Monthly Archives: October 2017

5 Components of Physical Fitness

While the definition of physical fitness can be a little complex or unclear and the definition of physical fitness can vary, most government health agencies and exercise scientists agree that there are 5 components of physical fitness related to health. These components provide a fairly accurate representation of how fit and healthy the body is as a whole (total or overall fitness). The 5 components are cardiovascular fitness (also referred to as cardio-respiratory endurance or cardiovascular endurance), muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition.

Let’s take a closer look at these components individually.

1.) Cardiovascular fitness (or cardio-respiratory endurance or cardiovascular endurance)

Of the 5 components, cardiovascular fitness is the cornerstone that creates the pathway to improving your other fitness levels.

Cardiovascular fitness is the efficiency with which the body (the heart and lungs) delivers oxygen and nutrients to the required working muscles and transports waste products from the cells over a sustained period of time. Or to put it another way, it’s the ability of your heart and lungs to work together to provide the necessary oxygen and fuel to your body without quickly reaching a high level of fatigue and tiredness.

In our daily lives, we need cardiovascular fitness to handle the physical tasks and all of the “running around” we do.

A common test of cardiovascular fitness usually involves some type of sustained running. But typical examples of physical activities that relate to cardiovascular fitness are jogging, swimming, cycling, brisk or speed walking and any type of aerobic exercises. Aerobic exercise is the best way to improve cardiovascular fitness.

2.) Muscular strength

Muscular strength is the maximum amount of force (weight or heavy resistance) a muscle or muscle group can generate in a single effort to the point that no more repetitions can be done without rest. Muscular strength is quite the opposite of cardiovascular fitness in regards to the fact that cardiovascular fitness is measured over a certain period of time. While on the other hand, muscular strength is measured in one repetition.

In our daily lives, we need modest levels of strength to be able to perform everyday physical tasks like lifting, moving, carrying, etc.

A common test to measure upper body strength is some type of weightlifting exercise, such as the bench press. Anaerobic weightlifting exercises like the bench press, leg press, shoulder press, or bicep curls are examples of the best ways to improve muscular strength.

3.) Muscular endurance

Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to perform repeated movements (or to hold a particular position) with less than maximum force for an extended period of time or until muscular fatigue. Or, to put it simplistically, it’s how long your muscles can do something before getting too exhausted to finish.

Be careful not to confuse muscular endurance with muscular strength. While they can work together, they are definitely not the same. For many athletes, there may be a need to distinguish between muscular strength and muscular endurance. But for everyday people who want to easily perform their daily routines, are trying to stay healthy and fit, and just want to enjoy physical activities like hiking, biking, or just playing in the park with their children, muscular endurance plays a major role in fitness.

Common testing for muscular endurance can be dynamic (the ability to repeat contractions) or static (the ability to sustain a contraction). Dynamic tests would be to see how many push-ups or sit-ups, for example, a person can complete in a designated amount of time (e.g. 30 seconds, a minute, or maybe longer). Or, without being timed, the person could do as many repetitions of the exercise as they could until they couldn’t do anymore. An example of a static test would be the flexed-arm hang whereby the performer hangs on a bar until the designated stopping time or until they become too weak to continue hanging.

Muscular endurance can be improved by both aerobic and anaerobic exercises. Some examples would be biking, step machines and elliptical machines.

4.) Flexibility

Flexibility is the ability to move the joints or any group of joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons through their full, normal range of motion without hindrance, discomfort, or pain.

Flexibility is actually more important to physical fitness than people realize. Not only does flexibility play a big role in performing many daily tasks, but maintaining or even increasing your flexibility is critical to protecting your joints and keeping them healthy. In addition, being flexible contributes to improving your lower back health, reducing the appearance and effects of arthritis, and reducing muscle-tendon injuries.

Not everyone has the same flexibility or flexibility requirements. Your flexibility tells you how limber you are. And, when it comes to testing your flexibility fitness level, the sit-and-reach test is most often used.

Stretching is the best way to improve flexibility. And, most fitness experts recommend a daily routine of static stretches for each joint.

5.) Body composition

Body composition is the percentage of fat in your body compared to your lean body mass (muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, organs, etc.).

Body composition is a better indicator of your overall fitness condition than body weight. So understand that your total body weight or what you see on your bathroom scale does not tell you how much fat or lean body mass (muscle) you have.

Body composition is useful in helping to determine health risks. Therefore, knowing your body composition and how it relates to your overall fitness level is essential. An optimal ratio of fat mass to lean mass is a clear indicator of good fitness.

Your body composition is a consequence of the extent that you perform the other components of physical fitness. In other words, when you improve the other four components, it will have a positive impact on body composition resulting in less body fat. Alternatively, when you have a high body fat content ratio, you are considered overweight or possibly obese. And, it negatively affects the other fitness components as well as your daily performance, your appearance, and your overall health.

There are several methods that can be used to calculate body composition. The best method is underwater weighing. But due to the expense, this isn’t practical for the everyday person. Incidentally, if you can go to a university or some other place that is set up to do it, it would be well worth your time to check it out. Therefore, the most common method of determining your body composition is skinfold readings – using skinfold calipers and taking measurements from certain areas of your body.

A regular program involving aerobic exercise and strength training can help you decrease your body fat and increase your muscle mass; and thereby, significantly improving your body composition and general overall health and fitness.

In conclusion, you now know that being fit is not just about being able to bench press a lot of weight, but you also need to know how well you can handle running a mile, for example, and a few other things. The key is that by understanding the 5 components of physical fitness, you’ll be better able to assess your fitness level and determine what specific health and fitness goals you’d like to achieve.

Fitness Training Programs

Physical fitness is the state of the human body when it is in perfect health. Being fit is very important to stay alert both physically and mentally and also to ward off certain diseases that attack as the body ages. Fitness programs are schedules that allow a person to incorporate exercise into their daily routine. There may be many reasons for taking up a fitness program: to gain strength, to lose weight, to lose body fat, to fight certain disabilities, or just to become more fit.

Fitness training is for making the body stronger and fitter. There are many kinds of fitness training programs: cardiovascular training, strength training, flexibility training, nutrition, and weight management. All these can be incorporated into a single fitness program for having a healthy body weight, improved level of strength, improved co-ordination and a resilient body. Each of these depends on the kind of body we have and it’s potential. There is no ideal fitness training program. They are normally custom designed as per individual requirements and capabilities.

Fitness training increases metabolism, strength, flexibility and muscle tone, as well as decreasing stress levels in the body. There are also sports-specific fitness training programs like soccer fitness training, football fitness training, swimming fitness training, golf fitness training and so on. There are also fitness training programs for kids.

A fitness trainer should be able to design the right kind of fitness program. It should cover all relevant aspects like: strength, flexibility, aerobic and anaerobic endurance, agility, and speed. These days, there are many professional fitness training centers that have sophisticated equipment to suit all kinds of people and their fitness needs. These centers have professional and medical specialists who would be able to offer advice about the best kind of fitness program. They provide customized workout routines, nutrition plans, personal trainers, and expert guidance to make the results last.

Fitness Franchise

If you are looking for a franchise opportunity that will offer you a good earning potential, you may want to consider purchasing a fitness franchise. The current health obsessed climate makes a fitness franchise a good way to create a money-making business while helping people look and feel their best. There are a number of fitness franchise opportunities out there, and finding the right one can be a satisfying venture for your entrepreneurial spirit.

One type of fitness franchise is to open a fitness center. There are a number of types of fitness centers available for your fitness franchise purchase. You can even get specific with your fitness center. There are fitness franchise opportunities that are fitness centers exclusively for men or women or even ones that cater more to the serious fitness guru. Some fitness centers offer only specific types of fitness like jazzercise.

Another type of fitness franchise available is the weight loss center. Some weight loss centers function as both fitness centers and weight loss clinics. You will be able to use your fitness franchise to help people not only tone and exercise, but you will also be getting them on a better nutritional plan.

The third type of fitness franchise involves being a seller of fitness equipment. This type of fitness franchise opportunity can be done through a retail setting or even online. There are a lot of fitness franchise opportunities where you can sell specific types of fitness equipment to used fitness equipment. There is a great demand for people to have access to fitness equipment at home, so finding a fitness franchise to sell equipment can be very lucrative.

No matter what fitness franchise you choose, you still need to follow some basics of choosing and purchasing a fitness franchise. Remember that you will be responsible for all the aspects of your fitness franchise from sales, marketing, and human resources to customer service, operations, legal compliance, and accounting. The good thing is that most fitness franchise opportunities will at least offer you some basic guidelines for operations.

Be prepared to fill out an application for your fitness franchise which will involve a credit and often a background check. If you pass the fitness franchise guidelines, you will probably receive the fitness franchise’s Uniform Franchise Offering Circular, or UFOC, which you should read over carefully. The UFOC will include important information like the franchise history, key principles, financial statements, litigations, franchise openings and closings, contacts, agreements, requirements, and more.

Also, be aware that the success of your fitness franchise will be based upon a number of factors such as your territory, site location, and your commitment. Even though much of your success depends on you, it is nice to know that your fitness franchise has the support of the franchisor, so you have somewhere to turn for assistance.

9 Pioneers of Fitness

In composing any list of important people in almost any field, everybody will have his or her own favorites. Also, in weight lifting, body building, physical fitness, aerobics, just to name a few areas, there are so many people who have contributed so much that it is difficult to pare the list down adequately. I have attempted, however, to include people who have repeatedly come to my attention since my first contact with weight training at age 16 in 1961. I have tried to put the emphasis on people who I felt were somewhat pivotal in the areas of weight lifting, body building, aerobics or general physical fitness. I am sure that many readers will have their own favorites.

Eugen Sandow The Non Pareil (1867 – 1925) Born in Germany, Eugen Sandow has often been called “Father of Modern Bodybuilding”. Like Charles Atlas, as a youth, Sandow was a great admirer of Greek and Roman statues depicting athletes and gladiators. Sandow is considered to be a pioneer in bodybuilding because he measured statues to determine exact proportions and then worked to develop his own body parts to match them. In his late teens, while performing in strongman shows, he was spotted and taken on by legendary showman Florenz Ziegfeld. His big splash in America was at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. His intelligence, natural charm, and cultured appearance combined with his astounding physique and strength made him a star. Women actually paid him money for the privilege of feeling his muscles. For the men, he wrote widely on health, fitness, and bodybuilding. He, like Bernarr Macfadden and Charles Atlas offered a mail order course teaching his students how to achieve health and fitness. He eventually opened a progressive fitness club in London which stood in stark contrast to the dank, dark, and sweaty gyms of the day. Through his personality and innovation, he made exercise and physical fitness popular for a broader audience than had previously been reached.

Bernarr Macfadden (1868 – 1955) Born Bernard Adolphus McFadden in the state of Missouri, Bernarr Macfadden changed his first and last names because he felt that the new names had a greater appearance of strength. This was not the only strange activity of the man who advocated regular fasting, and some very esoteric health practices for the day and whose wife called him a kook. He combined his own personal views of fitness training and health practices into an entity he referred to as “Physical Culture” which became the title of his first magazine. He eventually became a bit of a publishing mogul, but was usually considered to be skirting the edges of reality in his obsessive approach to physical fitness. However, he inspired young men like Charles Atlas and brought the idea of health and fitness as a way of life to a broader portion of the public.

Charles Atlas (1892 – 1972) was born Angelo Siciliano in 1892 in Acri, Calabria, Southern Italy. In 1905, his parents emigrated to America with young Angelo. A few years later, he had changed his first name to “Charles” when he won a photo competition in a magazine run by the creator of “Physical Culture”, Bernarr Macfadden. Young Charles was inspired to improve his physique.by Greek statues he saw at the Brookly Art Gallery. His first attempts at fitness was with improvised barbells made of sticks and stones. His observation of animals in the zoo, however, led him to base a series of fitness actions on their apparent means of maintaining their fitness in captivity. He called his discovery Dynamic Tension and went on to market his program to thousands of boys and men. On the path to becoming “Charles Atlas”, he posed for statues of Atlas. Some of which were exhibited in the museum where he found his initial inspiration. At the time of his death, he was still exercising daily and running every other day. His course on Dynamic Tension had been the inspiration for over three million men and boys.

Bob Hoffman (1898 – 1985) Bob Hoffman is considered by many to be “Father of World Weightlifting” and was the founder of York Barbell. He was an athlete, nutritionist, weightlifter, coach and philanthropist. Although an exceptional athlete as a young boy, the mature Bob Hoffman was never a great weightlifter or coach. However, his vision, sense of purpose, and personal belief in the value of weightlifting led him to create York Barbell, a company which was long recognized as the leader in the manufacture of weightlifting equipment and which is still in existence today. while many felt his writings and opinions were “over the top”, his personal bravery and willingness to face adversity was shown not only in his later life as he espoused and defended his positions, but also during World War I where he was awarded three Croix de Guerres with two palms and a silver star from France, The Belgian Order of Leopold by Belgium, the Italian War Cross by Italy, and the Purple Heart by America.

Jack LaLanne (1914 – present) Francois Henri LaLanne, better known to the American public as Jack and considered the “godfather of fitness”, had a widely viewed TV show in the 1950’s. Interestingly, his show was probably seen and followed by more women than men, and he may have been instrumental in promoting the idea that women could “get fit”. Unlike many of the earlier proponents of fitness, Jack LaLanne studied his field very carefully and introduced what he felt his studies told him was the proper way to do things. He is still active in fitness today, marketing a wide line of fitness and nutritional products.

Joe Weider (1922 – present) Joe Weider is probably one of the most easily recognized figures in the field of bodybuilding today. He has been credited with not only being a driving force in the fields of body building and fitness, but has helped the careers of innumerable bodybuilders, not the least of which was a young Austrian named Arnold Schwarzenegger. He began his own fitness career by building his first barbells out of junked car wheels and axles. At age 17, with a stake of $7, he began his publishing career by rolling out the first issue of “Your Physique” in 1939. In 1968, he changed the name of the magazine to Muscle Builder, and in 1982 changed it again, this time to “Muscle & Fitness”. Together with his brother and partner, Ben Weider, Joe Weider founded the International Federation of Body Builders (IFBB). His publications now include such diverse offerings as “Shape”, “Men’s Fitness”, “Living Fit”, “Prime Health and Fitness”, “Fit Pregnancy”, “Cooks”, “Senior Golfer”, and “Flex”. Weider now offers a broad range of books on fitness and bodybuilding, nutritional supplements, and bodybuilding and weight lifting equipment and accessories.

Kenneth Cooper (1931 – present) A doctor (MD) and former Air Force officer, Dr. Ken Cooper is probably most widely known for his book, “Aerobics” which was published in 1968 and which was a driving force in getting me interested in fitness. Dr. Cooper’s down-to-earth description of what he called the “Training Effect” as well as a formatted process by which one could achieve health and fitness coupled with vivid descriptions of what the personal effects would be for someone pursuing a fitness program, made his book a success. In fact, some have speculated that Kenneth Cooper’s simple little book, “Aerobics”, may have been the impetus which put physical fitness into the minds and hearts of millions around the world. Today, Dr. Cooper is the head of the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas.

Richard Simmons (1948 – present) Flamboyant is one word commonly used to describe the bouncy, incessantly cheerful aerobics guru, Richard Simmons. It has been estimated that Richard Simmons has helped and encouraged people around the world to lose over 3,000,000 pounds through a combination of healthy eating and energetic exercise. Simmons has produced several programs, such as “Disco Sweat”, “Sweatin’ to the Oldies”, and “Stretchin’ to the Classics” that all include his humor and signature high level of excitement. He has created instructional products and programs that range from gentle stretching for the elderly to highly intense aerobic workouts. My wife, who hates exercise, loves Richard Simmons and actually got to where she could follow some very intense routines although she had to begin by sitting on the couch and just making the hand movements.

Jane Fonda (1937 – present) Many would not recognize the famous star of such films as “Barbarella” and “Coming Home”, and daughter of actor Henry Fonda, as a fitness pioneer or guru. For many years she was better known as an actress with a sexy body, a big name, and intense political views. However, beginning in 1982 and continuing into the mid 90’s, Ms. Fonda released several fitness videos which became very popular, particularly with women. In fact, today, many people who know of Jane Fonda know her more as a proponent of fitness, health, exercise, yoga, and aerobics than as a famous movie star. While Jane Fonda made no immediate contributions to the science of health and fitness, she, like Richard Simmons, was able to elevate its stature among a large female audience and helped make it fashionable to work out, sweat, be fit, AND feminine. Jane Fonda may have helped move the public awareness of the value and virtues of exercise and fitness to the point where many people now consider a physically fit woman to be a sexy woman just by virtue of her fitness.

Well, there you have it. Nine people who in some way positively affected, altered, or enhanced the fields of body building, weight lifting, aerobics, or physical fitness in general.