With more owners incorporating simulated altitude environments into their facilities, and awareness building about the numerous benefits, we will soon be seeing everyday gym-goers all over the world changing their altitude.
What is Altitude Training?
Altitude training, also known as hypoxic training, involves exercising in an oxygen-depleted environment to achieve improved athletic performance, pre-acclimatisation to altitude, or holistic improvements in health and wellbeing.
Similarly, sleeping at altitude also produces a range of positive health benefits. Hypoxic training (“train high”) and hypoxic sleeping (“sleep high”) have long been used by top athletes to give themselves a legal way to enhance performance and gain a competitive edge. Both methods increase the oxygen-carrying capabilities of the body.
When exposed to oxygen-depleted environments, the body struggles to produce the required amounts of energy to perform. This struggle leads to a range of physiological adaptations directed towards enhancing the efficiency of the body’s respiratory, cardiovascular and oxygen-processing physiology. Since most team and individual sports have a mix of aerobic and anaerobic demand, altitude training is uniquely suited to improve performance, whatever type of activity you enjoy.
The benefits of altitude training are even more pronounced amongst non-elite athletes, and it’s less well-known that everyday gym goers will see significant improvements in performance and all-round health and wellbeing. To date, access for the public to simulated altitude facilities has been limited. The good news is that altitude systems experts, Box Altitude, are now bringing this technology to gyms near you.
The benefits of training and sleeping at altitude are numerous, but include:
• Improved athletic performance
• Faster recovery times
• Increased endurance / stamina
• Increased calorie-burn
• Accelerated weight-loss
In the past, individuals had to travel to (or live at) naturally high altitudes to obtain these benefits. Elite athletes or teams would go to the mountains, generally above 2000m, for 2 - 4 weeks at a time.
Places like Sierra Nevada, USA (3000m) and Livigno, Italy (1800m) are fantastic places to train but they have their drawbacks. Specifically, access to the mountains isn’t cheap or simple, repeat trips are required to sustain performance benefits, and efficiency is lost through an “acclimatisation phase” where training efforts are typically reduced by 50% for the first 1-2 week because you simply cannot breathe normally.
It’s important to realise that most of the benefits associated with altitude training do not really start to appear unless training is done at an altitude beyond 1500m. For haematological changes (i.e. changes in red blood cell volume) the optimal altitude is around 2500m. For most athletic scenarios, there is not deemed to be much additional benefit beyond 3500m.
Box Altitude’s commercial gym solutions can create simulated altitude conditions to 5000m, but we recommend no higher than 3500m for optimal results.
In respect of sleeping, hypoxic tent technology (allowing individuals to get the benefits of altitude while sleeping at sea level) has come a long way, but they can still be quite claustrophobic, hot, noisy and not particularly “partner friendly”!
To address these issues, Box Altitude now retrofits existing bedrooms with altitude technology, designed to be silent, invisible and climate controlled, so you can peacefully sleep at altitudes of up to 4000m. It looks like a bedroom and smells like a bedroom, yet you are sleeping “high”! Essentially, you’re getting fitter and losing weight while you sleep.
Is altitude training just for elite athletes?
Absolutely not. Altitude training technology is no longer hidden away in performance institutes and elite training centres. Historically, the technology has been cost-prohibitive for gym owners, but now the systems are affordable, efficient and simple to retrofit. More and more gym owners are incorporating altitude as a value-add for their members.
Similarly, consumers are becoming more aware of the benefits and are actively seeking out opportunities to incorporate altitude training in to their lives. It’s the perfect “exercise hack” for hectic modern life. Shorter sessions, better outcomes. Efficiency is the name of the modern exercise game!
Improvements can happen quickly. The body recognises it’s in a hypoxic environment within 10 minutes, releasing an enzyme that tells your blood to absorb more oxygen. Ultimately, you will absorb and process oxygen more efficiently, and burn more fat than at sea level for the same amount of physical exertion. After just 3 altitude sessions (over a week), physiological adaptations will start to occur with an increase in reticulocyte cells (i.e. immature red blood cells). The increased concentration of oxygen-carrying (red) cells within the blood results in improved endurance and stamina.
Another great yet often overlooked benefit is that of improved lactic acid “buffering” which offsets muscle fatigue, so often a limiting factor for sustaining performance levels.
About Box Altitude
Box Altitude was founded by ex-professional cyclist Rico Rogers. Racing professionally for 10 years, Rico used altitude training and altitude sleep systems throughout his career to enhance his performance, and as a result achieved great results as a sprinter.
For athletes in any sport, Box Altitude has comfortable, stylish and affordable altitude sleep solutions that improve performance. Not just restricted to athletes, altitude bedrooms and apartments have been seamlessly retrofitted in to private residences for business professionals looking to get an extra edge in all aspects of their lives.
Now, Box Altitude’s evolution continues with the introduction of commercial simulated altitude solutions for forward-thinking gym and leisure facilities, spin studios, hotels and performance centres.
Learn more at www.boxaltitude.com