Our theme for the month of December is Gamification! Gamification is defined as, “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (such as a task) to encourage participation.”
As a MYZONE User, you're probably familiar with the many ways MYZONE gamifies exercise and keeps you motivated to continue your exercise routine. This blog post is dedicated to identifying some of the strengths and challenges of the Zone Match class, a specific gamification feature of MYZONE.
Group fitness instructors and personal trainers can design a Zone Match group fitness class or personal training session with specific intensities and durations via their User Account on the MYZONE website. During the workout, participants can see the target zone on the screen. At the end of the session, participants receive an accuracy report detailing the percentage of time they spent in the target zones.
The Zone Match feature is a crowd favorite among participants, group fitness instructors and personal trainer, however, there are strengths and challenges associated with designing a zone match workout that will keep participants coming back for more.
We’ll outline both the strengths and challenges of the Zone Match feature and make some suggestions for best practices.
Zone Match Strengths
1. Provides Accountability
More detailed than the MYZONE tiles on the screen, the Zone Match feature enables coaching geared toward specific intensities and durations. This allows instructors to map out and monitor the intensity of each training session so they can provide real-time feedback, assisting the participants in hitting their target zones and fitness goals.
2. Organization for the Instructor
Using the Zone Match feature, instructors can plan classes in advance, organizing the flow of intensity according to the goals of the session. Further, the instructor can provide specific intensity and duration targets throughout the workout.
This organization allows instructors to step into the class fully prepared with a game plan and coaching points.
3. Delivers Immediate Accuracy Feedback
The accuracy report at the end of the class provides participants immediate feedback on how well they matched the intensity parameters throughout the class.
Based on the feedback, instructors can highlight strengths from the session or weaknesses that could be improved upon next time. Further, the instructor can get feedback about their coaching by asking the participants what was clear or unclear.
4. Makes Exercise a Game
One of the most popular components of the Zone Match feature is that it provides a moving target - literally - throughout the workout. Participants are challenged to focus and control their effort according to the target intensity.
The Zone Match feature lends to continuous engagement through the class since the participants accuracy score depends on reaching a constantly changing goal.
Zone Match Challenges
1. Requires Continuous Coaching
Since the Zone Match feature requires users to reach specific intensity goals, instructors must be vigilant about coaching upcoming intensity transitions to ensure participant success. For example, if the instructor has designed high intensity intervals with 30 seconds of work in YELLOW, they'll need to coach participants to begin picking up their intensity prior to the 30 seconds they should be in YELLOW. This takes practice from both the instructor and participants; a great challenge for everyone!
The instructor must also be intentional in the design of their class to ensure they set themselves up for coaching success and their participants for zone match success. For example, if the instructor is designing a 2-minute RED zone segment followed by a 3-minute recovery in GREEN, they will want to put at least 30 seconds of YELLOW in between the two to help participants transition down from RED to GREEN.
Similarly, if the instructor wants to take the class from the GREEN zone to the RED zone during a high intensity interval, they will need to offer a short duration in the YELLOW zone to help participants smoothy transition from GREEN to RED.
2. Intuitive Intensity Is Limited
Since the Zone Match feature is competition based, participants may feel pressured to adhere to the prescribed intensity targets and obtain a successful accuracy score. This may limit the participants’ ability to workout at the intensity that is right for them; an intuitive intensity rather than prescriptive intensity.
Instructors can always create space for intuitive intensity by telling participants that they should listen to their body and only follow the zone match if they feel their body can handle it.
Instructors can provide specific examples of when it would and wouldn't be appropriate to follow intensity parameters of the Zone Match class. For example, the instructor may say something like, “this zone match class is designed to be a high intensity interval training workout, and it's tough! If you're feeling well rested, I challenge you to maximize your accuracy score! If you performed a high intensity day yesterday or if you're fatigued, you may want to back off on some of the intervals today – push an intensity that feels right for your body and choose a target intensity that serves you best.”
Keep moving forward!
The Zone Match feature has excellent gamification potential when used in the right ways! We hope our suggestions around the strengths and challenges will assist you in maximizing its potential.
Remember to use the hashtags #effortrewarded and #myzonemoves when you post your workout pics, and don’t forget to add pictures with your moves to your Activity Calendar!
For more tips on how to use the MYZONE® heart rate monitor and App, follow us during Fitness Fridays on Facebook Live (subscribe on MYZONE’s Facebook Page) – 8 am PT, 11 am ET, and check out our MYZONE® Moves Podcast on iTunes or Google Play.