5 Great Ways To Test Your Fitness

Physical fitness refers to a state of the body which is able to function normally when subjected to highly or moderately strenuous body activities. A body that is physically fit is often able to endure long hours of engaging in vigorous training or any strenuous activities such as running and lifting heavy objects. When you are physically fit, you tend to manage any kind of reasonable stressful activity. Suppose you have been training for many months but you hardly know whether you are physically fit or not, how can you ascertain your body’s level of physical fitness? The following five tips to test your fitness will prove to be beneficial in this area.

How To Test The Fitness Of The Upper Body

First of all, you have to ascertain what you are testing. In other words, you need to know which part of the body you are testing for fitness. For example, testing the body for upper strength is often achieved by doing pushups. The number of pushups that you will be able to endure within a certain time frame will determine your upper body strength. This activity is meant for examining the strength that lies in the shoulders, triceps and chest.

fitness-testHave A Timer

For most of the test methods that involve the testing of the body’s endurance abilities, it is often advisable to use a timer. You can use any reliable stop watch to accurately calculate your ability to endure a certain physical exercise. For example, you can use a timer when testing the strength of the upper muscles through the use of the pushup method. If setting and monitoring the time is not easy for you, try to seek help from another person.

Testing The Fitness Of The Core Muscles (Located In The Abdominal Plank)

Core muscles are a group of muscles that are mainly responsible for stabilizing various body parts such as the abdomen, internal obliques and the glutes. In general, the core muscles are particularly localized in the torso. To ascertain the fitness of the abdominal plank, you need to assume the position for doing press ups. But, this time remain stagnant in that position while distributing your body weight between the shoulders and keeping the legs apart. The distance between the legs is supposed to be as long as the width of the waist or slightly more. Otherwise, your fitness test results will be inaccurate.

Testing The Pull

The pull is not often regarded as an important way to test for the body’s upper strength. But, it is an important method that you can substitute for the push up method. This method is used to ascertain the strength of the latissimi dorsi which are commonly referred to as the lats. These are the large muscles that are found in the back of the upper body. They spread out to the sides of the upper body.

Testing The Lower Body Strength

Once you have managed to ascertain your upper body strength, you can proceed to determine your lower body strength. This is usually far easier than it is when testing the upper body strength. To ascertain the endurance levels of the muscles in the legs, you can use a simple technique which is a replica of sitting on a chair. However, you have to be sitting in the air this time around. While in that position, try to endure for as long as you can. Using a timer, you can determine the endurance of your lower muscles. Running or walking as fast as possible is another perfect way to determine the strength that lies in the lower muscles.

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Treating Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is a wide and complex sector of medicine, with a large number of treatment areas in which physicians use their skills to help people with a physical dependency. The multifaceted nature of a problem like addiction means that a given addict may require a number of different forms of treatment, such as pharmaceutical and psychological, in order to get them through withdrawal and into good health, free from dependence.

Prescription Drugs

Addiction to prescription drugs – while avoiding the increased health risks which are associated with the impurity and non-specific origin of street drugs – can be similarly hard to break, and can cause some of the same long-term effects; such as venal problems (for example) in both heroin (street) and morphine (prescription) addicts. Like heroin, many prescription opioids such as morphine and codine can be treated with the very effective substitute, methadone. Methadone mimics the effect of the addictive opiates so that the patient can be free from the unpleasantness and distress of withdrawal while not attaining as much of a ‘high’ as the abused substance, meaning that it is more compatible with work and is less likely to be abused in itself. Another form of treatment is the opiate antagonist naltrexone, which negates the effect of an opioid drug, meaning that it can be used to treat overdose and to halt minor addictions.

The treatment of people who are addicted to prescription sedatives such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines is rather more serious, in that withdrawal from these drugs is very sensitive and dangerous, while only limited research has been conducted into best practice. However, it is understood that the safest way to help a patient to withdraw from sedatives is to help them to cut down slowly over a period while keeping them under close medical examination. It is also useful to assist a patient through counseling in which they can be taught to deal with stressful circumstances without resorting to sedating substances.


Heroin treatment is one of the most important areas of drug-related medicine due to the severity of heroin addiction and – as is the case with heroin in North Carolina – because in many areas this form of abuse is increasing. In this case drug users were moving onto this dangerous drug due to the closure of certain factories which had been producing opioid pills. Heroin addiction is most commonly treated with the aforementioned methadone, an effective way to keep an addict comfortable. Suboxone is a less-common though useful form of treatment, which differs in that it is less potentially dangerous than methadone (and hence can be stored in high volume by patients) while having less potential for abuse because it does not give rise to any ‘high’ whatsoever. However, suboxone has an effective cut-off point where it will not be useful in treating more intense addictions, while methadone is not limited in this way.


The way in which people think together with their individual psychology is increasingly used in the process of drug rehabilitation, to give addicts the support which they need to stay the course of their detox while aiming to understand what caused their addiction so to avoid a relapse. Drug withdrawal, especially with substances like alcohol, is a very emotionally stressful process, with the patient experiencing high levels of distress and discomfort. Understanding a patient’s psychology allows the physician to find out why they were unable to give up drugs before and what can be done to support them through the detoxification process, giving them the strength to continue. Further to this, by understanding the reasons why people take drugs – such as due to depression or family problems – medical personnel can understand what caused the addiction and thereby find a way to address these issues,g thus avoiding relapse.

Modern physicians have available to them a diverse and targeted range of methods for dealing with addiction which, while complicated, provide a framework which enables them to help an addict to regain their lives. With advances in the psychology of addiction, medical professionals are able to attack the route of dependency and work to resolve the underlying causes – work which is fundamental at a time when a number of drug-classes are used in increasing numbers.

Attention NASM Trainers: Don’t Forget About Nutrition!

A basic knowledge of nutrition is helpful to ensure the safety and success of a client. Though, it is very important to note that a basic level understanding of nutrition does not qualify a fitness professional to counsel high-risk clients or treat medical or health related illnesses or disease. However, good nutrition can work synergistically with an exercise program to improve health, better body composition, increase energy, and even help reduce the risk of certain illnesses and diseases. Proper nutrition is vital, especially in light of troubling statistics. For instance, it is estimated that by 2015, 75% of all US adults will be considered either overweight or obese. A person’s total energy expenditure (TEE) can roughly be broken down into three categories. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the amount of energy expended while at rest, consisting roughly 70% of TEE. Energy expended during physical activity accounts for roughly 20% of TEE. The thermic effect of food (TEF) is the energy that it takes to digest and transport food, constituting roughly 10% of TEE. A person’s daily caloric needs depend on many things such as goals, sex, age, and genetics.

When talking about nutrition for exercise there are three main groups of nutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. Protein is important as its primary function is to build and repair body tissues and structures, a key in exercise recovery. There are about 20 different types of amino acids that bind using peptide bonds to form proteins. There are two types of proteins, essential and nonessential, all providing 4 calories of energy per gram. Essential proteins such as lysine cannot be manufactured within the body and must be ingested, whereas, the human body can produce nonessential proteins such as alanine. Protein requirements depend on many different factors such as exercise, body composition goals, and age. Carbohydrates are compounds containing carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen and classified as sugars, starches, or fiber. Carbohydrates yield 4 calories per gram and are the chief source of energy for all body functions and exertion. Higher carbohydrate meals are often consumed preceding a workout to provide the body with the necessary energy to perform at optimal levels. Fiber is an incredibly important carbohydrate that helps provide bulk in a diet, regulates bowel movements, may help reduce heart and artery disease, and helps regulate the absorption of glucose.

Finally, lipids are a group of compounds that include triglycerides (fats and oils), phospholipids, and sterols. Lipids are the most concentrated source of energy; a single gram yields 9 calories. Fat is vital in providing energy, acting as a carrier for vitamins, functioning as the building blocks of some hormones, and protecting some organs. In addition, fat consumption stimulates the release of a hormone, CCK, which signals satiety. Fat consumption sometimes becomes a problem when people over consume fatty foods to achieve a feeling of satisfaction. Creating a well-balanced and rounded diet that provides a person with all the various nutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed for healthful living can take many forms. The key to a good diet is a long-term view and sustainable eating habits, rather than fad eating habits, crash dieting, and diet pills all of which are neither effective nor sustainable.

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personal trainer assessment

Client Fitness Assessments

personal trainer assessmentFitness assessments are a crucial piece of creating an effective and safe training program for a client. Fitness assessments are comprehensive measurements, both objective and subjective, that help determine the current health and fitness levels of clients. A fitness professional can only accurately create an appropriate training program if they know his or her client’s baseline health and fitness levels. It must be noted that a fitness professional is not a doctor and should not be diagnosing medical conditions, prescribing treatment and diets, or providing rehabilitation services, unless specifically trained and certified in those areas. The Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q) helps identify clients who made need further medical screenings before undergoing physical activity. General health history also helps provide insight into a client’s health. Some occupations that require long hours of sitting or repetitive movements may predispose some clients to muscular imbalances or other structural issues, making some exercises unsafe for them. General lifestyle choices including hobbies, smoking, drinking, and sleep habits can also help provide information about a client’s health and the appropriate training program design. Medical history such as past injuries, past surgeries, chronic conditions, and medications are also necessary information to ensure a selection of appropriate exercises that are both beneficial and safe for the client.

Blood pressure and body fat measurements can provide insight into the general body composition of clients and a benchmark for progress, while the YMCA 3-minute step test and Rockport walk test can determine cardio-respiratory capacity. Finally, the observation of static postures and dynamic movements can provide information about the client’s flexibility, strength, coordination, and muscular imbalances, allowing the fitness professional can create a training program that effectively addresses the client’s needs effectively and safely. Fitness assessments are a key piece in creating an effective training program for client’s and should never be overlooked when creating a fitness program.

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blood specimen phlebotomy

Preparing Blood Specimens: Phlebotomy at its Best

blood specimen phlebotomyBlood is a specialized fluid that is conducted throughout the body via certain vessels (arteries, capillaries, and veins). The function of blood is to deliver vital substances such as oxygen and nutrients to all the cells of the body. At the same time blood functions to transport metabolic waste products such as nitrogen and urea away from those same cells. Whole blood is composed of formed elements (red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets) suspended in a liquid known as blood plasma. On average 45% of blood fluid is comprised of formed elements, while the other 55% is plasma.

Red blood cells comprise the vast majority of blood’s formed elements. These cells lack a nucleus and are rich in hemoglobin, an iron-containing protein which facilitates the transportation of oxygen in the blood. Carbon dioxide, a major waste product of cellular respiration, is transported almost entirely as bicarbonate ion dissolved in the plasma. Blood plasma is essentially an aqueous solution that is 92% water by volume. The other 8% of the fluid is composed of blood plasma proteins and trace amounts of other dissolved nutrients, such as glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids (these substances can be dissolved in the blood or bound to plasma proteins). Albumin is the most prominent plasma protein and its function is to regulate the colloidal osmotic pressure of blood. Blood serum is plasma minus fibrinogen, a blood clotting protein. Serum samples are prepared by allowing the blood to clot before centrifuging the specimen.

A blood test refers to a laboratory analysis performed on a blood sample in order to determine the physiological and biochemical state of a patient’s blood. The majority of blood tests involve obtaining a blood sample from the patient’s vein. There are also a number of specialized blood tests, such as arterial blood gas, that require blood to be extracted from an artery rather than a vein. The component of blood used in a diagnostic test depends on the specific test being performed. A platelet count (Plt. Ct) test, for example, requires the use of whole blood. Other tests, such as the glucose tolerance (GTT) test, require the use of plasma rather than whole blood. In order to obtain plasma from a whole blood sample, whole blood is centrifuged to remove the cellular components. Anti-coagulated blood yields plasma, which contains fibrinogen and clotting factors. Clotted or coagulated blood yields serum. Certain tests such as the high and low-density lipoprotein tests require the use of serum. It is also the specimen of choice for most chemistry department tests.

phlebotomy collection tube

Evacuated Collection Tubes For the Phlebotomist

phlebotomy collection tubeEvacuated collection tubes are specially designed tubes that have a vacuum (negative pressure) and fill with a predetermined volume of blood. The rubber tops/stoppers are color coded according to the additive (or lack thereof) contained within the tube. Blood collection with evacuated tubes occurs as one end of the needle enters the patient’s vein, and the other end penetrates through the rubber top/stopper as the tube is pushed into the open end of the holder. The vacuum within the tube enables it to fill with the appropriate volume of blood. If multiple specimens are required, additional tubes may be inserted into the holders after the previous draw is complete. It is important to note that blood should never be poured from one tube to another in order to avoid cross contamination from tubes containing different additives.

Production of these tubes is a multi-step process. Once the glass portion of the evacuated tube is formed, any additive that is required is inserted. “Dry” additives are applied topically and dispersed along the inside wall of the tube. The tubes are spray coated with the desired additive(s) using a series of nozzles and then dried. Alternatively, “Wet” additives are dispensed into the tube as a fluid and remain as a liquid. Additives may exist as either “dry” or “wet” in the evacuated tubes depending on whether the tube is plastic or glass, and depending on the stability of the solution. The CLSI and ISO are the agencies that establish the concentration of additive to be dispensed into each tube per milliliter of blood. A gel barrier can also be dispensed into the evacuated tube for gel separator tubes. The gel functions to provide a physical and chemical barrier between the serum or plasma and the cells. After the insertion of any additive or gel, the tubes are evacuated and capped.

The color of the tube-top/stopper acts as a code, indicating what additive the evacuated tube contains. For example lavender-top tubes contain the additive EDTA, whereas light blue-top tubes contain sodium citrate as their additive. In addition to indicating the tube’s additive, the top/stopper color is used to identify a specific order in which multiple tubes are to be drawn, a concept known as the “Order of Draw”. The reason for having an order to the draw is to prevent an additive from contaminating and affecting the results from another test. According to the “Order of Draw” you would want to collect a draw for a sodium test prior to collecting a test that contained sodium as an additive.