"So, why do you think people should do a health screening with UFIT?", I asked Stu as he strapped a breathing mask to my face before sitting me on a Wattbike. "Put simply", he said, "it removes the guesswork from your training – assess don't guess". While I knew what I wanted to get out of my UFIT health screening, these words struck a chord with me and affirmed why I was doing it.
Ever since I started my current fitness regimen in late April 2021, I've accrued knowledge from blogs, YouTube videos (I'm a massive fan of Athlean-X), Instagram posts and anyone I've met that is into fitness. However, it is a little all over the place and, most importantly, it's not specifically relevant to me and my body and the training I could do to achieve better results.
I know a guy
When I interviewed Max, the founder and head chef of Green Kitchen, he mentioned two people at UFIT with who he has good relationships. One was Pam, a sports nutritionist who helped him with the calories and macros in Green Kitchen meals, and the other was Stu, an Exercise Physiologist who runs UFIT's health screenings. Max told me about all the personalised data one of Stu's screenings provides and how beneficial it is to better understand how to fuel one's body correctly. I knew immediately that I had to get Stu's number and book an appointment.
A few days later I reached out to Stu on WhatsApp, where he answered some preliminary questions and put me in touch with Beth from UFIT's Health Team to book my screening. After a few more questions and receiving a sample report of what I would receive after my screening, I locked in on the 18 March at UFIT's Club Street Hub.
What's available at UFIT
UFIT offer 3 types of screening: health, performance and full anthropometric. Each provides different levels of detail and different types of data and the choice between them comes down to what your goals are and what you want to discover.
Health: A holistic health assessment that identifies any health risks that you should be aware of and helps you understand how to get the most from your body. This tests your cardiorespiratory fitness, resting metabolic rate, blood lipid profile, lung function and fasting blood glucose.
Performance: Helps to maximise your athletic potential by using data from a range of performance assessments. This tests your VO2 max, and blood lactate profile and includes a functional movement screening.
Full anthropometric: A comprehensive test that covers body measurements that will help a sports nutritionist create appropriate strategies for your diet.
Looking at the different types of screening, my appointment was a combination of health and performance. I'm not sure whether that is the new normal or if there was a level of customisation for me, but either way, I'm happy since I got all the data I wanted!
My health screening
After arriving at UFIT, I was met by Stu who took me to a small room off the main atrium that contained one of the professional body composition analysers you see in a few high-end gyms. These machines are like weighing scales on steroids and deliver accurate, quick, and non-invasive assessments of your fat mass, muscle mass and body water. After standing on the machine for 30–60 seconds, Stu handed me a printed report of my body composition before leading me upstairs where my health screening would take place.
Understanding the body composition report
The InBody 270 report comprises 5 primary sections: body composition analysis, muscle-fat analysis, obesity analysis, segmental lean and fat analyses, and a right-hand column with various bits of information. I won't go through every detail of the report (totally not because I don't know what it means...) but I do want to draw your attention to some parts.
Muscle-fat analysis: Stu told me that many clients have a "C shape" here, which means they have higher weight, lower skeletal muscle mass and higher body fat mass. You want to aim for an "I shape", which is OK, or a "D shape", which means you have a good amount of muscle and lower body fat.
Obesity analysis: I'm calling this out because, in my opinion, you should ignore it. You don't need to pay attention to BMI (Body Mass Index) once you get to this level of analysis. The percentage of body fat is useful though and most should aim for 10–20%, below 10% is good.
Segmental lean and fat analyses: This shows the distribution of muscle mass and body fat across the body. The "under, normal or over" are comparisons to people with a similar BMI.
InBody score: This is an evaluation of the body composition report; most people get around 70–75.
Basal metabolic rate: This is a useful and important one (and a big reason I did the test). The kcal you see on the report doesn't take lean muscle mass into account, so if you're a muscular person, this may change once you receive your final report from Stu.
Before we go any further, I'll remind you of some things before your screening.
Do not work out 24 hours before as it will impact your performance and potentially skew your results.
Do not eat or drink anything other than water in the 4 hours before your screening.
Do bring workout clothes and shoes to change into as you will get sweaty.
Do ask for a protein bar on your way out at the front desk, which will be free if you complete a UFIT feedback survey!
After a long discussion about my InBody report (I asked Stu far too many questions but he was very patient), Stu explained what tests we would do, how long they would take and their purpose.
Firstly, we did a lung function test which involved taking a big breath in and then a massive breath out into a measurement device. Results from this test can help identify respiratory conditions before signs and symptoms are present.
Secondly, we did a resting metabolic rate test, well, I call it a test, you just lie down for 10 minutes with a breathing mask strapped to your face. You must lie still for this as you must be completely relaxed as the system measures the amount of oxygen coming in and carbon dioxide going out. Results from this test determine how many calories you require at rest.
Finally, we did a cardiorespiratory fitness test, which (I think) included a VO2 Max Test but I cannot be sure. Regardless, it involved keeping the breathing mask on my face while pedalling on a static exercise bike (Wattbike). The difficulty increases incrementally (roughly every couple of minutes) and it gets harder and harder to hit the target Watts displayed on the bike's LCD screen – the aim is to go for as long as you can. Meanwhile, your oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide production are measured, the results of which will give insights into your metabolic health and how your body utilises oxygen at different exercise intensities.
After I'd recovered from the fitness test (prepare yourself for this one, it isn't easy), Stu and I sat down to look at the initial results and talk through what they all meant. The amount of data captured is staggering and it's fascinating to hear how Stu interprets a bunch of dots and lines on graphs.
While Stu told me a lot, I retained very little of it with the knowledge (and comfort) that he would simplify my results in the report I would receive 2 days later. Speaking of which...
The final report
Early the following week, Stu emailed me my PDF report which I immediately opened and read. If you're interested to see what a report looks like, you can view and download it below.
You can see for yourself all the detail the report includes but, again, I'll draw your attention to some parts I found particularly interesting and useful.
Metabolic efficiency: Among other things, this shows how many calories you burn during exercise and identifies your optimal training zones for burning fat and/or carbs.
Resting metabolic rate (RMR): This shows what your body primarily uses to produce energy and provides your personalised RMR as well as recommended calorie ranges to reduce, maintain or increase body weight on training and non-training days.
Heart rate training zones: This shows your personalised training zones based on your heart rate. You can later use these in combination with a fitness tracker (I use my Apple Watch) to ascertain how hard a workout is. Stu gives training recommendations based on your results, which in my case was guidance for how to effectively train low (102–127bpm) and how to train high (140+bpm).
The man behind the machine
Before I wrap things up, I thought it would be cool to tell you a little about Stu, who was kind enough to grab a coffee with me after my health screening.
Stu is from the UK and has both an academic (BSc and MSc) and professional background in fitness. He specialises in sport-specific strength and conditioning, corrective exercise, physiological testing, and nutritional guidance.
When I asked Stu who most benefits from a health screening – fitness beginners or veterans – he said that "...it's beneficial for anyone to do a screening. If you've never worked out before, you can set a benchmark for where you're at or spot any health concerns early that you should be aware of. If you're already on your fitness journey, you can track your performance and regularly measure your progress. And if you're plateauing, we can use the data to tell you how to optimise your training and get better results. I get a lot of satisfaction working with those that are training for a specific goal or an event, which is when we can add value from the data we record."
Stu also mentioned UFIT's collaboration with Green Kitchen, something Max spoke about during our interview; he too hopes that the calorie and macro guidance from screenings can in future be used to create more bespoke meal plans. This really would move Green Kitchen's already personalised weekly menus into the stratosphere!
If you've been inspired to do a health screening at UFIT, you can book one here.
In total, my screening cost S$187 and you can do it regardless of whether you are a UFIT member or not.
I've enjoyed writing this blog post and would love to hear from anyone who runs similar tests or provides nutritional advice based on such tests. I'd also love to hear from anyone that wants me to review fitness challenges or classes in Singapore – the creative sky's the limit folks! Meanwhile, if you'd like to keep up to date on the workouts I do and the meals I receive, you can follow me on Instagram.