12RND Fitness Training Camp “Competition” – Fair or Farce ??

12RND Fitness Training Camp “Competition” – Fair or Farce ??

I apologise for the length of this post … It started out fairly long anyway… but has evolved (and is still evolving) as I receive comments and feedback from readers and as new information (from 12RNDs Fitness) comes to light… I did consider creating a new post, but thought it better (and fairer) to keep it all together so it could all be examined in context…

below is a brief timeline of events / updates :

  • 26 Jul : 11// Training Camp Starts
  • 4 Sep : 11// Training Camp Completes
  • 29 Sep : 11// Training Camp “Winners” announced
  • 1 Oct : This Post originally published
  • 17 Oct : Updated with extra info
  • 19 Oct : Apology via Phone from 12Rnds CEO
  • 20 Oct : Email from 12Rnds CEO
  • 21 Oct : follow up Phone Call from 12Rnds CEO
  • 24 Oct : Updated with my reaction to 12RNDs Responses

It is no secret that I have been a big fan of 12Rnd Fitness and have published a number of posts explaining some of the things I enjoy about their gyms. One of the things I did like, is that several times a year they hold a nation-wide Training Camp (6 week challenge), and as a motivator for members they offer prizes and awards for the “top performing” participants in recognition of their efforts.

Over the last couple of years, I have participated in most of these challenges, but never really took them too seriously, or pushed myself too hard… The latest 6 week challenge however (July to September 2021) was different…. Despite regular workouts (generally 6 times a week) my weight had plateaued and over the last few months had started creeping up… so I decided to take this challenge seriously, and not just push myself with exercise, but also be strict on food and diet as well. I was curious to see what impact good diet would have.

I set myself a target of losing 6Kg and 6cms …. and for the 6 weeks I worked hard – increased my exercise level by about 30% (7 days a week 1 1/2 to 2hrs a day) and whilst I wasn’t super strict on food…. I was MUCH more careful about what I was eating…

As per the Training Camp competition guidelines, I did the before and after photos, benchmarks and body composition analysis scans (these were stated as the criteria for judging the national competition)… and to be honest was astounded by my transformation.

My 6 Week Transformation

Over the 6 weeks I smashed my 6Kg weight loss goal… I actually lost 9.9Kg of Body Fat (11.4%), put on 1.7Kg in Muscle Mass… and reduced my waist measurement by more than 14cm.

I also :

  •  Improved my 1:20 Row Benchmark by 22m to a total of 410m
  •  Improved my 3:00 Push Up into Clean and Press by 5 Reps to a total of 42 reps
  •  Improved my 15 Cal Ski erg by 8 seconds to a total of 33 seconds

National Competition Winner ???

I actually thought I might even be in with a real chance for a win in the National Competition, as previous winners simply hadn’t achieved these sort of body transformation results :

  • #10 male winner lost 0.4kg total body weight and 3.9% body fat
  • #9 lost 10.5kg in total body weight and 10.3% body fat!
  • #8 lost 7.9kg, dropped 7.3% body fat and gained 0.5kg of muscle
  • #7 lost 6.5kg and reduced his body fat by 6.1%

The winners of the national 12rnd competition were announced 29 September… Unfortunately, I didn’t win … it seems that my results just weren’t good enough… Fair enough I thought…. the winners and runners up must all have achieved some truly amazing transformations….so I was VERY keen to see the winners results.

Update 19 Oct : One of the problems admitted to by the 12RNDs CEO is that some winner submissions went missing, because of an “administrative error” … I know of at least one other participant (also with amazing transformation results) who also questioned the judging process and whose submission also disappeared…. Neither of our applications (and I have to wonder how many others ??) were even considered by the judging panel for 11// Training Camp !!!!

Unfortunately… and very frustratingly… despite the fact that stats have been announced for all previous challenges…. Although they have published some Before/After photos… the Body Composition and Benchmark stats for this particular 6 week challenge have not (yet ??) been published. (I have asked if they plan to publish these, but they have not yet responded).

Update 17 Oct : Nearly 3 weeks later and I have tried to contact 12rnds several times about publication of results, but despite promises of a “human” response within 1 day – I am still waiting…. I know of a number of other members (and even Franchisees) who have raised concerns and they have also been ignored…

Update 19 Oct : Finally heard back from 12Rnds. Michael Jordan the CEO gave me a call (Interestingly the day after I sent them a link to this post and they became aware of how many people had been reading it) … more Updates added below, but at the moment I am not quite sure how to react to his response so want to sit on it for a bit while I calm down…

Training Camp Competition

The stated judging criteria for the Major Prize Winners of 11// 12RND Fitness Training Camp (6 week Challenge) was :

+ Before + After Photos
+ Body Composition Changes
+ Benchmark Improvements

However the only justification that has (so far) been provided for selecting the winners has been their before and after photos (which, to be honest are good… but not great). I am (of course) biased, but are pretty pleased with my own before/after photos, and believe (as do most people who have seen them) that they show more significant transformation than the “winners” photos. I guess I don’t fall within the demographic of their target market ??

Update 19 Oct : The 12RNDs CEO has admitted that “at some stage” a decision was made to change the rules of the competition so that the Major Prize ONLY took into account the Before/After Photos, and the Runner Up Prize would apparently include the Body Composition and Benchmark Stats.. This was apparently done so that clubs/members experiencing lockdowns as a result of COVID would not be disadvantaged… In principle I support this… they certainly deserve to be recognised… my BIG concern though is that 12RNDsy changed the rules but didn’t actually tell any of the participants about it. Michael said that they realised a rule change might be “controversial”… It seems to me that they made a decision to keep the rule change low profile and they just hoped no-one would notice ??
It is not clear exactly when the rules changed, but I have reviewed every email I received about the Training Camp… and right up to the final week (week 6) update, the Major Prize criteria was still stated to be based on Photos, Body Composition & Benchmarks !!!!

I am hopeful that the Body Composition and Benchmarking stats will at some stage be announced… and that the winners stats are amazing… but at the moment, it seems that as well as the stated selection criteria, there may be some other (undisclosed) factors at play…

Perhaps “judging” also takes into account the status of the club, and uses Training Camp as an opportunity to promote and raise the profile of certain clubs ??

Irrespective of winning…I am very happy with my own results… but it would be nice to be able to compare them with those of the winners… and it does leave a sour taste in my mouth wondering whether the judging is actually fair… or is the whole competition a bit of a farce ??… designed as a marketing tool rather than a proper competition based on the criteria they specified??

I guess 12RND Fitness can decide whoever they want to choose as winners – without having to justify it…. but if they plan to use their Training Camps as simply a marketing exercise, they probably shouldn’t pretend that Body Scan and Benchmark Data is taken into consideration.

Does it Really Matter ??

The more members and clubs that I talk to about this, the more I am realising how big an issue this really is… and that it may have been a problem for some time.

In asking around… it seems that there have been questions raised about the validity of winners for some of the past 12rnd Fitness 6 week challenges as well… with other participants in past challenges with amazing results (often apparently significantly better than the winners) not being recognised or rewarded. A number of people from a number of clubs that I have spoken to, have also expressed surprise and concerns over the selection of winners from past events.

I suppose that a win probably generates a bit of excitement at the “winning” clubs, it provides a marketing opportunity for them, and may even result in a short term boost to memberships… However, I suspect that if 12RND Fitness looked at the numbers, they would see a much more significant (and longer term) drop in motivation, participation, and probably memberships at many other clubs where Training Camp participants (who felt that they could/should have won) felt overlooked or ignored.

I know at some clubs there has been a drop in participation in challenges… (which I now realise may be because of this issue… from earlier Training Camps they had participated in…)

Fair or Farce ??

A Farce can be defined as “an empty or patently ridiculous event” and despite the fact that members can and have benefited individually as a result of the effort they put in during a 6 week challenge…. as a “competition” the 12RNDs Training Camp results could be considered farcical and certainly do not seem to be “fair” according to their own competition rules.

Future Training Camps ??

Unfortunately, I believe that many 12RND members seem to have lost confidence in the 12RND Training Camp judging process.

At the moment I personally, am disinclined to participate in future 12RND Fitness Training Camp “competitions”. However, if I do, it will be as a personal challenge, because the lack of transparency and questionable judging process means that “competing” for prizes and recognition is no longer a motivating factor.

Update : 17 October… It’s now 6 weeks since the last Training Camp, and 3 weeks since the “winners” were “announced”… 12RNDS have still not disclosed the winners Body Composition or Benchmark stats, but have been heavily promoting the //12 Training camp (commencing 25 October) and interestingly have declared the same judging criteria as previous challenges – i.e. :

An expert panel of judges will select a Male and Female Major Prize Winner at the end of the Training Camp based on their overall transformation, body composition changes and fitness benchmark improvements. An additional Male and Female Minor Prize Winner will be selected based on their Before and After visual transformation.

Lets hope that they actually do announce the results this time (but don’t hold your breath)….

Runner Up Winner Stats Announced

Finally, nearly 6 weeks after the completion of 11// Training Camp, 12RNDs started to announce the Body Composition and Benchmark Stats for the Minor Prize winners (which because of the unpublicised Competition Rule Change do apparently take these results into account… some good numbers, but unfortunately (for us), not as good as at least 2 entries I am aware of that weren’t considered because of an “administrative error” :(.

You would think that 12RNDS would be able to offer more than excuses and a private apology to those that missed out… but apparently not..

My Response…

Since hearing from the 12RNDS CEO, I have intentionally held off publishing my reaction for a few days. I wanted to see if they would step up to the plate to fix this issue, and also wanted to cool off a bit..

An Apology ??

I did eventually get an explanation and apology by phone and email from Michael Jordan, as did another member who had raised similar concerns of their own several weeks earlier.  Michael’s apology seemed sincere, he seemed to care,  and I do appreciate the effort… but a number of things in his explanation just didn’t ring true, and why did it take so long for them to respond in the first place ?  I am sure the 12RND CEO is sorry, but is he sorry for the situation, or sorry that this issue seems to getting such a high profile publicly ??

The Excuses

According to the 12RNDs CEO this is a highly unusual situation which occurred as a result of a number of issues :

  1. COVID resulted in lockdown of a number of Gyms (particularly in NSW and VIC)
    Some gyms which started the 6 week challenge went into lockdown so some participants were not able to complete their benchmarks or body composition scans.  We all understand that many gyms and their members are facing tough times at the moment and I think that everyone would agree that those affected by Lockdown should ideally not be negatively impacted, but : 
  2. They decided to “Change the Rules” part-way through (and not tell anyone)
    Apparently, part way through the 6 weeks 12RNDS Management decided to change the competition rules, so that the International Prize would ONLY be based on Before/After Photos and the runner up prize would be based on Photos/Body Composition Transformation/ Benchmarks.  It is not clear when these rules changed because although Michael assures me that participants were notified, I have not been able to find anything supporting this… each of the weekly Training Camp update emails (even the one for the final week 6) clearly state that the International Prize would be based on Photos/Body Transformation Stats/Benchmarks… Michael admitted that they realised this could be controversial, which I would have thought should make it even more important to keep people informed… perhaps the rules changed after the challenge was over, and they just hoped no one would notice ??. 
  3. Some submissions  “got lost” and were not considered, because of “administrative errors”
    Apparently some submissions (that were correctly submitted via the process defined by 12RNDs) were misplaced or overlooked and therefore did not make it through to the judging process… I was told that my submission was flagged as Spam (“possibly because it contained semi-naked before/after photos” – but didn’t everyones ??).  I know of at least one other application that went missing and they were told that this was due to an administrative error…  Who knows how many other applications didn’t make it to the judging at all ??  In both these cases Michael admitted that these applications were serious contenders for awards.  

The Outcomes ??

  1. Michael says that selection of The International Prize Winners by Before/After photos ONLY was a One Off caused by Lockdowns, and that past and future judging really will be based on Photos/Body Composition/Benchmarking as advertised (although what happens next time there are more lockdowns isn’t clear)
  2. 12RNDs will apparently review and change the submission process so that future submissions should not go missing again (but that doesn’t really help those who were overlooked in the past)   

I suggested that a fair option might be for any submissions which went missing because of the 12RNDs “administration error”, be included in the 12//Training Camp judging, however the CEO very quickly shut this down because it would “raise questions about their integrity”. This is an interesting response, because as far as I am concerned that is exactly what this whole issue is about…

Surely if “Integrity” was a concern, the right thing to do would be to ensure that all submitted entries were judged against the original (and heavily promoted) rules ???  They have refused to do this.

12RND decided to change the rules but did not communicate this.  When the results were questioned, they claimed that some submissions (which as it turned out would have been winning entries) had disappeared, so were not included in the judging process.  They also only responded/reacted to concerns, several weeks after the fact – once they realised that the issue was starting to become public.  12RNDs management don’t seem to be concerned about individual members or clubs suffering as a result of these issues, but they are concerned about the reputation of 12RNDs Fitness.

My Final Say ??

Despite my bad experience with the judging process of the 11// Training Camp, I would certainly encourage 12RND members to participate in future Training Camps  (and despite my experience, am still an advocate of it within our own club)… A 6 week challenges is a great way to motivate yourself,  and you can achieve great results… but don’t necessarily focus on “the prize” and ensure that you :

  • scrutinise the submission and judging process
  • get confirmation that your submission has been received
  • and if anything seems fishy… call them out about it  and complain… and don’t accept “Sorry, we messed up … Better luck next time” as their response !!!

I appreciate that 12RNDS have admitted their mistakes (privately), recognised that some members have been overlooked, and apologised. Obviously the CEO is more concerned about the reputation of 12RNDS than the experience of a couple of members, and I have to respect that, because that’s his job.

I didn’t write this post for recognition or reward, I simply hoped it would highlight an issue and result in it being fixed…. I believe that 12RND do recognise that they could and should have done better…  I hope they have taken positive steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and I (and others) will be keeping a very close watch in the future…

All in all a WIN for everyone (I hope) 😊

Multi Speed Bag Training – What / Why / How ??

Multi Speed Bag Training – What / Why / How ??

Most people (even non-boxers) are familiar with, or at least aware, of Speed Bag (a.k.a Speed Ball) Training… It looks complicated, and pretty cool and there are a plethora of Youtube videos which feature different Speedbag techniques… However, there has been very little exposure or even awareness of the use of multiple speed bags as a training technique.

This post describes What Multi-Speed Ball Training is, Why it is such an effective training technique, and some things to consider when setting up a Multi Speedball Training Station.

About Speed Bags

Speed bags are small, air-filled bags anchored to a rebound platform (usually) parallel to the ground.

Striking a speed bag with rhythm requires focus, coordination, and speed and provides a pretty effective cardiovascular workout.

Working with a speed bag helps develop shoulder and arm muscles, and hone reflexes.

Fast-twitch muscles are developed by engaging in exercises that involve speed, explosiveness and short reaction time. Using a Speed Ball will not result in bulky muscles like a weightlifter, but will help develop powerful lean muscles like a swimmer. The speed bag encourages physical muscle development while training fighters to keep their hands up.

What is Multi-Speed Bag Training

Traditionally when using a Speed Bag, you would use a variety of different techniques and punch combinations on a single Speed Bag. Multi-Speed Bag Training involves the similar punch techniques across two or even more Speed bags at the same time… so rather than hitting a single bag, you use multiple speed bags.

The basic punch combinations are essentially the same, but because you have multiple targets there are significantly more punch combinations available and an effectively endless range of possibilities.

Why use a Speed Bag ?

Speed Ball Training has been a core part of a boxers training regime for a long, long time, the main benefits attributed to Speed Bag Training are :

  • Hand Eye Co-ordination – enhances the coordination between your eyes and hands, improving the speed and accuracy of your punches
  • Hands Up – trains you to always keep your hands up (with a Speed Bag you rarely have time to drop them)
  • Footwork – learn to shift weight between your feet. With a speed ball, you can practice footwork and quickness while training. Moving in rhythm with the ball will help mimic a boxing bought.
  • Timing – fundamental to Speed Ball techniques… if you don’t get the timing right you wont be able to hit the bag consistently or accurately
  • Hand Speed – “Speed” Bags are called that for a reason – it is NOT about Power, it is all about the speed, timing and accuracy of your punches
  • Accuracy – to achieve consistent results you MUST learn to punch accurately
  • Strength & Endurance – Simulating a boxing fight with a speed ball will improve your overall endurance so you can last longer in the ring. The last 30 seconds before the round finishes is the most important and improving your endurance will enhance your chances of getting more accurate punches in.
  • Fitness – Another benefit of training with a speed ball is the fitness and endurance workout. If you’re having a hard time enduring a long fight, use the speed ball to improve your overall endurance.

Why use more than one Speed Bag ?

Using multiple Speed Bags offers all the benefits listed above for more traditional Speed Bag Techniques, PLUS some significant EXTRA training advantages :

  • Peripheral Vision Training – traditionally the only way to improve peripheral vision in boxing has been through sparring. Sparring develops a whole lot of different skills in attack and defence but a sparring partner is not always available… and sparring training may not be practical. Multiple Speed Bag training enhances your response and reactions to peripheral vision triggers
  • Reflexes – by its very nature a Speed Bag requires good reflexes, with multiple balls you simply don’t have time to think and plan – you MUST learn to react reflexively
  • Improved Core – interacting with multiple targets requires a LOT more twisting and turning so your core gets a significant workout
  • Improved Footwork – you can not just rely on “reach” to get to your target… fast footwork and and footwork timing is a fundamental skill requirement for multi-speed ball training

Setting Up a Multi-Speedbag Training Station

The fundamental requirement in a Multi Speed Bag Station is accessibility. It is critical that all bags are accessible – within arms reach – although extra footwork is also usually required particularly for 3 (or more) bags… so the placement and mounting of bags is critical.

Other factors that must be considered when setting up a multiple speed bag station are :

  • Stability – it is VERY important that each bag is (independently) stable… any vibration or movement can affect the rebound capabilities and hence the speed
  • Height – are all bags setup at the same or different heights ? varying the height can add to the difficulty, but can also enhance the training experience (and fun)
  • Layout – a 2 bag layout us relatively straightforward, but a 3 (or more) bag layout becomes increasingly tricky to create and use
  • Bag Size / Type – Should you use the same bag type/size … or a mixture ? Different bags have different timing/rebound characteristics and even subtle changes can dramatically change the training experience… bag combinations make for harder, but also more interesting (and probably more effective) training.

Why I keep going back to 12RND Greenslopes

Why I keep going back to 12RND Greenslopes

I’ve been back at the Gym for 18 months now… and have written before about why I go to a 12RND Fitness gym… In summary the main reasons are

  • No Scary Machines
  • No Fixed Start Time
  • Quick Workout
  • High Intensity Training
  • MyZone
  • Variable Workout
  • My own Personal Trainer

… however I recently moved house, and am now living further away from my usual gym – 12RNDS Greenslopes… Despite the fact that there are MANY Gyms that are much closer and more convenient, and even 3 other 12RND Gyms that are closer (one of which I drive right past on the way to Greenslopes) … I find myself still going back to 12RNDS Greenslopes… Here are the reasons why :

Here is why I Love 12RNDS Greenslopes :

  • Convenient – even though it takes me 6 minutes longer to drive… it is still convenient, and the extra time makes very little difference
  • Parking – Plenty of free parking – it is rare that I need to park more than 15 metres from the front door of the gym
  • Space – 12RNDS Greenslopes is one of the largest gyms (in terms of floor space) in the franchise.. There is plenty off space for each round, and in fact, Greenslopes is certified to allow 2 people per station, so great tpo train with a buddy… or you can double up at peak times. Some franchises can only have 1person per station, and some of the smaller ones cannot even cope with 12 people training at once.
  • Opening Hours – 12RND Greenslopes has longer opening hours than most other 12RND gyms (they are open 0500 to 1000 and 1500-2000 most days), and regularly review and update opening hours to suit their members… they are considering extending these opening times by offering lunchtime sessions a couple of times a week, and are even looking at options for 24×7 access
  • Not too Crowded – because of the long opening hours, it is reasonably easy to find a time that it is not crazy busy… although (I believe) 0530 to 0630 (AM and PM) most days CAN get very busy, most other times are reasonably quiet
  • Shopping – because there is a Coles right upstairs, it is convenient to do my grocery shopping after a workout… and because I am usually tired and with a “health” mentality, I tend not to buy too much of the wrong food
  • Community – even though I tend not to “chat” to much during a workout (If I have breath enough to chat I am not training hard enough 🙂), over time, you do get to know other members and there are a variety of non-training and out-of-gym activities to get involved in
  • Experiences Trainers – the Owner and the Head Trainer have backgrounds in a mixture of “fight” disciplines (including Judo, Muay Thai & Kick Boxing at representative and professional levels), so have a wealth of “real life” experience and can offer better tips and advice than the “average” personal trainer.

I am definitely a BIG fan of 12RND Fitness as it is a perfect fit for my lifestyle and the type of exercise regime I need.

22 Months Update

22 Months Update

22 months since my gastric Bypass Operation – and my weight has finally started to level out.

At the moment it has been as low as 80KG, but is currently stabilised at around 82KG… which is remarkable because when I first started this journey I had “hoped” that I would get down to 95KG 🙂

I am still considered “Overweight” by the BMI scale… my “ideal weight being under 73Kg – apparently … but BMI does not take into account muscle mass… which I have increased significantly. (note: most 1st grade NRL players are also considered Overweight according to their BMI).

The graph below shows my weigh loss journey since a Gastric Bypass operation in September 2018.

Whilst my weight seems to have stabilised, I am not actually eating particularly well…. Certainly the quantities I am eating are significantly less (I still can’t physically manage a large meal without feeling uncomfortable), but am confident, (if I start eating healthier”), that I could probably drop another 5Kg. Not sure if I can be bothered at the moment… but would be interesting to see if I can get down closer to my “normal” BMI weight range

In the last 22 months I have :

  • Lost over 50Kg in weight
  • Been off ALL Diabetes medication (since the day of the operation) and have been officially Diabetes Free for more than 10 months
  • Continued going to Gym (except for the Coronavirus restrictions), and are currently going 5 or 6 times a week
  • Never Felt Better !!!

My Myzone Musings

My Myzone Musings

I have now been going to the gym (12Rnds Fitness) for a little over 1 year… (and have posted previously about my exercise obsession “passion”). I have been using a Myzone Heart Rate Monitor for nearly 6 months and (remarkably) for the last few months have been “topping” the Myzone Table for our local Gym, and am (for now) even Top 10 nationally (currently #2) across more than 2,600 participants. 🙂

However, I have recently started to notice some oddities in our local gym results…. some members have, all of a sudden, started getting amazing Myzone (MEP) scores for their workouts… which seemed odd. Some of the national figures also seemed a bit iffy (with some members getting scary big MEP scores consistently, day in, day out).

This prompted me to do a bit of research into how Myzone actually works… here is what I discovered 🙂

What is Myzone

Myzone is a heart rate monitoring system used by many fitness clubs that uses wireless and cloud technology to monitor physical activity.

It involves members wearing a heart rate monitor (on an elasticised strap around the chest) during their exercise sessions. It can be worn in the gym, (tracked by a monitoring device in the gym), or externally (either recorded on the device itself or tracked via a smart phone).

The device records heart rate over time, and the Myzone system generates a LIVE view of your heart rate on a gym-based monitor (as a color-coded, easy-to-read “tile”) as well as recording it against your account.

Myzone Tile

How does Myzone Work

When you purchase a Myzone device and create an account, your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) is automatically determined (based on your age)… The MHR represents a heart rate that is considered to be the Maximum Heart rate you should be able to (safely) achieve with exercise. The MHR is used as the basis for the calculation of MEPs.

MEPs is an acronym for MYZONE Effort Points, and it’s the metric by which everything is measured in the myzone system. MEPs are earned by exercising in your target heart rate zones over a period of time. The more effort you put into each of your workouts, the more MEPs you earn!

There are 5 different Heart Rate Zones (based on your heart rate as a percentage of your MHR)… and each zone contributes a certain amount to your total MEP score.

  • Grey = 50-59% – Earns 1 MEP/minute
  • Blue = 60-69% – Earns 2 MEPs/minute
  • Green = 70-79% – Earns 3 MEPs/minute
  • Yellow = 80-89% – Earns 4 MEPs/minute
  • Red = 90-100% – Earns 4 MEPs/minute

…so if you exercise for 45 minutes with 10 minutes each in the Blue, Green and Yellow heart rate zones and 5 in the Red, you would earn 110 MEPS (10*2 + 10*3 +10*4+ 5*4 = 110)

Under normal circumstances, if you start to regularly hit 100%, then your MHR is automatically adjusted UP by the Myzone system. However, it is possible to also CAP an MHR so it does not increase above a specified level (although I am unsure under which circumstances this is set).

You are unable to adjust your own MHR, but your Gym owner, or Myzone support can do it.

Myzone can be a great Motivator

One of the primary goals of Myzone is to encourage you to pay attention to your workouts – with the aim of motivating you to work a bit harder… or a bit smarter… to achieve your fitness goals…. and it can do this VERY effectively…

It’s amazing how often you find yourself pushing a little harder to reach a different level… or training a little longer to get to a particular MEP or Calorie target… or finding that extra energy to push you to achieve your MEP goals.

The leaderboard can also be a great motivator…

  • striving for Top 10
  • or working hard to be #1
  • or pushing a bit harder to beat someone else’s score
  • or even just trying to improve your own score

If you are getting good MEP scores, or doing well in the leaderboard, or seeing your fitness levels increase with the extra effort you’ve been putting in, Myzone can be a fantastic motivator….. but… when things aren’t going “right”, Myzone can also be a powerful de-motivator…

Myzone can be a great De-motivator

I have noticed some members training REALLY hard but still struggling to reach RED or sometimes even YELLOW Heart Rate zones… but other members seem to be able to achieve very high scores (even hitting 100% for most of their workout) with seemingly relatively little effort.

I realised that it was pretty simple to “reverse engineer” the Maximum Heart Rate and Zone (%) readings on an individuals Myzone tile… and pretty accurately determine their MHR and “Excercise Age” (I plan to do another more technical post with more information about this).

HIGH MEPs

I was stunned to discover that some people (often hitting 100% multiple times within a single session) had a MHR of just 160 or less (an effective “Age” of 80 years old)… and one even had a MHR of 120 (an exercise Age of 142)… This would have been very impressive if they actually were that old… but I really don’t think they were.

I also realised that for some, their MHR did not seem to be changing over time (as it should – to reflect regularly reaching 100% effort). The average person would only be getting a BLUE or GREEN level for that type of HR.. These people seem to have their MHR Capped…so were getting significantly higher MEPS for each workout – and an unfair advantage for the Leaderboard.

These people are often quite motivated (and are sometimes training pretty hard) because they are seeing great Myzone scores… but their scores are a great de-motivator to everyone else who simply can’t compete because of the unfair advantage.

I would like to see the MHR Cap removed for these people (unless there is a specific medical reason) and their MHR reset to more closely relate to their actual age… then let the Myzone system do its thing and adjust accordingly.

LOW SCORES

I had also noticed some people training hard who really struggle to get into the red zone (if they can get there at all). These people mostly seem to have reasonably accurate MHR and Age levels (i.e. close to their actual age), but they find it VERY difficult to get decent MEP scores and almost impossible to show up on the top 20 leaderboard ..despite the effort they put in… This is pretty de-motivating for most of them.. there is little added incentive to work harder.

I would like to see the MHR of these people adjusted down to a level where they are consistently able to reach the red zone (at least once per session).

Myzone HEROES

I also noticed that a few people in the Leaderboard had VERY HIGH MHRs (some as high as 200 – an effective training Age of just 17). These people, through training VERY hard, are still able to achieve decent HR levels and good MEP scores. There MHR has most likely been automatically adjusted up over time by the Myzone system.

As far as I am concerned, these are the real heroes of the gym and although they are clearly motivated… probably deserve more recognition.

My Suggested Resolutions

As a lowly gym junky, I clearly have no actual say in how this works… but as far as I am concerned Myzone and the gyms should be doing whatever they can to “level the playing field” so that as much as possible everyone has the same chance to get decent MEPs. I would suggest :

  • Ensure that all MHR CAPS are removed (unless there is a specific medical reason) – allowing the Myzone automated MHR Upgrade system to work properly – this will reduce the chance of any unfair advantage caused by Low MHRs
  • Introduce an automated MHR Downgrade process… so that the MHR is automatically reduced for accounts that have not (say) reached the Red zone in the last 5 sessions – this will help reduce the chance of people working hard but getting little reward
  • Have a mechanism to flag for manual review (by either Myzone or the Gym owner) accounts where the Myzone Age (calculated from MHR) is significantly different to the actual age….. Those with a much higher Myzone Age are probably getting an unfair advantage… those with a significantly lower Myzone Age may deserve a pat on the back.

O.M.G… What a Difference a Bowl of Muesli Makes !!!

O.M.G… What a Difference a Bowl of Muesli Makes !!!

You might assume from the title that this post is about food… You’d only be partially correct, as it is mostly about Exercise – and a bit about Nutrition

I’ve been going to the gym (see Why I Love 12rnd Fitness) for almost a year now… and for the most part do morning workouts… usually before I have had anything to eat or drink… This has been going pretty well, but recently I have started to do a few more (extra) Lunchtime and Evening sessions.

I have noticed that I seem to have more energy in the training sessions I do later in the day… I can train harder and longer without feeling so exhausted…

This Mornings Training Session

This mornings session in particular was tough. I found it difficult to raise my heart rate into yellow (80-90%) on my Myzone Heart Rate Monitor, and only managed an hour and 145 MEPS – my “worst” session for months….. (see workout graph below) :

I have been pushing it pretty hard at the moment because of a Myzone 6 Week Challenge (shockingly, I am currently ranked #1 in Australia – out of more than 2,500 12Rounders)… and I did 10 sessions last week, and a double session yesterday, so it is probably not surprising that I am feeling a bit “flat”… However, I wondered if maybe food was a part of the issue, so decided to go home … have something to eat… and try again at lunchtime…

After a Bowl of Muesli..

So.. I went home, had a bowl of Bircher Muesli (and a couple of pots of tea), did a couple of hours work (sitting in front of the computer)… and went back to 12rnds for a Lunchtime training session.

Oh.. My.. God… What a difference it made !!!

The Lunchtime session felt SO much better…I was almost immediately (in my warmup) able to get into the yellow zone (80-90%) and managed to sustain it (or higher) for most of the workout – giving me a 270 MEP, 80+ minute workout. 🙂

Workout Nutrition ??

The above should probably not have come as a great surprise to me, but I had not really thought about it much before…Apparently if you work out first thing in the morning before eating breakfast (what’s known as a fasted cardio state) it is believed to help with weight loss. However, working out after eating may give you more energy and improve your performance.

Looks like I need to do some more research (watch this space)… but in the interim, I think I will start having a small meal/snack at least 1/2hr before my workout… and see how it goes.