Altitude training has been no secret to athletes for years now but the training hack is not reserved solely for the elite amongst us; sports enthusiasts are also taking their exercise to new heights and experiencing the benefits first-hand.
THE BIRTH OF ALTITUDE TRAINING
The 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City lead to the realisation of just how beneficial altitude training can be. Held at over 2,300m, athletes were exposed to the reduced oxygen levels which initiated the release of EPO, a hormone that stimulates the production of red blood cells. As the games progressed, no record was safe. Never-before seen times were being posted on a regular basis and it soon became clear that Mexico City had given birth to a new ‘legal doping’ phenomenon.
WHAT IS ALTITUDE TRAINING?
Used as an essential tool for modern day elite athletes, no one would dare miss out on the physiological benefits which altitude training possesses. Rising to above 2000m, the body’s adaptions begin almost instantly. Levels of EPO reach maximum levels within 48 hours of being at altitude. Blood stocked full of haemoglobin, the protein which transports oxygen in the red blood cells, is soon pumping through your muscles, providing more oxygen and in turn, improving performance once back at sea-level.
For those mortal beings who aren’t aiming for the dizzying heights of Olympic Gold medals, altitude training will have an even bigger effect. Less finely tuned athletes who have lower levels of haemoglobin have found to reap greater rewards in the short term. Having less haemoglobin to begin with allows for more to be produced, therefore initiating a larger initial boost in performance in relation to previous levels. As a sports enthusiast who runs for a hobby, unlocking this extra potential will open a whole new level and could translate to a 3% improvement in overall performance giving you the boost you need to overcome the smallest hurdle or your next big challenge.
Going high will give you that extra 3% which could be the difference between achieving your goals and falling just short, give yourself the best chance by kitting yourself out properly. The womens’ Odlo EVOLUTION LIGHT BLACKCOMB Shirt perfectly incorporates style and versatility to keep you fresh and dry, no matter how hard you’re working in the thin air. Match it up with the EVOLUTION LIGHT BLACKCOMB Panty. The high performance technical underwear offers optimal climate control to ensure you have ultimate comfort whilst you train to push your personal bests. Finish off your look with the stylish, slim fit SAMARA Running Shorts and the FAST & LIGHT visor. The short incorporates a splash of colour whilst ensure maximum performance and comfort, whilst the visor gives an air of practicality and simplicity whilst you’re pushing your limits at altitude.
For the recreational athlete, recording you best time isn’t always the main aim. With altitude training, those more interested in health and fitness will still benefit a huge deal from being up high. At altitude, your body is forced to work harder to get the necessary amount of oxygen to your muscles. As a result, during a workout at 3,000 meters’, fat metabolism increases by 15% while calorie consumption increases as much as 50%. Therefore, dropping extra pounds at altitude is hugely more efficient. As a result, you don’t have to work as hard to reach and 80% heart rate as you would have to at sea-level. Therefore, reducing stress on tendons and joints, whilst still working to the same aerobic intensity.
Training at altitude also proves to be a great influence on your mind. Because of the lack of oxygen, training is perceived as harder which provides a great platform to push yourself mentally. You have the ability to work at a heightened intensity, which is proven at sea- level, but reaching it is much more difficult when oxygen is less abundant. Therefore, you can learn to tolerate the discomfort and push yourself mentally without going beyond your boundaries and putting excessive stress on your body. When you return to sea-level, having this ability to deal with discomfort will stand you great stead when you feel like you’re hitting the wall.
To focus on yourself and breaking down the barriers in front of you, you need to be completely at ease. The Mens’ Odlo EVOLUTION LIGHT BLACKCOMB Shirt gives you ultimate comfort to allow you to do what you do best whilst still looking great. Designed for the multi-discipline athlete, the seamlessly constructed shirt maps your body for an ultimate fit and includes Effect by Odlo technology to manage any unwanted odours whilst you change from workout to workout. The Mens’ Odlo EVOLUTION LIGHT BLACKCOMB Boxer continues the comfort throughout and ensures your mind is simply on the task in hand. The revolutionary layering system ensures you maintain optimum temperature during your workout. Top of the look with the KOPTER Running Shorts and the FAST & LIGHT Cap. The shorts, designed for the serious runner. Their super lightweight construction ensures ultimate comfort and performance in all conditions. The FAST & LIGHT Cap is not only practical, but stylish and maintains your focus whilst you chase down your personal bests.
HOW TO DO IT
First off, you need altitude. Pick the right location, with height, you’re looking for around 2000 metres and over and good trails where you can smash your workouts.
Next up, fuel yourself properly. As we’ve seen, it burns calories, and quickly! So, ensuring you’re properly prepared is imperative, load up on iron rich foods like red meat and beans to boost haemoglobin stores and keep a keen eye on hydration so not sure fall to a lack of fluid in the thin air.
Finally, forget your watch. Focussing on your effort rather than your time is much more beneficial. Your times will likely be slower than at lower elevations, but with an effort level to match the lower altitudes, your body will realise the benefits.