Strava "Fitness & Freshness", Helpful or a gimmick?

Hi All,
I started “paying” for Strava this year and noticed this fun graph that looked like I was really increasing my fitness over the past couple years, good news I’ll take it! :slight_smile: i record all my runs, strength workouts, rides and even walks in strava so it should have a pretty good idea of what my life looks like…

For the off season i switched from mid volume to low so I could add a few extra days to focus on strength training and still train on TR on the Sweet Spot Base plan.

I noticed my fitness is decreasing every day according to Strava, and my freshness is increasing. I do feel good and I can complete all my training rides at 100%, but am I really losing fitness just because i am not doing 5-6 harder rides a week? My strength training is going well too, i am increasing weight and setting PRs each workout.

It would appear that the “fitness and freshness” is accurate as I am feeling the effects of extra freshness allowing me to ride stronger for less time per week and adding in the Gym work too with no ill effects!

I like the freshness going up, but not the fitness going down… anyone have any “non science” info to back this up??
Thanks all!

I have yet to see any training metric from Strava that has any merit…but that said, I have not seen or used the F&F metric. But based on past history, I wouldn’t put too much stock in it.

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I noticed a better traceable “ fitness and freshness “. On the website under fitness and freshness you can switch what they base it on. Without a power meter it goes by relative effort, basically heart rate. Once you attach your power meter it rates fitness and freshness off of relative effort and power.
What I did was switch it to only “power” seems to be somewhat similar to training peaks. Strava is no where near training peaks in data but this has been one way I can “track” something. But honestly I go by how I feel and not what some algorithm tells me.

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Look up Banister impulse-response model. Strava’s implementation is based off PhysFarm (Dr. Skiba) as opposed to TrainingPeaks (Dr. Coggan). TP implementation is use by basically everyone in the sport using power whereas PhysFarm is HRM. Only recently did Strava adjust based on power and only if you maintained you FTP history (and probably if you forced a recalculation of the dataset). Fitness & freshness is “lazy” interpretation of the model.

Use TP, WKO, or Golden Cheetah if you are really interested.

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Hopefully it uses more than this but it seems Strava F&F relies on the number of consecutive rides you have. You may follow a plan with rest days and get actually fitter but Strava f&f shows you losing fitness because your plan told you to take a break :exploding_head:


I’ve found that the Elevate plugin for Strava does a better job of estimating my fitness gains or losses. I base this strictly on the way I feel, both on the bike and off.

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