Garmin stress/body battery to give context for training

Hello all. In the podcast they talk a lot about life stress impacting training. Are the Garmin watch body battery and stress features (tired with sleep and HRV) accurate and helpful in your opinion? I’m mostly interested if they would be good off-bike metrics that affect training performance. I’m thinking specifically in terms of assessing when a rest week is necessary, or correlating lifestyle issues (sleep/stress) with training plateaus or improvements. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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This metric for me always correlated really well. I assume it is a surrogate for HRV.

However given the our bodies are dependent on so many factors, I would never use it in place of ‘feel’. Experience is key!

I’ve had a fenix 6 since launch and regularly used the body battery in comparison to what I felt and I would say it married up pretty nicely.

If my body felt tired it would normally show on the body battery aswell. Occasionally it throws a wobble where I have felt great and it says I’ve got 10/100.

I’ve also got hvr on the fenix now, since august. And I think it’s a pile of rubbish. I’m constantly unbalanced/low. If I don’t do anything for about 2 weeks it goes back to good and then one work out will throw it off again.

Edit/l: should also note that whilst monitoring the body battery, Ive had a kid that never sleeps past 5am. The hrv I cannot comment on prior to this. So recovery is more prolonged.

Totally agree on that. Garmin gave me a sleep score of 84 last night despite waking up at least 4 times for the baby. My body battery showed 79 this morning but I don’t really feel that good, so will take it easy despite what my watch says. Having the numbers sometimes helps but don’t just rely blindly on those and never disregard what your body is telling you.

@admigo @Kenzii @qwertzuiop Thanks for your responses. Has the Garmin features ever helped you have a better understanding of your body”feel”? For instance it’s easy to work/train oneself into the ground without noticing the body’s signs of fatigue.

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I don’t think it’s possible to train yourself into the ground without noticing, unless you have those metrics on your watch. That’s just not a thing. You’re choosing to ignore the signs your body sends and are suddenly surprised when you’re burnt out.

I bought the watch for a different prupose. The numbers just sometime reflect what I feel and sometimes they don’t. If you want raw numbers without a watch I‘d say try out the whoop band for 6 months and give it back if you don’t feel like you get value out of the numbers. A Garmin watch is not just about the numbers, imho. It’s just another feature.

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Not for me but Ive only got a vivioactive 3. However its all linked into Garmin on Tuesday gave me a 3.5d recovery after my VO2max session, if I had listened to that I wouldn’t have gone for 60 miles with mates on Wednesday. Their features are interesting but not spot on enough for me to guide training, it would only restrict them for me.

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Same here. Im 49 and in good nick for me, yet it says my HRV is 30-32. I don’t trust it at all, i’m awaiting a replacement, it cant read my HR properly at all, hopefully its got HRV wrong. Or maybe im always a bit stressed who knows.

I look at body battery sleep scores and i suppose its shown me how evenings sessions and /or alcohol affect me.

I’ll tell you one thing. I’ve been using body battery for about 18 months. 99% of the time I wake up with a score above 96. That’s with a TSS of 650-1100 a week. In that time I’ve had a really nasty crash with concussion and broken ribs, covid, and the occasional cold.

About two months ago I strained my lower lumber, if coincided with the end of my season. Body battery was still around 100. Four days later I got the latest moderna + flu vaccine. For two solid weeks after I struggled to get a score over 80. Often waking up in the 70’s. Even though I was totally off the bike, not working and sitting on the couch. Not sure if it was my back or the shots but something was definitely awry

I have a vivoactive 4. I think the body battery is way off mostly because the optical hr is junk. Ive worn my watch while doing vo2 max work and it will say my hr is in the 80’s while my rythym 24 says its 170. Then going for easy walks with my dogs will have it in the 150’s when it is maybe in the 90’s. It cant possibly measure hrv etc when its that innaccurate.

Apparently if you set some watches to record an activity they are better but that would kill the battery of my Vivioactive 3 which is as equally as inaccurate :neutral_face:

I monitor the Garmin body battery metrics pretty consistently. I find it pretty accurate in terms of how I am feeling and my performance in workouts.

When I see a 100 score in the morning I will generally ace the workout and something in the 60-70 range for me will see me struggle. I workout Tue and Thur so if I saw 60 I would still do the planned workout. I generally use it to reinforce rest days.

One useful aspect for me is to see the impact on stress levels for food consumption, timing of food intake and other what I thought were restful activities.

For example if get an Indian takeaway my stress value will increase significantly, likewise eating close to bed will see stress levels high until 2am. Watching edge of the couch TV will see my stress levels increase close to bed and stay elevated reducing recoveries.

All probably obvious stuff but to see a value impact on the watch just reinforces it.

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Alcohol absolutely nukes my body battery. Even a single beer has a profound effect.

I’ve also noticed heavy food before bed does it too. Pretty interesting stuff.

Yes same, food close to bedtime results in higher stress levels and lower BB in the morning!

Interesting. I eat before bed and in the middle of the night and I typically wake with scores between 97-100.

That’s your issue right there, they’re not meant to be accurate at intense HR’s. I wear my vivoactive 4 at all times minus activities where I’ll switch to a chest strap.

I don’t drink but a mate of mine doesn’t mind a drink or three. I was blown away when he said he often wakes up with a score of 5. If I wake up with a score of 70 I think I’m dying. :joy:

I dont use it for any high intensity work…just the few times Ive had it on while using my Rythym 24 I have noticed the diiference.

Fenix 7 owner.

I find the sleep tracking to be quite accurate. I don’t sleep well and get up a lot, which the auto-tracking detects quite well.

The other metrics seem to track well with how I feel. I’ve had occasions where it said my training readiness wasn’t great but I ignored it. Those weren’t great sessions.

There’s definitely a mental aspect to it. I really like the Morning Report feature. I’ve had cases where I was slow to get out of bed but the Report said I was in a good place for training readiness and that was enough to get me motivated.

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Where do you find recovery on the Vivoactive 3?

Its not in built on the vivioactive as far as I know, maybe higher end watches it is. For the vivioactive I think you’d have to broadcast your HR to something like an Edge and that data is nonsense.

Garmin Venu 2 user here. And this topic truly is a YMMV; I don’t put a whole lot of stock in Garmin’s numbers.

– Garmin says my resting heartrate is 49 bpm.
– 72-hour (medical-grade) Holter monitor says 59 bpm. That’s a huge delta between the 2 sources, so I reasonably give the coin toss to my cardiologist (i.e., Holter monitor).

Last thing regarding optical heart rate monitors: skin color (more melanin), hairy arms, heavy sweater, or (tattoo) sleeve? Hmm, take your results with a grain of salt, because they have a bearing on other Garmin metrics. Not here to slam anyone’s experience, just sharing my objective data between sources.

EDIT: I have dark skin, hairy arms, and sweat like a horse when I’m on the trainer, so there’s that.