Get your butt in shape or head for Sarasota

As I stated in a previous post, I joined the Alaska Club. Not to hang out in the sauna or kick back in the steam room but rather get into the best shape I can for next mushing season.

Yes, I know, the season just ended a couple weeks ago but at my age (40) if you start to procrastinate I will be eating the Early Bird Special in Sarasota before I know it.

Part of the enrollment process is that you go through a fitness evaluation. They tell you that it is included in your membership and they promise to give you the 20 bucks when they swipe from your credit card the day you sign your life away.

Not so fast… as soon as I was done with the eval I expected the “personal trainer”, Nicole, to hand over a Jackson but she didn’t. Instead they gave me one of those “gift cards” that you can only use at their club.

How clever is that? They expect, no demand, you use it there and buy a T-shirt or a massage or something. Of course every thing costs more than the card.

Did I mention that the card was only for 15 bucks? Oh, well I guess I gave Nicole a tip. No reason to complain. Abe wasn’t even in the room.

So, what is the point of the post?

The fitness evaluation of course.

As many of you know. I am just slightly competitive. So much so, if one of my twitter friends has 2,000 followers I will not sleep until I get mine too. Or, if a guy orders a beer for himself I will have to drink another too. I was brought up that way. I guess you can blame my dad.

So here it goes:

On enrollment they give you this huge packet of questions you must answer about yourself. Things like your eating habits (terrible), how to do feel about how you look (I’m married and not bald, does that count?) and a whole bunch of those; always, sometimes, never, questions. They tell you to take your time and answer thoroughly. I did. I spent 10 minutes on it in my truck in the parking lot before my appointment.

I knew going in that my biggest goal was to lose 20 pounds. That’s all I really care about.  You see on a dog team, the dogs are expected to pull a sled full of gear and your fat butt down the trail in minus 20 degrees for hundreds of miles. No wonder a 100 pound woman or a guy built like a Kentucky Derby jockey has the upper hand here.

So here are the numbers and the my notes in red

Height: 5’ 10.00”

Weight 203.3


Right arm: 76 cm

Chest: 113 cm

Abdomen: 104 cm

Right thigh: 75 cm

Right calf: 48 cm

Lean Body Mass

Lean Body Mass: 177.26 pounds (which is 75% of my weight not bad)

Percentage of lean body mass 74.8%

Lean body mass to fat ratio 4.3 to 1

Total body water: 48.1 liters

According to the chart; Fat Free Mass is composed of muscles, body fluids, connective tissue and bones. The optimal Lean to Fat ratio me is at least 5.1 to 1.

Body Fat

Weight of Body Fat 26.04 lbs

Percentage of Body Fat 19.2%

Again according to the chart; the desired range of Body Fat for me is 8-15% (or 15-21 pounds). I have some work to do! 

The the computer spit out something amazing! It said that my goal is 195 pounds (15% Fat)

Not too bad at all. That is what my original goal was anyway, right?

So how do I fix all of this?

Quit drinking soda! It is my biggest and only vice. I rarely drink. I have never smoked and I have never tried illegal drugs. I know boring right?

So now lets get down to the good stuff.

Fitness Analysis

Overall Fitness Score is rated as Average. This sucks to me. Remember how I said I was slightly competitive? Well, the test is based on my overall fitness for a 40 year old male. The test is based on a variety of standards published by organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine, YMCA Fitness Standards and some test in Canada.  It includes the following:

Body Composition Analysis


Cardiovascular Testing



Body Composition Profile

My score is 18.2% which is again a little below average but at least not POOR. It is correlated to my current nutrition and exercise habits.

Abdominal Endurance (Crunches)

Nicole had me lay down and do as many crunches (sit ups) as I could possibly do in 60 seconds. I tried my hardest and I thought it was going to kill me. Of course I didn’t know what any of these numbers meant until the computer worked its magic and spit out the report.

I did 40 in a minute. That is rated as EXCELLENT. That’s right, who’s your daddy! Wait a minute… I will feel that in the morning I am sure.

Flexibility Test

Here you sit on your butt and put your legs straight out and your feet on this little box. Nicole then put a needle on the box and told me to reach for it and do it three times. Kinda like touching your toes, but further.

My score: 19. Again and EXCELLENT! 

Grip Strength

This is where things went downhill fast. You hold onto this thing called a Dynometer and measures grip strength. Grip strength has been correlated with overall strength and is an excellent indicator of upper body strength. In addition to overall strength, the relationship between my right and left is important. Over development of the dominate side of your body can lead to upper back alignment problems

Right side score 41. Poor.

Left side score 45. Average.

While I am not one to make excuses and I never blamed the dog for eating my homework when I was a kid, I did have wrist surgery on my right arm about 3 1/2 years ago due to an injury from a huge German Shepherd. I will also say that $18,000 dollar surgery was the worst thing I have ever done in my life. The doc was supposed to be the best hand surgeon in Denver. I beg to differ.

Push Up Test

My score: 40 per minute. EXCELLENT.

It was performed the same way as the crunch test. I thought I was going to die. I hadn’t done 40 push ups in a minute since high school hockey!

If you don’t know already, the push up test is a standard measurement of the muscles in your chest and arms.

Step Test

Here is where I will blame the tester herself. This test is done with those steps you might see on a Richard Simmons video (sans the leg warmers here!) and a tick tock thingy that you might use when learning piano when you were a kid. Nicole set it pretty slow and I was to use it to pace myself up and down the steps for three minutes. Afterwards I had my pulse taken.

tick- one foot up

tock-other foot up

tick-one foot down

tock-other foot down…

My score was 101 beats per minute (pulse rate after the exercise). Which was listed just into the POOR category. I know I could go much faster. But I am the Guinea Pig here and not the tester.

The step test is used to measure your cardiovascular endurance. The test is a good indicator of your aerobic endurance and a stair stepper, treadmill or even a daly jog will improve my score.

So when all said and done I am AVERAGE. Well at least I am not some flubbering bag of jello that sits on the couch all day with a bag of Oreos.

I know I have some work to do but I was pretty surprised and even a bit encouraged by the results. I had no idea I could do that many sit-ups and push-ups and I was surprised that my goal of 20 pounds is right in line with the computer’s.

So over the next few months I will be in the gym three days a week sweatin’ to the heavy metal. Come on down and we can work out together. As they say; there is nothing wrong with a bit of competition!

Hey wait a minute– there is a weekend long marathon on TV-Land of Doogie Howser, MD on. Where are the Bon Bon’s!