The Five Ws For Fitness Assessments

What is a fitness assessment?

A fitness assessment is the screening and assessment of any individual for exercise guidance and/or readiness. Fitness assessments are based on current evidence-based research guidelines and may include:

  • basic “body” information, e.g. height, weight, waist circumference measurements
  • blood pressure
  • heart rate
  • BMI
  • selected aerobic, musculoskeletal, flexibility and endurance assessments, e.g. grip strength, partial curl-ups, vertical jump, stretch and reach

A properly executed assessment can provide the basis of information for a personalized exercise program that fits your needs and budget, e.g. one-on-one training sessions, small group training and/or exercise class options, follow up assessments, sport-specific performance training, corrective exercise, basic nutritional guidance and more. In essence, a fitness assessment is a tool to help you reach your fitness goals your way.

Why get a fitness assessment?

Everyone from the weekend-warrior, to the elite athlete, to a senior wanting to maintain a level of fitness, to someone coping with a chronic illness can benefit from a fitness assessment. A fitness assessment sets the foundation from which individuals of all levels of skill and ability can set and reach their fitness goals. A complete assessment determines your general level of fitness, skill and ability, and also where you are at in terms of your stage of readiness for change.

These details all combine to provide a complete fitness picture. This combined with input about your own fitness goals, will help a qualified exercise consultant to determine a safe, appropriate and effective exercise program that you can execute in the way you want, and that is customized to your budget, resources and needs.

Who can perform a fitness assessment?

You should seek an assessment from a qualified, personal trainer / exercise consultant, specifically trained in current fitness assessment protocols. Asking if your exercise professional maintains a certification that provides professional insurance for and includes fitness assessments in the scope of practice, will help to ensure that you are being assessed with up to date information and protocols.


In Alberta there are many places for you to obtain a fitness assessment.

  • Accredited Fitness Appraisal Centres are listed on the Provincial Fitness Unit of Alberta website. These are health clubs that employ professionals insured for and trained in fitness assessment.
  • A personal trainer certified and trained in assessment protocals can perform a fitness assessment

When should you get a fitness assessment?

Anyone seeking guidance in exercise and physical activity would benefit from a fitness assessment. Here are some times when an assessment might be particularly useful for you:

  • if you want to increase your activity level but don’t know how or how much
  • if you have just joined a health club (often an assessment is part of a club membership and orientation service)
  • if you have been advised by your doctor to take up an exercise program
  • if you have plateaued and want to increase your fitness level
  • if you see a decline in your overall fitness level
  • if you have set a goal (a fun run, a half-marathon, a triathlon)

Once you set your goals, it might be a good idea to have an assessment done at least every year to measure your progress and to keep you on track for a life of physical activity and health.

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