Exercise and Fitness

My Training Status Is Unproductive – What Can I Do to Change It?

Riikka LamminenContent Specialist

Train Smart with Firstbeat. Do you want to get the most out of your training? In this blog series we help you to understand the physiological background of Firstbeat features and how to use them to improve your fitness and achieve your performance goals.

You work hard to get results. Sweat pouring and feeling wiped out, you check your watch only to discover that your Training Status is Unproductive.

How can this be? What’s going on?

Nobody wants to see hard work is taking them in the wrong direction. Disappointment and frustration are normal, but don’t let Unproductive Training Status break your spirit.

With some small changes to your workout routine, you can flip the script.

A Maintaining or Productive Training Status is within reach, but the adjustments you make need to be the right ones. That’s why, it is essential to understand why your Training Status is Unproductive in the first place.

Unproductive Training Status means that your Training Load is about right but your VO2max Fitness Level is declining.

Two common reasons for Unproductive Training Status

Two key elements drive your Training Status. These are your VO2max Fitness Level and your Training Load, both the recent changes and the long-term trends are considered.

Unproductive Training Status means that your Training Load is in optimal range – so the amount of work you’re doing is okay ­– but your VO2max Fitness Level is declining.

This can be for many reasons, but here are two of the most common ones:

1: Inadequate recovery. Although your Training Load is about right for your needs, your body isn’t recovering properly. You may be getting sick, you have slept badly, have eaten poorly, or be experiencing excessive stress.

Firstbeat All-day Stress & Recovery allows you to see changes in your stress levels throughout the day, spot problem areas, and make changes where it matters.

Read more about the physiology of recovery: At the Heart of Stress and Recovery.

2: Training quality. It is not just the size of your Training Load that matters, but also how you achieve it. To stimulate improvements of your VO2max, high-intensity training is a game changer.

High-intensity (90-95 % of maximal heart rate) training is more effective for improving cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2max) than achieving the same load with longer workouts performed with 70 % intensity, or at Lactate Threshold intensity levels. (Helgerund et al., 2007).

However, to avoid Overreaching, high-intensity training should be performed sparingly. So, vary the intensity of your efforts to stimulate fitness improvements without over doing it.

A smart training plan includes longer, moderate-intensity endurance workouts, shorter sessions with high-intensity bursts and low-intensity activities to enhance recovery.

Read more about the importance of training intensity: Intensity Is Your Fitness Friend.

Check out our new VO2max video as well:

Unproductive Training Status, no need to panic

Training Status is designed to deliver the big picture. Long-term trends are more important than day-to-day changes, so don’t fret over your Training Status after every workout. Use the feedback to make sure you are on track to reach your goals.

An occasional dip into Unproductive territory is to be expected. For example, an exceptionally hard exercise (or a race) can produce a short-lived Unproductive Training Status.

This results from training adaptation model called supercompensation: intense efforts are often followed by a brief decline in performance capacity after which you will bounce back higher than before, assuming you give yourself a chance to recover properly. In this situation your Training Status should change to Productive or Maintaining once your body has a chance to catch up.

You can look to Training Status for insight into how your body responds to different types of exercise. Look back at your routines to get a feel for how much recovery you need, and whether you varied your training intensities enough.

Simply put, Training Status helps you to see what works best for your body over time.

If you are interested to learn about the physiological impact of a specific workout, look to your Anaerobic and Aerobic Training Effect feedback.

To make sustained improvements in your fitness level over time, you need to keep challenging yourself.

Training Status is all about cardiorespiratory fitness

Training Status reveals how effective your training is for improving your cardiorespiratory fitness, that is your VO2max. It is one of the most important parts of physical capability, but it is certainly not the only one.

Being in good physical condition is also about strength, flexibility, speed and co-ordination… So, if your training is unproductive from a cardiorespiratory point of view, it might still be beneficial, for example, for your strength or balance.

If your data – VO2max or Training Load – gets outdated, no reliable Training Status can be shown.

Keys to ensuring reliable Training Status feedback

  • Firstbeat analytics engine that drives your Training Status learns about your body over time. The more you use your device, the more reliable the feedback becomes. It may take some time before Training Status becomes personally meaningful. Pay attention to how you feel relative to your Training Status, particularly after taking an extended training break.
  • Increase the reliability of your VO2max Fitness Level, an essential part of the Training Status analysis, by running outside or cycling with power meter at least twice within each 2-weeks span.
  • Remember to exercise with the device at least once a week. This ensures your device keeps up with your Training Load, the other primary driver of your Training Status.

So, there is no reason to let an Unproductive Training Status to discourage you. It is your chance to improve, to do things even better.

  • Training Status

    A groundbreaking approach to training effectiveness evaluation.

    Read more

Riikka Lamminen

Content Specialist

Riikka is an Exercise Physiologist (M.Sc.) who has worked for several years in the fields of communication and journalism. Now, at Firstbeat she combines those two pathways in a great way. General wellness and healthy living have always inspired Riikka and now she is able to spread the word via her Firstbeat blogs. Physical activity is an inseparable part of Riikka’s life. She rides a bicycle everywhere, relaxes by paddling at the sea and challenges herself with some acrobatics.

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