There’s always that one guy or gal in a group fitness class. You know them. It’s the second to last song, your face is like a salty Niagara but they’re hardly breathing hard. In fact, they don’t sweat, they perspire – despite loading the bar with an impressive amount of weights.
If you don’t know that guy, chances are you are that guy.
In any case, monitoring your heart rate is a great tool for adjusting the intensity of your workouts, even in group fitness classes.
Here are four reasons why and how tracking your heart rate can make your group workouts more effective and motivate you to better fitness results.
1. Exercising at the right intensity
Heart-rate monitors and tracking your heart rate helps you train at the right intensity based on your own body metrics and challenge yourself to gain the desired results. James Guimond, a multi-sport coach, personal trainer and group exercise instructor at Charlotte Athletic Club in Charlotte, NC, has noticed a difference in the way the members feel about group exercise classes thanks to wearable technology.
“The power and synergy of the group exercise format is magnified with technology since the participants cannot sit in the back of class and coast anymore,” he says.
Jack Molesko, owner of Forge Performance in West Windsor, NJ, agrees.
“Having the direct feedback of wearable technology allows the coach or trainer to ensure no member gets left behind,” Molesko says.
“If someone isn’t showing an elevated heart rate, maybe they need help or just a kick in the butt. Regardless of the specifics, effort is the key to success. Wearable technology in the form of heart rate monitors provides a clear representation of effort.”
2. Visible metrics give you a motivation boost
There’s a certain allure to numbers. Wearing a heart rate monitor or a fitness tracker helps with motivation before, during and after the workout. You might not see immediate results in your body, but you have the numbers that show how much effort you put in and how many calories you burned.
Tracking your heart rate is a way to make visible what previously has been invisible.
“Wearable technology is not just a fitness trend. This is verified with tangible and concrete results in every workout,” Molesko says.
Shawn Potocki, owner of UFIT Personal Training in Hamilton, New Jersey, knows the potential for wearable technology is endless. “Anytime my clients are able to physically see how their workouts are progressing via the use of wearable technology, then it helps them mentally to push themselves harder to improve,” Potocki says.
3. Heart rate tracking and accountability
Accountability is key to success.
Chuck Morris, director of sports performance and education at Team 85 in Bordentown, New Jersey, thinks that technology can keep you more engaged and interested in your workouts.
“Wearable technology separates what a person thinks they did from what they actually did.”
“Without technology, the numbers are like a vapor – hard to touch. Wearables make those numbers tangible and make the goal a person is trying to accomplish much more realistic.”
With wearables, members can see what they have done and that today was better or worse than yesterday, he says.
“The visuals our members see on a heart rate monitor or other wearable device throughout their workout, trigger an emotional response. I feel this is the encouragement that tells them they did a good job or makes them realize they could have worked out harder. This is especially true for us because during our HIIT workouts we project each member’s active heart rate and calories on a large screen, and that gives them and the trainer a clear view of how hard they are working.”
4. Sharing is caring
“If you think about it, all the activities we enjoy involve other people,” Morris says. “Wearables and fitness apps are just like every other activity in that they make things more fun and allow for an overall sense of community.”
By coupling social media with your fitness tracker, you can compete with yourself as well as with others. Seeing another member’s information on the screen at the gym or their workout posted on social media is inspiring and encourages you to try harder with each workout.
If you’re not that guy or gal who hardly gets out of breath during a group fitness class, maybe you’d be curious to find out if that super fit star of the class is really working at all and if so, how hard? Wouldn’t it be fun to see how hard everybody in your LES MILLS BODYPUMP class is training and draw energy from others?
Polar Club is a fitness app that shows the name, heart rate and percentage of maximum heart rate and calories burned for each person in the class.
You don’t even have to wait until (and if) they decide to share their workouts on social media, if you choose a class in a fitness center that uses Polar Club, you can see the heart rate data of the entire group on a screen throughout the class.
“Having members use wearable technology builds a community within the gym of friends who try to beat one another during workouts,” Orlando says. “Seeing who can burn the most calories or get their heart rate up the fastest promotes a fun and positive workout environment and motivates everyone to push as hard as they can during workouts.”
This story has been edited and abridged from two stories written by Amanda Caswell, originally published in Club Industry.
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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.