A Most Fascinating Study Of The Human Endeavor

At Chizel, we started implementing the use of Heart Rate Monitors ( HRM"S) in most of our classes back in the late summer. We were in "Beta" mode for about 2 months, testing out how the HRM's worked ( or didn't) and what we needed to pay attention to in order to ensure our Chizel'ers a good experience.

What I didn't anticipate was how people would react to the information they were seeing up on the flat screen tv's. As a person begins to go through the various energy levels, they start to change color on the tiles associated with their assigned HRM's and these colors caused a stir.

Often, a person would come into the studio and show up on the screen as "yellow" right away indicating their heart rate was already in the Aerobic zone of 65-75%. Not surprisingly, they would quickly elevate to "orange" (76-85%) and then "red" ( 86-100%) as the class began to challenge them.

These "Chizel'ers" would become quite concerned with the level of energy the HRM's were detecting. "Is this right?", they'd ask or often we'd get the question "What's wrong with me? Should I be up that high?"

On the other hand, we'd get a "Chizel'er" who would complain, "I'm working really hard! Why aren't I in the "red" zone?"

Yet another "Chizel'er" would find the whole idea of a system actually telling you how hard ( or not) you were working as annoying. They were there to just "punch the clock" on their fitness routine. Finding out what they actually did? Well, that would make them  take some ownership of their workout! The flip side of this was how competitive this HRM training began to make people. 
"I burned 564 calories in the class today and Sue Ellen only burned 436!"

Here we were thinking this was going to be a huge hit here at Chizel (and to some degree it is based on our "Chizel'ers" feedback) but what we didn't foresee was how people would respond to being "graded" on their efforts. More interestingly enough though, we were seeing data from "Chizel'ers" who were either seeing big results from their efforts in class and those who hadn't seen much of a change in their bodies. We were seeing how some embraced the discomfort or let's call it "Hurt Locker" mode, even if it was only for a short period of the class and others who shied away from it. This was consistant with our participants level of complaints about their bodies …..and how they viewed their problems in life. 

What was of note was how tolerant of the  "Hurt Locker" mode was for  some of these "Chizel'ers" not only in our classes but also as a refrain in their lives.  One  couldn't  attend a class because she didn't get enough sleep the night before, while another would be managing pre-school children, tending to a sick elderly parent and traveling with a full time job and still make it a priority to get in a class. Again, what was the tolerance  for the "Hurt Locker".

I see our real job at Chizel  to not only get our clients healthy physically but through exercise , train them to re-think problems in their lives ( hey, they are inevitable!). I hope we here at Chizel inspire a new approach to the discomfort.  Everytime, a "Chizel'er" digs deep and not only survives but thrives, it reinforces a "success" memory.  These memories continually built up a "tower of positivity when it comes to dealing with discomfort or problems. This mental "tower" reinforces that it's "not all that bad" and we will get through it.

Such is it with working out. Such is it with life. 

Truly, the human body is a lazy thing if left to stay the same. If we never "up the ante", if we never create a catalyst for it to change, it won't. The fitter we are, the more we need to work to stay fit. The body will figure out how to do something as  efficiently as possible with the least amount of effort. 

We need to turn "red" once in a while and be ok with it.