Garmin Wearable Recommendation?

I’m a Garmin guy in a Wahoo world, and I use a Garmin Edge 530 on my bike and wear a VivoActive 3 on my wrist for non-bike sports. I’m comfortable with Garmin’s products/menus/features and am not interested in moving to Wahoo at the moment.

This winter it occurred to me that my VivoActive 3 doesn’t calculate exercise load for my xc skiing activities (I use an HR strap to capture that metric since the optical wrist sensor is so unreliable).

Bottom line is that I’m finding my self in deep fatigue because while I’m staying in the recommended “Productive” zone in my training on the bike, I have no doubt that the added load of XC skiing is pushing me into the red.

Looking for other Garmin users who can recommend a different wearable so I can accurately calculate non-cycling activity loads and stop crushing myself…TIA

I have not done xc skiing in years since I got an indoor trainer for workouts, but wouldn’t your 530 be able to record your heart rate, and factor that into your exercise load calculation.

I just finished some hiking, and I used my 1040 to record my HR, and it measured the exercise load, and figured it into my weekly performance load.

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Had not considered that–Do you just carry your 1040 in your pocket and wear an HR band? I suppose I could do that with my 530…Or maybe just record on my phone through an app?

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I wear a Fenix and have done for years. It’s brilliant and has been 100% bomb proof. Currently using the Fenix 6


Exactly. I carry the 1040 in my pocket. I use a Forerunner 45 in broadcast mode for the heart rate. I have found it easier to use than a HR band.

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yeah, unless you get independent enjoyment and utility from the other features of the wearables, i’d first explore a wallet-friendly alternative like using the existing computer in your pocket (and finding some way to “tag” the activities to differentiate from real riding, etc.)

I also got a Garmin Fenix for running and hiking in the offseason, and while it is well made (bomb-proof for sure) and the GPS works great, the usefulness of the higher end features never panned out:

i. The standard activities like running were solid, but the more esoteric activity profiles never worked right. I never tried XC skiing but I did try rowing profile and it left a lot to be desired and was never better than just tracking straight heartrate with a generic “cross train” activity.

ii. the fancier firstbeat analytics features like load balance etc. were cool but i never found a real use for them. They not only could not replace just listening to my body, planning reasonable progressive overload and correcting as needed, but they never really even added much of a tool in that regard.

So of course this is just my opinion and i’m sure plenty of folks find them useful, but let’s just say, no harm in trying to your rigged-up solution before buying something new.


@Michael_Robertson Agree with the above and I will steal a phrase that @Heretic posted a while ago which is “all models are wrong but some are useful”. For XC skiing I use.a strap along with my watch to get the HrTSS but then use judgement to adjust my training plan accordingly. Also - if you use the Wahoo Fitness App along with your HRM the activity will post to your SYSTM calendar to the extent you find it helpful to have the activity in your history as a reminder of the work that you did on a given day.


I’m using a Fenix 7X and the 1030+ but recently switched to the ROAM V2 for cycling.

But as mentioned above, I agree that the higher end watches don’t add too much - sports wise.

I also looked at the RIVAL lately, but compared to a fenix it does look like an alpha/test run. Like, why are there no vibration alarms to wake you in the morning?
And I really like the Alpine Skiing profile on my fenix, which works great. On the other hand, native Stryd sounds like the RIVAL does that way better than garmin.

I hope there will be a RIVAL V2 soon, that addresses at least some of that.

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@roland Rival does have vibration alarms and at different levels.

They have added a bunch of stuff since the initial launch. Note that Resting HR and HRV are still missing which some find invaluable but I don’t find to be that useful except perhaps for looking at trends.

Now that sounds like there’s no need to wait for V2 :wink:

Does anyone know of sources that list all possible sport/workout profiles? And a list of all possible watch face combinations? That’s the one thing I’d be staring at the whole day, and the three or so pictures on the website are not that helpful. Unfortunately there seems to be no store nearby that has one to play with.

For the watchfaces on the support page under “Customize RIVAL with the Companion app” the 4 watch faces are displayed. There aren’t any more.

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Ouch, that’s not much.

A factual statement. When it comes to the RIVAL it’s best to embrace the the philosophy of simplicity.

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@jcolp @roland I couldn’t agree more. I like that the watch keeps me in the Wahoo ecosystem. While you can track stuff like XC skiing, running, rowing and weights with the Wahoo Fitness App, using the Rival makes it much easier.

I find the fit comfortable and the watch basically does everything I need it to do. Just like the Wahoo bike computers, most of the selections are made on the phone which I think is more convenient than the Garmin menu system. I previously had a Suunto which had some of the metrics that Garmin has and I found I really didn’t pay much attention to them. I did however like the heat and 3D maps in the Suunto App but I get that with Strava anyways.