Everything Fitness Business Owners Should Know About Heart Rate-Based Training

By Aaron Eisberg

Wearable technology has topped the American College of Sports Medicine's roundup of the top fitness trends for four of the past five years. One of the major uses of wearable technology is heart rate monitoring. If you aren’t helping your members use heart rate-based training to support their fitness and overall health, you may be missing out on a major opportunity to help them reach their goals -- and to help your business reach its goals, too. Here’s a closer look at why heart rate-based training is so beneficial to gyms and their members.

The Heart Rate Training Trend

Experts recommend that people get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week. However, what constitutes “moderate-intensity” for one person may not for another. One way for people to know that they’re reaching the proper exertion level? Heart rate training. 

Says Dr. Aaron Baggish, director of the Cardiovascular Performance Program at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, “Heart rate training can give you an ongoing reminder of your intensity and tell you when you need to pick up the pace or slow down. This way you can stay within your moderate-intensity zone as much as possible.” 

Adds Aqib Rashid, founder of personal training facility and luxury fitness lounge GHOST, “Heart rate training is a method of exercise in which you leverage your heart’s functional response as an indication of exercise intensity. Rather than relying on an external performance benchmark (e.g. running speed, number of reps, etc.), exercise intensity is set based on ‘target’ heart rate zones.” 

The Many Benefits of Heart Rate Training

When incorporated into a training program, heart rate training can have a powerful impact on member workouts and results. Broken out across all five-heart rate target zones, the benefits are as follows:

Zone 1: Easy / Warm up

Training up to 59 percent of maximum heart rate (MHR) for long periods of time puts exercisers in this easy and comfortable zone. This is a typical zone for walking or for warming up. 

Woman working out in a gym.

Zone 2: Light / Weight Control

Training at 60 to 69 percent of MHR boosts basic endurance and aerobic capacity, making it suitable for active recovery cool down.

Zone 3: Moderate / Aerobic Training / Endurance

Training at 70 to 79 percent of MHR enhances the body’s ability to transport oxygen and CO2 to and from the working muscles, thereby strengthening the cardiovascular system.

Zone 4: Intense / Extreme Aerobic / Intervals

Training at 80 to 89 percent of MHR develops the lactic acid system, which improves energy, sports performance, bone strength and density, and metabolism. It also promotes the building and maintenance of lean muscle mass while protecting the joints.

Zone 5: Vigorous / Speed / Focused

Known as “the Red Line Zone,” training at 90 to 100 percent of MHR works out fast twitching muscle fibers in short but high-intensity spurts. 

Making the Most of Heart Rate Training

For people to properly and effectively use heart rate training, they need to know their MHR, resting heart rate, and VO2 max. It’s not enough to invest in heart rate monitoring technology for your fitness business. You must also be prepared to support members in the adoption and appropriate use of the technology. Without these support systems in place, members may be intimidated or overwhelmed which in turn may prevent them from using it. 

It’s also important to remind members that heart rate-based training has benefits for everyone -- regardless of fitness level. Continues Rashid, “The main purpose in using HR as a barometer for exercise is observance of the overall trends of your heart rate— for which a wearable device is very helpful...This goes for both elite athletes and those new to fitness.” 

If you're looking to improve member recruitment and retention, there's no better way than by giving members what they want while simultaneously supporting their overall health and wellness goals. Fitness monitoring technology offers an invaluable partnership toward this goal.  Request a demo today to learn more about the Accurofit System.