Ask Amy about her biggest teaching challenge while on a working fitness vacation at a Caribbean resort and she will tell you it's accommodating all the different languages of the guests. Jamaica is very popular among Europeans and Asians, so in one class she may have students that speak German, Spanish, Russian and Japanese. Many know some English, but Amy has learned that sign language works the best because everyone understands it. She gets their attention, demonstrates what she wants and then leads them with nothing more than her smile and hand gestures.
I'm not saying we should adopt a form of sign language to communicate Heart Rate Training Zones. I'm not sure that would work… But the signage in your club or studio should simply and accurately show visually, exactly what you are speaking in your class.
No health club is perfect, but I have to hand it to Life Time Fitness. They have done an exceptional job and educating all of their instructors on the concept of Threshold and the ever present Heart Rate Charts (in every studio) serve as visual reinforcement of the language we all use in class. You can download a pdf of the chart here.
I say exceptional job because it's very rare to find a student in my class that doesn't understand the concept of Threshold Heart Rate and in an average class 60% – 80% of the participants are wearing and using monitors. To put that in perspective, LTF has 90 clubs and in excess of 300,000 members that are being educated about the proper uses of Heart Rate Training .
Am I suggesting we adopt Life Time's chart? Not necessarily. We need a “generic” or “open source” version so everyone will be able to use it without cost or limitation.
How does your club compare?
Do your signage and fellow Instructors all speak the same language?
Are you resistant to establishing a standard? If so, then why?
John is a member on the AFS (Association of Fitness Studios) Advisory Council.
Holding certifications from; Schwinn, Heart Zones, Team ICG and Life Time Fitness, John's held regularly scheduled cycling classes between 1998 and 2015 when he moved to Florida.
When the weather permits, you'll find him riding and leading outdoor groups by himself or with his Tandem partner (wife) Amy.