Xert says Fresh, Garmin says Training Load too High/Unproductive

How can they be at opposite ends.

Which would go with as a rough guide, is there one model you think is somewhat reflective or trustworthy in your experience?

Almost looks like a huge ramp in volume after March 22nd.

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Maybe something’s wrong… this is Feb and March. Think Garmin’s maybe not picking it up?

Garmin seems to rely very heavily on VO2 estimates. If your VO2 is not improving, Garmin will say you’re Unproductive.

Xert, for lack of a better word, sometimes seems to get “stuck”. I’ve had times where my volume goes way up and Xert tells me I am Fresh every day. I move the “Freshness Feedback” slider a massive amount (-10, for example), and it still says I’m Fresh. Then the next day I move it back to -5 and it will tell me I’m red for multiple days. There is something odd in the algorithm that has made me lose confidence in the math behind the Planner.

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If you restarted training with your Garmin (which one?) and chest strap (which one?) on March 5th then it might take a bit of time to stabilize

Firstbeat info on metrics:


And some of the Firstbeat stuff on my Garmin 530’s support pages: Edge 530 - Performance Measurements

I’ve monitored Xert and Garmin and TrainingPeaks/WKO. Being coached so someone else is making the decisions. But during self coached days I didn’t find either particularly useful.

Found the end of this article

of interest.

My best self coaching decisions were driven mostly off how I felt and driving CTL in a direction appropriate for how I was recovering and where I was in the training season.

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Because the Garmin is a Random Number Generator
Edit: And Xert takes no account of anything else going on in your life other than your training


How do you feel? If you feel fine why would you let a computer tell you otherwise? Do 2-3 weeks on, 1 week week off. Be reasonable progressing volume and intensity.



@Shrike you are the coach. You have metrics that can support decision making. They are metrics largely independent of how you feel. Don’t promote those metrics to the level of coach.


Funny you say that about VO2… it was progressing fast for about 3 weeks since I started using HRM (virtually every Pol workout gave big VO2 bumps). Then yesterday it took me down a point and said I was unproductive.

I get that these things have a threshold and aren’t precise. But signing on to Xert to play around with it and seeing it at the opposite end of the scale is odd. Not something I’d turn a blind eye too if thinking about using it and paying money for it. Garmin is free at least.

@bbarrera to be honest, you and @Bbt67 have been my coaches past few weeks :sweat_smile:

Feel bad sometimes leaning on you guys, but it’s free and I’m getting my plans tailored with your advice. Working well for me so far.

Anyway the reason I posted that this morning was because it was my last ride of the POL HV plan. That 5 hour one (they changed outdoor version to 5 hour now too by the way, no longer 7 hours). Bit miserable out, wet, cold, grey, bit windy… and seeing the Garmin say I was unproductive at this load was kinda a way out to skip the ride.

In the end I decided to do the ride and figure out which was right. Was okay, I wouldn’t say I was as fresh as Xert thought (it doesn’t know I’m running a calorie deficit, eg. sub 1000 cals nearly all week), but the ride was fine and I ended strong in the last hour, which was very surprising. Just went out and did a 100miler to end the plan. Will recover now for a week, then take FTP test.

You guys have a week off before I start asking stupid questions again. Enjoy :rofl:

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Only some of the Firstbeat/Garmin metrics are using vo2 estimates. I’ve found Garmin to generally trend in the right direction, but like Xert there is no chance I would base decisions on it.


I am not so sure, the freshness score on Xert has never really worked for me, well it kind of does sometimes, but there is a delay and lag and as someone else mentioned it gets stuck.
Example, Was tired, took a mid season break (last year, no events) Xert still said I was tired at the end of the 10 days, 5 days in to training again it suddenly said I was fresh, now this might make sense (not sure it did) but I 'm not going to spend the time & energy working out why it might be correct.

Most (but maybe not all) of the people that say Garmin is a random number generator, in my experience have the following issues.

  • Using an optical sensor that isn’t giving them a good HRV reading during exercise
  • Do not update or set their personal stats correctly
  • Don’t use their Garmin device 24/7 (and worse don’t track all activities, walks, hikes etc.)
  • Look at the tree and forget the wider context of what it is suggesting at a certain point in time
  • Just don’t understand what it is telling them.

I have made the random number generator comment myself, and it might be for outliers, but its actually pretty accurate, scarily so, most of the time for a majority. I was wrong in my previous comments about it being random, the times when I thought that can’t be right it has turned out to be spot on.

It is not going to work well for someone that the VO2 estimates are off for, as that with RHR and HRV seem to be the main metrics it considers. Statistically it works, maybe not for some, but its not random.


:+1: Agree.
Go with your feeling first and foremost, generally use metrics to spot trends.
I tend to over rule suggestions of being tired and do the session anyway, then if it turns out sh!t I know why and don’t beat myself up about it. Same if it says fresh but I feel crap, I’ll do the warmup and if I still feel bleugh I pull the session
If I notice at a ramp rate of 5 per week I’m okay for 4 - 5 weeks but some software is telling my I’m over doing it then I know I can ignore that message (although keep ignoring it for weeks and you can tend to dig a hole). At some point it will be correct, maybe if you start getting less sleep or don’t eat as well.

Its just another tool in the box, one has to learn to hear what their own body is telling them and make decisions on that.

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I actually had it happen to me today. For several days the Xert Planner has told me I’m blue (fresh), and nothing I did to adjust it (took it to -15) would turn me yellow (tired). Friday I gave up, took it back to my normal -5 and stuck to the plan. Yesterday I did Fairweather +1 (2.5 hours with 15 minute sets of O/U and it stayed “Fresh”. Before my workout this morning, still “Fresh”. I did San Joaquin -2, 55 minutes at .82 IF, and honestly, it was a pretty easy ride of 20/40 intervals with 10 mins rest between sets…and now it shows me at yellow (tired) for the next 4 days, and retroactively shows me yellow in the past, even though those were not yellow yesterday . I just can’t make any sense of it.

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Holy crap dude! That’s a very nice back door brag. Well done!


Maybe @baronbiosys can take a look to the Xert related posts of this thread (as there seems some confusion or room for improvement with with Xert recovery metrics) and can clarify a bit (note that I specifically pointed them here before accusing them of using a competitor’s forum :wink:).

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Listen to your body and be objective about your current training vs previous load. Remember you can often get through multiple weeks of overtraining before the wheels fall off so consider the long term implications of rest vs more training.

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Where are you in the training plan? If you are at the end of a block - this might be that desirable over-reaching you need to really break through.

Xert’s freshness calculations are 2-dimensional in that they not only look at overall fatigue in the same way that TrainingPeaks Performance Management Chart does, but also at your High + Peak fatigue.

On this chart we have High + Peak Form on the vertical axis and Low Form on the horizontal:


The line graph is an example of how the colours change as the two parts of your form change.

It’s really important to understand that the colours are not on a continuum - if you are carrying a lot of High + Peak fatigue you can drop to the other half of the graph at any point, depending on where your overall fatigue is.

This could be better explained within Xert and I’ve asked if something like this could be implemented as I think there are loads of users who don’t understand what yellow actually means.



I don’t find this completely true:

Also, obviously with less degree of precision, but any, again, any activity you upload with hr metrics will have a score (it have its limitations) but it’s not shabby.

It wasn’t meant as a criticism of Xert it just like all other platforms in that the algorithm just looks at the work you have done. At least Xert let’s you put some of your own input into the system. I think TR’s Adaptive training may have something similar. One think I do pay attention to is my waking HRV. Like today it was a lot lower than I thought it should be so I didn’t do any efforts at the end of the long endurance ride I was planning which I would have done if it had been ok