For All Spinning® Enthusiasts

Affairs of the Heart

A significant and ongoing challenge for many Spinning® instructors is motivating their students to invest in a heart rate monitor (HRM). The foundation of the Spinning® program (and really all cardiovascular training) is the five Energy Zones, and it's difficult to teach classes the way we are "supposed" to when most-or none-of the class is wearing a HRM. If you're lucky enough to teach at a facility that provides and/or requires them in class, you can agree that the quality of teaching and overall class experience is greatly enhanced by being able to base every class on the language of heart rate. The rest of us find ourselves in the middle of a longstanding and ongoing crusade to educate, urge, inspire, and cajole our students into purchasing HRMs.

I firmly believe that the only major reason why students don't wear a heart rate monitor in class that we as instructors have no control or influence over is the fact that they cost something. This is important to acknowledge and respect since most of us live on a budget and have to balance meeting needs vs wants. But, you may be surprised about the misconceptions many have about the actual cost of a HRM. When I purchased my first Polar in 1994 (the only color it came in was a lovely avocado green reminiscent of baby poop 1970s Tupperware), it cost a whopping $150 and its sole capability was an ongoing readout of your heart rate. In 2013 both the availability and range of prices for HRMs offer a wide array of options for recreational exercisers. $150 today is going to get you a high quality monitor with a variety of functions, while the basics can be had for far less $.

Cost aside, the instructor is probably the single most important determinant of whether or not students are going to see the need and value of training with a HRM. It's depressingly surprising to me to see at workshops and conferences how few instructors own/use a heart rate monitor (and these are the instructors spending the time and money to attend continuing education!). In today's busy world, every minute of every day has increasing value and technology has the capability to make the explosion & accessibility of information both useful and beneficial.

While I understand the challenges involved, I think that basing our classes on the language of heart rate and the energy zones is an important first step to motivating students to invest in themselves, their fitness, and their goals. When it comes to Spinning® and training with a HRM, it truly is an affair of the heart.





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