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?
Read this 3 part series on why we feel a 20 minute threshold field test may not be appropriate for your class.
- ICI/PRO Podcast 299 – Power and your Playlist… don't make it too hard - June 5, 2023
- Please come back to my class! - May 30, 2023
- My Life Time Instructor Teach Back - May 24, 2023
Currently, the only use of heart rate monitors being used are in my cycling class. We have just recently completed threshold testing and established threshold heart rates. I plan on using that infomation to help guide future workouts. As far as signs and language, we are not on the same page.
I love this chart, and the bronze, silver, gold levels of ascertaining the AT. It’s especially comforting to realize that this is the typical explanation I give for how to find the AT (I have yet to attempt to organize a formal field test).
A few years back I taught Spinning’s 8-week weight loss program and interestingly, the chart that is part of the program also uses AT as the anchor. It was lovely to use.
No, my club does not have a common language or common expectations for instructors to teach HR.
We are so hit or miss when it come to HRT. I really like the levels presented in the chart. I like to teach the Karvonen method to our fit clients. In many ways I feel it is my fault for not educating my staff. I will add this to my list of things to do in 2011. For a long time I was the only one wearing cycling shoes, but know most of our classes have at least 1/2 of the students and all of the instructors wearing them. What that tells me is if we preach it and live it so will our students.
Personally I teach HRT with RPE.
I use RPE as I know that only 3 or 4 people in the various classes I sub have a HRM. We have an RPE chart next to where the instructor sits, and I often point to it… however a lot of the other instructors ignore that chart!
On this topic of threshold, I want to speak about two issues: (1) Standardization of cardio training
(2) Consensus on how to set and what zone to use.
Having written a number of books on the topic and literally read hundreds of original research articles in peer reviewed publications, I have to say that there needs to be a set of standards that are used that are based on exercise science. As Carl Foster, Ph.D. and the author of the cardio chapter in the new ACE Personal Trainer Manual continues to say – you have to follow the science and not what someone invents.
The Lifetime Fitness chart was invented – and if you ever want to know who/why I’d be happy to share that story. It is not based on any research – and there’s been non to substantiate it.
That’s why we need standards so that inventions like the formula 220-age equals maximum heart rate which is the foundation of setting training zones never happens again. That formula was invented. There is no substantiation for tht either – you can read more about it at: http://www.heartzones.com/blog/?p=341
I encourage debate on the topic. I will side with John MacGowan because an IC ride taught in Lincoln, Nebraska based on principles of cardio like zone methodology should be standardized so that a class taught in Mexico City, Mexico follows those same principles.
Heart Zones USA Founder/CEO