Personal Fitness Merit Badge Answers: A ScoutSmarts Guide


If you’re preparing to earn the Eagle-required Personal Fitness merit badge, you’re in the right place! In this guide, I’ll be providing you with all of the answers that you’ll need to complete your merit badge worksheet and build a lifelong understanding of personal health and fitness.

You’ve reached part 2 of my ultimate guide to the Personal Fitness merit badge! If you’re new to ScoutSmarts, you should first check out part 1 for the answers to requirements 1-4 of the Personal Fitness merit badge.

If you’ve come over from part one, congratulations! You’re halfway done! Once you finish this badge, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge needed to keep your body strong and healthy, for life. Give yourself a big pat on the back. 🙂

It’s time to get back into it! Take a minute to closely review and think through requirements 5-9 of the Personal Fitness merit badge:

What Are The Personal Fitness Merit Badge Answers?

  1. Explain the following:
    • 5a. The importance of good nutrition
      5b. What good nutrition means to you
      5c. How good nutrition is related to the other components of personal fitness
      5d. How to maintain a healthy weight
  2. Before doing requirements 7 and 8, do the following:
    • 6a. Complete the aerobic fitness, flexibility, and muscular strength tests, as described in the Personal Fitness merit badge pamphlet. Record your results and identify those areas where you feel you need to improve.
      6b. Keep track of what you eat and drink for three days. Identify three healthy eating goals you want to work on.
  3. Outline a comprehensive 12-week physical fitness program using the results of your fitness tests. Be sure your program incorporates the endurance, intensity, and warm-up guidelines discussed in the Personal Fitness merit badge pamphlet. Before beginning your exercises, have the program approved by your counselor and parents.
  4. Complete the physical fitness program you outlined in requirement 7. Keep a log of your fitness program activity (how long you exercised; how far you ran, swam, or biked; how many exercise repetitions you completed; your exercise heart rate; etc.). Keep a log of your weekly healthy eating goals. Repeat the aerobic fitness, muscular strength, and flexibility tests every four weeks and record your results. After the 12th week, repeat all of the required activities in each of the three test categories, record your results, and show improvement in each one. Discuss how well you met your healthy eating goals over these 12 weeks. Discuss the meaning and benefit of your experience, and describe your long-term plans regarding your personal fitness.
  5. Find out about three career opportunities in personal fitness. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss what you learned with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.

5) Explain the following:

5a) The importance of good nutrition

Practicing good nutrition is a vital part of living a healthy lifestyle. By thoughtfully choosing the foods you put into your body, you’ll look better, think more clearly, and have more energy. You’ll also avoid health problems caused by poor eating habits such as:

  • Obesity
  • Low energy
  • Brain fog
  • High blood pressure
  • Body aches
  • Increased acne
  • Indigestion
  • Poor physical fitness
5b) What good nutrition means to you

What good nutrition means can differ from person to person. Depending on your age and height, you may need more or less food than the general recommendation. However, almost all scouts, aged 12 to 18, should be eating at least 4 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. 

The MyPlate Dietary guidelines provide a great model for understanding the varieties and quantities of foods you should be consuming each day. By making balanced dietary choices, you’ll have more energy, become more fit, and encounter fewer health issues as you age.

For a quick overview on the types of foods that make up a nutritious meal, watch the following video (3:02):

Having good nutrition is just as important as regularly exercising. Here are a few quick nutrition tips that will apply to almost every scout:

  • Drink at least 2 liters of water per day (about 8 cups). This should reduce acne and lead to clearer skin.
  • Avoid sodas and other sugary beverages.
  • Don’t eat sugary cereals. Instead, pick oats, greek yogurt, or fruits for breakfast.
  • Nuts are great snacks that you can substitute for processed junk food.
  • Try to consume 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables per day.
  • If you’re trying to reduce your body fat percentage, drink a cup of water before each meal. You’ll eat less and burn more calories.
5c) How good nutrition is related to the other components of personal fitness

Proper nutrition is the foundation of personal fitness. Even if you exercise daily, if you’re not eating the right things, it’ll be difficult to stay healthy. That’s why, the most important fitness decision you can make is to say ‘no’ to eating the wrong foods.

For example, an hour of running will typically burn around 200 to 300 calories. If you visit McDonald’s for a snack, it’ll take 2 to 3 hours of running to burn off the calories from one burger! 

My #1 tip for good nutrition is to stock healthy food in your house. It seems obvious, but many American households only story candy and junk food as snacks. This can lead to problems like obesity, which can often last a lifetime. Make the right choices in the grocery store, and you won’t need to worry about your health later on!

5d) How to maintain a healthy weight

Scientifically, you can maintain your weight by consuming the same amount of calories that you burn each day. For most people, this number is around 2000. To lose weight, eat fewer calories. To gain weight, eat more. However, what’s more important are the nutrients in the foods you’re consuming

Follow MyPlate guidelines, eat foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals, and avoid processed foods. Try to make sure that the calories you’re consuming come from more than just fats and sugars.

If you’re interested in eating a nutritious diet and maintaining a healthy weight, you could also check out my cooking merit badge guide. In it, I go into more detail on the best nutrition habits for teens. 

6) Before doing requirements 7 and 8, do the following:

6a) Complete the aerobic fitness, flexibility, and muscular strength tests, as described in the Personal Fitness merit badge pamphlet. Record your results and identify those areas where you feel you need to improve.
6b) Keep track of what you eat and drink for three days. Identify three healthy eating goals you want to work on.

In requirements 6-8, you’ll need to push past your limits to complete tests in aerobic fitness, flexibility, and muscular strength. This is how you improve your 5 main areas of physical fitness!

To recap the 5 areas of fitness, as well as the different skill components you should work to improve, watch the following quick video (3:19)

The first time I did these tests, I make the mistake of going all out right from the start. What happened? 30 seconds later I ran out of energy. Stay within your limits and remember, endurance is key!

Now that you know you’ll need to pace yourself, you should be ready to take your baseline fitness test. Remember, you’ll be trying to top these scores later, so don’t go overboard and injure yourself. 🙂

As specified by usscouts.org, the Physical Fitness Tests from the merit badge pamphlet for requirements 6 through 8 are as follows:

  1. Aerobic Fitness Test
    Record your performance on one of the following tests:
    • Run/walk as far as you can as fast as you can in nine minutes
      OR
    • Run/walk one mile as fast as you can
  2. Flexibility Test
    Using a sit-and-reach box constructed according to specifications in this merit badge pamphlet, make four repetitions and record the fourth reach. This last reach must be held steady for 15 seconds to qualify. (Remember to keep your knees down.)
  3. Strength Tests
    You must do the sit-ups exercise and one other (either push-ups or pull-ups). You may also do all three for extra experience and benefit.
    • Sit-ups. Record the number of sit-ups done correctly in 60 seconds. The sit-ups must be done in the form explained and illustrated in the merit badge pamphlet.
    • Pull-ups. Record the total number of pull-ups completed correctly in 60 seconds. Be consistent with the procedures presented in the merit badge pamphlet.
    • Push-ups. Record the total number of push-ups completed correctly in 60 seconds. Be consistent with the procedures presented in the merit badge pamphlet.

Click here to see the test procedures presented in the merit badge pamphlet.
Click here to see instructions for building the Sit and Reach Box.
For the sit and reach box: The illustration shows dimensions for constructing the reach box in inches, while the requirement table in the pamphlet stipulates measuring the Scout’s reach in centimeters (cm). Either attach a tape measure calibrated in both inches and cm to the top panel, or mark the top panel in cm. The measuring scale should extend from 0 at the front edge of top panel to 53 cm at a point 0.34 cm before the back edge. That should place the 23 cm point 0.14 cm behind the face of the foot panel.

After taking these tests, record your results. Consider the fitness areas where you exceeded your own expectations, as well as areas in which you could improve in the future.

Then, to complete requirement 6b, you’ll also need to record your diet over the next 3 days. Your phone should be the best tool for recording your habits, as you’re probably carrying it around most of the time! Use your notes app to assess your food and water intake. After tracking your foods and drinks for 3 days, ask yourself, “Are my meals following the MyPlate guidelines?”

7) Outline a comprehensive 12-week physical fitness program using the results of your fitness tests. Be sure your program incorporates the endurance, intensity, and warm-up guidelines discussed in the Personal Fitness merit badge pamphlet. Before beginning your exercises, have the program approved by your counselor and parents.
8) Complete the physical fitness program you outlined in requirement 7. Keep a log of your fitness program activity (how long you exercised; how far you ran, swam, or biked; how many exercise repetitions you completed; your exercise heart rate; etc.). Keep a log of your weekly healthy eating goals. Repeat the aerobic fitness, muscular strength, and flexibility tests every four weeks and record your results. After the 12th week, repeat all of the required activities in each of the three test categories, record your results, and show improvement in each one. Discuss how well you met your healthy eating goals over these 12 weeks. Discuss the meaning and benefit of your experience, and describe your long-term plans regarding your personal fitness.

To complete requirements 7 and 8, you’ll need to take everything you’ve been learning in the Personal Fitness merit badge begin applying it in your own life. It’s time to get fit!

Because there isn’t enough space to leave it in this guide, Click here to check out my in-depth exercise program for requirements 7 and 8. In it, you’ll learn how to create your own 12-week personal fitness program and reach your athletic goals. I’ve also included a printable personal fitness plan that you can use to track your progress while working on this requirement!

I’d recommend bookmarking the above article so that you can come back to it while you improve your personal fitness over the next 12 weeks. Enjoy completing requirements 7 and 8. This is your opportunity to push past your limits and become strong!

9) Find out about three career opportunities in personal fitness. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss what you learned with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.

Personal Trainers

Personal trainers help to increase their clients’ overall levels of fitness. They’re tasked with prescribing exercise plans, motivating clients, and providing feedback. To become a personal trainer you’ll need to be accredited, meaning that you’ll need to receive a certification that proves your competency.

Before being accredited, most personal trainers also earn a bachelor’s degree in a field like physiology or kinesiology. Working as a personal trainer will allow you to meet different clients and help people one-on-one.

Once you’ve gained experience as a personal trainer, you can move into an area of expertise and help people with specific fitness problems. Doing so will differentiate your services, allowing you to charge more per client!

Physical Education Teachers

I’m sure you’ve taken a PE class at school! A physical education teacher must create a curriculum to teach their students about health and fitness. They’re also tasked with supervising activities and making sure that no one gets hurt.

To be hired for the position, most PE teachers need at least a bachelor’s degree in either education or a fitness-related field. They should also have a strong knowledge of teaching methods, and a desire to work with young people.

Dietitians

A dietitian is an expert in human nutrition and diet. These individuals provide consultations and often work with medical clinics, community wellness programs, or food-service groups. Unlike nutritionists, dietitians require a degree and healthcare license to operate.

To become a dietitian you’ll need to attend a university to study health and nutrition. You’ll also need to complete internships with a registered health organization. Afterward, students must complete an examination to become a registered dietitian.

Conclusion

Congratulations on making it this far! Tracking your personal fitness for 3 months isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. By adopting healthy habits when you’re young, you’ll have more energy, build confidence, and be happier all throughout your life.

If you found this post helpful, I’ve also written guides to many of the other Eagle-required merit badges. I’d definitely recommend checking out my comprehensive difficulty rankings for every Eagle-required merit badge if you haven’t seen it already. 

Hope to catch you back at ScoutSmarts soon because I’m constantly uploading new content to help scouts like yourself. Until next time, best of luck on your Scouting journey! 🙂

Cole

I'm constantly writing new content for this website because I believe in Scouts like you! Thanks so much for reading, and for making this world a better place. Until next time, I'm wishing you all the best on your journey to Eagle and beyond!

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