Does this tool even work during the trial period?

I doing the 1 month free trial. Uploaded Strava data to Xert (it only imports the past 3 months). I specified Goals of GC, an Event about 5 weeks away, and Extreme1 progression. The Training Planner advises me to ride for like 0.2 hours and 2.3 hours per week, always says I am Extremely Tired, and offers the same workouts all the time. I’m two weeks into the trial and the advice never changes. What am I missing?

I guess it’s called the Training Advisor and it’s showing that I need 0.3 hours per session for 2-3 hours per week, which is a total joke for training. FWIW, according to Xert my FTP is about 300 watts, 4.4 w/kg, and while I’m not in the best shape of my life I’m certainly not unfit. I’ve just never done any structured training and thought Xert could help with that. Is this not the a good tool to start with?

Oh, I also see this message at the top of the Xert page sometimes: “Your current Training Load is below 15. The Training Advisor will provide better guidance when you reach this level.” What does this mean?

The trial is more useful to compare Xert to other structured training programs. I think the majority of Xert users have experience with other programs and are looking for a different approach.
In your case something sounds amiss as Extreme-1 should be a lots of hours per week. You can email and ask them to look at your fitness signature and setup.
I’m not sure you’ll get much value out the trial by dialing up to Extreme-1 with a goal date 5 weeks out (one week after trial ends). For one thing limited workouts in the trial won’t suffice.
Progression is also designed to deploy over 120 days moving from base to build to peak to taper (or on to next goal date).
If you really want to experience how Xert works I suggest you sign-up for a monthly account which you can cancel if you don’t like it.
You can then load all your Strava history and start playing with the various functions over time. There is a learning curve compared to other structured training programs with pre-defined workouts.

Hi Brian. If you’re at 1 star and feel that this doesn’t represent your real fitness level, use the Freshness Feedback slider on the Fitness Planner and slide it right to move up the scale and get more difficult workouts and more volume. Once the system has enough data such that your data is a better representation of your real fitness, you can dial this back. We have many new users that have used it this way. You still get all the benefits of having structured training without the rigid plan. Feel free to contact support if you need additional help.

I’ll do some more reading when I have the time. I think that’s the core problem me and many others want to solve - barely enough time to train as it is let alone learn about how various tools work to guide us. Maybe having more historical data from Strava would help. I typically ride 10-12 hours per week on average - more in the summer, less in the winter; probably fairly average. I’ve done a few of the workouts as advised but continue to ride as I always have because the volume advised seems ridiculously low. I set it to Extreme-1 hoping that by leaving it there it would quickly realize I wanted to move along already. The Goal I set at 5 weeks is a race I was perfectly willing to train thru working towards a larger goal/event a few months beyond that but Xert doesn’t have a way to add multiple events or prioritize them. It seems like it is a very long way away from anything that would replace actual coaching, which I guess is what I had hoped. The flexibility and adaptability is why I thought Xert made sense compared to other options I’ve only read about.

As mentioned, many users at 1 star are only able to ride 4-5 hours a week. If you’re able to do 10-12, you’re likely closer to 2. Move the Freshness Feedback over to +10 or +15 and see if that works better for you.

You also have a number of activities without power data. This affects a number of calculations the software is trying to make about you. Remove all your activities that precede your first ride with power data. Things will work much better for you then.

Regarding the “star level” - it is showing half a star. I have no idea why that would be the case.

No power data sounds like the culprit. I’ll give your suggestion a try, thanks. However, since I only have a power meter on my trainer, this might be a problem. I’m willing to get a power meter for my road bike, but won’t put one on my mountain bike (which is ultimately what I’m training for). So Xert can’t estimate power from GPX file data like Strava does in the absence of a power meter?

I just noticed that Xert is getting power data from somewhere on my outdoor rides and it’s not coming from Strava (the only way my ride data gets to Xert in the first place). In the Dashboard, there is power information above the map graphic but if I select the Details for each ride, all the power data is zero and XSS is also zero. This must be the problem. Xert must not work without actual power meter data. That REALLY limits the audience for the service don’t you think?

The software is for athletes using power meters and smart trainers. It provides deep insight into this data, eliminating the need in many cases for blood testing and fitness testing. It optimizes training with this insight.

I did not realize you had no power data for rides imported from Strava. That is the reason for the odd recommendations in Xert.
All ERG structured workout programs rely on power data. While Strava can estimate power based on GPS data it isn’t anywhere near what a power meter captures moment to moment.
You could edit the workouts to insert estimated XSS but that will get tedious.

OK, thanks. I don’t understand the details of power based training well enough to understand why power estimates wouldn’t be better than nothing given that they are fairly simple to compute.

Strava doesn’t show XSS and that would definitely be tedious, although I’d probably do it for the Xert trial period if it would truly help. I use Cyclemeter to capture ride data then upload that to Strava. I’ll check if Cyclemeter has anything that might be useful for Xert. I don’t want to waste so much time on this stuff that it takes away from why I ride, but if a simple change in workflow would help, I can probably do that. A power meter beyond the trainer (Tacx Smart) isn’t high on my list of priorities right now. I find the extra tech involved with trainers these days borderline worth the hassle. Thanks for the replies.

No worries. Our customers a those that want to know what’s happening to their fitness mostly out of their own curiosity and often to prepare for races/events/group riding. A power meter that they can use on all their rides is essential. Estimated power does not offer any insight unfortunately. Good luck!

Would doing one workout on the trainer (my only power meter) each week be enough to get some useful information from Xert?

Probably not. The value of Xert is that it takes in all riding you do with power and based off of recent ride fatigue and goals it will prescribe a certain type of ride. With only limited rides with power it will not be able to provide this functionality

One day of trainer data per week won’t cut it.
If your Tacx trainer produces the required power data, why not ride the trainer exclusively during the trial?
2-3 weeks of daily power data will start to make sense in Xert. Anything less won’t.
If you can’t train with power do you track and record HR during workouts?

I do use a speed/cadence sensor (Wahoo Blue SC) and GPS (iPhone) on my road bike and GPS only on mountain bike (singlespeed) plus heartrate (Wahoo Blue HR) monitor on both. The data is saved but I rarely look at it. I just go out and ride, often long and/or plenty of climbing, hill repeats, etc. Back surgery has me off to a slow start this year compared to prior years where I averaged at least 12 hours per week and usually 120-200 miles per week, favoring mountain bike rides as much as possible. For the most part I train off perceived effort and mountain biking around here naturally means lots of climbing repeats. I’ve generally done pretty well in all the races I’ve done (top 10%, quite a few podiums). Anyway, this year I want to try training with some structure to see what my limits are and also to quickly regain the fitness I’ve lost since the back surgery in October 2018 (followed by an unusually long and cold winter). I’m just now getting to where I can put the time/miles in again and the weather is cooperating as well.

I’ve only got a week left of my trial with Xert. Maybe I’ll pay for a month and use the trainer more often. I’m pretty sure that as the snow up high (I’m near Lake Tahoe, NV) I just won’t be able to stay inside. The trainer is mostly a winter thing only for me.

I’m about 12 weeks out from an event I hope to do well at this summer - about 52 miles on the SS with lots of long climbs. I need to get something in place this week. Reading about Training Peaks, TrainerRoad, and Zwift when I have time. I appreciate the discussions; they help more than you realize.