What is ZONING?

“So,” you say, “What is ZONING, and why use it for my PE Class?”

Simply put ZONING is fitness in a blink. ZONING is a cardio fitness program using three zones, for different ranges of intensity. It’s a simple, sensible way to make the most of your workouts.  ZONING energizes your body and your mind through personalized cardio-movement. ZONING is motivational because it uses changes in effort to keep it interesting, for variety, for the motivational fun. In PE, we are always looking for ways to keep kids moving and get the most out of a short window of time. Find a way to build habits that impact kids lives and encourage them to live a healthy lifestyle. ZONING incorporates variety, structure, feedback, and fun to provide kids with that motivational boost to energize their fitness.

3 Easy Steps of ZONING

Step #1 Timing: 5-20-5: 5 minutes of warm up, 20 minutes of ZONING, 5 minutes of cool down. Recommended generally four times a week (if you have the kids for class that many days)

Step #2. Effort: Blue-Yellow-Red: Blue is easy effort, Yellow is moderate effort, Red is hard effort. Make sure kids spend time in each zone. The Big Board helps the teacher and them know what zone they are in.

Step #3. Variety: Change-It-Up. Every time the music, exercise activity, instructions change, you change your effort between blue-yellow-or red efforts. Keeps kids on their toes and paying attention to instructions/details.

Here is a chart showing what the Heart Zones, Inc ZONING Program looks like. We will provide you with these as you get started with the Heart Zones Move Solution. There are many different ways that you can do ZONING. Whether your classroom is running laps, playing basketball, or jumping rope, you can incorporate ZONING to make sure that students are feeling the benefits of different heart rate levels. By doing so they are getting different physiological benefits while in the different zones.

From the Head Heart, Sally Edwards

To begin with, when you move, whether ZONING by mowing the lawn, running up a hill, or swimming a few slow or fast laps at the pool, you increase the effort from that at rest. At rest, when you are not moving, there is little to no effort or intensity. You are burning a low number of calories and your heart and breathing rate are low. Increasing your effort, sometimes called workload, in turn increases your heart rate, it increases your breathing rate. This is known among fitness professionals as “exercise intensity.” I’m sure you’ve probably heard people talk about doing really “intense” workouts sometimes they are called HITT – High Intensity Training, when they wanted to push themselves, or “not very intense” workouts, when they didn’t try very hard.

The first thing is you need to keep track of is your workout time. That’s because ZONING follows the 5-20-5 step of Timing. This means that you’ll need to time your warm-up in blue zone for five minutes, your ZONING in all three colors for 20 minutes and your cool down in blue zone for the final 5 minutes. This step is important as well because of safety – to enjoy cardio-activity a proper warm-up gets your body prepared for more intense activities.

The second things is, if you want to exercise efficiently, you’ve got to have a way to keep track of your effort intensity rather than just a so-what it doesn’t matter attitude. There are a lot of different ways to track how hard your effort is and ZONING uses the blue-yellow-red way of feeling, tracking, and describing your effort.

In ZONING, I’d recommend one of our Blink heart rate monitors that flashes the colors of your zones. it’s a lot easier because you can do it with or without a training device. At a glance at the blinking colors, you will easily set exercise intensity by using colors that match intensities. That’s the seconds step in ZONING – stay in the right zones that matches your color:

Blue zone for health improvement

Yellow zone for weight loss and endurance

Red zone for performance

The third step in the ZONING program is the importance of variety in making your workouts interesting, engaging, motivational. Change-it-up is the ZONING way of having the music or in the app version verbal or sound cues that indicate it’s time to change the intensity. By staying at the same effort, the same color all of the time it leads to monotony and staleness. To stay motivated throughout your 5-20-5 ZONING time, you’ll change zones frequently. This means that you’ll have periods of low intensity for recovery and rest and then more intense yellow or high-hot-hard red efforts to turn on the calorie burning and the workload that gets you huge bang for your invested workout time – yes, a big bang for our fitness bucks.

What are Zones?

You may already have heard of heart rate zones. Possibly you are somewhat familiar with zones because you have seen wall charts at the gym, or on a piece of exercise equipment, or in an article that graphically display some sort of relationship between exercise effort and your current age. This relationship between age and say heart rate in beats per minute is an attempt to provide you with what is called a “target zone”. This whole concept of a single target zone or target training zone is useless, invented, and it’s not how the body works. There is no one zone – the target zone is a myth. Rather, there are several zones and working out in each of them is important to accomplish your fitness objectives.

A zone, one single zone is a range of intensity. For example, in ZONING, workout time in the blue means exercise in an effort range that is easy, light, comfortable. Training in the blue means doing physical activity in the blue zone. In ZONING, there are three zones: easy blue, moderate yellow, and hard red. Each zone has it’s own color which matches the temperature or the color spectrum for intensity. The blue zone is cool and easy, the yellow zone is warmer but only moderately so, and the red zone is hot, sizzling hot.

And, in ZONING, what happens inside each of the three zones is different. What happens when you are in the red zone, the high-hot-hard zone is that you burn gobs of calories, mostly carbohydrates, and you get really fit and fast. That doesn’t happen in the mellow low blue zone where there’s no pain yet there’s a lot of gain. This further explains why training in each of the three zones, ZONING, is important so that you can get all of the benefits from cardio activity by spending time in each of the blue-yellow-red zones.

Why and when to train in the different ZONING zones is also important to be successful in your fitness efforts. It is a whole lot more fun to work out in the blue zone and get gobs of health benefits than it is to be in the yellow zone where you burn more fat and is best for losing weight and improving your endurance. That is, it depends on why you exercise how much time you spend in the different zones. If your goal is weight loss and feeling better about yourself, emotionally and physically, then low zone training initially is best. But, it you are just getting started with ZONING then time in the blue zone builds your endurance and stamina. That’s one of the many keys to ZONING: You choose which benefit you want from exercise, then you do a lot of ZONING in that zone.