Color Meaning and Symbolism
How to use colors in your teaching as a powerful tool to guide and coach you members - if you know the meaning of the colors, it will be easier for you to know when to use them!
Black is associated with power, elegance, formality, death, evil and mystery. Black is a color of mystery and often associated with fear and the unknown. Often times it has negative connotations, think blacklist, black humor and the black death. Black also denotes strength and authority; it is considered to be a very formal, elegant and prestigious color, think black tie and black limousine. In heraldry, black symbolizes grief.
At Intelligent Cycling we see the color black as the reference color for training in the “Anaerobic Capacity” and "Neuromuscular Power" zones. Training in either of these zones requires both power and strength. For most people, this zone - because it's the unknown - is associated with fear. Some instructors describe this zone with terms like death and evil because sometimes that's how it feels. It gives perspective and depth to your training and is the complete opposite of the Active Recovery zone (blue/white).
Red is the color of fire and blood and therefore associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power and determination as well as passion, desire and love. Red is an emotionally intense color. According to many psychologists and multiple studies, it enhances human metabolism, increases the respiration rate and raises blood pressure. Its high visibility is why stop signs, stoplights and fire equipment are usually painted red. In heraldry, red is used to indicate courage. This color is also commonly associated with energy, related to sports and high physical activity.
We use the color red as the reference color for training in the ”VO2max” zone (when training with 5 zones it also refers to the "Anaerobic Capacity" and "Neuromuscular Power"). Training in this zone is close to your maximum oxygen consumption, it demands energy, strength, power and determination. Training in this zone indicates that you have courage, since the PER is close to maximum!
Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with joy, sunshine and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement and stimulation. To the human eye, orange is a very hot color, so it sometimes gives the sensation of heat. Nevertheless, orange is not as aggressive as red. Orange increases the oxygen supply to the brain, produces an invigorating effect and stimulates mental activity. In heraldry, orange symbolizes strength and endurance.
We see the color orange as the reference color for training in the “Sub-Threshold” zones. These zones are about encouragement, enthusiasm, energy and heat. Training in these zones will give you a great workout and stimulate oxygen uptake. Most people are attracted to and fascinated by this zone — it feels like training on the edge without falling off!
Yellow is the color of sunshine. It's often associated with joy, happiness, intellect and energy. Yellow produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness, stimulates mental activity and generates muscle energy. In heraldry, yellow indicates honor and loyalty. Later, the meaning of yellow was connected with cowardice.
We use the color yellow as a reference color for training in the “Tempo” zone. This zone increases your muscular endurance and gives you some of the greatest adaptations in your training stress (when training with 5 zones this color also the reference for the "sub-threshold–threshold” zones). It is a zone of joy and happiness. While it's honorable to push hard and train in this zone, don't show cowardice by stopping here, keep pushing to orange and red.
Green is the color of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness and fertility. Green has strong emotional correspondence with safety. Green has great healing power. It is the most restful color for the human eye and can improve vision. Green suggests stability and endurance. Sometimes green denotes a lack of experience - for example, a 'greenhorn' is a novice. In heraldry, green indicates growth and hope. Green, as opposed to red, means safety; it is the color of free passage on the road and in traffic.
We use the color green as a reference color for training in the “Endurance” zone, which gives you a solid base of endurance and enhances aerobic fitness (when training with 5 zones this color also reference the "Tempo" zone). When training in this zone, you will feel safe, stable and in harmony. That is why the zone is for endurance—you can be here for a long time!
Blue is the color of the sky and sea. It is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth and heaven. Blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body. It slows human metabolism and produces a calming effect. Blue is strongly associated with tranquility and calmness. In heraldry, blue is used to symbolize piety and sincerity.
We use the color blue as a reference color for training in the “Active Recovery” zone (when training with 5 zones this color also reference the "endurance” zone). Training in this zone will bring calmness, stability and trust to your overall training. It is intelligent because you need recovery in your weekly training!
White is associated with light, goodness, innocence, purity and virginity. It is considered to be the color of perfection. White means safety, purity and cleanliness. As opposed to black, white usually has positive connotations. White can represent a successful beginning. In heraldry, white depicts faith and purity.
We use white as a reference color for training in the "Active Recovery" zone. Being in this zone will give you a successful beginning, since this is the bottom of the scale and therefore the beginning of your training. This zone is not about training, but it can be the beginning of your workout!