What do the Optimize numbers mean?

There are five numbers on the main screen of the Optimize app: OTS, Sleep, HRV, Load, and Optimization Score. This article explains what each means, where the data comes from, and what you do with this information. 

Optimize measures:

  • How much training have you done?
  • How much recovery have you achieved?

Then the Optimize needle visually displays the balance between your training and recovery.  At a glance, Optimize helps answer these key questions:

  • Should I take a rest day?
  • Should I train harder?
  • Am I recovering well?

Every morning in the Optimize app, you get an Optimization Score. It's the number in the circle at the tip of the needle.

OTS score of 71

Your Optimization Score is calculated every morning from the four other numbers on the main screen: 

  • your Optimized Training Stress (OTS), from the day before's power data
  • your Sleep (in hours), which is taken from your wearable
  • your HRV, which is taken from your wearable
  • and your Load, which is a running average of your recent OTS, similar to a Chronic Training Load

Your Optimization Score recommends what to do each day

Optimize visually presents the balance between your training stress and your recovery. Here is what the Optimization Score number means:

  • 0-30 = Ride more / train harder
  • 31-60 = Train more consistently
  • 61-120 = Your training and recovery are balanced. Keep following the plan!
  • 121-150 = Focus on recovery and keep following the plan
  • 151-180 = A recovery day is recommended

Need more specific direction? Check out the details below.

Related: What do my OTS Values Mean?

It's okay to be 'in the red' sometimes!

If you are following your training plan, you should be in the green following your rest days and be in the red at the end of your hard training blocks. Being in the red temporarily is good as long as your recovery days put you back in the green.

Staying in the red means you haven’t recovered enough and need to keep recovering before continuing on with your training.

Mondays and Fridays are rest days in FasCat training plans, so if you are in the red on either after hard training on the preceding days. your training is going according to plan. Following your rest days, however, you should be back into the green.

On the other side of the Optimized data visualization, if your needle is pointing to the left and you are in the yellow, then you’ve done more recovering than training. If you are in the yellow, you need to train more and train more consistently in order to improve.


Caveats... Don't panic!

You may have unplanned days off or a stretch of inconsistent riding. You may not be following a plan. Both are okay! And this is another way that Optimize is helpful. During these days off, you are recording a zero for your Optimized Training Stress (OTS), and as such Optimize tells you to ride more or harder to catch up.

What to do for each Optimized Score range

Optimize captures all 24 hours of your day, not just the stress from your 2-hour bike ride. Sleep and HRV balance out your training stress. Big days where you have an OTS (Optimized Training Stress) score of 150 or greater may push you into the red. Poor sleep and low HRV may also push you in the red. However, great sleep and high HRV will help you recover faster and get back into the green sooner to continue on with beneficial, productive training.

0-30 Ride more

Optimized Score of 20

If you are just starting to train or don't have any data in Optimize, you’ll be in the yellow. Being in the yellow means you will benefit from training more hours and more consistently than you have been. Your Optimize score won’t stay here for long if you are training more than 4-6 hours per week.

31-60 Train more consistently

Optimized Score of 51

If you have a period of inconsistency, sickness or a forced break it is likely you’ll be here in the yellow. An optimization score here, is meant to be a friendly reminder to train more consistently. If you are in the yellow and have the opportunity to add duration to your training plan’s workout or ride, being in the yellow is your green light to go for it.

61-120 Keep following the plan

Optimized Score of 71

Green is where you want to be the majority of your days. Green means you have recovered from yesterday's training and are ready to train again today in a beneficial way. If you are in the green, the training recorded by your power meter and displayed as OTS was positively offset by your sleep and HRV score.

121-150 Follow the plan and focus on recovery

Optimized Score of 127

Being in the red here also means you want to pay extra attention to your sleep and your HRV. Do your yoga and even a meditation routine here to increase your HRV and recovery. If you are training by feel and not following a plan in the red 121 - 150 means you want to avoid hard zone 4, 5, & 6 intervals and consider an endurance training ride. 121 - 150 is where you’ll likely be on Mondays and Fridays following your plan’s midweek training block and longer weekends training. Being here in the red is a good thing as long as you return up in the green following your recovery day(s) primarily on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

151-180 Take a recovery day

Optimize 154 score

If you are this deep in the red, we recommend taking a recovery day, despite what your training plan may say. If you are pushing through a challenging training block (or stage race), be sure you have multiple days off in your plan coming up soon, like the next day.

Waking up 151-180 in the red on a Sunday after a high OTS day on Saturday is okay, especially when you have a rest day or rest block beginning Monday. In this case on a Sunday, do easier, shorter endurance work without hard intervals. Days this far in the red will occur after you generate a massive 300-500 OTS score in a single, very long ride or race, or a combined two-day weekend block. It may take you two consecutive days off to recover and bounce back into the green.

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About Frank Overton

Frank founded FasCat Coaching in 2002 and has been a full time cycling coach since 2004. His educational background includes a Masters degree in Physiology from North Carolina State University, pre-med from Hampden-Sydney College. Frank raced at a professional level on the road and mountain bike and currently competes as a "masters" level gravel and cyclocrosser. Professionally Frank comes from medical school spinal cord research and molecular biotechnology. However, to this day it is a dream come true for Frank to be able to help cyclists as a coach.

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