Where are YOU on the Fitness Spectrum?

Jan 29, 2019 | Fitness News and Tips

On the spectrum of physical ability, where do you rank?

More importantly, where do you want to rank?

Let’s look at a five-point scale. Most people over 50 fall into one of these categories.

  • Elite athlete
  • Fit
  • Independent
  • Frail
  • Dependent

We’ll look at each one in more detail below. But take a guess now as to which one applies to you. How does that make you feel? Surely no one wants to think of themselves as dependent or frail – and everyone’s fitness goals are different, ranging from healthy function to high-level sports competition.

That’s what’s so liberating about a healthy lifestyle: It lets you live the way you want to live, whatever that means to you. Come in and let us help you get to where you want to be or maintain your fitness level in fun, new ways. Exercise is the best medicine – and, no, it’s not too late to start!

From elite to dependent

Here’s how the Functional Aging Institute breaks down the stages, with broad direction on how people in each group can benefit from small group training. It’s a good structure to begin a discussion.


Description: These are the fittest and most functional folks, those who are regular exercisers and probably involved in competitive sports. They have advanced physical abilities, and they love working hard at their fitness.

Outlook: “Given their advanced physical abilities, there is really no limit on what they can do in a training session,” says FAI’s Dr. Cody Sipe.


Description: Most fit, mature adults are considered fit in the area they train but might be deficient in other areas. Maybe a strong runner has low strength, or a strong man has poor flexibility. There’s such a big range here that FAI notes the distinction between “fully fit” and “semi-fit.”

Outlook: “They need a heavier focus on the specific areas in which they are deficient,” Cody says.


Description: The average mature adult can perform daily tasks on their own, but they don’t participate in any vigorous activities. This is the largest category, and some mature adults get trapped in complacency here, thinking that their independence means they don’t need to exercise. But that can lull them into a dangerous place, where one fall or injury can knock them down to “frail” or “dependent” status.

Outlook: Cody says, “This group needs a well-rounded mix with a focus on increasingly complex movements and those that challenge dynamic balance.”


Description: People at this stage have low functional abilities in most or all aspects – strength, poor balance, energy, etc. They need help performing everyday tasks.

Outlook: “They require an emphasis on basic strength and power exercises, as well as basic gait and mobility patterns. Balance movements should be more static and performed with caution because they have a high risk of falling”, according to Dr. Sipe.


Individuals in this group typically require specialized one-on-one assistance and are not candidates for small group training.

Everyone is different

We know that you’re an individual and not just a member of a demographic or even a subset on a scale like this.

Functional fitness doesn’t necessarily track with chronological age. If you don’t know a super-fit 80-year-old, you’ve seen examples of them in the media. And, sadly, it’s more likely that you know someone who is 60 and frail.

We are here to help you get or stay fit by your own definition, for your own purposes. Maybe you aspire to get to the level of independence, or fitness or maybe even elite athleticism! Remember, better is always possible!

Glazed Pork Tenderloin

This turns fresh apricots into a tangy-sweet sauce and glaze for meaty pork tenderloin. (You can make the sauce with plums if apricots aren’t available.) Serve with a simple vinaigrette-dressed spinach salad tossed with red onion, shaved pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, and pistachios.


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 4 medium ripe apricots, pitted and chopped (about 12 oz.)
  • 1 (1-lb.) pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add shallots and rosemary; cook 1 minute or until lightly golden. Add brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and apricots; cook 12 minutes or until apricots are broken down and mixture is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Place 3 tablespoons apricot mixture in a small bowl; set aside.

Step 3

Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle pork with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add pork to pan; cook 6 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Brush pork with half of remaining apricot mixture (about 6 tablespoons). Place pan in oven; bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Turn pork; brush with remaining half of apricot mixture. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into pork registers 145°. Place pork on a cutting board; let stand 5 minutes. Cut across the grain into 12 slices. Serve with reserved 3 tablespoons apricot mixture.

Nutritional Information

Calories 293

Fat 8.1g

Protein 25g

Carbohydrate 30g

Fiber 2g

Cholesterol 74mg

Sodium 472mg

From Cooking Light