Recently, I found myself at the local big box home improvement store looking for some primer paint. A helpful person asked if I had any questions. I explained that I had some pealing paint that I intended to scrape, prime and repaint. He suggested "brand X" as the best primer that they sold. Before I could ask if it would be possible to have the primer tinted, he moved off to help someone else. Content that I had the right paint, I carried a can of it over to the counter where they mixed custom colors. "What are you using this for?" asked the helpful person behind the counter. I told her the same thing I had told the earlier helpful person and asked if I could have it tinted. "This isn't what you want." was her reply. She then began giving me a chemistry lesson that went way over my head. I listened politely before explaining I needed a few other things and would be right back.
I left the store with nothing but confusion.
In the survey I asked the question; What would you change, add or implement at your club or studio that you feel will increase Heart Rate monitor usage by members? 61% said they would implement Instructor training so everyone talks the same language.
Have we created a "Tower of Babel"?With 413 responses to the Heart Rate Training Survey it is clear that we have a language barrier that needs to be addressed. I feel the confusion it creates for our students is partially to blame for the low level of Heart Rate monitor usage in our classes.
I respect the fact that people will have their own point of view, i.e... which is the best paint for your house, but do our answers always reflect what's best for the customer?
I needed help making a decision and helpful person #1 gave me exactly what I needed; a simple, confident recommendation. Even though it was based on minimum information, his confidence left me feeling ready to take action... in this case making the purchase.
Helpful person #2, while thinking she was being helpful, did the exact opposite. The confusion she created had me second guessing what should have been a pretty simple decision. So I did nothing... which I'm thinking is what many of our students do every day.
In these three posts I am advocating for a standard method of describing HR training Zones and I would love your feedback.
Why we need a standard method to describe heart rate training zones part 1
Why we need a standard method to describe heart rate training zones part 2
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John, one of the most stringent protocols of a C.O.R.E Cycling certification is learning how to coach perceived rate of exertion. In a recent article of RoadBikeRider (www.roadbikerider.com) Coach Fred Methany has the following response to a query about buying a power meter: “Yes, a power meter is a good investment that has the potential to help any rider improve. But this doesn’t mean you should buy one. Think of your training as a stool with 3 legs, namely heart rate, power output and perceived exertion. Each leg is important if the stool is going to support you.
—Heart rate tells how your cardiovascular system reacts to training intensity. —Power metering tells how great that intensity is in watts.
—Perceived exertion (PE), once you learn how to use it, tells you both of those things at once. It’s a holistic measure of the reaction of your body and mind to the stresses of training.
I contend that PE — learning to listen to your body — is the most important “meter” you can have. The ability to use PE is gained by paying careful attention to such signals as your breathing rate, the burning in your quads and feelings of well-being — mental states ranging from “I’m a beast!” to “I wanna go home!”
While heart rate is affected by so many factors (dehydration, lack of sleep, too much coffee, it can’t always be relied to measure intensity objectively.
Learning to coach PRE is an art but well worth the effort. The response we get from our participants is overwhelming when they have that “aha” moment.
I agree with you except how do we all get to the point where we all talk using the same language?
I just had my “aha” moment.
After my trekking class I bumped into a spin instructor I’ve known for long time. We were chit chating and the subject of heart rate training came up. I told her about Zoning.
Those of you that follow this space know that Sally Edwards and I have developed Zoning, a simple three zone system that relates to a flashing color light only on our heart rate monitor.
My aha moment was when she said, “finally, a way to discuss effort to the first timer the same way I do veterans. Where can I get one?”
Great effort management systems have evolved with science and technology. In it’s day RPE was the best we could offer yet often difficult to relate to for the novice.
Today the science of ventilatory thresholds is far better understood. Many leaders in this business like Carl Foster and Sally Edwards have tested various assessments that allow anchoring of T1 and T2 to a number on a heart rate monitor that do not require metabolic testing. I have done much of this my self during Zoning Beta testing.
The people we are trying to reach want to lose weight, feel better, look better and enjoy an active lifestyle. They want to work out in groups and feel like the instructor is helping them too.
With zoning we simply ask our class to work in three zones, blue yellow or red. If one is not using our blink heart rate monitor, that is ok. Your instructor will have helped to identify a number on the monitor one is wearing.
With all due respect Clair, I believe that the aha moment is when a new member is told that they can attend any class, work with any personal trainer or work by themselves by just monitoring the color of the flashing light.
John, there are physical as well as psychological cues for each level of intensity or “zone”. They key lies in learning the language and coaching it effectively. Coach John Hughes has a fantastic 1-5 rating, 1 being “digestion pace”, whereas 4 is “sub-barf pace” and 5 is “eye-balls out pace”.
Carl, your blinking colour zones are a wonderful invention and correspond beautifully with PRE. Blue would be our 5-6.5/10, Yellow would be 7-8/10 and Red would be 8.5+.
Novice riders are clever enough to understand what “working hard, able to speak full sentences and sustainable pace” means.
I totally agree. Soon I hope to get our invention into the hands of people just like yourself so you can see how the systems work together. If you are interested you can find me at zoningfitness.com.
Thank you for your insights. I look forward to meeting you. I will be presenting at the ICI conference.