School A uses Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine which of students are obese and which ones are not. School B uses the skin fold method (calipers measuring skin thickness), School C uses electronic impedance (a computerized method), while School D does under water weighing at the local University Physiology lab to determine their student’s body composition (usually expressed as a percentage of body fat).
Conventional VS Functional
In other words schools A, B, C, and D use conventional forms of measurement and data to determine how physically efficient their students are, and to predict how well they will perform in various arenas, including the physical/athletic arena. School E however, takes precisely the opposite approach by measuring physical performance and using that data to determine how physically efficient their students are, and to predict what their percentages of body fat will be.
When One Goes Up, the Other Goes Down
“It’s pretty simple” said Coach E. “When percentage of body fat goes down, performance goes up. And when percentage of body fat goes up, performance goes down. These two factors are directly related to one another, and when one of them changes, the other reflects those changes simultaneously.”
In the end, what everyone’s really aiming for is to improve performance in all arenas. So why even fool around with BMI’s, skin calipers, electronic impedance devices, and underwater weighing when performance can be measured directly, yielding everything anyone needs to know about a student’s physical efficiency?
For Example: Instead of Conventional Measurements
In place of all the conventional measurements for example, Coach E uses a pull up bar. (1) More specifically he uses a height adjustable pull up bar in conjunction with a technique called leg assisted pull ups that allows students to keep their feet on the floor, jump and pull at the same time. This strategy gives all his students immediate access, a viable starting point when learning to perform pull ups.
Progress, Motivation, and Persistence
Progress is achieved in very small increments (i.e. one more repetition, or raising the bar one inch). Small increments encourage regular progress, instill motivation, and cultivate a sense of RELENTLESS PERSISTENCE until conventional pull ups are finally mastered.
Immunized Against Obesity for Life
“Under these conditions” Coach E said, “our kid’s performances improve regularly. And along with performance improvement comes an improvement in body composition. The basic goal of our program is to help each student learn to perform conventional pull ups, because, as any PE teacher will tell you, kids who can do pull ups are NEVER OBESE. And as long as they maintain their ability to perform pull ups, these kids are naturally immunized against obesity for life. How’s that for a mega-payoff?”
Increased Performance Equals Improve Body Composition
At the next level, once they can perform conventional pull ups, any increase in performance indicates an improved body composition, and vice-versa. For example, if a student’s pull up performance goes from 10 to 20, they’ve either gained muscle/strength, lost fat, or both, so their body composition has improved. On the other hand, if the student’s pull up performance goes from 20 to 10, they’ve either lost muscle/strength, gained fat, or both, so their body composition has deteriorated along with their performance.
Victory Over Childhood Obesity
In the long run, the goal of Coach E’s program is to graduate An entire class full of students who are all functionally immunized against obesity for life because they can all perform pull ups. “When that day arrives,” Coach E said, “We’ll declare victory over childhood obesity in our school. Until then, we’ll keep making DOCUMENTED PROGRESS one repetition at a time, one inch at a time, and one child at a time, and leave all the conventional measurement devices to the experts,” coach E added.
1. Pull ups are not the only exercise capable of making this claim. Other challenging body weight exercises such as dips, rope climbing, sissy squats, and vertical jumping will yield all the same insightful information regarding body composition/physical efficiency issues