Find Out How You Stack Up:
Back in his awesome List-Show video for Mental Floss, John Green knocked out 25 facts on fitness.
Well one of the points he forgot to talk about was BMI.
He also missed out on body-fat & lean mass composition.
But he Did bring up another measure that is very helpful.
And it’s one that’s even better than BMI…
The Lowest Common Denominator, Easy But Flawed:
So most places that measure people for physical stuff like the doctor’s office will take a few vital stats and that’s it.
And the main calc they come up with from those stats is of-course, BMI.
Even though it’s a fun number that’s easy to calculate and compare, it turns out to be less than completely useful.
-Particularly for Outlier-cases. And I don’t mean a surplus of bodybuilders.
The Dangerous Distribution Of Fat:
It’s the kind of folks who manage to have a somewhat normal number, but have much bigger problems like excess fat in the wrong places and large waists.
So even though strange operations like discounted company health insurance actually use BMI,
The Real Gem John dropped in his video was for an Internet Calculator project launched by the University of Science & Technology in Norway.
The Future Of Big Data+AI, Starting With Fitness:
They call it The World Fitness Level.
And (just like BMI) it uses several figures about you that you put into their widget to come up with a total score.
But this one uses many numbers of Awesomeness.
And then it Compares them to a huge database of reference-information from people all over the world.
With this kind of Big Data, the rankings it can contain are probably much more valuable than stale statistics that are potentially decades old.
Big Networks, Bigger Data, Better Algorithms, Better Indicators:
And with a bit of even junior-woodchuck AI, any algorithms they write or update can tease out increasingly-relevant and interesting correlations & indicators within it.
For Example: The Fitness Fact from the John Green video about a study that concluded if you’re a college-graduate, you’re 300% more likely to exercise regularly.
And on that note, here’s the Data the NTNU checks:
4) Education Level
9) Estimated Maximum Heart Rate
10) Frequency of Exercise
11) Duration of Exercise
12) Intensity of Exercise
13) Waist Measurement
14) Resting Pulse Rate
Then at the end, they’ll give you a Numerical Estimate of what your Maximum Oxygen Usage, or V02Max is.
Get Your VO2 Max, Compare It To Worldwide-Averaged Age-Groups:
They then compare that to both the average of people your age and then show you where your abilities fall on the scale of what is average for each age-group.
Ie: you could be 60 years-old, but have the VO2 max of the average 50 year-old.
Hopefully, you’ll end up better than average.
-By the way, VO2Max is a measure of how much cardiovascular exercise you can do over an endurance or even intense interval. -Kind of like how big is the engine in your personal “car” of a body.
Not telling you what my results were, but let’s say I’m feeling pretty damn smug right now! :P lol.
[Note: NTNU could also improve their fitness calc by including more stuff on Body Fat measurements. -Particularly absent was a Hips measurement that would make results more relevant for Women.]
AHA! Whether or not you turn-out above average, the NTNU has you covered with a follow-up video after the survey about training that increases your VO2Max; their choice for this is 4×4 Intervals.
But Wait, There’s More!:
And then after that, They even have a whole planned-out 7 Week Training Program to boost you up even further, should you CONSULT YOUR DOCTORS FIRST, and then follow it.
It’s full of Warm-Ups, Endurance training, Core-Strength, Fun-Runs, and short Interval Training programs they call “Health Boosts”.
This first program is 3 days a week ie: MWF.
The breakdown is roughly:
- 30 minute Interval Training one day
- Group activities for 60+ minutes another
- One heavy day of Intervals + Core-strength bodyweight stuff for +/-60 minutes
- The schedule is varied from one week to another, just to mix things up.
- -Notice that they Do give you plenty of days off to rest & recover.
And For An Additional Fee, Get TWO! For The Price of ONE!:
And if you’re Really gung-ho, they have a continuation-program for people who’ve passed the first 7-Weeks with flying colors, to boost you up even more!
This also includes higher-intensity, more interval-training, more upper-body, friend challenges, use of rudimentary equipment like fitness-bands and benches.
- The structure is the same 3 days a week: MWF
- Day 1 is usually +/-40 minutes of Intervals and 20-30 minutes of Core-strength training
- Day 2 is usually 60 minutes of elective group exercise, like running with friends
- Day 3 is usually 30 minutes of Intervals with 40-60 minutes of Core-strength training
- The Intervals here appear to be more intense. Maximum possible output seems to be emphasized over the 80-90% Max Heart BPM of Program 1
- Core-strength training here covers about 4-5 more Upper-Body exercises to obtain a full-body workout
- It still keeps the bodyweight exercises for Lower-Body & Abs
The Metrics To Find Out Where You Are+The Tools To Improve It:
Regardless of which program you choose, all of the schedules & exercises look well laid-out, planned & explained.
Some of the FAQs are not that great, but the one on Physical Exercise really is good.
So either way, The Great Thing about our Norwegian friends is not only did they come up with a measurement & comparison tool that runs on the internet, is also an App, and is powered by the predictions and precisions of Big Data,
They also give you the tools to take your results & improve them after you get your number!
Fun Fact From Mental Floss Vid- Lifetime Fitness Warriors Exist!:
Fun Fact from the Mental Floss Video: NTNU’s analysis was so good, it was even used on the participants of the Senior Olympics.
(Which, by-the-way, shows what is really humanly possible for people who just keep exercising, even up to the age of 100. -Even though the average participant-age is 63.)
Out of the 10,000 subjects aged from 50-100. Their average Chronological Age was 68, but the average Fitness Age according to the calc was 43!!!
Interval-Training Is No Joke! Get All Changes Reviewed & Approved By Pros!:
Do NOTE: A word of caution! That part about checking-in with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program. -ESPECIALLY IF YOU PRINT OUT THE PDF AND BRING IT TO THEM TO SHOW!- Is No Joke!!!
-Even the Basic Improvements Video and the Beginning 7-Week program specify Interval-Training, which could be an ENORMOUS change for someone based on their existing fitness level.
So Do Not Cheat! If you’re going to use it, bring it to your docs for approval!
Check out the links for more Nordic-fitnessy goodness:
Photo Credits: “Dasboard 2”, by Gary Tamin
• Source: World Fitness Level
• Apps: WFL-iOSApp | WFL-Android App
• Fitness Plans: NTNU’s Intro 7 Week Plan, [PDF] | NTNU’s Next 7 Advanced Plan, [PDF]
• More Coverage: HT-Calculate & Compare Your BMI With The World | HT-John Green’s 25 Fitness Facts + BONUS 10! | NTNU’s FAQ on Physical Exercise