A True Measure of Fitness: The CAT Scale


This may shock you, but your weight on the scale isn't really that important.  
Ready for more?  Neither is your BMI.  

Scale weight and BMI are correlates of fitness – but neither can predict how long you're likely to live, how you'll die, or your quality of life in the meantime.

Research showing that increased mortality rates are associated with a lot of belly fat are okay, but they don't tell the whole story.  Yes, people with more belly fat tend to have more heart attacks.  But does the belly fat cause the problem, or is it just a clue toward the lifestyle of its bearer?  If your waist-to-hip ratio is too small, does it GUARANTEE a stroke?  

Consider this: elite athletes like boxers and gymnasts and bodybuilders would have a high BMI.  If Evander Holyfield had gone to a Weight Watchers meeting when he was at his World Heavyweight Championship peak, wearing sweats and a poncho, they'd tell him he was obese.

At the other end of the scale, bodybuilders and other extreme dieters have a very low percentage of body fat, at least in competition.  But sneak backstage at a major show, and you'll be shocked: oxygen tanks, dialysis machines, defibrillators….  Regular people can also be small without being any healthier.  Picture the mall entranceway in the spring: skinny women in size '0' jeans smoking.  At least you've got them beat. 

Who is truly fit?  Who is likely to survive longest?  Who has their body working in unison hormonally, aerobically, neurologically, immunologically, digestively, and muscularly?  

Here comes surprise #3: we've never known.  There's never been a good test, backed by research and peer review, to determine overall fitness.  

Until now.  Introducing the CAT Score.

In a nutshell (you can read the whole file by downloading it below,) we've chosen 10 Elements of fitness, based on common scientific acceptance.  For each Element, we've chosen a test, based on the following criteria:
  1. Longevity – they’ve been around awhile
  2. Peer-review – they’ve been used and critiqued
    and argued extensively
  3. Scientific – they’re replicable
  4. Validity – they provide precisely the type of
    information we require
  5. Simplicity – they can be done with minimal
  6. Rigor – while they can be performed by a
    novice, their level of accuracy improves in the hands of a professional.
  7. Relevance – each Element must be challenging
    even to one specialized in that particular Element.
  8. Objectivity – different people at the same levels would receive the same score. 
From there, we've used the original scoring scale of each test, but assigned a numerical value (1 to 10) where there may not have been one before.  On some tests, the original authors may have used a different numerical scale, or no numerical scale (using 'Excellent,' 'Very Good,' etc.)  In those cases, we've simply assigned a numerical value to the same ratios on the same scale.  

Each Element of fitness is rated equally.  While it's tough to get a good score in the Strength category, a 9 out of 10 doesn't necessarily equate to a high overall score.  If there's one thing to remember most of all, it's this: we're looking for a high level of overall fitness, including all aspects and forsaking none.

This project didn't happen overnight.  As you'll read in the ebook below, this is the culmination of nearly 3 years of research, math, and testing.

Where are we going with this?  Well, as you may have read in local media, Catalyst Fitness has received NOHFC funding over the last two years to develop an online training and measuring system.  The CAT score is one side of that very big coin.  The other side is currently with the engineers, but the beta version has been chugging along for six months, and it's really cool.  It can't be unveiled yet, but here's a hint: you do your workout, then you log your score.  It takes about 6 seconds.  Watching your CAT Score, you notice your Stamina Element rises, and that adds a point to your total.  You're progressing!  You're now a 74 out of 100.  You check your friends' scores – only 5 more points until you can say you're more fit than Tim!  Awesome!  Tomorrow is a running day, and you KNOW you're faster over 2km than last time – another chance for a point up on ol' Tim.  Think you're going to make the workout tomorrow?  We think so.

We encourage Catalyst clients, Catalyst Gym members, other personal trainers, and the public at large to try the tests.  They're most accurate when done with a Catalyst Trainer (we've been doing trials for weeks now,) but they can be done on your own.  All the information is in the ebook.  Download away.

Start here

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