Train smarter for aerobic fitness: FatMaxxer vs. Runalyze

POLAR H10 HEART RATE SENSOR

If you want to make the most of your workout efforts, using an app or online interface to help you train smarter for aerobic fitness may be key. FatMaxxer and Runalyze are two options that have been gaining recent popularity among endurance athletes.

Exercising regularly brings a multitude of benefits to both your physical and mental health. Many people exercise for various reasons, but one common trend is to optimize fat burning and oxygen uptake for either weight maintenance or weight loss.

Both FatMaxxer and Runalyze measure your performance by providing specific metrics to help you improve on that performance. The goal is to help you train smarter for aerobic fitness with total body efficiency throughout your workout.

We’ve detailed tWe’veecifics of both FatMaxxer and Runalyze below.

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What do FatMaxxer and Runalyze measure?

FatMaxxer

Google Play App FatMaxxer

The Android app FatMaxxer is a relatively new interface that can help you train smarter for aerobic fitness via optimal fat burning. This is sometimes called the “FatMax.” This i” done “y using a simple Polar H10 heart rate strap that helps direct Detrended Fluctuation Analysis alpha1 (DFA a1) in approximate real-time.

There’s a lot ofThere’slogy lingo to unpack here. We’ll help explaWe’llhat is DFA a1 and why should you use it to train smarter for aerobic fitness?

DFA a1 is an aerobic estimation method that uses heart rate variability (HRV) via a heart rate monitor to collect aerobic threshold and workout intensity data. By default, then, DFA a1 is a marker of both aerobic fitness and fatigue.

Given these definitions, your aerobic threshold is essentially the level of fitness your body possesses during an endurance activity.

What is HRV?

The HRV component dives much deeper than your typical heart rate metrics do. HRV tracks the exact time between each successive heartbeat during an activity. Even if your typical heart rate is 60bpm (beats per minute), there may not always be one exact second between them. instant peek at your heart rate on Apple Watch

For example, you could have .8 seconds, 1.2 seconds, .9 seconds, and 1.1 seconds between each heartbeat. Even though they are slightly different, they still add up to an average of 60bpm.

This is where those extremely detailed patterns are analyzed during exercise to measure physiological changes with increasing or decreasing intensity. This gives you a pretty accurate estimate of aerobic fitness.

A handful of preliminary research goes into creating the calculations that provide these estimations, but that is beyond the scope of this article.

Just know that a DFA a1 = .75 corresponds to the aerobic threshold. Here, you begin to see a shift in energy sources moving from fat towards carbohydrates.

Runalyze

Dashboard for Runalyze

Runalyze is a German-founded, web-based interface that provides a detailed performance analysis for endurance athletes to train smarter for their aerobic fitness levels. Even though the website targets runners and cyclists, they boast that their program can be used for any endurance sport (e.g., swimming, rowing, etc.).

Runalyze focuses on analyzing VO2max which is how much oxygen your body can absorb and use during exercise. If you’re looking you’re smarter for aerobic fitness, consider working on maximizing your VO2max. This is sometimes also called oxygen uptake. Apple and Fitbit refer to it as cardio fitness. 

Going back to your high school biology class, I’m sure you remember that oxygen is critical for respiratory and other organ functions. As you breathe in oxygen, your lungs absorb this and convert it to energy called ATP. Increase in VO2 max without incremental exerciseThe more efficiently you can absorb and utilize oxygen, the more effective you are during endurance activity. Simply put, the greater your VO2max, the more efficient your body uses oxygen to generate energy.

This is why Runalyze employs the use of measuring VO2max to help you train smarter for aerobic fitness. It’s a key metric for any serious endurance athlete.

As with DFA a1, there is a specific calculation to determine your VO2max. For this article, we won’t go into great detail on that calculation. Runalyze uses information such as your heartbeat and pace to determine this for you.

How do FatMaxxer and Runalyze work to help you train smarter for aerobic fitness?

FatMaxxer: the up-and-coming app to help you train smarter for aerobic fitness

FatMaxxer is still in the newer phases of developing an app, but many users have claimed it to be very promising. If you want to prepare for a race or some other event, then using FatMaxxer may be a great way to train smarter for aerobic fitness needs.

There is a bit of a learning curve to become familiar with all the graphs and charts that FatMaxxer can provide. If optimizing your fat burning and determining your aerobic threshold are major goals with your training, using this app could be pretty helpful.

Once you pair your Polar H10 heart rate strap to the app, FatMaxxer uses the information generated from the heart rate monitor to calculate DFA a1. This can be set to every “X” amount of seconds within a two-minute window.

Artifact threshold

A few other things to note is the artifact threshold. This helps correct missed heartbeats that are essential for accurate data.

The typical artifact threshold should be set to 5% during exercise and 25% at rest. An updated auto mode adjusts the 5%-25% for you, depending on your heart rate levels (e.g., if it accelerates during activity or decreases during rest).

In the image below:

  • Yellow = .75 DFA a1 threshold
  • Red = personal DFA a1
  • Green = heart rate

Statistics on FatMaxxer

With this screenshot, you can tell that the athlete is now at rest with an artifact level of .25 and a heart rate of 77bpm.

If you’re running, the app has an auto Bluetooth pairing function to your headphones. The app’s voice notifies you of your heart rate and DFA a1 regularly. This helps you know where you stand in regards to your ongoing aerobic performance.

If you’re cycling, keep the app running with your phone screen to regularly view your data in near real-time.

Prior to this development, advanced data like this was only attainable in a high-end physiology lab with expensive equipment. Now you have these crucial aerobic fitness factors in your pocket.

Stay tuned for continual updates on this app.

Runalyze: Get race-ready by optimizing VO2max for best aerobic performance

Many athletes have used Runalyze to help them prepare for distance races like a marathon. Runalyze has proven to be a useful tool to help you maximize your fitness, avoid overtraining, and predict race day performance via your regularly logged workouts.

Runalyze has many synchronization options, including Garmin, Strava, Polar, Fitbit, and more. Plus, it works with many running pods and sensors, such as Stryd and RunScribe. This way, you can sync biometrics such as heart rate, oxygen levels, and pace/total duration of an activity to allow Runalyze to measure your performance.

Once you’ve created your account, your dashboard displays an Automatic Sync tab at the top, where you can click on the approved device that you’re using. Automatic sync for Runalyze

Fryou’rere, you can sync your workout data straight into Runalyze to get a full, in-depth analysis of your performance.

From your dashboard, you’ll get a list of your recorded activities within whatever timeframe you choose. Here you also see all statistics and analyses of your past workouts.

For example, basic stats such as distance, duration, and calories burned are displayed. More advanced stats such as pace and amount of time spent in different power zones for training are also displayed.

You also have the option to look at how your VO2max levels have evolved over the past weeks and months. This is a true measure of aerobic fitness and progress.

Runalyze continues to gain popularity as an advanced interface to help you train smarter for aerobic fitness. Its built-in synchronization with other popular fitness wearables is also a great perk.

FatMaxxer vs. Runalyze?

Both programs are fairly new, with Runalyze being around for a little bit longer. They both offer in-depth analyses of your aerobic performance, but we’ll list some of the pros and cons that we found between the two.

FatMaxxer:

Pros:

  • Easily accessible and noninvasive way to collect data
  • The only equipment needed is a Polar H10 heart rate strap
  • One-time price $1.99 to download the app
  • Offers ongoing data in near real-time as you exercise

Cons:

  • The app is still being developed
  • Only compatible with Polar H10 heart rate strap, although some users have success using the older Polar H9
  • Supported by Android only (no Apple iOS)
  • Requires some research to learn how you can determine aerobic fitness with DFA a1 values

Runalyze:

Pros:

  • Automatic synchronization with most popular brands (e.g., Garmin, Polar, Suunto, Fitbit, Strava)
  • Detailed and customizable analysis and overview of training history
  • Has been deemed more accurate for performance prognosis than Garmin watches
  • Free or paid version (without ads)

Cons:

  • No app for smartphones (just desktop browser format)
  • The amount of statistics provided makes for a busy dashboard and may be overwhelming (but these are customizable)

Wrapping up

What works well for one athlete may not be preferred by another. Hopefully, our analysis of these two programs helps you choose what you value most when training smarter for aerobic fitness and overall performance.

I am an occupational therapist and kinesiologist with a long history in the health and fitness industry. Plus, I'm also an avid cyclist with a passion for writing and travel that have helped shape my interest in the fitness tech world. You can catch me in a nearby cat café planning for my next road route or bucket list destination!

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