Graphical Summary of My Body

*First published October 25, 2007 at 


Before you all get excited that I am about to go into graphic detail about the parts of my body, let me assure you that kind of information is not what this article is about. I'm sorry to disappoint you. Yesterday I went up to the new health club for my Graphical Summary and Body Age Analysis. This a free session with a personal trainer that you schedule when you join the club and pay them money...

So it's not really free, I guess, but it didn't cost extra!

Now I'm just as curious as the next guy as to what my "body age" really is compared to how many years I've actually been alive and kicking around the planet. I made my appointment for the second day at the club so I could find out how "old" I am before I start exercising on a regular schedule. The session was to last about an hour, which I figured out to be just about the length of time I could take the humiliation I was to receive in front of the entire workout floor. 

About halfway through the session the trainer had all the info he needed from my eating habits, exercise routine (or lack thereof), future goals, body weight, height, body mass index, bicep strength, flexibility, and heart rate. It was when we sat down to go over the statistics of my Graphical Summary and Body Age Analysis that I realized what this session really was: An hour long, one-on-one sales pitch to get me to spend more money at the club. I can't really blame the fresh-out-of-college Kinesiology major for trying his best. It is a business they run and businesses have to make money, but you can't hide your intentions of the Graphical Summary and Body Age Analysis session from me. I can smell a salesman coming like I can that over-worked out smelly guy with sweat dripping off his body hairs.

The first order of business was the MAP Test, which apparently finds your target heart rate zone for burning fat calories vs. carbohydrate calories. Not having been a member of a health club in many years I had not heard of the MAP Test, and instead of paying $99.95 + $39.95 for the breathing mask I would have to purchase, I just came home and plugged in the information I needed into the Karvonen Formula to get my results. I'm sure the MAP Test would have given me a little more information but Karvonen didn't charge me a penny so I went with him.

The second order of business was a heart rate monitor to make sure I am working out in my target zone. He attempted to convince me that the monitors built into the $6,000.00 treadmills were not that accurate. OK, I could see where this was headed as he pulled out the brochure with about eight different personal monitors ranging in price from $115.00 all the way up to $495.00. A nice commission could be had for the trainer who sells the most of those! I informed the guy that my wife had purchased one a few years ago that I could use and he asked if it was that specific brand he was selling, because that is the one they recommend for their machines and it doesn't cause interference with other monitors of that brand if somebody is running next to you with one on.

That had to have been the worst sales pitch I have ever heard, and I've heard a lot.

He also said that people usually put off buying these from them so they can go look on eBay for one of the same ones on his list, but always come back and buy there because they can't get as good of a deal on eBay or elsewhere.

Just when I thought I had heard the worst sales pitch ever he throws that out there.

After informing him that I used to have a business on eBay and was pretty sure I could get those heart rate monitors cheaper elsewhere - or just use the one I already have - he dropped it and moved on.

Now came the third order of business for the day: His personal training services. I think personal trainers are well worth their money if you need them. Some people need the one-on-one sessions that help target specific areas of need, encourage motivation, etc., to keep them going and committed. I'm not really one of those people, though, especially for $69.00 per hour, three hours per week, for three months. For the low price of $2,484.00 I could have him reduce my weight, improve my body composition, strengthen my core and stability, and increase my muscle mass while trimming the fat. 

Or I could go buy a used car, several LCD flat panel televisions, a brand new computer, or a big down payment on one of those fancy $6,000 treadmills with the "inaccurate" heart rate monitors on them – all while still getting the same workout provided by my paid membership dues.

I respectfully declined all of his offers to spend my money and thanked him for the session. He asked what I was planning on doing now since I didn't have my MAP Test information, a heart rate monitor from the brand they recommend, or the knowledge that goes along with personal training? I told him I was going to take this wealth of information he provided me for free and figure that out all on my own. A monkey with a calculator can determine their target heart rate zone for burning fat instead of carbohydrates, I already had a monitor, and it wasn't my first time to ever sit my butt down on workout machines. If I had spent money on all of his suggestions to improve my workout and health it would have cost me approximately $2,825.00 (plus applicable tax), or the equivalent of two years worth of family membership payments to the club. 

Oh, and in case you were wondering, my "body age" is 38 years old and I'm really only 35. With about six months of regular exercise I can be back to 26 years old. That's much better than I expected and my body statistics were above average.

But I'll spare you the graphical details.