Purpose: The purpose of this prospective study was to examine the effectiveness of self-assessed fitness and exercise in predicting objectively measured physical fitness.
Methods: Study subjects included 1583 men who entered Marine Corps training in San Diego, CA, between September and November 2002 and completed a questionnaire and an objective fitness test. The questionnaire included demographic and self-assessed fitness/exercise items, and was administered immediately upon entry into the training program. The objective fitness measure was obtained using a standardized test after approximately 1 month of training.
Results: Multivariate modeling found that several measures of self-assessed fitness and exercise (estimated number of pull-ups; good, very good, or excellent self-assessed fitness; sweating quite a lot or most or all of the time during physical activity; and competitive experience) were all associated with the objective fitness score. These results remained statistically significant after controlling for age, race, and body mass index (model adjusted R2 = 0.469, P < 0.01).
Conclusion: In this analysis, self-assessed fitness and exercise parameters that can be easily ascertained with a short questionnaire predicted objective fitness scores approximately 1 month later. This information could be used by recruiters to make recommendations for preenlistment conditioning.