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Time to get into the fitness zone
Buy this photo » Matt trying out the system
WITH the end of January looming and those New Year’s resolutions starting to grow old, some people could do with a little extra motivation.
For those who vowed to join the gym or lose weight but are struggling to see the benefits, the Cricklade Leisure Centre may hold the answer.
Last month, the centre became the first in Wiltshire to introduce a revolutionary fitness system.
My Zone is an electronic belt which is worn during exercise and connected to a computer system in the gym and gives a reading on a screen indicating your work rate in zonal measurements.
Cricklade Leisure centre is a charity-run centre which been supported by the NHS Wiltshire.
As a keen runner, who ran the London Marathon last year, I was given the task of putting the belt through its paces, but by the end of the workout and I was the one who had been put through my paces, as the belt showed.
The belt, which you wear around your chest, is lightweight and, after some initial difficulties with it picking up my pulse, it was easy to forget that I had the device on.
All exercise is recorded on the device, so you do not only have to wear it in the gym, but can also wear it out on a run or playing football, and then the intensity of the exercise is personalised to your individual fitness level and heart rate.
I was given an interval running session, which means you accelerate to your top speed and then drop down again. Since taking part in the London Marathon, I’ve not been running as frequently, which meant my heart rate, as recorded by the belt, was beating at a much faster rate than would be expected given my running experience.
Seeing this data on the screen means you can monitor how much effort you are putting in and if needs be, drop down a gear so you don’t collapse!
It was good to see at the end of the workout just how hard I had been pushing yourself, and see my heart’s recovery time on the screen, which is displayed in a bar graph. If I was to go back again on the same programme I would be able to compare the results and see the improvements over a period of time, which would give you great motivation.
As well as the personal motivation, your workout is converted into MET points, which accumulate to get prizes at the end of each month for achieving your goals, including money back.
Richard Martin, fitness manager, said: “The best thing about it is that it gives everyone a level playing field.
“You are competing with yourself to meet your goals and you can see after every workout how much you put into that session, and if you improved on last time. Sometimes a gym can be an intimidating place, but with this you can see that you are working your hardest, and you can go home knowing you have put in a good shift.”
The My Zone package is £75 for non-members which includes the belt, consultation with an instructor, updated fitness programmes and one month membership, or £50 for members.