Meet my New Friend Stan

First Page of my Fitness Assessment

The first page of my fitness assessment. The red splotches are a result of cutting open my thumb on the broken zipper of my old Peterborough Canvas Company gym bag, an unfortunate end to an otherwise positive evening in the gym.

What with the mental workout I’m getting this winter, it seemed only appropriate to turn to the issue of the body and given that I’m on the UPEI campus three mornings a week, mere steps from the Sports Centre, it was hard to claim inconvenience as a way out.

So last night after supper I made my way up to the Fitness Centre for a rendezvous with Stan Chaisson the fitness man and an assessment of my current state of fitness (or lack thereof).

To start I had to fill out a form listing my fitness goals (the best I could come up with was “to decrease possibility of death”) and my fitness preferences (I have none, being completely ignorant of the items on the fitness menu).

Stan then took some basic baseline measurements — height, weight, BMI, bodyfat percentage. And then the gruelling tests began: a 12-minute stint on the treadmill for the Cooper Test, a push-up test (how many), a half-situp test (how many in a minute) and a flexibility test.

The result was a score out of 100: I scored 29, “below average.” The good news is, I have lots of room for improvement.

To my surprise and delight, running for 12 minutes (okay, it was more like “speed-tinged walking”) didn’t kill me, and I woke up this morning feeling just fine. This bodes well.

I meet with Stan in a week to go over my personalized training program; last night we set some modest goals for the next five weeks: getting my weight down 4 pounds (which will improve my BMI), increasing my minutes-per-kilometre on the treadmill from 17.5 to 18.4, increasing my push-ups ability from 10 to 15 and so on.

The plan is that I’ll visit the fitness centre every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning before my philosophy class, and Stan will take some new measurements in a month or so to see how I’ve gotten along.

As a point of privilege I will note that, as with UPEI’s general challenges welcoming the community, the Sports Centre could work to create a gentler landing strip for new recruits: it’s a daunting thing for an middle aged unfit guy to plunge into the midst of the land of spandex and free weights, and other than “the locker room’s down and to the right” when I first signed up, I was on my own. I still haven’t been able to find the locker room. Fortunately this will be mitigated somewhat by an “introduction to the fitness centre” session that I’ve signed up for tomorrow night; but including an basic overview and tour of the facility for all new members would go a long way to making people like me feel more welcome (and likely to come back).

If you’re interested in getting assessed yourself, grab yourself the 2009 brochure (cleverly concealed as “Personal Trainor Information” on the Fitness Centre’s website) — what’s you’re looking for is the “Basic Fitness Assessment” and it costs $30 for members and $40 for non-members. And, at least from my experience, Stan will not make you feel like an idiot or a layabout (even if you are one).


Pat Garrity's picture
Pat Garrity on January 29, 2009 - 15:47 Permalink

I know what you mean when you say that the gym is a daunting place; I’m a 21 year old student of UPEI, and even I don’t feel remotely comfortable there.

Andrew MacPherson's picture
Andrew MacPherson on January 29, 2009 - 16:22 Permalink

increasing my minutes-per-kilometre on the treadmill from 17.5 to 18.4”

Not to quibble but you probably want to decrease your minutes-per-kilometre from 18.4 to 17.5….otherwise well done.

jypsy's picture
jypsy on January 29, 2009 - 17:08 Permalink

You are in very, very, good hands Peter.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 29, 2009 - 18:15 Permalink

@Andrew You’re assuming that I’m trying to get more fit ;-)

Alan's picture
Alan on January 29, 2009 - 18:16 Permalink

Good for you. You have seen me recently so I don’t have to pretend I speak from the position of svelt but do take the time to use good old sit ups. For two years now, I have forced myself to do as many as I can in a week — which might only end up a couple of sessions of 50 some weeks — but the gut and back strengthening has made so many other parts of trying to “not get in worse shape” so much better. A couple of 10 lb and 25 lb weights are a cheap and cheery way to add to that, too.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 29, 2009 - 18:17 Permalink

I should also mention that the single most stressful element of the fitness assessment for me was trying to remember the 3-number combination from the lock I purchased at Staples 15 minutes before my appointment. This became increasingly stressful as I had to simultaneously recite things like my age, my height, etc.

I finally stopped the proceedings, asked for a piece of paper, and wrote down the combination and put it in my pocket.

Of course then I had the (less-) stressful worry about whether the piece of paper had flown out of my pocket while I was breezing down the treadmill.

I have a lot of locker combination issues from my past that I need to deal with.

steve's picture
steve on January 30, 2009 - 16:38 Permalink

This is great…you are a true champion…stick with it long enough and you will start to feel great! Mo and I are very proud.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on February 1, 2009 - 20:15 Permalink

Update: I went in on Friday night for a free introduction to the fitness centre, which was conducted by someone I know only as “Very Helpful Woman” and she provided a gentle introduction from everything from card swiping to complicated machine usage to locker room location.