How it all began blog image

How it all began

Author: Dave

Posted on : Sep 1, 2015

The idea for realFIT came when I realized there was no single measuring stick for fitness. I have always been fit for life, but as an extremely goal-oriented person, I would always struggle to measure progress. I looked for a standard fitness measurement program to tell me how fit I was. I wanted to establish a baseline to measure my own improvement - I was less interested in comparing myself to others.

It is hard to believe, but before realFIT, there was no standard fitness measurement. Sure, there are lots of fitness programs and tests, but there is not one defining standard. I wanted the "fitness equivalent for a credit score" - a number that would instantly convey meaning. And yes, there are very basic fitness assessments, but these guidelines do not apply to anyone that is already fit. They also rely on outdated measures like Body Mass Index (BMI).


Here's proof that BMI is meaningless for anyone who is fit. I am 5'10" and weigh just under 180 pounds. No one would ever call me unfit. Yet, according to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention, I was actually considered overweight!

As kids, we had the President's Physical Fitness testing program. I still remember doing the pushups, sit-ups, shuttle run and 600 yard run.  I also remember proudly waving my award certificate.  Did you know this test still exists for adults?

However, if you are even moderately fit, this challenge is laughably easy. I wanted much tougher standards. I also did not want to be judged versus the averages or by age. I was tired of the comments like "you are fit for your age." I wanted to know my performance on an absolute basis.

I first looked to the military and discovered that, not only do all of the branches have different standards, they have additional guidelines for their elite corps (such as the Navy Seals, Army Rangers, etc).  I then looked at other professions where fitness was tested – such as law enforcement and fire departments – and discovered that not only were there variations in what categories were assessed, the actual tests and targets were widely different.

All of these assessment programs helped, but there was one big problem. They focused on minimum standards, i.e. just passing the test. I wanted to ace the test. In many cases, I was already at or near the maximum point value. So I started looking at the professional testing programs – especially the NFL Combine, which is widely accepted and understood. The performance results for these athletes truly set the bar as high as possible. This was a true test.

Haven’t you ever wondered how fast you could run the 40? And where you would finish versus the best in the world?  More importantly, can you outrun your buddy? in 2012, we launched the realFIT score,  which was designed to answer those questions. The realFIT score combines widely recognized  tests with an absolute scale – calibrated for the “fit” population.  No one will score 1,000 points on our scale, since no one athlete can “ace” every test. 

During our journey, we met others who felt the same way, so we took the next step in our overall mission. In 2014, we launched realFIT data, which offers custom scoring services to any group wanting to leverage our test library or scoring philosophy. Now organizations, fitness apps and events can create their own scores, confident that the results are realFIT certified®.

Welcome to the realFIT community.

Dave Patzwald

George Maney

co-Founders, realFIT

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