By Emily Sopo, Special AFS Contributor

We can all agree that if an activity is fun, we’re more likely to do it, right? As trainers, we understand this and do our best to incorporate “play” or “fun” into our training.

We advise our clients to choose exercise modalities that they like to do, we select exercises that will not only improve our clients’ fitness levels, but also create an enjoyable experience, and some of us even develop creative incentive programs for our clients to reward them for their hard work.

It all boils down to exercise adherence – if our clients like to exercise, they’re more likely to keep coming back. This is key to our bottom line.

We like fun.

MYZONE President Emmett Williams previously described the cycle of “Trigger, Action, Reward,” explaining that in order to create the urge to exercise, we must give an immediate reward to ourselves, or our clients, to trigger our brain to release dopamine.

This is where the MYZONE heart rate monitor takes the stage. When our clients open their MYZONE Workout Summary or see their name at the top of the leaderboard in a challenge, they get an instant reward – a small hit of dopamine – a “feel good” neurotransmitter. Eventually, our clients anticipate the feeling of immediate reward provided by the MYZONE system, they view exercise as fun, and they keep coming back for more training.

This is part of the phenomena of the gamification of exercise. With the continued release of dopamine every time clients work out, exercise becomes a game – something that your clients want to do.

Here are some additional tips on how you can gamify workouts for your clients:

Incorporate the MYZONE Heart Rate Monitor into Workouts.

Now your clients can leverage the feedback on the MYZONE Watch, the Effort Stream on the MYZONE app, or the live display used by your facility on a TV, computer or projector. Live feedback is helpful to use in one-on-one training sessions, small group training, and group fitness classes.


Set goals for your clients’ percentage of maximal heart rate (using the MYZONE zones) throughout the workout, then offer positive feedback when they achieve these goals. After each workout, you can use the feedback provided by their MYZONE belt (such as total MEPs) to reinforce their effort and set new goals for their next sessions.

Turn Workouts into Games.

Do you remember how excited you were to play on the playground as a child? We got in a lot of physical activity when we played childhood games without even realizing it!

We encourage you to incorporate some game-like exercises into your workouts! They usually require little-to-no equipment and are easy to modify or progress. Additionally, they can be multi-planar and high-intensity with a novel quality that boosts our clients’ enjoyment of them.

Below is a brief list of ideas to try in your classes or training sessions:

  • Hula hoop
  • Musical chairs (how about exercises instead of chairs?!)
  • Four square
  • Relay races
  • Jump rope
  • Leap frog
  • Hop scotch

Use your clients’ MYZONE belt to monitor intensity and/or provide intensity parameters throughout. For example, you could instruct your clients to recover their heart rate in the blue zone while hula hooping and then use hop scotch to get into the green or yellow zones.

Use Challenges with Your Clients.

The friendly competition and social component of a challenge can increase client motivation and get members talking about your workouts! We’ve offered tips on how to maximize client engagement with MYZONE Challenges in this blog post, but keep in mind that you can offer many challenges with other wearable fitness technology or without any extra tools.

We hope this post has given you some ideas on how to use MYZONE to turn working out into a game and keep your clients coming back for more! We want wish you luck as you infuse your training with fun!

Attention AFS Premier Members: Receive 2 Months of Free Licensing! from MYZONE ($300 value)

Emily Sopo loves sharing her passion for health and wellness as a personal trainer, facility assistant director and fitness educator. Since Emily started teaching group exercise classes six years ago, she has immersed herself in the fitness industry. She has experience in several formats of group fitness, personal training, management, and teaching. Emily is a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and a certified group exercise instructor through the Aerobics & Fitness Association of America.

In 2015, Emily graduated from California State University, Long Beach, with her Master of Science in Kinesiology, Exercise Science. She is now the Assistant Director of the LifeFit Center @ The Beach, a health and fitness facility geared toward adults 49 years and older. Emily is also a Master Trainer with MYZONE®, and a certified IN-TRINITY® instructor, and a 2016-2017 PTA Global Ambassador.

Join the Conversation!