Newbie; XERT - simply how to operate it?

HI there! -Sorry for this long post.
Completely new to XERT but been doing indoor winter training for +15 years going through all iterations of TACX TSS. Splashed on a smart trainer for this season and trying on the various software portal trials for size. Time now XERT and am intrigued by the possibilities but having a heck of a time figuring out how to work it. I find it frustratingly un-intuituve to use.
My general training regime (which I am using to get to know the various sw before settling on which to go with) consists of 3-4 structured workouts throgh the week, mainly 2/3x20, VO2, HIIT 1-1½ hr sessions supplied with one longer “free range” session of 2 hrs+ during the weekend. Sharing and comparing with others I don’t need at all, I am by myself and after 35 years of cycling and racing, I know what works for me.
For XERT I have consulted the tutorials, the how tos, DC Rainmaker et.al, but everywhere I find I lack the simple basic instructions on how to select a workout and run it. All material seems to focus on what you can do with XERT, not how do you do with XERT. Oh yes, how you compare and understand all the bells and whistles but not the simple basic daily use of the software.
It is also very difficult to figure out when to do something in the Android app (I use an Android phone) and when to do it in the browser. Text goes like “Select X”, “Click Y”, “Do Z”… but where?
The only thing I found to work really nice was setting up my profile and importing from Strava.
I have made it work only once and was deeply dissapointed with the Player “API”. I may have done something wrong, I don’t know, but the screen was filled with several - for my workout - unnecessary widgets; a chat, a list of podcasts. In a minute corner at the bottom I could follow the workout and in another corner the current output from my equipment was shown, hardly readable.
Also I tried to schedule a workout only to arrive 10 min late. Now the workout was in progress without me initiating it and I could not find a way to cancel it and restart. How to do that, how to end a session midway? Far too many buttons and clicks to get a workout underways.
I know my FTP quite well but XERT insists on setting it app. 30 Watts too low. How do I correct this?
To sum up; I have liked what I have read about XERT but I am about to give up as I find it excrutiatingly difficult to understand simply how to use it. -But I really would like to try it.
Hoping for some much need assistance from the community so I can get it up and running
PS.
As a trained electrical engineer I even find it amusing, that I cannot figure out how to use this.
/Ulf

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Watch the “Mastering Xert Series” videos and all will be understood.

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Thanks oldcyclist65, I hadn’t come across that one. I’ll give it a spin.

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As you have discovered Xert is a dual device platform comprised of a phone app to control the workout plus a browser page (PC/laptop/tablet) to view the workout being run on the phone.
All control of the workout is through the EBC phone app.

On the Android app you can swipe up to stop a workout in progress or tap the standard Android back button.
Quick Start Guide: EBC – Xert (baronbiosys.com)

If you prefer a simpler experience for the browser page view, you can close the Session Player and run the Remote Player instead (traditional blue block chart).
Closing either browser player has no effect on the workout running on the phone app.

No need to schedule a workout unless you plan to start it at that time. Scheduling is most likely to be used when you plan to have other Xert users join you for the session (public or private with team/club members). When that occurs the XBL podcast screen is replaced with a YT video box and group chat is active. The workout stats box is replaced with a leaderboard (non-competitive).

Many of us select a workout (Play Now) right before we workout. When you do that the workout doesn’t actually start until you tap Start on the phone app.

Beginner’s Guide: Getting Started With Xert – Xert (baronbiosys.com)

Lots of newbie tips posted here –
Beginner questions - Support - Xert Community Forum (xertonline.com)

Training Right For Your Event – Xert (baronbiosys.com)

FAQs here – Support Home – Xert

Academy series videos are the quickest way to get up to speed. Here they are in order (building blocks) – https://tinyurl.com/yfrucamh
This does means investing 3+ hours of your time to learn something new and different, but it’s well worth it IMO/IME. Xert is tailor-made for those of us who like to self-coach.
You can alternately view the series as three one-hour low intensity endurance workouts by selecting them from the Session Library. Seach for “mastering”. The order is Discover, Improve, Perform.

Now that I know how everything works, I am up and running my selected workout for the day in less than a minute. Or I’m headed out the door for a free ride to a focus duration which could be an Easy Polar Endurance ride (think constant Z2) or a Difficult Mixed Puncheur Ride (intermittent intervals targeting 4:00 duration point on power curve).

Xert is different on purpose. :wink:
XSS is not TSS.
TP is not FTP.
Workouts are not limited to %FTP blocks.
The Planner it not a calendar to be filled in.
The rainbow gauge tells all. :rainbow:
Hang in there. The aha moments are coming.

The 30-day trial includes access to a limited set of workouts, and you can only load 90 days of historical data. When you subscribe, the workout library expands to 500+ and you can load as much history as you want. You can also import your favorite workouts sourced elsewhere and optionally improve them during import (convert sections to SMART intervals which scale to your fitness signature).

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Okay @ridgerider2 . Ive asked this question before and you’ve said No.

You are definitely an Xert admin pretending to be a regular user.

Come clean. Scott? Armando? Stehen?

:wink:

I don’t think Xert has any 70 year olds on their payroll. Are you suggesting they should? :smiley:

I “read the manual” a few times :wink: then experimented and learned more by doing.
If I had the opportunity for a do-over with Xert, it would be to watch the Academy series videos before I tried Xert. However, the series did not exist two years ago. :frowning: For me it was more a journey of self-discovery, especially my first full phased progression experience (TED).
I’m never going back to calendar-based plans. Too much fun and better results with Xert including year over year improvements regardless of aging factors.

My one more wish for newbies would be a pre-requisite Boot Camp video when you sign up for a trial. One that outlines which old-school concepts and terms do not apply with Xert and why. Then (hopefully) newbies won’t try to match them up and make assumptions. I get why people do that, but you have to be willing to try something different or at least suspend some old-school bias while you put something new to the test. You really can’t do that on an Xert 30-day trial unless you understand some core differences immediately.
I hope my pointers accelerate the onboarding process for any newbies that ask for help.

When was your last breakthrough? And was it truly all out, or just from one of your regular interval workouts?

Xert needs all out efforts to determine threshold (and other parameters). It’s purely power based, so can’t tell how hard you tried.

It also decays your signature over time (unless you change the decay setting) so if it’s been a while, your TP will be lower than it was when you actually achieved the BT.

So

  1. do a true BT effort
  2. set to no decay if you don’t plan to regularly do BT efforts
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Hi Ulf, welcome to the club! Xert is a data-driven platform, so you need to feed the monster with data first. My advise to you is keep doing what you are doing for a while, this enables Xert to create a proper fitness-signature. One of the features of xert is the ability to let you ‘fitness-signature’ slip away, if do you not hit your limits (you can also turn this feature off). This means that it is wise to reset your signature once in a couple of weeks by pushing for a break through. Especially when you are off-season, or when you are in a pre-build phase were you are just peddeling in the ‘zone 1’ to build endurance, this can happen. The main advantage of Xert is that the signature is not only build on FTP, but also on peak power and High Intensity Power (pretty simular to the W’Bal). Try to push these three KPI’s, and your signature will be more accurate than any other platform.

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Thanks to everybody.
ridgerider2, you - and others - miss my point. I know XERT is different and all that and that is what got me intrigued. But simply how to operate it?
I am also not on my first BT yet as I still have problems operating the damned thing. Can’t breakthrough if you can’t get it started :wink:
The suggested videos from oldcyclist65 also did not cut it, again emphazising all the things that sets XERT apart instead of how to operate the damned thing. But I did get on to some rather instructive videos from Mapdec Cylce Works, shout out! What I was looking for was his part 2 Doing you first workout session.
Now I can get going and I am planning a BT workout tonight. From here I will log some data to get me dialled in and proceed to the next BT.
Thanks again to everybody.
/Ulf

For the XERT paradigme, a boot camp could perhaps be well placed, but as a newbie I am too overwhelmed with the info on the change of paradigme from the Hunter/Allen-tradition and on top of that how to operate it is also a major shift and - find I - really not very well explained.
/Ulf

How’s this for 3 steps?

Requirements:

  • XO (xertonline.com) running in a browser on PC/laptop/tablet
  • Xert EBC app installed on phone; iOS or Android

Prep:

  • Sync historical data on XO to establish a starting fitness signature or use Power Curve calculator with known data points.*
  • Configure XATA parameters under Goals. You can change these settings at any time.

Step 1. On the Training tab of XO, review XATA guidelines on the left, then select any of the recommended workouts on the right. This can be any workout from the top list of four or Load More or change duration and filters to recast list. To select a workout click Play Now which switches to the Session Player waiting for you to start the selected workout on the phone app.

When you select a workout on XO that workout will be displayed at top of the workout list when you start the phone app. If the phone app is already running when you make a selection on XO, swipe down on the home page of the app to resync with XO.

Step 2. Start the selected workout on the EBC phone app.

Step 3. View the workout on XO using the Session Player or switch to the Remote Player for a traditional blue block chart.

When finished, end the workout and Save which uploads the activity from the app to XO.

*On a 30-day trial you are limited to 90 days of historical data which may not include the data points to establish a TP close to your known FTP. This is not unusual. TP is not calculated like FTP although the values serve a similar purpose. Your TP in Xert will be adjusted automatically after each new activity. A formal FTP test is not required as Xert measures your capacity to perform to failure under fatigue as you work out indoors or ride outdoors solo or in a group.

If you are concerned about a large gap between TP and FTP you can select a BT (breakthrough) fitness test workout from the workout library. Ride it in Slope mode (gears/cadence) to generate the effort required to validate your signature in as little as 10 minutes worth of high intensity intervals.
Or simply accept the starting signature as the numbers will be recalculated after every new activity or lack thereof (called signature decay).
The key to signature validation is occasional maximal efforts under fatigue. See Breaking Through the Xert Way for the types of moments that generate BTs.

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For anyone interested here are Paul Vousden’s Xert lessons.
Xert tutorials from Mapdec Cycle Works (UK user/coach) –
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0yhBv5SaftUi9z7HY1d1JGm8X3909T7N
Visit Paul’s YT channel for all the cycling content he offers.

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See - That was what I was hoping for help with. This is most instructive, ridgerider2.
Requirements - was done before I posted here first time. Though, the first XERT app I selected in the Play store was the XERT Mobile, not the XERT ECB.
Prep - Part 1 was done before I posted here and that went hassle-free. Last 90 days of STRAVA was imported and calculated. Part 2 I skipped purposely because I simply just wanted to ride first.
Step 1 - This is where I got lost as the browser had a green button “Play” and I played. This let me to the very cluttered iPlayer-view and nowhere did the tutorials state anything about the remote player, which clearly gives a better view (for me).
Add to that that I had not the ECB-appand thus the session was in progress immediately and I could not figure out how to stop, pause, or rewind.
All in all I just wanted to ride a workout with my sensor data displayed as well as the workout settings to aim for without having to worry about any other things.
Intuitive is not a word I will use here. I can learn how to but I doubt I will ever find it intuitive how to get started.
Anyways, following Paul’s videos (thanks for posting a link to his tutorials) I had a grat session last night; Dancing With the Devil - 3.0 completed. Having finished, I found the “Save”-button on the phone app and clicked. But nothing was saved! Dang, I did good and nothing was saved. - I wasn’t using the correct app. Will do better tomorrow.
I will get the hang of it, apparently I am just a bit thick…
/Ulf

Ugh. Sorry about that. That explains how you got off on the wrong track.
Xert should remove Xert Mobile app from the Play Store at this point.
EBC is the new app and the only one that works with latest features on XO.

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I hope things are running smoothly now.
Here’s some things to think about while you evaluate Xert. :slight_smile:

Xert provides a number of unique and effective new takes on VO2max, SS, and HIIT workouts.
For example, curvilinear hard start intervals or Ronnestad-style intervals scaled to your signature.
Intervals can be defined using MMP, Target or Reserve MPA, or XSS per hour to adjust power or duration in real-time to ensure compliance under ERG control.
Many “hard” endurance workouts float through SS rather than hang there at fixed %FTP.
Even RIBs (rest-in-between) can be SMART intervals (not based on %FTP or fixed time).
Some workouts are MIXED MODE (ERG control switches to Slope mode) so you can tackle short spiky stuff using gears/cadence and not worry about spiral-of-death or trainer response issues. Slope mode is also useful when testing your mettle with a BT workout. Those workouts are designed to validate your signature by driving you to failure points under fatigue. You won’t see these workouts on recommended lists, but you are warned if no BTs are detected during your normal training in over 3 weeks. You can then search the workout library for “test for breakthrough” and pick one to ride in Slope mode. The goal being to generate a BT and validate any signature changes.

If you have any traditional workouts you like to ride, you can import them and they’re added to your Personal folder. Others can be selected from the shared workout library folder called Community. You’ll gain access to that if you subscribe and join under Communities, My Coach, Shared Workouts. Those workouts and your imports will appear on recommended lists if they happen to meet the criteria for the day (XSS, focus, difficulty).

Sample workouts (note interval definitions) –
SMART Closer - 140
SMART Elastic Heart - 3
SMART Going Under - 60
SMART Killing Me Slowly - 60
SMART Bangarang

Sample BT workouts –
Fitness Test for Breakthrough Version 2
SMART Test Your Might

Reference –
Advanced Workout Design using SMART Intervals – Xert (baronbiosys.com)

Huge thanks for these infos.
I am getting to know the system, currently just working out in different suggested sessions.
They appear to be on the lighter side, i.e. my mpa is completely restored for every RBI, so I will be looking into tweaking some data to achieve a heavier load.
I was planning on getting back here with feedback but you beat me to it :grinning: