Beginner questions

@SecretSquirrel makes some very important points in their post. Worth reading twice. :wink:

In case it helps someone decide between the trial and starting a subscription –

Differences between 30 day trial versus a subscription:

  • 90 days is the limit for historical data import. Once you subscribe you can load as much data as you want. More than a year is not necessary but you may want to see how Xert interprets the old data. Data without power is of minimal value to load.
  • The trial includes a subset of workouts from the library with a wide variety of focus, duration, and intensities. Recommended workouts will be drawn from that subset.
  • You can test the Workout Designer to see how it works, but not create any custom/coach workouts.

As I have mentioned elsewhere if you set a TED (target event date) that puts you in pre-base or post-event phase there is no specific guidance used for the focus of your training and the advisor (XATA) simply offers a wider variety of workouts near your Athlete Type.

Reference: Compare Plans – Xert (baronbiosys.com)

Used ebc for an outdoor ride today. Works like a charm! Battery left was around 73% after 2 hours, but expect it to last longer when playing a bit less with the toy :joy::joy:

Wondering a little hoe to interpret/use the pink line around de rainbow. Ideas welcome :+1:t2:

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Hi!

  1. 30 day trial
  2. Training indoors exclusively on smart trainer +HR belt
  3. I’m 36
  4. Used to train via HR - I’m newish to power training
  5. Looking to get back to racing 2022 after a 6-year break (having 2 kids during the break :slight_smile: )
  6. Half Distance Ironman Jan 2022 in under 6h (a rough course with strong winds and a lot of climbing)
  7. 2 months
  8. 2.5 stars
  9. Triathlete
  10. Low improvement rate
  11. Pre base (Jan 2022)

I can’t find where I can type in a workout manually :confused:
Also - Is there a way Zwift can upload a workout directly to Xert?

Thanks so much!

Is there a way to ask Xert for a specific training model? such as Polarized 80/20?

Xert is a hybrid polarized system based on the 3 zone model –

Sweet Spot, Threshold and Polarized Training … By the Numbers – Xert (baronbiosys.com)

Xert is not strictly 80/20 but is also flexible and you can bend it to your will – if that is what you want to do. I think the default design will work well for most cyclists since you are in charge of allocating your week and more. You are not blindly following a cookie-cutter plan that doesn’t know how you feel day to day or how well you recover from prescribed workouts. You can also dial your TL (training load) intensity up and down during your phased progression. That is a huge difference right there.

Beginner’s Guide: Improvement Rate – Xert (baronbiosys.com)

Xert is an adaptive training system rather than a pre-populated plan.
It is a paradigm shift compared to other platforms and canned plans.

Since you are new to power training I don’t think you can go wrong here. You won’t have to shed dogma learned elsewhere (aka reading too many books on the subject :smiley: ).
I consider Xert the next evolution in how to train with power. There is a learning curve no doubt and it can be two to three months in before you may understand all the concepts and how they work together, but the results will speak for themselves. :slight_smile: :chart_with_upwards_trend:
The new Xert Academy sessions will help you learn quickly – Xert - Sessions (xertonline.com)

As a triathlete you can also ask for a free separate running account when you subscribe if you want to track that training progression as well.

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Since you are in pre-base phase on a 30 day trial you are in “float” stage with a variety of workouts to play with using a subset of workouts from the Xert library.
You can experiment with Xert’s phased progression changes by setting a TED (target event date) 120 days from now which will start in you Base phase. Then shorten that date by 45 days to place you into the next phase (Build) and 45 more to the next (Peak). (45+45+30 = full 120 day phased cycle)

Program Phases – Xert (baronbiosys.com)

When you subscribe you will have access to all workouts as well as ability to create your own using the Workout Designer.

You can export workouts from Xert to ride in Zwift but not vice versa. But don’t worry, you aren’t going to want to do that once you have full access to the library and understand the differences in SMART workouts available with Xert using their player (iOS or Android).
SMART workouts are not traditional FTP block intervals but utilize several other options. There are FTP based workouts in the library as well and you can easily create your own FTP based or SMART workouts with the Workout Designer by copying a workout and tweaking it to meet your needs. Those workouts will list under your Personal folder and will be included in recommended lists when appropriate.

Data-wise you are going to want a power meter on you bike to track your outdoor activities even if plan to free ride by feel (RPE) outdoors.

As to riding Xert SMART workouts using their player while also connected to Zwift, see this article –
The Ultimate Guide to Training with Xert and Zwift – Xert (baronbiosys.com)

While you could export SMART workouts into ZWO format that will convert them to FTP blocks and then they are not so smart anymore. :frowning_face:

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Wow thanks so much for the info!

Just had my first workout and I pulled it to Zwift where my FTP is probably off but it was OK.

Does this mean I broke the algorithm? It says my actual effort surpassed the maximal it had for me.

This means that Xert hadn’t detected enough power curve points in your current data to establish your starting fitness signature. Don’t worry, you’ll get there. :slight_smile:
Xert zeroes in on your fitness level by monitoring your ability to perform under fatigue using your MPA (maximum power available) as the main indicator.
In your case your PP (peak power) was too low compared to what you are capable of so you popped above MPA for a number of minutes and it flatlined since technically MPA is your max available power moment to moment.

Since you already have some base hours riding, the fastest way to validate your signature is to ride a BT (breakthrough) workout.
Search the workout library for “breakthrough”. I am not sure how many are shown in the trial but the shorter 30 minute one should do fine. Ride it in slope mode on your trainer with the Xert mobile app, relying on gears and cadence to hit watt targets. Adjust slope % down if needed to find a comfortable range for the resistance required.
Don’t worry about hitting everything exactly on your first try. It takes practice to learn what a BT event means during a workout/ride.
When you get to the section where MPA has drawn down and you are running out of steam, stand up for the sprint, spin up, and go as hard and fast as you can for 5-7 secs, longer if you can take it. :grimacing:

When you have breakthroughs (like the one you just experienced) your signature will update and you can view the details under Activities. A BT activity will show a badge icon next to the title which indicates one change (bronze), two changes (silver), or three changes (gold) to your fitness signature. Values include PP (peak power), HIE (high intensity energy), and TP (threshold power) which is Xert’s equivalent to FTP although may not be the same number as a traditional FTP test result.
All three numbers will fluctuate over time as your fitness changes.
As your fitness signature gets dialed in the recommended workouts will fall into place with their intended strain and intensity.

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Check for an email follow-up from the support team! Hopefully we’ve clarified things up a bit there (and even made an adjustment on your signature to bring it more in line with your Zwift ramp test).

@ridgerider2 is also a great source of information here on the online Forum!

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Thanks so much! You guys rock!

I forgot to send you this link in case other members of the family want to join the fun :slight_smile:
Fisher-Price Smart Cycle Trainer In-Depth Review | DC Rainmaker

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OMG you just made my day! :open_mouth::heart_eyes::pray:

Hi newbie looking for some help.

  • Are you running the 30 day trial or are you a subscriber?
    • trial
  • What equipment do you have for training indoors and outdoors? (meter type, trainer type, bike type, bike computer or phone)
    • indoor: wahoo kickr core smart trainer. desktop PC and phone
    • outdoor: heart rate montior, speed and caedance sensor, garmin 520 plus
  • Are you young (20-30s), older (60+), or in the middle? :slight_smile: (no need for exact age)
    • early 30’s
  • How experienced are you with training by power? (newbie or X years using another platform)
    • 4 months
  • Are you a recreational rider or competitive racer?
    • recreational rider
  • What are your goals? (example, special event in 3 months or best fitness for riding this summer)
    • best fitness for riding this summer in my group’s front A group
  • How many weeks or months of recent power data have you loaded into Xert?
    • three month of TrainerRoad data
  • What is your current star status? (example, 2 stars)
    • 1 star
  • What Athlete type did you select? (determines focus duration target)
    • GC Specialist
  • Which Improvement Rate (IR) did you select? (hours/week training load)
    • Slow
  • What TED (target event date) did you enter? (determines what phase are you in)
    • Nothing

Questions:
I am a new user coming from TR, and really struggling with understanding this new system. I am a recreational rider with no set event date, but I want some good workouts during the week to keep up my fitness. I’m not sure if I should pick Century Rider or GC Specialist - not sure how this changes things. Without a target date, it says i’m on Day of Event, and not sure if that is right. Should I just set something out in the future anyway? Can I still use this without a target date?

Next, I am confused by the Threshold Power calculation. I let it import my data from strava for three months. My last Ramp FTP Test was 268W, but Xert is calculating on 235W. was my FTP too high before? This seems so far off from what I was expecting. I want to export workouts to Zwift, so seems like getting this right is important.

I took last two week off, and it’s just suggesting Endurance rides - is that normal?

I tried to play around with the Improvement Rate, and on a lot of settings, my targets are going down - not up??? Also, I only have 3 hour to train and all the times seem longer than that.

Really unsure on how to proceed with getting this setup right or understanding how it works for someone like me.

TP and FTP may be close or apart since they are not derived the same way.
TR relies on a RAMP test to determine an FTP value which is a rough estimate of hour power based on their fixed % formula at RAMP failure point. When I say rough I don’t mean it’s a bad thing just a one dimensional test to determine what you can likely do for 40-70 minutes.
Xert relies on monitoring your performance while fatigued (along with a sprint now and then) to determine a fitness signature across three dimensions (PP = peak power, HIE = high intensity energy, TP = threshold power).

Xert is looking for BT (breakthrough) events to establish your signature but unlike TR the signature analysis is continuous after every activity or lapse in training. There is no need for a periodic RAMP test but Xert will warn you if you signature is getting stale (no BT events noted in 3 weeks; time to try for one to validate your signature).
The main purpose for both methods is to determine your current fitness so prescribed workouts have their intended effects. Of course they also measure your improvements over time. With Xert you can also monitor your HIE along with LTP as fitness markers.
You can find an example of a BT (breakthrough) workout by searching the workout library for “breakthrough”. You don’t necessarily need to perform this workout if your signature is valid based on the historical data analysis, but you can perform a BT workout any time if you want to check. They are nowhere near as intense as a RAMP test but they will test you. :wink: Suggest you do them in slope mode using gears/cadence to hit targets then stand up and spin for the sprint (5-7 secs minimum).

The trial includes a subset of workouts from Xert’s workout library so you can get an idea what Xert is like. Unlike %FTP block workouts common in TR many Xert workouts are SMART based intervals (discussed in other posts). In short the intervals can have specific power targets based on your current signature with dynamic interval duration or dynamic power during the interval. Mode may also change automatically (example, ERG to Slope). You can export workouts to Zwift but they will lose any SMART functions and revert to FTP blocks. There is also no need to do this (see Zwift article referenced below).

Another thing you will notice (and a welcome relief from TR cookie-cutter plans) is that many curated workouts in the library taper down based on difficulty and fatigue setting in. You aren’t having to put your legs through a meat grinder because the final sets (after half-way or two-thirds in) lower in intensity, duration, RIB (rest in between), or some combo. As a result you can finish most if not all prescribed workouts.

There is no need to set a goal based TED (target event date) but if you set one 120 days from now the system will start you in Base phase where workouts are endurance (low intensity) unless you purposely jump off list (which you are allowed to do).
As you move from Base to Build to Peak the intensity and training load increases. The full phased cycle is 120 days (45 Base + 45 Build + 30 Peak).

Since you only have 3 hours per week to work with you can leave IR (improvement rate) at Slow for as long as you want. If you do enter a mid-summer target date the phase progress bar will show pre-Base which isn’t phased progression (yet). Instead you’ll be recommended a variety of workouts around your current focus duration (GC Specialist). You can always skip around to try other types of workouts (Time Trialist for example) by using Filter to right of Recommended Workouts. You can also use Filter to list only those workouts that fit your duration requirement. For example, one hour.
Since you are at one star status you’ll want to pick workouts in that range (1 to 1-1/2 diamonds). The higher the stars the more variety and the more intensity. If you jump too far up the workouts will be difficult to finish.

I don’t know how many workouts are included in the trial but an easy way to view them all is select Training, Workouts, Show 100, sort by ratings or perhaps duration. If you click on the chart image or title you can view details in Workout Designer. If you click on any other column entry the workout becomes your selected workout under Recommended Workouts (unless you decide to change it later). You can also quickly create your own workouts using a library workout as a template, such as extend a 30 minute workout to 60 minutes with more intervals, but that is a topic for another day. :wink: Any custom workouts show up under your Personal Folder.

If you establish a pattern of when you ride such as Tue, Fri, and Sat, XATA (Xert Adaptive Training Advisor) will recommend similar activity the following week. Or you can randomly ride throughout the week to get your hours in.

I suggest you Enable Advanced Charts under Account Settings, Personal Info if not already enabled. Click Save and your activity charts will now be color coded similar to workout previews. This gives you an easy way to judge their intensity such as blue/aqua for low intensity intervals (where you will spend most of Base or your self-appointed easy rides). Yellow is TP, orange is higher than TP, and red is, well you get the idea. :slight_smile:

Since Xert is a hybrid polarized system you will notice many of the rides are much easier compared to TR’s sweet spot focus. This is actually a good thing you will appreciate more so two months from now as your fitness improves magically. :slight_smile: For me (also a TR convert) the difference was night and day.

BTW I am also a recreational rider who likes to get fit for long rides in the summer. I started in late November with a phased progression and target date of April 4. That means I have time to start another phased progression (if I want) in May with a TED in Aug or Sept. Also note if you do decide to set a goal date you can also change it at anytime to extend a phase or move back to float mode (pre-Base or post-Event) where the workouts are of a wider variety.

As @idefix mentions there are new Xert Academy Sessions under the Training menu at XO (Xert Online). You can learn about Xert while riding a workout with a Xert instructor and other Xert users. Sessions aren’t just for learning or group rides. You can create you own session and link to a Youtube video to watch during your favorite workout.

Hope this gets you started on your journey with Xert. It may appear daunting at first, but soon things will fall into place. The aha moments are coming.

Reference:
Program Phases – Xert (baronbiosys.com)
The Ultimate Guide to Training with Xert and Zwift – Xert (baronbiosys.com)

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Thank you so much for the detailed response! I looked for breakthrough, but the fitness ones need a subscription. I’ll play around with the free a bit more and see if my manual change of TP at 247 works out. I did get burnt out during TR sweet spot, but I am also losing weight. Probably sticking to endurance is better anyway!

Ramp rate and intensity are what killed us on TR plans because no cookie-cutter plan knows how well you are responding. Instead it simply adds more TL (training load) as the weeks go by. With TR plans especially, week #x becomes crash and burn time. Not a good thing. :frowning:
With Xert you can dial things up or down with two tools. IR (improvement rate) and FF (freshness feedback) slider.

The FF slider can be used any day (or over a period of days) that your predicted freshness doesn’t match. For example if XATA says your status is tired but you feel fine before the next workout, click Goals and drag the slider to the right (fresher) and click Update. The recommended workout list will change.
XATA tracks two periods for freshness. Current freshness is at the top indicated by the color of your status stars. 24 hours from now is the small triangle pointer next to the pacer needle. This is more a factor when training day after day assuming you plan to workout around the same time tomorrow. With rest days in between you will likely always be fresh before the next workout.

You are not trying to erase any daily deficit shown in XATA. Just keep the needle pointing up to stay within the recommended guidelines. 11am-1pm is ideal but the needle can waver. For example, drop to the left if you take multiple days off in a row.
There is no need to make up any missed days or worry about carrying a deficit forward. It is absorbed within the rolling seven day period XATA operates on.

IR can be adjusted anytime you want to up your weekly hours and intensity or dial them down.
Normally those competing will dial things up during the season to reach peak fitness. I started with Slow at the end of November and am now at Moderate-2 because I have the time. At some point the hours may crowd my schedule (other things in life) or the intensity may be higher than I want to go. With Xert you are in control (self-coaching).
So pick an IR that you are comfortable with but if you find yourself with more time to ride during some weeks you can increase your IR for that week. This also ensures the pacer needle reflects what you capable of doing.
Note to others – Some gung-ho newbies may be tempted to throw things into high gear (Aggressive or Extreme) or try to erase the deficit daily or push the needle all the way to the right. I understand the temptation (especially when fueled by youthful enthusiasm) but that isn’t the smart way to train. :wink:

Unlike a cookie-cutter plan there is no fixed workout you must do on any particular date. You are always able to select a different workout or a different day to do one. You can pick from any of the recommended top four or click Load More to view all twenty (greater variety), or use Filter to find something you prefer or a workout the looks interesting to try.

Since you don’t have a power meter on your bike you can enable HRDM (heart rate derived metrics) under Account Settings, Profile. This feature estimates your XSS (Xert Strain Score) and focus (power duration) from rides based on your HR patterns compared to power that you’ve established riding your trainer. The purpose is to let XATA know if you are meeting TL (training load) recommendations when activities occur without power data.

Reference:
Freshness Feedback – Xert (baronbiosys.com)
Improvement Rate – Xert (baronbiosys.com)
XSS – Xert (baronbiosys.com)
Focus Duration – Xert (baronbiosys.com)
Heart Rate Derived Metrics – Xert (baronbiosys.com)

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Hi!
Im Back again. Now with subscibtion.
Fighting through all the garmin apps.
Which one are important?m

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For doing indoor workouts there is really only one Garmin App (Xert Workout Player), all the others are just data fields for getting some Xert related information outdoors. But that’s always more of a compromise because of not perfectly flat bike paths and traffic.

I would start with the Xert App on an Edge or maybe even better with the new Xert EBC on Android indoors. And do a Breakthrough workout of your choice as soon as you feel fresh to make sure your signature is correct to start with.

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Thanks.
I have already installed it. But i was not Sure about all the other apps in the garmin “store”.
I did crazy train and take me to the church.
Last one is a bit boring😂

Most of the endurance workouts are supposed to be boring especially to someone living in the alps. :slight_smile:

Outdoors you may find some of the Xert data fields useful when free riding –
Connect IQ Store | Free Watch Faces and Apps | Garmin

Since you are in the mountains it will be difficult to use the Xert Workout Player on the Garmin to ride a workout outdoors.
Xert Data Fields on my Garmin - Support - Xert Community Forum (xertonline.com)

As @idefix mentions riding indoors you’ll find the Xert phone apps (iOS or Android EBC) are more robust than what’s possible to do within the confines of the Garmin Connect IQ environment.
Sessions can only be run on a phone app, but there are many more benefits such as workout selection, chart view, easy access to mode and % changes, rainbow gauge, etc.

Reference:
Using the Xert Workout Player for Garmin Connect IQ – Xert (baronbiosys.com)

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