January 29, 2001
Living right at Blomeyer
By Eric Rangus firstname.lastname@example.org
The Blomeyer Health Fitness
Center, as a courtesy to new members, offers a one-on-one fitness assessment
with a personal trainer. Emory Report senior editor Eric Rangus
was recently invited to experience the test first hand.
As the Blomeyer Health Fitness Centers color inkjet printer slowly
spits out the 14 pages that make up the results of my fitness test, I
can think of only one thing.
They need a laser jet. Bad.
Sometimes my job is fun. Other times it feels like Im just pedaling
and pedaling, but Im not going anywhere. Or maybe thats just
where my mind wandered during my 20 or so minutes on the stationary bike,
which tested my cardiovascular fitness.
That was just one of the varied tasks I performed as part of my fitness
assessment, a comprehensive measurement of my overall health.
My guide and trainer is Chan Snipes, an exercise physiologist at Blomeyer,
who has been at the center since it opened in September 1997. Tests are
provided as courtesies for all new Blomeyer members (who now number more
than 1,200), but not everybody requests one.
Ive had people tell me [Blomeyer] is the best benefit we
have here at Emory, said Theda Kirby, fitness center manager. We
try to make working out and fitness fun.
Blomeyer is located at the top of the 1525 Building on Clifton Road and,
while it is managed by an outside group (Corporate Sports Unlimited),
membership is open to all faculty and staff (for $24 a month), as well
as Emory affiliates such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) and the hospitals.
The centers 14,000 square feet are packed with amenities. Free
weights, treadmills, rowers, stationary bikes, Nordic Tracks and myriad
machines for strengthening most every muscle group abound. And additional
equipment, Kirby said, is on the way.
Saunas are located in both the mens and womens locker rooms,
and an aerobic studio hosts STEP, spinning, aerobic and kickboxing classes,
to name a few (as a bonus, the studio has a spiffy view of campus and
the Atlanta skyline beyond). Personal training and message therapy are
available, and theres even a small pro shop.
When we first started [in 1997] we had a waiting list of months
for assessments, Snipes said. Since that died down, there
hasnt been a lot of interest.
Too bad. The test only takes about an hour, is quite informative, and,
dare I say, enjoyable.
The majority of the assessment takes place in a mildly claustrophobic
alcove separated from Blomeyers indoor track by a cubicle wall.
This is where the stationary bike is located, as will as the Tri-FIT 600,
the computerized system that engineers the test.
The initial measurements are pretty routine: height, weight, blood pressure
and 10 circumference measurements. Next is body composition; the more
common term is body fat. Snipes uses a caliper (which pinches
an inch like in the old Special K cereal commercials) to make measurements
from the pectoral, abdomen and thigh.
Next is a flexibility test, which entails reaching for your toes from
a seated position. The cardiovascular test follows, which is actually
enjoyable if you like to ride a bike, but dont like Atlantas
The final phase is the strength test. First is an isometric biceps test,
in which a small bar is buckled to a low platform. The lifter simply curls
with all his or her strength, and the Tri-FIT 600 measures the resistance
and correlates it into a corresponding weight.
The last two tests are the only ones that take place on the Blomeyer
floor: the chest press and the leg press. These are, essentially, lift
as much as you can.
That concludes the physical testing. The remainder of the time is spent on diet. One of the most impressive features of the fitness report is the meal planner. It can be geared to a persons favorite foods and how many meals (plus snacks) he or she eats a day. The comprehensive planner sketches out a wide variety of foods that would meet the necessary servings of each food group for each meal.
It includes caloric content and even splits calories up into suggested
percentages for carbohydrates, proteins and fats. My suggested plan calls
for more fats (25 percent) than proteins (16 percent), a bit of a surprise.
It is, however, pretty unforgiving. For a hard-core dieter, the list
has no great surprises. For the nondiscriminatory eater, though, the apple-at-every-meal
plan is a little daunting. My question isnt whether it can be adhered
to for a weekbut for a day.
When its all over, the color-coded results are printed out in a
report that not only display how well you performed but also outline workout
and eating plans necessary to reach the level of health youre looking
How did I do? Well, my body measurements would interest only the people
who buy me clothes for Christmas. For the most part, I scored in the fair
to average rangefair being a kind way of saying
needs improvement or below average, since it comes
before average on the scale. I did score two excellents: body
composition and the leg press. And my blood pressure is fine.
You rank pretty well with the other people who do these tests,
Snipes tells me, adding many of the people signing up are older and in
poor shapehence the health club membership.
That makes me feel better. Now, someone get me an apple.