At the beginning of both Student Instructor Training, and the Spinpower Training this past weekend, we began the day talking about how important it is for you the instructor to know as much about how the human body responds while exercising on a bike as you can. It's what we do, train the general public on a stationary bike. Educating oneself above and beyond the 9 hour certification day is crucial, and it starts as easily as being able to describe how you feel when riding.
The comment I got over and over this weekend was that very few riders show up wearing a monitor, and those that do don't know their true parameters. Without going any further, I drew the 1-10 modified Borg Scale on the whiteboard. The one thing everyone has is perception of the work. As an instructor, it must be the #1 thing you hone in on as far as being able to describe what certain efforts should or could feel like. If using the 1-10 scale, 10 being a maximal effort, warm up to a 2-3, described as easy to moderate. This can be associated with the bottom of the Endurance Energy Zone, or 65% MHR in the Spinning Program. Threshold, or the physiological marker that is the border between aerobic and anaerobic metabolism, is equated with a 7 on the scale, or very hard. This can be correlated to 85% MHR within the Spinning Program.
Very simply, everything below a 7 on the scale is aerobic, and everything above it is anaerobic. If a rider warms up to a 2-3, their aerobic range is up to a 6, commonly known as an aerobic ceiling, perceived as hard, or 80% MHR. This is a great range to recommend for new riders or those in an aerobic base building stage.
It's a tight range from threshold, or a 7 RPE to one's max, a 10. With a good feel for some of the physiological changes that come in and around that marker of threshold, beneficial work can be done a little below, at, or a little above it.
Rather than worrying about who is or is not wearing a monitor, and whether or not they know their zones, get good at coaching what certain ranges can feel like. It's all inclusive, and will get you on your way to becoming a better instructor.