Frequently Asked Questions
My Fitness, Activities & Workouts
Many of Xert workouts incorporate “Smart” intervals. These intervals can have either varying intensity, varying duration or both. For example, let’s look at the Sweet-Spot Under Fatigue @82% Workout:
The “Intervals under Fatigue” start with an interval that’s 369W that lasts 101s. Why 101s? Seems like an odd number to choose, right? The duration of this interval is calculated by the system and not specified. The duration depends on your specific fitness signature. Here is the corresponding definition row in the interval table:
You’ll notice that the Power is 5 min MMP. This means that the system will calculate your 5 minute power based upon your signature and use that as the target power. This makes the interval the same for everyone and does not need to be fine tuned using %FTP as a coach would do for you. Secondly, you’ll notice that the Duration is 70% Reserve MPA. What this means is that the duration of the interval is calculated to be how long it will take for your MPA to reach 70% Reserve, i.e. 70% of what you have between TP and PP or TP + 70% of (PP-TP). Using an Target MPA and Reserve also makes this interval work the same for you as it does for someone with a very different signature than you do. This is how the 101s is calculated.
Now to make things even more interesting and valuable to your training, the 101s can change as you do the interval. How? Since the value 101s is based on your signature as well as your fatigue, the workout players can interactively calculate how long you still need to go at your target power in order to reach 70% Reserve MPA. So, if you decide to soft pedal a bit during the interval, the duration will go from 101s to perhaps 110s. You’ll notice this as the interval timer slowing down. Likewise if you are a bit eager and decide to push a lot harder than the target power, you’ll see the interval timer speed up indicating you’re going to reach the 70% Reserve MPA sooner as a result. Note that the interval timers will only slow down to twice the duration and speed up to half the duration. This variable duration SMART interval helps you get to the target MPA so that the next interval, which is a classic 20 minute 82% sweet-spot interval is done under the same fatigue independent of how you did the first interval, dependent on your specific fitness levels defined by your signature. It works the same for everyone. These variable duration intervals also make them well suited to outdoor or adhoc indoor training that doesn’t depend on using trainer control. The flexibility of doing these workouts in a more natural environment make them both interesting and highly effective.
Something that makes Xert unique is the ability to see your Training Status and Form depicted as a number of coloured stars. The stars and colours are used in various parts of the system and understanding what they mean is important to understanding your overall training load and your freshness. Here is a quick guide to use when looking at your Training Status and Form if you’re confused by what you see.
My Fitness page: When you login, your My Fitness home page shows your Training Status and Form as of right now, i.e. when the page is displayed. This gives you the benefit of knowing what your Training Status and Form is at that moment and to provide feedback on what the data suggests is your readiness to train. If you have logged in to select and begin a workout, you’ll know exactly where you stand. In addition, the Xert Adaptive Training Advisor will use your current Training Status and Form to help you select the ideal workout for you. You can also use this information to select your own workout based on this and your own feelings, motivation and need for training.
Fitness Planner Calendar: Training Status and Form is shown on the Fitness Planner for every day, both historically and into the future. The system automatically calculates this for you when you open the Fitness Planner page and as you navigate forward into the future and backward into history. Because your Training Status and Form changes throughout each day (it changes continuously, second-by-second), the Fitness Planner uses the time shown as Usual Activity Time (UAT) in calculating the Training Status for each day. Think of UAT as the default time of day for your Training Status and Form and the default time you’ll be doing workouts. Update it when you would like to see your historical/future information at that time of day. Why is this important? Knowing what your Form was, and what it will be in the future, is key to understanding your past performances and to planning your future training. For example, knowing what your Form (star colours) was before a successful performance can help you understand what your Form should be leading up to an event in the future. Setting your UAT to be a time just before when you typically perform activities is the best way to view your information. It will indicate where you stood before performing activities and what it will be before you start future activities. Note that your Training Status and Form shown for today on the calendar is based on UAT and can often be very different than the Training Status and Form shown on your My Fitness home page. This is likely to be true if your UAT has a time-of-day before your latest activity and you are reviewing your current Training Status and Form that represents values from after your latest activity.
Fitness Planner Activity: When you click on an activity (historical or planned), a window shows what your Training Status and Form was/will be immediately before the time of your activity. This allows you to see exactly what the system had calculated for you at that time and allows you to assess what condition the data indicates you were in when you started the activity (or will perform the activity). If you open a planned activity/workout, you can update the date and time and the Training Status and Form will be recalculated to show you your Training Status and Form at that exact time. Use this information to help you schedule the date and fine-tune the time of when you’ll perform your training, both to accommodate your personal schedule and to give you a bit of an added visibility in developing your plan.
XPMC (Xert Progression Management Chart): the colour of the Form line in your XPMC reflects your Freshness immediately following each and every activity. For example, after a hard workout you may see the line change from yellow to red, or after an easy workout you may see it remain unchanged.
If you’re seeing more than one of the same activity in Activities > Dashboard or Table, it could be due to one of several reasons:
- Time zone discrepancies between the source of your activity file and your Xert account;
- Double syncing i.e. you’re syncing your Xert account with both Strava AND Garmin Connect;
- Your Planned Activity/Workout Time is keeping a planned workouts on your calendar after you’ve completed your activity/workout.
Let’s look at how to identify & solve each one of these…
Time Zone Discrepancy
Xert uses timestamps on activities to identify and omit potential duplicate activities. If your timezone has not been selected in Xert or if it differs from the source of your activity file (Strava or Garmin Connect), Xert will see these as different activities. To solve, make sure you’re time zones are correct and consistent between platforms you are using with Xert. In Xert, this can be found under Account Settings > Personal Info – Timezone.
If you’re syncing activities from both Garmin Connect AND Strava duplicates can easily occur, especially if there are differences in time zones. To solve, enable only Garmin Connect or Strava as your activity file source and make sure your timezones are the same in both your Garmin Connect or Strava account and your Xert account settings. If you see duplicates in the past you can manually delete them in Activities > Table.
Planned Activity/Workout Time
If you have a planned activity/workout scheduled for later in the day and you completed this scheduled activity in advance of its scheduled time, you will see two entries on today’s date for that activity using the Fitness Planner. When the time of your scheduled activity has passed, it will be expired and you’ll only have one activity remaining for today. Until then, you may possibly see two duplicate entries.
The precision required to determine breakthroughs is quite high. Imagine that the algorithm is able pick out as few as a handful of seconds from thousands of seconds in detecting a breakthrough. Small variations can play a big part in whether a breakthrough has occurred. Here are the main reasons:
- Error correction – the server removes data spikes and data errors which the Garmins don’t do.
- Computations have different precision – There are subtle differences on the computing architecture between the Garmin and the server with different precisio
Regardless, getting a breakthrough on the Garmin and not seeing it on the server is a tell-tale sign that Xert has your fitness signature established to a high degree of precision!
Given this precision and possibility that your breakthrough may not get detected, don’t stop as soon as you hear the breakthrough sound. Always hold on a little longer if possible. (Yes, we know .. is easier said than done!)
Having a red, Very tired Training Status, indicates that all three of your energy systems – peak, high and low – are above a certain fatigue level indicating that recovery should be considered. If you have been training with a high Improvement Rate and still have a large deficit, this is a tell-tale sign that you might need to back off with a recovery week to allow your body to recover. You should reduce it to Maintenance or Slow for a week or so to allow your three energy systems to recover. After the recovery week, return back to your selected Improvement Rate and continue as before.
One of the main premises that Xert works under is that it when an activity is synced/uploaded, it uses your latest Fitness Signature to determine if you had any maximal efforts. If a max effort exceeds the MPA determined by your Fitness Signature, you get a breakthrough, and your Fitness Signature is adjusted.
For the vast majority of cases, the changes are valid since it looks for similar fatigue patterns in making the adjustments. But on rare occasions your fatigue pattern in the data isn’t normal – perhaps you stopped abruptly and continued, or there was a data error right during your max effort. This can throw off how the system ‘reads’ your precise fatigue during these efforts, and therefore what your fitness signature was at the time of the activity.
Fortunately, if you have good data in subsequent activities with normal breakthroughs, your signature will get back on track. However, sometimes the error continues to linger and some manual intervention is needed.
Some hints as to whether you should do this is to look at your signature parameters to see if any of them don’t make sense. Often the easiest ones to spot are:
- Peak Power (PP) is too low or too high
- Threshold Power (HIE) is too low or too high
If you have a reasonable idea of what they should be based on previous data and if they are suspiciously incorrect, something may have happened in one of your activities and an error has crept in.
For High Intensity Energy, the following chart applies for most cyclists (not runners, hand-cyclists or other types of activities) and can help you decide if there might be an error:
If your High Intensity Energy is underestimated, it will also likely mean that your Threshold Power (TP) is overestimated. Similarly, if your High Intensity Energy is overestimated, your Threshold Power may be underestimated.
For example, if your signature is PP = 1200W, HIE = 10kJ and TP = 250W, and you’re confident that the PP value is correct, your HIE is likely underestimated (should generally be between 20kJ and 28kJ), which may also mean your TP is overestimated. You should do some quick investigation using the Activities Table to see if and activity or two have caused the system to veer off track. If you find one, you can either correct activities directly (using the Activity Details / Advanced tab) and update the fitness signature manually and then click the Save/Lock button and do a Progression Recalculation, or if you need more help, ask the forum or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can have a look to see where things got off track for you.
It is not uncommon to see your Training Deficit/Surplus increase over one day or sometime even a few hours. Training deficit depends on your activities in the past week. Activities don’t accumulate continuously. The deficit calculation is based your Improvement Rate and takes into account your activities from the past week. Sometimes activities enter and exit the moving window of consideration and can influence the training deficit.
In managing your activities, it is important not be too concerned with keeping the deficit at 0 but to maintain your Training Pacer on-track. It’s acceptable to train with a surplus and it is also acceptable to wait if you have a deficit, so long as you keep your training consistent and your maintain the pacer on-track.
For example, if the previous weekend, you managed to get out on a long weekend club ride at 8am that generated 400XSS points, your Training Load increased dramatically at 8am since that’s when the activity’s XSS will get counted. Starting Thursday to Saturday, you’ll see a higher than expected steady, hourly increase in deficit (or decrease in surplus) to give you an awareness that you’ll need to boost your training to maintain your improvement relative to the Training Load you had reached after that ride. The Adaptive Training Advisor performs some smoothing so that you don’t immediately see a large deficit at 8am the next Saturday.
Remember that any planned activities that you have planned within the next 24 hours will influence the secondary pointer on the Training Pacer.
Adding Manual Activities
Adding manual activities to your activity history is easy. Simply use the Fitness Planner and click on the day when you had the activity:
You can update the time of the activity (use the pencil beside the time) and be sure enter in the duration, XSS, Focus and Specificity Rating. For guidelines on how these should be entered:
- Duration is the how long the activity was. Nothing special to note.
- XSS is how much XSS you accumulated. Generally you’ll accumulate 40-50XSS per hour for easy riding and 90-110XSS per hour for extreme, high-intensity riding. Mostly, you’ll be somewhere in the middle.
- For Focus, if was low intensity, use Endurance. If you had long efforts just above Threshold Power, choose Climber or GC Specialist. If you had been doing sprinting or short hard efforts, choose Road Sprinter to Puncheur.
- For Specificity Rating, it should normally be set to Mixed.
Getting these values 100% correct isn’t absolutely necessary, if the activities are infrequent and make up a small proportion of your training. The more these activities will contribute to your overall training, the more important it is to have good estimates.
Using Other Activities or Workouts
Sometimes it’s easy just to use an older activity or perhaps a workout that you feel represents what you had done during your activity where you didn’t record power data. Simply favourite an activity / workout and drag-and-drop it onto the calendar. For example, if you’re doing a regular commute, this can be a very efficient way to add in the appropriate training dose. Simply create or locate an activity that you feel your commute is very similar to and favourite it. Then, click the Activities tab and just drag-and-drop it onto your calendar. You could even have different favourites that represent different bikes, routes or intensity.
Sometimes you may open an activity and see lots of yellow dots or the difficulty score is way too high. You may see the left axis start with MPA at over 2000W. Whenever you see this it generally means that the system didn’t understand your data. Xert expects your data to look like your previous data. When it’s analyzed and the results don’t align with what you had before, you’ll get errors. Sometimes the errors are caused by faulty power meters – they generate invalid data such as power values that are too high. This will result in creating errors in some if not all your data.
To fix errors in your data you can do a few things:
- If you suspect that an activity has invalid/very high power data values, simply delete it and replace it with a manual activity (use the Fitness Planner to create a manual activity by clicking on the date).
- If you have a very high peak power and aren’t sure which activity may have the issue, use the Activities Table and add the Max Power column to the table by clicking on icon and addin Max Power to the table. Click on the Max Power heading to order the table by Max Power and look for those activities that have a very high value. Remove than and replace them with manual activities.
- If you data is good and a there aren’t any errors, Xert may have errors due to insufficient information about your fitness from your current data on the system. When this happens, follow the FAQ on performing a progression recalculation.
How to Sync Older Activities from Strava to Xert
If you are looking add more Strava activities into Xert, follow the following process:
1. Click on the Strava link on the left panel or from the top menu if you’re on a tablet:
9. Click the Sync button on the bottom right.
TP can be higher than what you’re expecting for a number of reasons:
- In the past, your tests or data you used to determine TP (FTP or CP) weren’t truly your best efforts. This could mean that your previous estimates were below what you were capable of. If any of the following are true, previous estimates have have been too low:
- If you rested or went below TP, even for a few seconds during a 20 minute test.
- If you weren’t fully motivated to put yourself deep into fatigue.
- If you started the effort with a bit of fatigue.
- If you finished the test and still had some energy left.
- Your signature has a low Peak Power value and your maximal efforts tend to be higher power efforts. This can skew your TP and/or HIE higher. Getting a good estimate for PP can be difficult because anything you do to test PP will come in below what you’re capable of. To determine your highest PP more accurately:
- Sprint when you are 100% fresh.
- Sprint for less than 7s.
- Stand while sprinting.
- Sprint at high cadences. The higher your peak power, the faster your cadence. The faster you’re able to pedal, the higher your peak power is likely to be. If you’re powerful, don’t be surprised to see your sprint number increase simply by increasing cadence when you attempt peak power efforts.
- Sprint at high speeds. This reduces acceleration which rapidly changes cadence. It is difficult to sustain high force on the pedals when they are accelerating too quickly. (Please test with caution.)
- You are using a virtual trainer, uncalibrated power meter or power meter with errors. If your power data isn’t correct, Xert may think you’re superman. This is because Xert determines MPA that covers power data. If you have poor precision in your data, this can lead to greater variability in the data which Xert will see as you having the ability to withstand this greater variability, i.e. it raises your numbers. We’re looking to find ways to better handle these situations but for the time being, be wary of things like repeating power values or high cadence variability as this can mean the power data may be off and that Xert might be overestimating your parameters.
- Your TP is supposed to be high since you have a lower HIE. If you’ve been testing using 20 minute, or more so 8 minute, test protocols, your final TP might be underestimated using the standard 0.95 factor. This is because you might have a lower HIE than what is typical. Using standard tests will always underestimate your TP if this is the case.
- Your TP should be adjusted lower since you have a higher HIE. This is the opposite of 4 where Xert incorrectly thinks your HIE is low and thus determines your TP to be higher than it’s supposed to be. This can happen after a period of detraining where HIE has been lowered too far by Xert’s algorithm. To address this issue, go to the activity where TP is too high and/or HIE is too low, typically one with a medal, and adjust manually. You can do MPA Analysis to determine a good signature or simply key in what you think is appropriate into the signature field below the chart and Save and Lock to the activity. This should update subsequent activities.
MPA Analysis is a tool to help you determine your fitness at the time of the activity. This is a powerful concept and unique to Xert.
To perform MPA Analysis on an activity, open the Activity Details – MPA tab for the activity. On that page you have a chart showing both MPA and power. Below the chart, you can click on the other activity data to overlay additional information that you might need for the assessment.
Progression calculations will automatically attempt to determine the fitness signature for the the activity. The results of this are shown as the Fitness Signature for the activity below the chart. Xert automatically performs a signature extraction using the previous activity’s fitness signature as the starting point. In the case where a long time has passed since your previous activity, Xert may have lowered your signature values as it will have expected a decline due to detraining.
To see what a different signature looks like in terms of MPA, enter in a given set of values and click Refresh Analytics. This will use the signature you entered to determine MPA and plots these. Where your MPA is at or below your power output are your maximal efforts. If you MPA falls below your power, this indicates that one or more of your fitness signature values are too low. If your MPA never meets your power data, this can either mean that the activity did not have any maximal efforts or that the signature used is too high to represent your fitness.
Using the Extract Fitness Signature button, Xert will run a process to determine what your signature was for the activity using the values in the boxes as starting points. The values used are important since your fitness changes relatively and not all activities express your entire fitness. For example, you may not express your Peak Power in an activity so using a low Peak Power value as the starting point for the extraction will likely lead to a low extracted value.
When an activity is rich with maximal efforts, Xert’s extraction process will have a much easier time determining your a three fitness signature values at the time of the activity. When an activity has few, it relies more on the previous activity’s signature.
When you’re satisfied that the fitness signature is representative of your fitness at that time, Save the fitness signature to the activity. Note that when doing so, subsequent activities may also be affected by the change.
When Xert determines your fitness has improved. This is easy to spot as your power will exceed your MPA. This is by definition fitness breakthrough. They are what we all train to achieve.
When Xert sees that you had a breakthrough, it will then determine which of your fitness signature values increased. If only one increased, you get a bronze medal, if two increased, a silver and if all three increased, a gold medal. If you came really close but you didn’t quite surpass MPA, you’ll get a an open circle. (Note however that Xert actually makes absolutely sure by ensuring that 3 consecutive power data points are above MPA to qualify as a breakthrough).
The size of the medal provides an indication of how much time you spend at your limit. So an activity will a lot of time near MPA will have a larger medal than an activity with less time. Large medals are better indicators of your fitness at a given time.
If you are having difficulty getting the Segment Hunter to work on your Garmin:
1. Be sure to put the app on fullscreen so you can see which segments get fetched.
2. Be sure Garmin Connect Mobile is running on your phone and connected to the Internet.
3. Be sure the phone is connected to your Garmin and you see “Phone Connected.”
4. Wait up to 5 minutes after starting your activity for your segments to get fetched from the server.
5. Be sure you don’t have anything generating lap triggers.
6. Be sure you have your correct username and password configured in settings.
7. Be sure to disable Strava Live Segments.
8. Try using Garmin Connect Mobile rather than Garmin Express (or vice versa) to configure your settings.
Remember, LAP button starts and stops your nearest segment. It will start it from the beginning. START your activity will force the app to fetch new segments again. You may need to wait up to 5 minutes before that process completes.
If all this fails, completely remove the app from your screen and from the device. Restart and add the app again from the App Store. Configure your settings using GCM.
The Xert Segment Hunter is a great pacing app that can also be used for time-trials. There are a few keys things to remember in order to properly use the app for these races:
- Be sure your time-trial course has been defined as a Strava segment, and ‘star’ that segment in Strava.
- Load the course using the Segments page, then edit your Target Time to be either your expected time or a tad longer. The reason to use a Target Time that’s a bit longer than your desired time is to force the algorithm to give you a negative split (a faster second-half than first-half) during the time-trial. This will likely make hitting the targets a bit easier. Remember that the app paces you based on power and adjusts during execution, it doesn’t try to pace you to perform to the Target Time directly. Changing Target Time only affects the overall split.
- Choose only 1 segment – the TT race course – to sync to your Garmin.
- Before your race, configure your Garmin activity profile the way you’d like to use it during the race. For many, having the Segment Hunter on its own dedicated display page will work well. Others may want to combine with cadence and other data and use the app as a field.
- Ensure your phone is connected to the Internet and your Garmin is connected to your phone. Start Garmin Connect Mobile on your mobile phone.
- Start an activity on your Garmin and wait for the fetching process to be completed. This can take up to 5 minutes. You should see your TT course as a segment after the fetching process is completed. You can stop the recording and discard the activity. At this point, you no longer need your phone and it can be put away, particularly if your race is a UCI sanctioned race with rules about carrying phones during races.
- When you are ready to start the time-trial, start your activity recording. If you see Fetching Segments, hit the Lap button to move to Prowling mode to display your TT course. You should be in Prowling mode right before you start the time-trial.
- On the start line, hit the lap button a few seconds before your race starts. You’ll see your Target Power displayed with the dark grey background, with the distance and time left.
- When your race starts, try to stay in the green zone. It can be a good idea to push a bit harder in places – like short hills – in order to maintain momentum on more technical courses; this may push you into the purple or red zone. You don’t need to keep it green the entire time, but note that if your target power is increasing you may be going too easy; if it’s decreasing you may be going too hard. Pushing a bit harder up hills or into the wind is a good tactic as long as you expect to recover back down the hill/downwind. If the entire course is uphill you’ll want to stay in the green zone rather than push into purple or red.
- If you’ve gone out too slowly, have a mechanical or have to slow down or stop for some reason, don’t feel like you need to push into the purple or red afterwards to make up for it. Simply stay in the green zone and it will automatically increase your target power to account for the rest you just had.
- If you encounter a head wind that you didn’t expect or plan for, and expect your time to be longer than what you had set as your Target Time, there’s no need to change strategy. As the app sees that you’re going to take longer than planned it will begin to reduce your target power automatically.
Try a practice run or two and follow these steps to ensure that things run smoothly during the race. Get a feel for how the app responds to your efforts during practice. Even if you like to race by feel, the app will provide feedback on how well you’ve been able to do this. Ultimately you’ll want to pace your efforts evenly so that you’re totally spent by the finish line – i.e. have a breakthrough-on-line.
There have been several important new developments with the Xert Workout Player with the release of version 2.0.
1. Support for Smart Trainers Configured on Your Garmin
Previously, in order for trainer control to work with your smart trainer you could not have it configured (selected) as a sensor on your Garmin; instead, you needed to have it configured in the Xert Workout Player app. With Version 2.0, you can configure (select) the sensor on your Garmin, and the Workout Player will use it as a smart trainer. Note that there are some important considerations:
- You will need to configure your trainer’s power, cadence and speed sensors (as needed), each separately, on your Garmin (not in the Xert Workout Player).
- Power, cadence and speed data will be correctly stored in the FIT file generated. NOTE: to have this data appear in your Garmin Connect, Strava, and Xert activities list, you must configure your trainer on your Garmin – in its native settings – not in the Xert Workout Player app on your Garmin.
- Powermatch will only function when you have a separate power meter (crank, pedal or hub based, for example) and it is configured in the Xert Workout Player app, not in your Garmin’s list of sensors in its native settings. NOTE: when using Powermatch you will not receive speed and distance information from your trainer, nor will it appear in your Garmin Connect, Strava, or Xert activity summaries. This is because by using Powermatch, you’re telling the system to read the information from your pedals/hub/crank power meter, not your trainer.
To ensure the data is stored correctly per #2 above, if you are using the Xert Workout Player with a smart trainer and are NOT using a separate power meter for Powermatch, you should configure your smart trainer as a sensor on your Garmin (not in the Xert Workout Player app). This will allow the power, cadence and speed data from the trainer to be stored in the .FIT file generated by your Garmin, and to be properly recognized by Garmin Connect and Strava, for example, if the workout file is sent to either of those services.
To configure your smart trainer if you do not have a separate power meter…
For Edge 520/820:
- On your Garmin go to ‘Settings’
- Select ‘Sensors’
- Search for and select your smart trainer. You may need to select ‘Add Sensor’ and press ‘Search All’ or ‘Indoor Trainer’
For Edge 1030:
- Select Training > Indoor Trainer > Pair ANT+ Bike Trainer.
- Select the indoor trainer to pair with your device.
- Select Add.
In order to use Powermatch you will need to remove your smart trainer from the sensors menu on your Garmin, and configure it in the Xert Workout Player app.
To enable Powermatch…
For Edge 520/820/1000:
- Remove your smart trainer on your Garmin by navigating to Settings > Sensors > select your smart trainer > select ‘Remove’ and confirm;
- Open the Xert Workout Player app and a workout (press the Start/Stop button on your Garmin, and select Start Later);
- Open the Trainer Control page (‘back’ button on Edge 820/1000/1030, bottom right button on Edge 520) and press “Select”.
- Once your trainer has been found, select it.
- Make sure Powermatch is set to ‘ON’ by bringing up the Options screen (tap screen on 820/1000/1030, top right button on 520), select Powermatch, and select ‘ON’.
- If you’d like to begin your workout now, press the Start/Stop button on your Garmin and select ‘Start Workout’. If you choose to discard the activity your settings will continue to be saved.
For Edge 1030:
- Remove your smart trainer on your Garmin by navigating to Training > Indoor Trainer. Select your indoor trainer already paired with your device and press ‘Remove’ and confirm.
- Follow steps steps 2 – 6 above in the Xert Workout Player app to set up Powermatch.
2. Improved Smart Trainer Performance If You Stop Pedalling
Previously, when you had to stop pedaling in the middle of an interval it was difficult to pedal back up to the target power with some trainers. In this latest release the return to target power from a stop has been greatly improved.
3. New Workout Intensity Adjustment
On the previous version of the app, the up/down buttons (Edge 520) and left/right screen swipes (Edge 820, 1000, 1030) could adjust the current interval only (i.e. you could only increase/decrease the wattage of one interval at a time). With version 2.0, the up/down button (520) or left/right screen swipe (820/1000/1030) will adjust the intensity for the entire workout. A single swipe will increase or decrease the target power by +/- 1%, and bring up a screen to increase/decrease intensity further with a tap of the up/down arrows.
Note that adjustments apply to your Fitness Signature’s calculation of target power so that dynamically-controlled intervals (SMART Workouts) will also work correctly. A reduction of 2%, for example, reduces your target power accordingly as well as any Target MPA-based intervals and XSSR-based intervals.
To help you plan and execute your workouts, Xert has created ‘player’ apps to run workouts on several different platforms: Xert Workout Player for Garmin Connect IQ, Xert Mobile for Android and Xert Player for iOS. Read some tips below on how to get your workout loaded onto these platforms:
- Each player will retrieve your Selected Workout. You’ll see the selected workout on your Advisor Recommended Workouts panel highlighted as Selected Workout.
- If you have the ‘Select a recommended workout automatically’ box checked, the Xert Adaptive Training Advisor will select a workout for you automatically based on its advanced workout scoring system. This will override any other selection you make using the methods below.
- The Selected Workout shown will be delivered to the any of the workout players when they are launched.
- To view the workout being played using the Remote Player, click on the selected workout name or use Remote Player/Monitor from the left menu. This will allow you to watch the workout on your browser window as you play it on your Garmin, Android or iOS device. For tips on how to use the Remote Player, review this FAQ.
- If you are planning workouts using the Fitness Planner, it will only serve up your workout when its Planned Workout Date and Time is reached. For example, if your Planned Workout is scheduled for 6:00am tomorrow, at 5:59am you’ll still see whichever workout was previously selected, but at 6:00am your planned workout will appear. If you run the workout player after the Planned Workout Date and Time has been reached (in this example, that would be 6:00am), it will download the planned workout. Note that once your planned workout’s time is reached, it is removed from your calendar and will show as your Selected Workout.
- To replace a downloaded planned workout, select another workout using one of the methods below and restart your chosen Player app. On Xert Mobile for Android and Xert Player for iOS, you have the option to choose another workout from the library in the Player rather than the one provided by your account.
Here’s how to select your workout:
Open the workout in the Workout Designer and click the Select Workout button:
Click on a row in the Workout Listing:
Select from the list of Recommended Workouts:
Have the Fitness Planner select the workout when its Planned Workout Time is reached:
Have the Xert Adaptive Training Advisor automatically select a workout for you by checking Select a recommended workout automatically:
In the spring of 2018 we released updates to our Garmin Connect IQ Data Fields through the Garmin Connect IQ store. These fields will receive your updated Fitness Signature automatically every time you start a new activity. To replace the old version of the Data Fields with the new ones follow the instructions below. If you’re adding them for the first time, skip ahead to step #3.
1. Remove all Xert Data Fields on your Garmin device. You can replace them with other Data Fields as a place holder, or simply remove them and rebuild the ‘data screens’ on your device later. Make sure you remove them from all you Activity Profiles (e.g. “Train”, “Race”, etc.). If you don’t wish to remove them using your device you can also use Garmin Express.
2. Once all the Data Fields have been removed, and if you’re connected through Garmin Express (using a desktop or laptop computer), ‘safely unplug’ your Garmin device. Shut off and restart the device. Now the Xert Data Fields shouldn’t be on your device.
3. If using Garmin Express plug your Garmin unit back in. Or if using Garmin Connect Mobile on your smartphone restart the app.
4. a) If using Garmin Connect Mobile select your device, select ‘Activities & App Management’, then ‘Data Fields’ and select your desired Data Field. Press ‘View in Store’ and download the Data Field.
4. b) If using Garmin Express, connect your device and select ‘Connect IQ/Apps’ and update or download the latest Data Fields from the Connect IQ Store.
5. Here’s the part we wish we could change (we can’t unfortunately). Using Garmin Express or Garmin Connect Mobile you need to update each of the Data Fields with your Xert username and password so that it can access your Fitness Signature. For each of the Data Fields select ‘Settings’ to find the username and password entry fields.
6. Now, go back to your Garmin device and add each of your preferred Data Fields back into your Activity Profile data screens.
7. Restart Garmin Connect Mobile and wait for your Garmin device to connect.
8. Start recording a new activity on your Garmin device and wait a few minutes. The Data Fields should update with your new Fitness Signature, confirmed by a pop-up on each of your Xert Data Fields saying “Updated” and the orange dot on the left of each Data Field will change to green. Note that this can take over 5 minutes.
When you stop recording the app will save your Xert Fitness Signature for your next activity.
Red dots on left won’t change to green, or Fitness Signature won’t update.
If you’re seeing a red dot, it means that either the login information (username/password) has been keyed in incorrectly or the Garmin isn’t reading the settings. One way to get it to read the settings is to navigate to another activity profile on the Garmin, update the settings with Garmin Express or Garmin Connect Mobile, then move back to the Activity Profile containing the apps. The apps get unloaded when you move to an Activity Profile that isn’t using them. A device reboot should also do this. If neither of these work, try changing your Xert account password on XertOnline.com and doing the same in Garmin Connect.
Yellow dots on left won’t change to green.
If you’re not getting a connection (stays yellow), you can start your Garmin unit, start Garmin Connect Mobile, wait for the Phone to be connected, and then start your activity by pressing the ‘Start’ button on your Garmin unit. Clicking start has the apps query for their signature via Garmin Connect Mobile. This can take up to 5 minutes so you may need to be patient. Note that if you don’t see a green dot, your settings that were obtained the previous time will be used. If you then see a red dot, it most likely means that your username/password have not been correctly entered (see above).
When workouts contain SMART intervals with variable duration (what are termed target MPA or TPMA intervals), the interval duration will be dynamic and can be longer/shorter than the workout’s default duration based on how you perform it. For example, if you tend to recover at a higher intensity than the interval target, your workout may end up being longer. Likewise, if you tend to overshoot the high intensity intervals, they may end being a bit shorter.
Note that as of this writing (March 13, 2018), some Garmin Edge 520’s have been known to perform workouts a bit slower than prescribed. This is due to an issue in the recent firmware releases. Garmin is aware of this issue.
As of this current release, the Xert Player for iOS only records and saves activities to Xert. We are adding the ability to upload from the app to Strava directly and will become available in a future release. We will also likely add the ability to obtain the recorded workout in FIT file format too.
Since Xert analyses data from other systems (Garmin Connect, Strava, uploads), we haven’t yet seen the requirement to have users download files directly from the web application. Hence, we have not implemented this feature. We do have a programmatic interface that allows other systems to obtain the data from Xert, including our valuable metrics like MPA and XSS. GoldenCheetah is in the process of implementing an interface. FitnessSyncer has implemented an interface which allows you to obtain your data that’s in Xert and sync to other systems.
For the time being, we recommend you record your iOS session using your regular bike computer if you require the activity file for use in other applications.
The Xert Player for Garmin ConnectIQ requires that you configure the trainer as part of the app. You need to select it in the app in order to get Trainer Control. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions within the Garmin ConnectIQ environment, the power and speed data collected from the trainer cannot be stored as regular data in the activity generated. Instead it is stored in developer fields which is a feature available to ConnectIQ apps. The field is tagged as a power/speed data field and so Strava and other apps are able to see it as power data but it is up to them to interpret and parse out this information. All data coming from the trainer is treated this way. Power data coming from a power meter is not affected.
We are looking to address this issue in upcoming releases of the Xert Player.
Xert Mobile for Android can be configured to work with your smart trainer where it will control the power to match those of the workout you are performing. What’s important to remember is that the software works best and most reliably with trainers that support the ANT+ Fitness Equipment and Control (“ANT FE-C”) standard. Most modern smart trainers that have trainer control, such as the Wahoo KICKR, TACX Neo and Vortex, Elite Direto, Cycleops Magnus and Hammer, Minoura Kagura, and many others support this trainer control standard. To have any of these trainers work with Xert Mobile you can perform the following steps:
- Ensure you have an Android Version 4.4 or higher phone that supports USB “On-the-go” (OTG) adapters. You will also need an OTG cable and an ANT+ USB Stick. OTG cables are very inexpensive and can be found at your local electronics shop or on Amazon, for example, for just a few dollars. Here is a phone with an OTG cable and ANT+ stick:
After plugging in the adapter and ANT+ stick, the Android may ask for your permission to connect to the USB device. Choose “OK”.
2. Go to the Playstore and search and install the following apps: Xert Mobile, ANT+ Radio Service, ANT+ Plugins Service, ANT+ USB Service:
Note that if your phone has an ANT+ antenna already built-in (many Samsung’s and Sony’s for example already come with ANT+ built-in) you won’t need to install the ANT+ USB Service and do not require an external ANT+ stick).
- Launch Xert Mobile. Use your Xert username (not email address) and password to login.
- Configure your sensors. Swipe left or tap SCAN on the main tab bar to go to the SCAN menu. Wake up your sensors by turning your pedals or plugging in your smart trainer:
If you turn Bluetooth off in the Android system settings, you’ll only see ANT+ devices on this page. Configure Bluetooth sensors only as a last resort. Some smart trainers are not supported in Bluetooth mode.
- Tap Fitness Equipment Devices. This is your Smart Trainer:
Enable Trainer Control, Power and Speed. If you planning to use a separate power meter to control the power on the trainer, enable Powermatch. Tap Enable at the top. Tap the Android back button on the bottom to exit the settings.
- (Optional) To configure your power meter, identify the ANT+ id for your power meter and tap it:
Tap Power and other services available on your power meter. Tap Enable. Tap the Android back button.
- You’re now all set. (For the first time setup, particularly if you enabled/disabled sensors or made numerous changes, you may also choose to RESTART the app: using the ACTIVITY tab, tap START and RESTART).
Performing a Workout
To perform a workout, slide to the WORKOUT tab (or simply tap WORKOUT). Tap SELECT to bring up your workout library. Your selected workout that has been selected on Xert Online is shown:
If this is the workout you wish to perform, simply tap the workout. If you wish to choose another workout, tap ALL or one of the Athlete Types and search/choose your workout:
After tapping and choosing a workout, you’re now ready to start the workout. Tap START on the WORKOUT tab and your workout recording will automatically start recording with trainer control. If you’ve enabled Powermatch, the calibration takes a few minutes and requires alternating sequences of low and high intensity. Most of Xert’s workouts have this as part of the warmup process.
Controlling the Workout
During the workout, you can tap ELAPSED on the bottom right to pause the workout, you can then RESUME, END WORKOUT, which allows you to continue recording, or END ACTIVITY, which allows you to finish and save the activity to Xert:
You can also tap INTERVAL to perform interval actions:
Tapping the Target Power cell enables you to adjust the power of the interval:
Xert Mobile for Android can also control your smart trainer manually. To control your trainer (outside of a workout session), start your activity using the START button on the ACTIVITY tab and then tap and hold a cell to bring up the cell measurement options:
Here you can choose what measurement/item to display during your activity. Selections related to operation with your smart trainer are:
- Trainer Power: This cell will show the power data coming from the Trainer. Often this is good to see the discrepancy between your power meter and your power meter.
- Trainer Resistance: This cell will enable you to adjust the trainer resistance.
- Trainer Slope: This cell will enable you to adjust the trainer slope.
- Erg Mode: This cell will enable you to adjust the trainer power.
Once any of these are added to your screen, tap on them to change their settings:
- Resistance doesn’t feel right: Use the SETTINGS/OPTIONS tab to review your Powermatch settings. If you are seeing very large numbers for Trainer power offset or Trainer power scaling, reset them to 0 and 1, respectively.
- Power is not being controlled or is variable: Check that you don’t have another program controlling your trainer. Only one program or app can control your trainer at a given time.
- Data suddenly stopped coming in or numbers are “stuck”. If your Android is busy doing other tasks, it may inadvertently stop Xert’s services that are used to collect data behind the scenes. Swipe down from the top (twice on some phones) to see if the Xert Service is Started. If you don’t see a background service, you may need to restart your activity. Sometimes the ANT+ services stop functioning. When any of these happen, uour best bet is to save and start a new activity. Often a RESTART (tap the timer on the ACTIVITY tab and then tap RESTART) will try and bring things back but it doesn’t always work, especially if the ANT+ radio/plugin services become unstable or stop functioning. When this happens, you may need to reboot the Android phone to brings things back to normal again. N.B. It is advisable to have as few apps as possible running at the same time as Xert Mobile in order to help avoid data loss.
Currently there are 8 apps on the Garmin ConnectIQ store that you can download and install onto your Garmin ConnectIQ compatible head unit. Each app requires that you have a power meter installed on your bike. Bioshift also requires a cadence sensor.
You can use either the desktop Garmin Express software or Garmin Connect Mobile on your mobile phone to install and configure your apps. You will need these also to configure the apps.
To install and configure any one of our apps, open your browser and navigate to the page with our apps on the ConnectIQ app store. Click the app you wish to install and click the DOWNLOAD button:
The Garmin app store will prompt you to login if you have not already logged in. Once logged in, you’ll see the following screen:
If you’re using Garmin Express, plug in your Edge device and launch Garmin Express on your Mac or PC. Garmin will automatically sync your new app with your Edge device:
If you’re using Garmin Connect Mobile, navigate to the Garmin Devices menu and then click through to the datafield app on your device:
Using a Garmin device that supports ConnectIQ Version 2
For MPA and Power, XSS and XEP, Focus and Strain, Fat and Carbs and Time-to-Exhaustion, you’ll need to configure your Xert Username and Password. As of version 3.0, the software will automatically update your Garmin CIQ datafields, over-the-air, in the background.
Using a Garmin device that support ConnectIQ Version 1
For other devices that only support ConnectIQ Version 1, you’ll need to modify the setting for Xert Code. Click here to obtain your Xert Code and use the app settings page to enter it for the app you downloaded.
To configure the app you downloaded, click on button with the three dots beside each app. This opens the configuration screen which allows for basic configuration options. (Garmin is expanding the features on the page but for the moment it is quite limited. In the future we hope to provide links to help screens, for example.)
Here additional information for various apps showing sample screens from Garmin Express:
Account & Profile
During the initial account setup process, you were asked what kind of Athlete you were and were presented with the selection as shown above. Although the categories relate to road cycling, in principle, these apply pretty-much to any sport. Some sports require high power over short duration (Power Sprinter / Road Sprinter) whereas others require power over much longer durations (Triathlete). Whether you are a MTB’er or runner, the same principles apply.
You can always adjust your chosen Athlete Type by using the Account Settings/Athlete Type tab in the top menu bar.
Your Athlete Type should reflect the type of training you are wanting to improve/optimize for your event or personal desire. Some athletes for example, are highly specialized and may want to improve an Athlete Type where they are strong. Others, on the other hand, may choose an Athlete Type that is a weakness that they wish to improve. The choice is up to you.
One method you can use to help you decide is to review an activity/race/event that represents the type of activity you wish to excel at. For example, here is an Activity Details screen for a ride that was chosen as the target type of riding that needs to be improved:
As you can see, Xert determines the Focus Duration, Athlete Type and Specificity Rating for the entire activity. This is essential insight you can get for your event. Focus Duration is 4:04, Athlete Type is Puncheur and Specificity Rating is Mixed. These provide key information on the demands this had on your three fitness systems based on Work Allocation Ratios. If this was the type of riding that is to be optimized, we would use this activity as the basis for our decision. In this case, you could simply choose Puncheur as your Athlete Type. You may also want to consider Specificity Rating in examining workouts and other training activities.
To further refine your choice, if you’re looking to address a weakness, you can use the following method: if the Athlete Type is to the left of your strength (on the Athlete Type selection screen), you may want to choose an Athlete Type one or two to the left of this. If the Athlete Type is to the right of your strength, you may want to choose an Athlete Type that is one or two to the right of this.
For example, if you examine your Ranking Spider Chart:
You can establish which Athlete Type represents your strength. In the above example, Power Sprinter is this athlete’s strength. If their target event has Focus of Puncheur (from the activity above), they may decide to choose Puncheur. But if they believe that this is a weakness, they may decide to choose Breakaway Specialist or Rouleur so that they can further improve on their weakness and look to achieve a greater balance.
One key thing to note is that although there are a range of Athlete Types, those at the extreme ends (Power Sprinter, Triathlete, Century Rider) generally represent those that are chosen to address weaknesses. Rarely do events/races fall into these Focus categories, despite what their name suggests. Here are some guidelines:
Long events: Climber, GC Specialist
Road races: Breakaway Specialist, Rouleur
Criteriums: Puncheur, Pursuiter, Road Sprinter
How to Export My TrainingPeaks Workouts and Import them into Xert
TrainingPeaks unfortunately no longer allows third-parties from accessing data on TrainingPeaks, even if you’re a paying user. Previously they allow access via an Internet-based API but as of December 2016, this has been shutdown.
You can still bring over your workouts (called “activities” in Xert) by using their export features. Here are the steps to follow. **NOTE*** These steps are for Mac users. Windows users can follow the same process but you may need to install WinZip or Gzip software in order to uncompress all the workout files.
1. Login and Click on Settings
2. Click on Export Data
8. Open the zip file to extract the contents. A new folder will automatically be created.
9. Open the folder. 10. All the files have been unzipped but are in gz format. This is another type of zip file and the need to be unzipped. Select all the files in the folder. Use Option A to Select All.
11. Right-click on the files you have selected.
12. Click Open. The files will then be unzipped into the same folder.
13. Select the files that have been unzipped. These will either be .FIT files or .TCX files (.PWX are not currently supported).
14. Login to your Xert account and click on the Upload Activity link. Drag-and-drop your selected FIT/TCX files onto that page.
All done! Congrats! You’re all set.
Seeding your progression means to ensure that the very first activity in your progression has the proper fitness signature assigned such that your entire progression history can be compared and evaluated against other parts of your progression.
To properly seed your progression, go to the Activity Details of your very first activity in your activity history and use the Advanced tab to determine/enter the Fitness Signature that applied to this activity. Use the Save/Lock button on the bottom right to save this signature to the activity. Xert will then perform a trickle-down process from this first activity and adjust/calculate your progression information activity by activity.
Once the trickle-down completes, your progression chart should be a better reflection of your entire progression history.
You can instruct Xert to go through all your activities, re-extract fitness signatures, look for fitness breakthroughs, and recalculate MPA, strain, XSS and XEP for each activity. This is like an account “reset” as it throws out all previous calculations and recalculates them all over. Use this to correct errors that have manifested in all your data. This can happen if an activity has invalid data and has had this applied to your entire progression data.
To have Xert do a progression recalculation, go to your Account Settings / Profile tab:
Enter a Fitness Signature that represents what you would think would be representative of your Fitness Signature for the very first activity in your progression history. Use the Fitness Signature Calculator to help if you’re not sure how to determine these numbers.
For best results, set your Signature Decay Method to Original. Then click Save and then click Recalculation Progression and confirm. Xert will then use the signature you entered as your very first Fitness Signature for your first activity, perform MPA Analysis to determine maximal efforts, stress, strain, focus and specificity rating and then extract a fitness signature if required. This process then trickles-down through your entire activity history.
Note that during the recalculation process, any activities that have saved/locked fitness signatures will be unlocked and updated.