Cosmo hooked me on self quizzes at a young age. (Never mind the fact I was reading Cosmo long before I even knew what an “o face” was, much less that I ought to be concerned about it.) Not only did they help me with my math skills – can I subtotal all my “c” scores in my head while deducting points for “a”s? – but I learned valuable things about myself. Things like which character from Friends do I most resemble (I’m a tie between Monica and Chandler, the two most neurotic characters on the show, natch), what my IQ is (thankfully they don’t score for common sense!), my risk for an eating disorder (off the charts but much lower than it used to be), what my Dr. Phil personality is (as opposed to my other personalities Cher and Elmo) and if I have good personal hygiene (Um no I don’t pee in the shower!).
My favorite of all the quizzes are, naturally, the health and fitness assessments. If there is a number out there that could possibly be attached to me in some way, I have found it. I have tested my BMR, RMR, AT, VO2 max, BRCA (gene), BMI, BAI and done the Cooper Test, Army Ranger Test, Presidential Fitness test, Jillian Michael’s test, the P90X benchmark test and those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. I’ve got more acronyms than a can of alphabet soup. I’ve never met a test I didn’t want to take immediately. Remember the “Find your happy weight calculator” debate we had on here a couple of years ago? Yeah. Mine was … not so happy.
But is this preoccupation with personal assessments helpful to my mental and physical well-being?
My friend Erika was asking me the other day what I thought about her results from her metabolic testing (i.e. the death by suffocation while running on a treadmill test). She was confused as to how she should change her workouts in regards to her results. I surprised myself by telling her that I didn’t think it mattered. While I have done these (very expensive) tests, I realized as I was talking to her that they changed nothing for me in the long run. Perhaps if I were an elite athlete, or at least vying for a spot in my age group in my next race, then these numbers would be meaningful for my training but honestly the only thing I remember about my test was the abysmally low calorie count it gave me for my resting metabolic rate. The bad news: one Dairy Queen blizzard is double the amount of calories I need for an entire day. The good news: when the apocalypse comes me and my super-efficient metabolism are going to be living large with the roaches.