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.
Do you want to improve your fitness but don’t know how?
Sometimes it can be hard to know where to start, especially if you are a beginner or trying to get back into shape after a break. The right amount and type of exercise depends on a variety of factors, like your age and current fitness level as well as your fitness goals and situation in life, which affects how much effort you can – or want – put into training.
To make things easier, Firstbeat has developed Personalized Training Plans (Cardio & Running) which provide up-to-date recommendations on how to exercise. They are like your digital personal trainers that create the training plan, monitor your performance, make adjustments when needed and help you to achieve your goals. Training Plan Cardio guides you to increase your cardiorespiratory fitness, whereas Training Plan Running is specialized to assist you in fulfilling your running ambitions.
Forget random training, boost your VO2max
Improvement of cardiorespiratory fitness means increasing your VO2max, which is the defining metric of cardiorespiratory fitness. Of course, high VO2max value is beneficial for endurance performances, like running and cycling, but aerobic fitness is also essential for your overall health and daily activities.
Thus, it is beneficial to boost your VO2max or at least maintain the current level. (VO2max declines with age but you can turn back the clock by exercising). However, it is not always so simple. If you just do some exercise here and there willy-nilly, you probably won’t get much results.
VO2max doesn’t improve without high-intensity exercises that really make you out of breath. However, there needs to be enough low-intensity training to build the endurance base and enhance the recovery, not forgetting the rest days. In addition to various intensities, it is good to keep in mind that balanced aerobic training consists of different kinds of workouts like various intervals and continuous tempo workouts with different durations.
So, what is the right combination of different types and amounts of training? It depends on you.
Every body is unique
Training productively is always a unique process. Your age and your current fitness level greatly affect your exercise but there are also large inter-individual differences between training responses and VO2max trainability. Because everyone’s genetics are different, some people respond to exercise training very well, whereas others only have mild increases in their aerobic fitness following similar training (Williams et al., 2017).
Therefore, if two people with the same age and similar initial fitness level always do the same workouts, one individual’s VO2max might improve faster than the other. If they still continue training together, although their fitness level isn’t the same anymore, it can be ineffectual for one of them. Either one of them is in danger of overtraining or the other is training unproductively and hits a plateau.
Aerobic fitness improves when there is an increased load placed on your body that gradually adapts to the higher load – and it is time to increase the load again. To avoid both the training plateau and the overtraining phenomenon, it is essential to monitor your training and accustom the training plan according to the current VO2max Fitness Level, which is also the key measure in Firstbeat Personalized Training Plans. Hence these features do the challenging planning work for you and advise the right intensities and durations for your following workouts.
Personalized Training Plans recommend best suited workouts based on your current VO2max, Training Load from past weeks and your background information. To keep your VO2max value updated, you need to train regularly with your device, i.e. you need to run outside or cycle with power meter (walking briskly is also an option in many devices). The more often you update the VO2max value, the more personalized your training recommendations are. The training history affects the recommendations as well, thus the plan gets more personal after several weeks of training with the device.
Training Plan adjusts to your life
Life doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes you skip a workout and sometimes you get a bit too excited and do a little extra. Your overall situation in life affects your physical activity as well. If you have a lot going on at work or in your social life, you probably don’t have that much time for exercise.
Don’t worry. Firstbeat features accompany your life and adjust training plans to it.
Nor can we foreknow all the reactions of the body. You might get ill, sleep deprived or stressed, hence your body is not that responsible for training stimuli. Firstbeat features observe this and revise the Training Plan if your fitness is not improving as assumed – or if it is, for some reason, improving even faster than predicted.
Of course, the amount and effort you put into training, becomes visible in results. The more you want to improve your cardiorespiratory fitness, the more you need to strive for it. Whether your goal is higher or lower, a Training Plan tailored specifically for you is the roadmap that identifies the steps you need to take to reach your desired destination.
Training Plan features are fitted for specific device user experience, therefore there is variation in layout, name and properties.
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