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» What is behind the Training Effect (TE)?

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What is behind Training Effect?

TE is calculated based on your user profile, heart beat data and the difficulty of the workout. It adapts to your fitness level as you train. What else is behind TE ? Read more >>

What is behind Training Effect?

Heart rate tells only the intensity of the exercise. Training Effect (TE) tells you how the workout improves your aerobic (endurance) fitness. Training Effect accumulates during the workout, starting from level 1.0. As the workout progresses successfully, the Training Effect value increases, telling you how the workout improves your fitness. Training Effect has five levels (1-5).

It is easy to follow one key number and/or simple wording on the display of your heart rate monitor. Each Training Effect level has an interpretation to what Training Effect is achieved. Please see the Table below for detailed descriptions.

Benefits: This is a good workout for health and wellness and in longer duration (over 1h) for developing the endurance base. Easy workouts also help recovery after harder ones.
Recommended: Beginners starting to exercise and for developing your endurance base. For athletes as a recovery workout and to develop the endurance base.

Benefits: This workout maintains cardiorespiratory fitness and builds a foundation for better fitness and harder training in the future.
Recommended: For all as an essential part of any training program.

Benefits: This workout improves cardiorespiratory fitness.
Recommended: Two to four times per week for those training regularly.  These workouts are the basis of a good training program.

Benefits: This workout sharply improves cardiorespiratory fitness.

Recommended: For active fitness participants once or twice per week. Workouts of Training Effect 1.0-2.9 are recommended after TE 4 workouts to balance the training and achieve recovery.

Benefits: Very good effect on cardiorespiratory fitness.
Recommended: Not recommended by Fitness Coach and suitable only occasionally for fit individuals experienced in training. This workout must be followed by adequate recovery and easy recovery training.

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What personal information is required for TE?

In addition of your heart beat data, you’ll need to give some personal information to make sure Training Effect is individually at the right level for you. Maximal heart rate is the most important. If you don’t know your maximal heart rate, it is typically calculated in your device (Garmin, Suunto) or software (Firstbeat ATHLETE) based on your age. The typical formula is: Maximal heart rate =  210 – (0.65*age).

Others parameters vary depending on what Training Effect Device you have.

Garmin 610 heart rate monitor adapts automatically to your fitness level during your running workouts keeping the Training Effect always individually suited just for you. This means that you only need to give simple information like age, height, weight and gender when you start using the device. After that, everything runs automatically!

Suunto t-series heart rate monitors, Firstbeat ATHLETE: In these products, for accurate Training Effect you’ll need first to select your activity class, which describes your training history. Suunto t3, t4 and Firstbeat ATHELTE include an automatic activity class update, which suggest the changes of activity class based on the workouts observed. Other data you’ll need to give when starting to use these products include e.g., age, height, weight and gender, which affect for example to energy expenditure estimation during the workout.

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How can TE be measured?

While practicing sports or exercising, each workout produces some kind of effect on the body. To increase or to even maintain fitness, workouts must result high enough training load to disturb the body’s homeostatic balance. Repeated exercise of correctly dimensioned workload causes the body to respond by increasing its maximal performance level. This physiological response is called training effect (TE). Figure below.

EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) is a physiological measure of training load. EPOC accumulates during the workout. The longer and the more intensively you exercise, the higher is the EPOC.

In the figure above, we see EPOC increasing during the course of exercise (scale on the left). Training Effect scale is on the right. As you may notice, EPOC may also decrease if you have a recovery period during your workout.

Training Effect is an individual interpretation of the EPOC. The highest EPOC peak reached during the workout is individually interpreted to Training Effect according to your fitness level.

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The science behind EPOC

The amount of EPOC achieved exercise is proportional to the training load and recovery required. This is also recognized in the scientific literature: “the cause of Excessive Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) is the general disturbance to homeostasis brought on by exercise” (Brooks & Fahey 1984).

Conventionally, EPOC is measured only after the exercise as the excess oxygen consumption during the recovery period. See figure above. This requires expensive equipment for breathing gas analysis and controlled laboratory environment. Now, for the first time, EPOC and thus the Training Effect can be accurately and reliably pre-predicted based on just the measurement of heart beat data during exercise, and not requiring any monitoring at all of the recovery period.

To read the full story behind, please refer to our white papers: Training Effect white paper and EPOC white paper.

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Energy expenditure

Firstbeat’s energy expenditure algorithm is accurate during all phases of exercise – from rest to maximal intensity and during varying intensity exericise.

When the speed of walking/running is available, it is taken into account in the algorithm (e.g. Garmin heart rate monitors). The algorithm utilizes measurement history, and thus, the accuracy improves with more measurements.

Read the science behind the technology from our energy expenditure white paper.

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Dynamic coach

Firstbeat’s Dynamic Coach is available for example in Suunto t4 heart rate monitors. Daily workout instructions are always up to date on your wrist.

Coach that is always up  to date:

  • Am I training too much, too little or just the right amount?
  • Dynamic coach is always up to date, even if you cannot always follow the program.
  • Daily instructions include resting and training days, and specific instructions on how long and at what intensity to exercise.

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Smart training guidance

Some heart rate monitors, for example Suunto t3 and t4, include Firstbeat smart training guidance. This means progress information during the course of the exercise, and if needed, guidance for achieving the target Training Effect in target time.

Smart training guidance is designed to bring additional motivation for performing the workout correctly.

Firstbeat smart training guidance:

  • Pace guidance tells you to increase, maintain or decrease your current pace to achieve the target Training Effect in target duration.
  • Time to achieve the next Training Effect level.

More parameters are available for creating a specific user interface for fluent user experience.

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Activity class selection table

Choose the activity class (one number between 0 and 10) that best describes your typical physical activity (endurance-type exercise or physical work) during the last 2 - 3 months:

If your training has changed significantly during that period (increased or decreased), use a longer time period as a reference in the selection, e.g., during the last three to four months.

You may select your activity class 1 to 2 classes higher when:

  • You have trained regularly for years and have then significantly decreased your training during the past few months or a year.
  • You have been a competitive athlete previously but now train much less.
  • Prolonged heavy training has improved your endurance and you are better prepared for training than what your recent history may reflect.

Note! Activity classes 8-10 are meant for very fit athletes who train systematically.

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