Getting the Polar Team heart rate system for our studio 3 years ago was life changing for us. It changed the way we trained clients dramatically, and enhanced our services threefold.
Watching people move, you get a pretty good idea of how well they are coping, and how ready their system is to train. When we switched to using heart rates with all clients, we were shocked! As the saying goes, you really can't judge a book by it's cover.
All of a sudden we could REALLY see what was going on with clients. We could see how some people simply couldn't get their heart rate up no matter what the exercise was. We saw some people thrive on certain exercises, and flat line on others. The most frightening thing was seeing how some people couldn't recover, and get their heart rate down!
It was upsetting to see just how easily we could (and certainly had in the past!) over stress clients when we didn't know what was going on with their heart rate.
It was hard to juggle even small groups at first due to the variability of heart rate fitness. We felt panicked when the die hard members couldn't reach an intensity they were happy with. The die hard members thought they were too fit, and needed to work harder to achieve higher heart rates. They didn't like hearing our suggestions that perhaps they needed to make some lifestyle changes to build a more resilient system.
On the other side of the spectrum when members heart rates stayed high and they couldn't recover, they felt like they too were not working heart enough and didn't want to admit that their system may be holding more stress than they were aware of.
Heart rates don't lie. The live feedback was right there in front of us. For some it was so hard to swallow that members wanted to tell us it was wrong or broken. Some members didn't come back because it was too confronting to honour the priceless feedback that their body was telling them.
Heart rate monitors force us to listen. Using a monitor is powerful lesson for each and every member to go through. We watch members efficiency change dramatically for the better within just a week as they begin to understand the factors that increase or decrease their stress. Within a session clients may tell us they are not feeling great, are sore, or stressed in a daily readiness assessment. In these situations, often the members heart rate will seem unresponsive to the movement. After employing some quick drills to reduce pain and stress, increase circulation, hydration and prepare the body for movement, we see heart rates respond better to the workout.
3 years down the track we can't imagine training without our heart rate system. The main reason it is so incredibly powerful, is that it helps empower clients to listen to their bodies and respond accordingly, which helps fast track results both within a session, and long term.