This was my home for the day this past Saturday:
The indoor cycling room at HEALTHplex Fitness Center in Sarasota for Spinning Instructor Orientation!
The 9-hour day consisted of a classroom session with 2 rides – one before lunch & one to close out the day.
We covered everything from proper bike setup and form to class design (“terrain” and music) to heart rate training.
And THAT’s where I learned the most – heart rate training.
I’ve always known that heart rate training is an important piece of the fitness puzzle. But I never realized just HOW important it really is when it comes to making the most of your workouts.
I’ll be the first to admit: I never did my own research about how to properly use heart rate training in my own fitness journey. I simply strapped on that heart rate monitor and did my workout. Then I “looked” at what my average and max numbers were.
But that’s it – looked at it and filed it away. Out of sight, out of mind.
Admittedly, I didn’t gain anything by seeing where my heart rate clocked in – and I certainly didn’t know how they were impacting my overall fitness or the results I was seeing.
The Spinning program was created with the focus on a 4-level Perceived Exertion Scale. This scale is then tied to “energy zones” and heart rate.
|Perceived Exertion Level||Energy Zone||% of Max Heart Rate|
|Moderate||Endurance / Aerobic Zone||65-75%|
|Very Hard||Race Day / Anaerobic Zone||85-92%|
Basically, the focus of the Spinning program is “training” rather than just “working out”.
By training in targeted heart rate “zones” someone can maximize the benefits of her training time.
Train less and benefit more from each of your workout sessions.
Makes sense right?
The Spinning program recommends training for several weeks in the Endurance and then Strength zones, building towards a “Race Day” effort. (See, really training instead of just sitting on a bike and pedaling for 40 minutes & then walking away.)
This would work especially well if you can take a Spinning class 2-3 or more times a week so you can really tailor your classes and have an “event” – followed by a recovery period.
Since my schedule currently doesn’t have room for more than 1 Spinning class a week, I’ve decided to put this same theory in action for ALL of my training – running and cycling (I’d say swimming, but it’s been months since I’ve been in a pool…and my heart rate monitor doesn’t work under water…).
After all, I’ve been struggling with race performance. So maybe a change in training focus – from distance and “speed” to true ENDURANCE will be helpful!
So after I came home from class with my shiny certificate of completion in hand…
This means I can start teaching RIGHT NOW if I want to!
…I decided to sit down and calculate my maximum heart rate.
Turns out I’ve been working out in the anaerobic zone (“race day effort”) a lot more often than in the aerobic zone (endurance & fat burning zone) – even during my regular old training runs!
Based on my resting heart rate and calculated maximum heart rate, I should be completing most of my workouts with a heart rate of 143-155 to stay in the Endurance/Aerobic zone (65-75% of my max).
(The chart above shows MY heart rate information. Please consult your physician or other trained health professional if you want to calculate your own heart rate zones because I’m not a doctor!)
Yet I’ve consistently gone over that in every workout. I haven’t gone over by much but in every workout, a significant portion of my effort was at a heart rate closer to 165.
Sure, there’s always wiggle room in every “calculation” and this definitely isn’t an exact science.
But I think now is as good a time as any to start from square one and shift my training focus. Instead of focusing on “distance distance distance” and obsessing over my less than stellar paces, I’m going to focus in staying in my targeted “endurance” heart rate zone.
Who knows, maybe this will be just what I need to feel excited about running again – because goodness knows I’m still feeling very defeated after Sarasota.
And if nothing more, this is exactly where I need to be for the beginning of my Spinning Instructor journey! (Even though I could start teaching right now if I wanted, I still have two phases of training to complete before I’m officially “certified”.)
WHAT ABOUT YOU: Do you train in “heart rate zones”? Do you even wear a heart rate monitor? Think it’s all a bunch of hooey? Or actually useful?
A few of you asked that I post a real “recap” of my Spinning training session, but the class materials are copyrighted and I would definitely be breaking the rules to post all of the information here. If you are interested in the Spinning instructor certification program and want to know more about my experience just send me an email: theresa@ActiveEggplant.com