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Anyone who has tried to lose weight or improve his or her fitness level has spent a considerable amount of time on a scale to assess whether progress is being made. However, relying solely on body weight as the only variable to measure success is not recommended, according to Keith Laug, owner of Hudson Valley Fitness and creator of the BODYSKOR fitness assessment system. “The problem with body weight is it fluctuates throughout the day and doesn’t accurately indicate what’s being weighed — body fat, muscle, water, etc.”

Instead, Laug recommends that to truly understand one’s fitness level, the following components should be included:

Body measurements

  • Body fat percentage: Helps determine the fat composition of the body. The most accurate body fat testing method in the general fitness setting is the 7-site pinch test.
  • Waist to hip ratio: Circumference measurements of the waist and hip are taken to understand how body fat is distributed around the waist area. The higher the ratio (divide waist circumference by hip circumference), the greater chance of future health issues.

Cardiovascular health

  • Resting heart rate: A lower resting HR indicates greater fitness.
  • Blood pressure: A blood pressure closer to ideal (120 over 80) means the heart is not working too hard.

Muscular strength and endurance

  • Several exercises can be done to measure improvement of total body muscular strength and endurance such as pushups and squats.

Aerobic capacity

  • There are multiple tests available that can be used to find one’s aerobic fitness level such as the Queens College Step Test and Rockport Walking Test.


  • Being focused on increasing flexibility can help improve the health of one’s joints, leading to better mobility and overall health.

Laug adds that fitness trackers such as Fitbit that track steps, heart rate and sleep patterns are great motivational tools, but they are not accurate enough to measure overall fitness. For better accuracy, a fitness professional will incorporate tests that measure all the components listed above. “Once an accurate understanding of one’s fitness level is reached, the individual can plan his or her exercise, nutrition and lifestyle accordingly,” says Laug. “For example, if someone finds that they are fit in all categories except flexibility, they will know to continue with their current exercise and nutrition plan, but increase their focus on stretching.”

Hudson Valley Fitness offers several personal fitness services in the HVF studio in Beacon; personal training boot camp classes; and BODYSKOR fitness assessments, a comprehensive fitness evaluation system created at HVF to give you a clear understanding of your current fitness level.

Hudson Valley Fitness
490 Main St.
Beacon, NY 12508

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Hudson Valley FitnessMembers perform planks as part of one of Hudson Valley Fitness’ boot camps