Located in Sterling, VA (703) 421-1200

March 2021

Is Fitness Testing Really Necessary?, by Matthew Romans

As a part of my efforts to further my education, I recently finished taking an exercise science course online at Maryville University. The course covered a wide variety of subjects, from athletic training to sports and exercise psychology, and while I disagreed with most of the other students as far as exercise philosophy and methodology are concerned, I got a lot out of the course. One unit that was covered during the semester had to do with fitness testing. After going through that unit and participating in assignments that had to do with the subject, I thought it valid to question whether fitness testing is really necessary. It was a good exercise for me to go through the testing, so that I could make up my own mind and share my thoughts with Total Results clients and regular readers of our blog articles.

I performed the following fitness tests over the course of one week: the Stork Balance Stand Test (https://www.topendsports.com/testing/tests/balance-stork.htm), the Cooper 1.5 mile Run Test (https://www.topendsports.com/testing/tests/2-4-km-run.htm), the Rockport Walk Test (https://exrx.net/Calculators/Rockport), a push-up test (maximum number of push-ups completed to muscular failure), BMI (body mass index), and a couple of different step tests. For the tests that are designed to measure aerobic fitness/endurance, we were required to calculate our VO2 Max (the maximum amount of oxygen the body is able to use during exercise) based on things like body weight, our scores on the tests, and mathematical formulas we were given. Based on age, we would reference our scores on a norms chart to see how we compared with our peer group.

I scored extremely well on a few of the tests (the run test, the walk test, push-ups, and the aerobic step test), did fair on the anaerobic step test, and scored poorly on the balance test and BMI. Some of the results were not surprising, but other results were; what could all this mean? The result of the balance test was unexpected. This requires you to place your non-dominant foot on your dominant knee, and stand on one foot with your heel raised for as long as you can. I had a difficult time performing this task for longer than ten seconds, even though I have no difficulties with balance in performing everyday activities or things that are sport-related. Balance skills tend to be specific in nature to the activity you are doing, and if you practice those specific skills, your balance will improve. People who perform this test as a means of evaluation don't get to practice the test ahead of time, but I suspect they would perform better if they practiced it before being evaluated again on their performance.

As for the tests in which I performed well, the run test and the push-up test stood out to me. I was not surprised that I did reasonably well in the push-up test, but I was surprised that I was able to complete as many as I did (over 50). I have not done regular push-ups in many years, so it's not as if my skills were particularly sharp. The run test really blew me away. I have not run (outside of participating in sports) specifically for distance in over twenty years, yet my mile time was 4:45, and I completed the entire run in 7:19. How can this be explained? My current exercise regimen consists of one Total Results strength training workout per week, and outside of occasional hikes and walks all I do in terms of physical activity is the active nature of my job as an instructor. I perform no specific "aerobic exercise", yet my VO2 Max numbers were extremely high. I believe that I am physically fit, but I am also of the opinion that VO2 Max as a measuring tool is completely worthless. It is a test that was originally designed to measure the minimum oxygen uptake in comatose patients, but has been twisted around to supposedly measure something completely different. Even the late Michael Pollock, PhD, who performed more research with VO2 Max than anyone before him, said that, "Maximum oxygen uptake testing is not a test of anything. Any variable data from this test is almost entirely a genetic aberration." If that is the case, why is VO2 Max still held in such high esteem in the exercise physiology community? My theory is that many in that industry use VO2 Max and many of the established fitness tests to make themselves feel more important and to justify the expense of their education. I believe that these results also underscore the fact that regular high-intensity weight training is the most effective means of keeping the cardiovascular system functioning at peak capacity, and that running is completely unnecessary in order to achieve this end. It is also worth noting that I scored poorly on the Body Mass Index test. Based on my height and weight (6 feet, 190 lbs), which are the only things measured, I am considered pre-obese. This test does not take into account lean muscle versus fat mass, so it is rather arbitrary. I am certainly not a ripped Adonis, but I'm nowhere close to being obese. I had long suspected that BMI was of dubious merit, but this confirms it.

Is fitness testing necessary? For the purposes of the Total Results exercise philosophy and our clients, I believe the answer is no. The exercise physiology community considers body composition to be a form of fitness testing; we perform body composition measurements on most of our clients within their first few sessions, but we don't look at it as testing. Rather, it's an opportunity to establish a baseline in order to get on the right path toward fat loss, and we use it as a measurement of progress. We can learn more about a prospective client by going through health history paperwork, asking questions, and putting them through a couple of exercises during their initial consultation than by having them do a series of tests that are very skill-specific. It is unnecessary for people to stand on one foot, run, or step up and down on a bench in order to gain insight as to their baseline level of conditioning. All of that may look impressive to the casual observer, but none of it means very much. Many of these fitness tests carry a high risk of injury, and that runs counter to the Total Results mission. We want to help you to achieve maximum physical improvements safely and efficiently.

Our exercise philosophy is the same today as it was when we opened nearly twenty years ago. We will continue to work every day to improve and give you the best exercise experience money can buy. Our mission is your amazing!

Posted March 22, 2021 by Matthew Romans

My Experience at DiLorenzo Chiropractic, by Matthew Romans

I am currently taking an exercise science course online, and one of the course requirements is to complete ten observation hours in an exercise science-related professional setting. I completed my hours at DiLorenzo Chiropractic, which is located just up the street from my house in Leesburg. Dr. Matt DiLorenzo and his wife Mandy own the practice; they are long-term clients of our exercise studio and have referred several of their patients to us over the years, so I was somewhat familiar with Dr. DiLorenzo's philosophy. Dr. DiLorenzo is the sole chiropractor in the practice, and Mandy runs the office, takes care of scheduling appointments, handles payments, and communicates with the insurance companies. Dr. DiLorenzo treats patients with a wide variety of injuries and ailments, and some of his patients have worked with him for many years.

One of the key components to Dr. DiLorenzo's chiropractic treatment protocol is to understand the nature of subluxations. These are changes to spinal and postural alignment which can irritate nerves and cause pain. As Dr. DiLorenzo says, "The structure of the spine dictates the function of the nervous system", so he performs adjustments on his patients in order to restore proper alignment and relieve pain. He believes in sticking to the basics, as his practice is not a rehabilitation or physical therapy clinic. The specific nature of treatment will depend on the individual patient he is working with, but with new patients he will perform an initial consultation in which he learns as much as he can about a patient's medical history. He takes a series of x-rays on new patients (which is done on the premises), and prepares an oral report to explain the nature of the patient's structural problem. Although this rarely occurs, Dr. DiLorenzo can also prepare a written report upon request. Treatment frequency can vary, depending on the patient. Dr. DiLorenzo generally recommends that patients receive treatment twice per week for six weeks to start; by this point they should start to feel some relief and get an indication that the treatment is working. Beyond that point, patients might come more or less frequently. Some of the patients I observed come once per week, every two weeks, or even once per month.

Education is a very important aspect of the treatment philosophy of DiLorenzo Chiropractic. Dr. DiLorenzo talks at length with patients about the importance of supplementation, diet, and exercise, in addition to regular movement. He makes book suggestions and usually gives educational handouts about chiropractic treatment to his patients each week. I am very impressed at the rapport and the connection that the DiLorenzos have with their patients; they are well-liked and well-respected, which is one reason why so many of them are long-term patients. Dr. DiLorenzo talks to his patients throughout their treatment sessions; this helps to keep the patients at ease and feeling comfortable, even when they are in discomfort. I was slightly surprised at how brief each treatment session typically is, but Dr. DiLorenzo is very efficient at diagnosing where the patient is misaligned, and he is able to restore function and relieve pain very quickly.

I learned quite a bit during the time I spent at DiLorenzo Chiropractic. As I said, they have both been clients at my studio for over a decade, but I confess that prior to this experience, my knowledge of their practice was quite superficial. I had an opportunity to take an x-ray of Dr. DiLorenzo's knee (he is scheduled to have a meniscal procedure shortly), and he showed me how to do it. That was a great experience for me. He also went over patient x-rays with me, as well as strategies that he would implement to help restore function and relieve pain. I was given much reading material, and even got a few excellent book suggestions. I have a better understanding of the nature of Dr. DiLorenzo's chiropractic treatment, and feel even more confident in referring clients to him. Mandy was very generous with her time and knowledge as well, especially in discussing with me all that is involved with running the office on a daily basis, challenges that they face, and the most rewarding aspects of owning this practice.

Working with the DiLorenzos helped to reinforce my belief in what I am doing. The DiLorenzos and I share a similar outlook on life, and believe many of the same things that I believe, and I think it's important to have allies in life as well as in business. We had many discussions about things going on in the world and the challenges that come from running a business in the current political climate.

I am grateful to Matt and Mandy for being so generous with their time and knowledge, and for making me feel welcome at their office. I hope to return for another visit in the future. If you suffer from joint pain, headaches, or other maladies, I highly recommend you check out DiLorenzo Chiropractic.

Posted March 05, 2021 by Matthew Romans