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Trainers have always accepted the idea of zone training, using heart rate zones to manage individuals within their group classes. As technology has evolved from Rate Perceived Exertion (RPE) to tech-savvy heart rate monitors, manufacturers of wrist and chest accessories are clearly profiting from this trend. You can profit too by offering your clients what these gadgets can’t — real, accurate information.
I recall sitting in a session at a fitness meeting where the speaker revealed the standardized formula used by a major treadmill company — all outputs are based on a 37-year-old person, half male, half female. How can that be accurate? Look around your facility. Do you see that person? In the same manner, any zone calculation is based on population averages. The only way to get accurate heart rate zones is to measure them through VO2 Max testing.
Sometimes it may feel that accuracy and precision are luxuries afforded by the idealist, as the rest of us are faced with the reality of paying the bills — but the key to effective zone training is the accuracy of each individual’s zones. If clients are willing to accept estimates that are “close enough,” can we afford to offer a quality assessment? This is where we may need to adjust our thinking. Consider that a quality VO2 Max assessment can actually be a profit center, as well as the foundation for better results.
Rather than running ROI predictions, let me illustrate my point by telling you about RedKore Fitness in Alpharetta, Georgia. Their philosophy is that precise training zones will benefit group training. Each client receives a VO2 Max test upon initial assessment to establish unique and accurate training zones. Clients can purchase an elite membership for $149 per month that includes the VO2 Max test as a value-added service, or they can purchase a term membership for $99 per month and then pay an additional $99 for the VO2 Max test. In one year, a single location grossed $42,000 from VO2 Max testing.
Beyond gross profits, this gym measures their success through member retention. Due to the results their clients are experiencing through heart rate based training, they have opened a second facility.
With VO2 Max testing, we encourage clients to workout smarter, not harder. I would encourage club owners to consider the same strategy. By investing in the technology available, you can take a smarter approach to heart rate based training. Your clients will experience more effective zone workouts because they will be in their correct zone. They will see the results they expect, and you will see increased revenues from both services and retention. Everybody wins.
Julie Kofoed is the vice president of marketing at KORR Medical Technologies. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit korr.com.