Lots of athletes (as well as normal people) use additional devices from various brands to measure different fitness-related metrics. These devices range from sports trackers, sport watches, heart rate chest straps, a multitude of sensors, etc. All of these devices generate enormous amounts of data aiming to deliver to the athlete valuable insights about his or her training. That data is combined into lots of fitness metrics. Some of those fitness metrics have a big impact on the performance of the athlete. Today I’ll share with you which are the fitness metrics I think have the biggest impact on my performance.
My sports tracker of choice is the Garmin Forerunner 945.
Despite that I’m not the biggest fan of the UI and UX of Garmin’s Connect app, it delivers lots of valuable insights I tend to overlook after a workout. As you probably know from my previous posts that I used Fitbit Charge 2 before the FR945. It also had lots of stuff in it, but it wasn’t that focused and most of the data wasn’t utilized the way it is here. With Garmin, we have access to steps, aerobic and anaerobic training effect, avg and max heart rate, calories burned, reps, sets, volume, pace, rest, and many more. The Garmin Connect app basically will give you all the data you want.
Aerobic and Anaerobic training effect are among the fitness metrics with the biggest impact on your performance.
Having these 2 on a separate widget during a workout helps me determine how hard I’m actually into my workout. With Garmin you can easily add a heart rate widget, as I did, but often this isn’t enough. Let’s say you’re finishing your 1st set of your 1st exercise and you are using 50% of your 1 rep max (1RM). With the 2nd and 3rd set you’re reaching 70% of 1RM, but with the 4th set, you’re not loading more weight. Your heart rate will not reach the 4th or 5th heart rate zone, because you’re not working hard enough.
Aerobic and Anaerobic training effect are respectively telling me how hard I worked for that last set based on the amount of force I put into moving the weight. The device detects my heart rate and senses if I’m currently doing any kind of movement. Based on this, it raises my Aerobic and Anaerobic training effect score. I often rely on these 2 in order to understand if my workout was hard and heavy enough. If you’re looking up to certain results in your workouts, these 2 fitness metrics will tell you how hard you’ve been working. If you haven’t worked hard enough, you will know that next time you need to either add more weight to the bar.
Heart rate metrics that matter.
Your device is probably measuring your resting heart rate (RHR). The RHR is a metric that translates the amount of recovery you had in terms of sleep and rest before and after a workout. Usually, your heart rate is the lowest during sleep. Some endurance athletes have their RHR well below 50. Mine for the past 4 weeks is 62, while 2 months ago was 59. The RHR moves up and down depending on recovery, sleep, stress, and what you do during your day. To me, RHR is important because it shows me how my body feels right now, am I resting and sleeping enough and are my workouts and nutrition good.
Maximum heart rate during workouts will tell you how hard you’ve been working out. I frequently refer to my current heart rate during a workout, especially whenever I’m hardly catching my breath. If I see something like 180bpm, I am slowing down a bit or giving myself a 30 sec to 1 min break. I’m doing this, because raising your heart rate above a certain level might be dangerous. To calculate your maximum heart rate you need to subtract your age from 220. So, as I’m 30 now, I’m getting the number 190. This means that everything above 190bpm might be dangerous to me.
Average heart rate is another fitness metric with a high impact on your performance.
The average heart rate will also tell you how hard you’ve been working out and will highlight if you had too much rest. If your workout consists of 10 rounds and you’re taking 2 mins instead of 30 secs of rest, then your body will need more time to reach peak performance. This means that if during your last round your heart rate reached 170, then you had 2 mins rest and your heart rate plunged to 120, you might not reach 170bpm next round. Not reaching it means you took too much rest and your body was under less stress than required for maximum growth. You shouldn’t wonder why you don’t see the scale moving if your average heart rate during workouts is 120bpm or below.
Which fitness metrics you consider are having the biggest impact on your performance?