I see a lot of high energy group franchises popping up these days and while I do take the stance that what ever gets you moving and off the couch is beneficial; these places are close but don’t quite have it right. As a Bioforce conditioning coach I would like to go over the good and bad of these places so you can make an informed decision on where to spend your time and money!
It seems that several high energy heart rate-based exercise franchises are popping up all over the place. Some cleverly use a heart rate zone color as its name and others reference the amount of time you spend working out in the name, you know the ones. First let’s talk about what they do correct, they monitor your heart rate, they provide good motivation and high energy, and the provide a good atmosphere of similar people working toward similar goals. These things truly are beneficial to starting a program. It is inspiring the number of people who are jumping on the band wagon and starting to enjoy exercise. Just don’t get fooled by the marketing, there might be a better way.
Unfortunately, it is not all sunshine and rainbows at these places, so let’s talk about the possible down falls. While their system is loosely based on science the employees do not always understand that science and can not explain it to the clients. This paired with a highly competitive style workout easily leads to overtraining the CNS, especially in deconditioned people. They reward all out efforts and give “points” when someone pushes as hard as they can. In reality, it is only beneficial to push all out for short bursts once or twice a week and only for a few weeks at a time. What results when this is not understood is constant overtraining, lowered immune system, decline in conditioning, and plateaus in results. While they are on the right track using heart rate, in a class setting they do not have the time to find your real aerobic and anaerobic thresholds. This can result in most training performed in what we call the black hole, heart rate is to high to improve aerobic base but too low to improve anaerobic threshold. Training is this zone leads to no improvement or even loss of conditioning. Finally, their goal is to give you a hard workout, not get you to your results.
While these places are a fun place to go and workout and I don’t mind even my clients using them to supplement their training, I make sure they know how to monitor their training there. If you enjoy going to these places please find a certified conditioning coach to help find your thresholds, explain how to get true benefit out of their systems, and monitor your training blocks. If you want real results that are directly toward your goals just train with that conditioning coach, trust me he is much better at it than those “color” places. This way you keep working toward your goal and don’t get sucked into the black hole of training extremely hard with no results!