whole foods and a clean diet. The amount of calories the supplements you consume will vary depending on your particular fitness goal and your amount and length of workouts.

Protein Power!

It may seem like protein is just another form of energy, but it’s not. The muscle mass you build will largely depend on whether you’re doing physical training like lifting weights. And any excess protein that isn’t broken down by the body and used as an energy source. Make sure you eat protein at all meals, which can include meats, eggs, soy, or other options such as cheese and milk.

You need to increase your protein intake to one gram per pound of body weight to preserve your calorie-burning, muscle mass. Eating protein triggers muscle growth. In fact, every time you eat at least 10 to 15 grams of protein, you trigger a burst of protein synthesis. When you eat at least 30 grams, that period of synthesis lasts about three hours-and that means even more muscle growth.

Protein has a different relationship with your digestive system than other food, and protein doesn’t cause spikes in blood sugar like carbohydrates do. With a smaller effect on your blood sugar comes a smaller crash, which means sustainable energy throughout the day and fewer cravings. Protein can keep you fuller for longer, too.

Build these three items into your fitness habits – – Drink plenty of water, eat balanced and nutritious, and make sure you’re getting enough protein. That’s Pillar 3.

Pillar 4: Make Adjustments to your Fitness Program

Do you want to make the BIGGEST fitness gains in your life? The easiest way to do this is by working hard and Making Adjustment to your Fitness Program – Pillar 4. What do I mean? We need to mix up our workouts and keep our bodies guessing. We need to keep things fun and interesting. Don’t always do the exact same workout routine! If you always do the same exercises, in the exact same order, you’ll start to plateau in your fitness program. So, here’s how we make adjustments:

Try a different type of workout:

• Boxing
• Crossfit
• Kettlebells
• Rowing
• Swimming
• Rock Climbing

Mix up your routines

If you always do cardio first, then lift weight, reverse the order. Make sure you warm-up properly, but reversing the order will allow you to be more energetic, stronger for your lifting routine. If you always do flat bench press, try using dumbbells instead. These simple tweaks to your routines will push you to the next level. Revamp your workout today!

Rest when you need it

If you need to throttle back or take a day off, do it. You’re never going to make big gains if you don’t rest. Just remember, being lazy and needing a rest day are two different things. Don’t take a day off just because you’re feeling lazy – get off the coach, put on your favorite high-energy music, and get motivated!

Pillar 5: Reward, Rest, and Repeat

You’ve just finished a phase of your training or you’ve completed a fitness goal. You deserve a reward. Setting and achieving ultimate fitness goals takes time and effort. One thing that’s important for you is taking time to reward yourself throughout your training. And, especially at the end you should reward yourself. Rewarding and resting is the key to your 5th pillar – Reward, Rest, and Repeat. Here are some Reward Ideas:

• Take a Vacation
• Go to the Spa
• Read a Great Book
• Go on a Hiking Trip

REST

Do you have trouble getting enough rest at night? If you’re working out and striving towards your fitness goal, rest is critical in your program. Rest increases performance because your body is able to repair itself and recharge its batteries. Without at least 7 hours of sleep per night, your progress will be slower and achieving your fitness goals will be harder. There are some easy things that help me sleep at night – try them and start sleeping better today!

• Establish a sleeping Routine
• Turn off the Television
• Use a Sleep Machine
• Keep your room below 74 Degrees F (23 C)
• Use Aromatherapy Products – Lavender, Chamomile, Sandalwood
• Take ZMA

These simple things will increase your sleep and they will increase your performance. These tips are the 5th pillar – Reward, Rest, and Repeat. Now it’s time to Rest and pick your next Ultimate Fitness Goal.

The Road To Fitness

For most of us, choosing to be fit is more a test of will than a one time decision. Being “fit” covers a change in our lifestyle much more than just embarking upon a new exercise or diet program. For me, the choice came about 15 years ago. I was about 24 years old when friends of mine convinced me to start going to the gym as a group. At that time, I knew I didn’t really like the way I looked, so I thought it would be a good idea. How hard could it be? Well, it didn’t take long before I knew the answer to that question. And to tell you the truth, at that time my workouts were not that difficult. But getting up at 5am to be at the gym by 5:30, certainly was, Also, since there were 4 of us and only 1 really knew what he was doing, the workouts were VERY long. Too long when you mix in the water cooler talk that often took over some workouts.

So, after trying this approach for about 3 weeks I still wasn’t motivated nor did I look forward to working out and was about to quit. As luck would have it for me, 2 guys in the group beat me to it, leaving just myself and the only person who knew anything about working out correctly at that time. That changed everything.

With just 2 of us now, we were much more focused and I got some really good coaching on the basics. After a month of 1-1 time, we started increasing the intensity of the workouts and mixing in some really fun cycle classes. Somewhere within the next month, I saw a change. Not just in my appearance, but my outlook and attitude were all effected. At that point, I was hooked. I worked out consistently at the gym 5 times a week incorporating cardio, running and weights. I looked and felt good thinking this would always be my way of life.

And it was, until about 5 years ago. In 2007, my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer and turned my life upside down. I quickly lost interest in many of my normal activities including fitness. During the next 2 years, I really let myself go and didn’t much care to get back into the swing of things. A major life changing event will do this to a person, and I was no exception. My wife became really concerned about my decline in fitness and began encouraging me to get back into it. I tried but absolutely could not get motivated. After much research and a hard look in the mirror, I was able to pull back the self discipline I once had. It was not easy, and it took a lot of planning and hard work. So, today, I want to share what helped me conquer my fitness demons. Hope these help you.

The reason I’m giving so much background of my personal fitness experience is to show that each of us will struggle in different ways with choosing fit. Lifetime fitness really isn’t a “one size fits all” approach. We all have different situations that initiate our interest of getting in shape, keeping us motivated and sustaining the lifestyle for the long term. However, I do believe there are some common practices we can all adopt to help us overcome obstacles at any of these stages and become an improved, healthier and fit person.

1. Initiate – This may be the easiest of the 3 stages because it only requires us to decide to get fit, but not actually do anything. That said, don’t underestimate the importance and key factors that should be use to initiate your fitness journey. The main things to remember here are these:

    • Do this for you! Be sure you’re not just giving in to pressure from others. You need to be willing to take this step and feel good its the right approach for you.
    • Start with the end in mind. Set goals and imagine what you want your body and health to reflect during the journey. Lose 25 pounds, Get ripped, lower cholesterol, feel better, keep up with the kids.
    • Choose the right program.– The right fitness program for you is very important and will vary depending on your fitness starting point. Choosing one too hard, or that doesn’t yield results fast enough will quickly discourage you and run the risk of bailing too quickly. Find the balance of enjoyable exercise that challenge you enough to hit early goals. Don’t discount the power of proven favorites like walking, jogging and biking to get started. These can help your body start getting into a routine that will be a base to adopt going forward. Just try to perform your exercise at the same time daily to get your internal clock know what to expect. As you establish a rhythm, and hit some milestones you’ve set, it may be time to try new programs or increase the difficulty of your current routines. For a list of some awesome routines, just leave a comment requesting it.
  • Accept that your eating habits MUST change. Like it or not, it is part of the game. By not embracing the fact that the workouts alone will not cut it, you’re bound to fail when results do not come. The good news is, the change in eating habits can actually be a very positive experience. You’ll feel great and have the energy to workout the right way. Completely removing everything you like about food is the WRONG way to approach this. You can still eat really good tasting and satisfying foods without sabotaging your hard work. There are even ways to sneak in your favorites and not feel guilty about it, so don’t worry about that. Just know that what and how you eat makes all the difference in the end.

2. Stay Motivated – Everyone is motivated out of the gate when starting a fitness program, but that quickly fades for many people when they realize the process is more difficult than they imagined. Make no mistake, getting fit is HARD, but the challenge is not unlike anything else worth having in life. You must commit and keep motivated using several tactics, of which I’ve tried many. Try these to help you stay on track.

    • Aim for some quick results. Everyone wants this, but it is key to see some quick results early on so that the momentum of starting the program does not dwindle. Losing a pound or two, dropping a pant size, completing a workout without stopping, whatever makes you feel good. Be realistic about this, but have something you shoot for so you can taste success and drive you to continue.
    • Read about being fit. This is truly a big motivator as it shows you success stories and gives a lot of ideas about achieving goals. So take the time to read a magazine or internet article about your favorite exercise, or healthy food. You’ll be surprised how engaged you may quickly become.
    • Get the sweat flowing. For me, a workout that doesn’t do this leaves me somewhat empty. Getting your heart rate up (and sweating) activates all of the key things that makes exercise so effective. It burns calories, strengthen the heart and cardio system, and releases endorphins in the brain that make you feel great. You’ll see!
    • Never settle – Set, Reset and Reset your PB (Personal Best). Constantly challenging your last record is an awesome way to stay in the game. Run that mile faster, go longer, extra reps, extra sets, higher jumps, deeper lunges, better form. The list can go on and on. You can be your best competition and there’s nothing like competition to motivate the heart and soul. So kick your own butt! You’ll enjoy it.
    • Do what you can! We all have limits and quite often use them as excuses that interfere with our fitness routines. Time, stress, aches, and tiredness all contribute to our justification to digress or completely stop a program. Don’t let that happen. If you find yourself giving in to one of these temptations, try to at least do something. Convince yourself you can at least do 1/2 or even 1/3 of a workout. (10 minutes? Don’t go as intense or fast. Give yourself a break, without actually giving yourself a break. You may be surprised by convincing yourself to at least get started, you’ll be more willing to push harder during the workout.
    • Don’t tempt yourself or give in to food junkies. Everyone I know encounters this during their fitness journey. It involves either being introduced to a food situation that makes it difficult to say no, or being encouraged by others to “cheat” even when they know how you feel about staying on track. By giving in to either, you will likely feel guilty afterwards, which oddly enough increases your chances to continue cheating. The negative feeling of guilt are powerful and can actually begin a vicious cycle of continuing the pattern, so don’t let this happen. The first of these is actually easier to deal with by simply planning around it, or modifying the portions of food you have available so they at least meet some of the standards of your diet. For the second, if you find yourself in this situation often, have a gameplan. Either be ready to defend your stance on cheating or plan to deal with it in another way. Maybe use it as your cheat meal, compensate for it on the next day or week, or modify the portions so you can at least control the damage.
  • Keep a support network. Family, friends, social networks, whatever. Have some person you can confide in about your struggles that can offer positive support. Works wonders in the beginning.

3. Sustain the Life Style. This part can seem a little easier once you achieve your goals, but the long term approach to fitness is actually one that must always be top of mind. While this stage is a practice of discipline, even an “iron will” can be bent when the lifestyle is too far from what a person enjoys. So how can you force yourself to embrace a long term lifestyle that doesn’t match who you are? Well, actually you can’t. I think people are amazing and capable of just about anything. But not allowing yourself to be YOU jeopardizes your character and simply said, is not right for anyone.

Because of this, let’s look at this challenge from a different approach. How do create a lifestyle that is both fit and matches your personality? The answer may be a little different for everyone, but for me, I can provide a few tips that helped. Consider these and possibly modify to suit your own needs.

    • Find your fit, in fitness! Put another way, find exercise and diet that allow you to be fulfilled. What activities do you enjoy, or for that matter, dislike? Running, walking, lifting, bike riding, Plyometrics, calisthenics, WiiFit, whatever. If nothing lights your fire, you will have a tough road hereJ However, if you’ve read this far into the post, I doubt there’s nothing for you.
    • Challenge yourself! Once you’ve found the exercise(s) you enjoy, don’t always settle for moderate workout. You need to push yourself for various reasons. It not only keeps your workouts interesting, it provides the edge required to make an impact on your fitness. The level of “intensity” differs from person to person, but you know when you’ve given your all. Don’t cheat yourself out of real benefits. I don’t think someone really taps into the true benefits of fitness until they crank up the volume of the workout. You’ll look better, feel better, and even be more confident and positive.
    • Learn how to eat clean, then do it 90% of the time. There are a ton of books on the topic of eating right, and they all have some validity. Find a good nutrition plan that works for your body, and learn the framework. Once you understand the basics of nutrition, portion control and the most harmful foods to avoid, the rest can be adapted to your eating habits. Now, eat this way 90% of the time. This gives you the break people need to keep their sanity. I eat approx 5 times a day, which means I have 35 meals per week. In my world, I allow 3 of those meals to stray from my normal eating. I don’t lock myself to a day, or time of day to do this. I choose the right meal to allow this based on “life”. Sometimes it’s a donut breakfast with my daughter or an awesome dinner with my wife. Maybe a good ole fashion home cooked meal from my mother in law. It doesn’t matter, just stay committed not to go beyond this limit and please don’t overdo it. The 90% rule is not a free for all at the dinner table. That could really wreck your progress! It is a way to give yourself the freedom you need to eat foods you really enjoy to make the system work for you.
  • Variety, Variety, Variety! Did I say that enough? If so, it’s because I believe without variety in your fitness it will inevitably become boring while not allowing enough areas of the body to get attention. If workouts become stale and mundane, you run the risk of disengaging in them and eventually quit. Who wants to do always do something that’s boring and hard..NOT! This doesn’t mean you have to always recreate your entire workout. Most often slight adjustment to your current routine will provide the mix needed to spice them up. If you run/bike, change the route, look at modifying the weights or reps on a lifting routine, even changing the intensity or order of the exercises can help liven things up. Whatever you decide to do to make them a little different helps and you’ll see how quickly it rekindles your interest in staying fit.

Hopefully these tips on “Choosing Fit” will help you Set, Hit and Maintain your fitness goals. They have done wonders for me in my life and I am constantly looking for new items to add in each section. Let me know your own ideas, and feel free to share with all your fit friends. Like I said, it’s a tough road but worth it and doable with a little bit of strategy. Hope this helps you on your journey.

How to Make It As a Fitness Model

People that follow my stuff know I generally write about nutrition, supplements, training, and other topics that are more science based than subjective topics, such as what is covered in this article. I decided to shuck my science geek persona, and write on a topic I know will be helpful to thousands of would be and want to be fitness models.

As well a known “hard core” science based no BS writer, why I am writing what some will perceive as a “fluff” article? Over the years I have gotten hundreds, perhaps thousands, of gals that ask me via email, letters, or in person “how do I become a fitness model Will? You have been in the business a long time, surly you of all people should know.” I get this from newbies and I get this from women that have been at it a while but have been unable to “break in” effectively.

The fact is, I have been in the fitness, health, and bodybuilding biz a long time, and though I am known as a science and nutrition based “guru” type, I have trained many a fitness athlete, and judged fitness and figure/bikini shows for the NPC, Fitness America, Fitness USA, and other federations as well as given marketing and business advice to all sorts of athletes, including fitness models. So, it’s not as far fetched as it might seem that I am going to use this space to cover a non scientific topic, which is, how one goes about being a fitness model.

This article will be useful to both experienced and novice types looking to “break in” to the biz. If you are already a professional and successful fitness model, I am sure you may still glean some useful information from this article.

First the bad news, there is no one way to become a successful fitness model. There is no single path or magic secret. There are however some key things a person can do to greatly improve their chances of “making it” in the fitness biz as a model, and perhaps using that success as a launching pad to greater things, such as movies, TV, etc.

Several of the top fitness models (Trish Stratus and Vicki Pratt come to mind but there are many others) have gone onto careers in entertainment of all kinds. Bottom line, though there is no magic secret to being successful as a fitness model, this article will be about as close to a blueprint for success as you will find.

“Do I need to compete?”

This is a question I get asked all the time and it’s not an easy one to answer. In fact, the answer is (drum roll) yes and no. The person has to deicide why they are competing in the first place to answer that question. For example, do you need to compete if your goal is to be a successful fitness model?

The answer is no. Many of today’s well-known fitness models have never competed, or they competed in a few small shows and it was clearly not part of their success as fitness models. However, competing does have its potential uses.

One of them is exposure. At the upper level shows, there will often be editors, publishers, photographers, supplement company owners, and other business people. So, competing can improve your exposure. Also, competing can make sense if you are trying to build a business that is related to your competing or will benefit from you winning a show.

For example, say you have a private training gym you are trying to build. Sure, having the title of say Ms Fitness America, or winning the NPC Nationals and being an IFBB pro, will help your reputation and the notoriety of your business. There are many scenarios were it would help to have won a show for a business or other endeavors.

On the other hand, it must be realized that winning a show does not in any way guarantee success in the business end (and it really is a business) of being a fitness model. The phone wont ring off the hook with big offers for contracts. Also, it’s very important to realize that it’s common that the 4th or 6th or 8th place finisher in a fitness or figure show will get more press than the winner. Why? Though the winner might have what it took to win that show, it’s often other gals the editor, publishers, supplement companies etc, feel is more marketable.

I have seen it many times where the winner was shocked to find she didn’t get nearly the attention she expected and other girls who placed lower have gotten attention in the form of photos shoots, magazine coverage, etc. Something to keep in mind when you ask yourself the important question “do I need to compete and if so, why am I competing?” Answer that question, and you will know the answer to the heading of this section. Winning a title of some sort can be a stepping stone, but it is not in itself any guarantee of success in the fitness industry. It’s like a college degree; it’s what you do with it.

Now. If you compete for the fun of it, then by all means go for it, but the above is focusing on competing as it relates to the business aspect of being a fitness model.

Right body, wrong federation?

Ok, so after reading the above you have decided you are going to compete, or will compete again. If you don’t plan to compete, you can skip this section. The biggest mistake I see here is so many gals have the right body for the wrong federation. Each federation has its own judging criteria and a competitor will do poorly simply because they didn’t bother to research which show would be best suited for them.

I will give you a perfect real world example of this. Recently I judged a show whose criteria for the figure round was the women should be more on the curvy softer side with some tone, vs. being more muscular and athletic with less bodyfat that other federations might allow. At this show one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen came out. She was very proportional, great muscle tone, lean, and athletically shaped with narrow hips and waist and wider shoulders. How did she do at this show? She didn’t even place in the top ten!

Why? Because she was not what we were instructed to look for and didn’t fit the criteria. After the show I informed her that she looked great, but this may not the federation for her. I told her she had much more of an NPC type body, where a little more muscle, athletic build, and less bodyfat is rewarded.

The following week I was judging an NPC fitness, figure, and bodybuilding show and there she was. How did she do? She won the entire show with all judges voting her number one unanimously.

Conversely, if your body type tends to be more rounded and toned, but with a little more bodyfat, wider (but not fat!) hips, you may be better off competing in say the Fitness America Pageants. If you are going to compete:

(1) find out exactly what the judging criteria is for that federation and

(2) go see those shows as a spectator for several different federations and see which one your physique, style, etc will fit into best.

(3) You have to decide if you truly have the athletic abilities to compete in a fitness competition (which requires a routine) or a figure/bikini competition.

I often see women who would do well in a figure show but really don’t have the athletic abilities do the routines required to be competitive with other athletes in the show. Some shows will allow you to do both competitions and some wont.

Networking 101: dos and don’ts…

In so many respects, this is the area that will make or break you in any business, and yet, people in the fitness industry do an amazingly poor job at it. If you don’t network and market yourself properly, you can pretty much forget about having any real success as a fitness model, or a success in virtually any business. For the sake of space, we will stick to fitness.

When I first started out, I was a self marketing machine. I could be found at every show I thought might be an opportunity, walking the isles of trade shows, bodybuilding, shows, fitness show, and others. I gave out a zillion cards and I took a million home with me, and followed up on each and every one. I went to as many industry related meetings, outings, parties, etc. as I could get into. I now have the reputation and experience in the industry that I don’t have to go to such a show unless I feel like it, or have meetings, but they were quite helpful in the beginning.

I am always amazed at the number of fitness models who contact me who have never even been to the Arnold Classic Fitness Weekend, or the Mr. Olympia, or the trade shows like the NNFA Expo West and others. If you want to make it in the fitness business you sure as hell had better treat it like a business.

I have seen many a pretty girl who wants to be a fitness model who thinks if they stand there looking pretty long enough, someone is going to offer to put their face on the cover of a magazine. News flash, there are millions of beautiful women out there and to be noticed, you have to hussle to get that business like everyone else by networking your butt off, or having a good agent (if you can afford such a thing) who is doing it for you.

Pick a few major industry shows to attend (some of which were mentioned above) and go to them every year. Have a plan of attack of exactly how you plan to market yourself and network. Many fitness models, bodybuilders, etc see a show as one big party. If that’s you, then have fun at the party, but don’t think you are really marketing yourself as a serous business person or athlete.

Another thing that always amazes me is the number of fitness models who either have no business cards, or have some cards they printed up on their bubble jet printer at home! They ask me to help them or what ever and I say “give me your card” and they look at me like “I am so pretty I should not need a card you fool.” This attitude turns off editors, photographers, writers, and industry people faster then if they found out you were really a transvestite. Don’t do it. For every pretty girl out there who thinks the world owes them a favor, there are 100 who are ready to act like professionals.

Ever wonder why some fitness model you know is doing better than you are even though you know you are prettier than her? That may be why…never ever go to a show to network without good cards, bios, and professionally done head and body shots you can give to said editors, publishers, photographers, industry types, etc. Don’t stand around looking pretty assuming they will find you, find them first and introduce yourself. And of course it should go without saying you should be in good condition and have something of a tan to look your best.

You want to go to the shows and party? Fine, but do it in private after the work is done and don’t make a fool out of yourself at some industry sponsored get together. Hell, I was virtually poured into a cab at last years Arnold Classic after going to a sushi place with some well know industry types and companies owners (you know who you are!) but at least no one saw me! We had our own little private get together after the show to let loose.

Let me give you one final real world example of how NOT to market yourself. Last year I was on retainer as a consultant to a mid sized supplement company. The owner of the company asked me if I knew a couple of fitness model types that could work his booth for a trade show. In fact, he requested “unknowns, some new faces people had not seen yet but had real potential to grow with the company.” I went and found him two such gals I thought fit the bill.

He offered to pay their flights, room, and food plus a thousand dollars each for the days work. The two girls were told to be at the booth 9am sharp. The night before at the hotel, I saw the two girls getting in a cab at 11pm or so dressed to kill, clearly on their way out to party. The next day they showed up at the booth an hour and a half late and hung over! What was the result of this? (1) it embarrassed me to no end as I had recommended them to the company owner (2) they would never get work from that company again (3) they would never get any work from me again and (4) they would not get a reference from either of us for other jobs.

I see this type of thing all the time in the fitness biz, and it’s not limited to fitness models. Amazingly, a few weeks after the show they emailed me and the company owner wanting to know when their next job would be! Amazing…

Who loves you baby?

If there is one universal truth, it’s that the camera either loves you or it does not. Any professional photographers will tell you this. For some unknown reason, some people are very photogenic and some are not. Truth be known, there are some well known fitness models (who shall remain nameless as they would probably smack me the next time they saw me) who are not all that attractive in person. It’s just that the camera loves them and they are very photogenic, but not terribly pretty in person.

Conversely, I have seen the reverse many times; a girl who is much better looking in person than in photographs. Such is the fate of the person who wants to be a model of any kind, including a fitness model. If you find you are not very photogenic, keep working with different photographers until you find one that really captures you well and pay that photographer handsomely!

Understanding the Definition of Health Related Fitness

Being a Health and Fitness Professional, it is my job to understand terms and definitions which are commonplace to this industry, as well to keep abreast of evolving trends. Through my experience, I have found that a number of terms deserve a little more clarification than that which they are granted.

Aside from clarifying the definition of Health Related Fitness, this article intends to shed some light on a few of the associated terms, and to show their respective distinctions.

Is it simply all in a name?

The fitness world seems to use the concept Health Related Fitness like a generic fitness principle – interchangeable with others like “Physical Fitness”, “Health and Fitness” or simply “Fitness.”

While all of these terms can be included under the broad term Health and Physical Fitness, they individually refer to different aspects – both generic and specific. Unfortunately, references to these and other fitness-related terms are often vague, while consistency in their intended use is meager at best; there is a kind of “generally accepted” use for them, but individuals often rely on own interpretation, and this can lead to confusion.

With that said, does Health Related Fitness simply infer fitness by means of good health? Not quite. That is why we need to understand a little more behind these words before digesting the definition.

How did the term Health Related Physical Fitness come about?

That is a good question. One could probably ask what is this concept all about – can we not simply use the terms “Fitness” or “Physical Fitness” instead?” Why Health “Related”?

The main reason stems from the fact that most health and fitness terms are used inconsistently and often refer to different concepts or notions. Subsequent to the 1996 report from the US Surgeon General (Physical Activity and Health; a report of the Surgeon General), there was a move to try and address the alarming rise in obesity levels among the general American public. Studies and initiatives required standardization among clinicians, health practitioners and fitness trainers to grapple with the task at hand. Enter “Health Related Physical Fitness”, a working term to address the general state of health among the public.

The definition of Health Related Fitness

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the main authority in this field, ineffective definitions with unclear and subjective wordings, as well as definitions containing terms which themselves require defining, have contributed to confusing the term “Physical Fitness.”

There exists no reliable guide for Health and Fitness Professionals to measure “Physical Fitness”, because the term has been so loosely and inconsistently defined. It is therefore that one should consider the concept of Health Related Fitness. The definition therefore centers on the 5 Components of Physical Fitness which relate to “good health.” These Components are:

  • Cardiorespiratory Fitness
  • Body Composition
  • Flexibility
  • Muscular Strength
  • Muscular Endurance

On the other hand, Skill Related Fitness Components are:

  • Balance
  • Reaction Time
  • Coordination
  • Agility
  • Speed
  • Power

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the definition of Physical Fitness emphasizes the difference between Health Related Physical Fitness and Athletic Ability Physical Fitness. Its point-of-departure is the “health” of the US nation, which is often referred to as the “public health perspective.” In that respect, the 5 Health Related Fitness Components are more important than those related to Athletic Ability (or Skill Related Components).

Although the concept of Health Related Fitness has an integral association with “good health”, the 5 Components are addressed individually by health professionals to allow for their measurement.

Now that we have a deeper understanding of the term, what purpose does it serve?

Continuing from where the definition left off, the objective of measuring the 5 Components is to advise clients about their own particular Health Related Fitness, and to use data obtained from the tests to design appropriate exercise programs which can then be evaluated.

The 5 Components contribute evenly to make up a holistic Health Related Fitness, which is of direct interest to the health of the ordinary citizen, in that the concept is normative. In other words, it is a standard which allows for consistent application.

It is therefore important for those working in the health and fitness industry not to mistake “overall physical fitness” with “Health Related Physical fitness.”

To conclude, let us consider this distinction between Physical Fitness and Health Related Fitness

One needs to bear in mind that regular physical exercise can improve overall Physical Fitness, as well as Health Related Fitness. However, overall fitness is a generic term and is up to subjective interpretation, while Health Related Fitness can be assessed.

The distinction therefore, between these two terms, exists in that Health Related Physical Fitness can be measured according to a set of established comparative norms.

This is where the “rubber hits the road.” The guidelines set out by the ACSM enable health professionals to work with clients to assess and measure their response to exercise and prescribe appropriate exercise programs. A client’s progress can then be monitored and adjusted where necessary in order to obtain the desired fitness goals.

Cleto Tirabassi is a certified Fitness Trainer with the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA).

His work centers on the “sensible approach” to Health Related Fitness, which entails the use of practical, flexible and sustainable methods to achieve optimal levels of health and physical fitness.

His clientele belongs mostly to the group he calls “average everyday people”, who in short want to be in excellent shape, yet still lead a conventional life.

Based in Rome, Italy – he is dedicated to guiding the individuals he works with to realize their health and fitness goals. He also understands that the health and fitness industry is constantly evolving and therefore maintains a close watch on trends in his field of expertise.