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How to access real-time Garmin Training Effect during exercise

In the bustling realm of fitness technology, there’s a treasure trove of features waiting to be discovered. Among these, the real-time training effect feature on Garmin watches stands out for its potential. Many people don’t know that aerobic and anaerobic training effect can be added to your data screen, allowing you to see in real-time how the values change during exercise.

Recap on the differences between aerobic & anaerobic exercise

Let’s start with the fundamentals before delving into the details of this feature. Aerobic and anaerobic exercise are the two broad categories of exercise. Aerobic exercise, which means “with oxygen,” refers to activities in which your body uses oxygen to produce energy, such as long-distance running or cycling. Anaerobic exercise, which means “without oxygen,” refers to activities such as sprinting or weightlifting in which your body relies on energy reserves stored in your muscles.

Essential reading: Anaerobic and Aerobic training with wearables – what you should know

The dichotomy concerns not only the type of exercise but also its effects on your body. Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart and lungs while also improving the body’s ability to use oxygen more efficiently. Anaerobic training, on the other hand, increases muscle strength and power while also increasing the body’s ability to withstand lactic acid build-up.

Garmin’s real-time training effect feature gives you a numerical value from 0 to 5 that reflects the impact of your activity on aerobic and anaerobic fitness. A higher score indicates a stronger training effect.

How to leverage real-time training effect data on Garmin watches

Consider knowing your real-time aerobic and anaerobic training effects while working out. Not just after, but also while you’re running your 5k or lifting weights.

This is where Garmin’s little-known feature comes in, providing unprecedented detail about how your body is responding to exercise, moment by moment. It enables you to tailor your workouts more precisely, and get the most out of your training sessions. The value is not only in the numbers themselves, but in the ability to translate those numbers into actionable insights that can lead to more effective and enjoyable workouts.

Enabling the data field is simple enough. You just need to add it to a data screen for your chosen activity. Go to, for example, running, cycling, hiking etc on your watch. But instead of commencing the exercise, navigate to Settings for that particular exercise. On the Forerunners and Fenix watches this is done by clicking on the middle left button, and then the right top button. Choose Data Screens.

What follows is simply a matter of adding the aerobic and anaerobic data fields. Then can be found in the heart rate data field section. You can add the two fields individually. The other option is to add the training effect gauge. It shows both values but only takes up 1 data field.

During exercise, you can now adjust the intensity to achieve the desired training effect by monitoring these scores. The 4 range is highly improving, 3 range is improving, 2 range is maintaining, etc. You may be overexerting yourself if your score is too high. If you set it too low, you may not be pushing yourself hard enough.

While Garmin watch owners are aware of the training effect metric, many do not know it can be set-up to show real-time feedback. This article bring this fact to the forefront, encouraging more people to fully utilise the capabilities of their Garmin watches.

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