On a typical day, I can roll out of bed and 10 minutes later be standing at my favorite spot in my gym’s group exercise fitness studio (in the front corner where I not only benefit from the most “personal space” but can make sure my form is on point because of forward and front facing mirrors). Come this time of year, however, I consistently have to set my alarm 20 minutes earlier to beat the crowd. Needless to say, most people's New Years/post-Thanksgiving resolutions revolve around getting in better shape. To that end, anyone with such a resolution might want to consider taking an Equinox Equifit test, which is administered free of charge at any one of the gym’s U.S. locations (and many other gyms, including The Sports Club LA, have similiar tests).
The “test” is a fantastic starting point to a new routine, especially if you’re hoping to gauge your progress over time – and no worries if you’re completely out of shape because it doesn’t involve much movement. The one-hour long session starts off with a chat with one of the gym’s trainers. You go over your current fitness routine, eating habits, and fitness goals for the future and then, the trainer you’re paired with, runs you through a handful of tests to help you design a six-week goal oriented program.
The measurements taken include heart rate, blood pressure, lean muscle-mass ratio, VO2 max (a sign of cardio endurance, this test measures how well your muscles take in oxygen and how quickly they recover from physical activity), and a functional movement and flexibility screening to test for tightness and imbalances in your body.
I did my Equifit test with a former competitive gymnast, Chelsea Clarke, and she had some wonderful insight into which areas need the most strengthening and flexibility improvement. Overall, I knew my weakness and strengths, but it’s always useful to get professional feedback. The measurements and tests administered are relatively basic and while some, like the VO2 max test, aren’t necessarily useful unless you’re already in tip-top shape and looking to take your workout to the next level, basic strength and flexibitlity tests are critical to pinpoint what areas need the most attention, while the lean muscle-mass ratio measurment serves as a great base against which to measure your progress over time.
The best part? The Equifit comes with a complimentary training session to give your new routine a kickstart. And if all else fails, the best advice I ever got was to skip the elevator and take the stairs.