Having the ability to keep track of your intensity during a work out is a very important part of fitness. In large class settings, a Group Fitness Instructor (GFI) won’t be able to have his or her eyes on everyone every second, and although visual cues can help in determining where someone is at during a work out, it’s good to have each individual be aware of his or her own bodies, and know how they are doing. It’s important to have each participant monitor their heart rate- and it can be done a few different ways:
1. The carotid pulse: The carotid artery runs to the side of the larynx. Using the first two fingers, lightly press on the artery. Don’t do both arteries on either side of the neck at the same time, and always press lightly.
2. The radial pulse: The pulse is taken from the radial artery in the wrist, like this:
3. The temporal pulse: Sometimes, you can obtain a pulse from the left or right temple, like this:
Target heart rates:
Other means of rating your exertion during working out:
1. The talk test: This takes into account someone’s ability to breathe and talk during a work out. If the participant can easily answer a question asked and still feels as though they are getting a good work out, it’s likely that they are getting a safe work out. This way of monitoring things is a good way for beginners to keep track of bodily responses.
2. Ratings of perceived exertion: Assigning a value to your exercise is a good way to know where you are at, and how hard you are working. The RPE scale was created by Dr. Gunnar Borg.
3. Dyspnea scale: Dyspnea is described as having a hard time breathing. People who have breathing issues like asthma or emphysema may have problems breathing during exercise. Participants can be taught the following scale in order to monitor their breathing.
Here is a list of recommended ways to keep track of your intensity, depending on the exercise you are doing:
High-low, step training, kickboxing: Heart rate, Ratings of perceived exertion, or talk test
Aquatic exercise: Ratings of perceived exertion or talk test
Group indoor cycling: Heart rate or talk test
Equipment-based classes: Heart rate, Ratings pf perceived exertion of talk test
It’s still important for a GFI to be on the look out for warning signs in their participants. The first sign of over-exertion is a break down in proper form. The participant might lose their posture, or won’t be able to fully perform movements properly, leading to potential injury. If a GFI witnesses this, they need to recommend the participant reduce the intensity of the exercise. Offer modifications. Other warning signs are labored breathing, excessive sweating, and dizziness.