A balance of Mind-Body-Spirit

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the APFRI

A month ago I had an opporunity to participate in an Executive Wellness Assessment by the Army Physical Fitness Research Institute (APFRI) which has been offered to the students and spouses at Bill's school.  Bill is a Major and the soldiers at this school are all in their mid-30s, and already APFRI has found plenty of people who need to improve their overall health and fitness.  The amazing thing to me is that soldiers must pass weight and physical fitness tests to retain their jobs.  If these are the fittest Americans, what must everyone else be like?  (You can tell I don't get out much.)

The preservation of the Soldier's health should be the commander's first and greatest care.
--George Washington

APFRI's slogan is printed on the front of the packet I received after my 3 hour assessment which included an Army body-fat tape test, a bod pod trip, a treadmill test, a flexibility test, a weight lifting test for leg and arm strength, nutritional analysis, and blood work.  Inside were all sorts of helpful sheets on how to improve in the areas I needed to work on, namely upper body strength, body fat, weight, and aerobic fitness.  A staff member talked me through my results in a judgement neutral way.  What I loved about the whole thing was that it felt really thorough and somebody took the time to show you how you did on each result.  They didn't just summarize like the doctor does; they explained the reasons for and the ranges of results for each of the tests and showed me where I fell in a green/yellow/red spectrum.  And for the areas where I'm not in the green, they set up consultations for me with a personal trainer or a nutritionist.  Now I just have to do  what they say. 

Here are some of my results:
blood pressure--green range
Glucose, triglycerides, cholesterol--green, and with the risk factors I have, I could take up smoking and still be risk free (Bill argues that is my own interpretation of the results)
Army body-fat tape test--green
BUT:  Bod Pod body fat test puts me in the red with 31.60% body fat.  I should be below 23.9% 
Weight: yellow at 138.61 lbs
Upper body strength: yellow
Nutritional Analysis:  I eat my entire caloric allowance in starches/grains every day, and I still eat from all the other food groups!

So why share all this? A little to have it recorded in a place I can come back to, but also because I thought it was a great idea to have a benchmark, a real snapshot of my health and wellness at 36.  I would love to have something to compare this to from when I was 25 and 35 pounds overweight and just starting this whole healthy lifestyle journey.  And I think that most of it would be replicable without APRFI.  A trip to the doctor with an appointement to discuss results, a tape measure, a heart monitor, a scale, and a few minutes assessing my eating and workout habits would cover 90% of what APFRI did.   Have you ever done something like this?


Rachel May said...

Forgot to mention, that picture is NOT of me. Think 31% body fat. A little more "putty potato" as we say around here.

Leonie said...

Rachel, I think you were very brave..I tend to want weight related info in little spurts..too much makes me feel overwhelmed and thus is de-motivating!

Cindy said...

Thanks for sharing Rachel.
I have not done this but was looking for a place to do so a while back.

I think it is great to become more aware about our fitness levels and get us some benchmarks.... :)

Niamh said...

Rachel, I would love (when you have time, which I'm sure you don't!) to hear what changes you made at age 25, to go from normal-variety-couch-potato to super-healthy-exerciser! :-) Since I knew you way-back-when, I find your story to be particularly motivating! :-) What happened? Why? What were the first changes you made? Easiest? Hardest? Biggest revelations? Did you have the "a-ha" moment? I promise I'm not trying to give you a homework assignment (err..yes I am) but only if you are interested in posting! :-) Loves, N.

A balance of Mind-Body-Spirit

Thought for the Day

"Good friends are good for your health."

~Irwin Sarason

"Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy! And happy people just don't shoot their husbands!"

Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde