Exploring Hypoxic Training: A Biohacking Method or Natural Adaptation?

In recent years, the term “biohacking” has gained significant traction, capturing the imagination of individuals seeking to optimize their physical and mental performance through unconventional means. Among the myriad techniques and methodologies encompassed by this umbrella term, hypoxic training stands out as a particularly intriguing approach. But is hypoxic training truly a form of biohacking, or does it represent a natural adaptation rooted in our evolutionary history? Let’s delve into this fascinating topic.

Hypoxic Chamber

Understanding Hypoxic Training

Hypoxic training involves exposing the body to reduced oxygen levels, typically achieved by simulating high-altitude environments or utilizing specialized equipment such as altitude tents, masks, or chambers. Athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and even medical professionals have long been intrigued by the potential benefits of training in hypoxic conditions.

The Biohacking Perspective

From a biohacking standpoint, hypoxic training fits squarely within the realm of manipulating environmental variables to elicit specific physiological responses. Proponents argue that by subjecting the body to oxygen deprivation, one can trigger adaptations that enhance endurance, cardiovascular function, and overall performance. This perspective aligns with the broader ethos of biohacking, which revolves around leveraging technology, lifestyle modifications, and unconventional practices to optimize human biology.

Evolutionary Roots

However, an alternative viewpoint suggests that hypoxic training is not so much a novel biohacking technique but rather a rediscovery of our body’s innate ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Throughout human history, populations living at high altitudes, such as the Andean or Tibetan peoples, have developed unique physiological adaptations to thrive in oxygen-deprived environments. These adaptations include increased red blood cell production, enhanced oxygen utilization, and improved aerobic capacity.

Bridging the Gap

So, where does hypoxic training fit within the biohacking landscape? The answer may lie in its fusion of modern technology with ancient evolutionary mechanisms. While the basic concept of hypoxic training may not be revolutionary in itself, the innovative tools and methodologies employed to simulate altitude conditions represent a quintessential aspect of biohacking. By harnessing our understanding of human physiology and leveraging cutting-edge technology, individuals can fine-tune their training regimens to achieve specific performance goals.

The Science of Adaptation

Regardless of whether one views hypoxic training as a form of biohacking or a natural adaptation, its efficacy is supported by a robust body of scientific research. Studies have shown that exposure to hypoxic conditions can stimulate the production of erythropoietin (EPO), a hormone that regulates red blood cell production, leading to increased oxygen-carrying capacity. Additionally, hypoxic training has been linked to improvements in aerobic endurance, mitochondrial function, and vascular health.

Conclusion: A Blend of Innovation and Tradition

The debate over whether hypoxic training qualifies as a form of biohacking ultimately hinges on one’s perspective. While some may view it as a cutting-edge technique born from the intersection of science and experimentation, others may see it as a rediscovery of ancient physiological adaptations honed over millennia. Regardless of semantics, hypoxic training offers individuals a powerful tool for enhancing physical performance and pushing the boundaries of human potential. Whether you approach it as a biohacker seeking to optimize every facet of your biology or as a student of human evolution embracing our ancestral heritage, the benefits of hypoxic training are undeniable.

Let’s talk about how hypoxic training can improve your health, fitness and performance. Schedule a time to meet with one of our expert Altitude coaches.


Are You Ready for the Ultimate Adventure? Signs You’re Prepared to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a dream for many adventure enthusiasts. As the highest peak in Africa, towering at 19,341 feet (5,895 meters), Kilimanjaro presents a unique and challenging experience. Before embarking on this once-in-a-lifetime journey, it’s crucial to assess your readiness physically, mentally, and logistically. In this blog post, we’ll explore the signs that indicate you’re ready to conquer the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro.

  1. Physical Fitness: Climbing Kilimanjaro is a strenuous endeavor that requires a good level of physical fitness. You’ll be trekking for several days, facing diverse terrains and varying altitudes. Signs that you are physically ready include:
    • Regular Exercise: Engaging in cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and hiking to build endurance.
    • Altitude Training: Practicing at higher altitudes to acclimatize your body and understand its response to reduced oxygen levels.
    • Stamina and Endurance: Being able to walk for several hours with a backpack and manage the demands of prolonged trekking.
    • Simulated Altitude Training: If you live at sea level, access to a simulated altitude gym or a hypoxic generator and mask can simulate the reduced oxygen conditions you’ll encounter on Kilimanjaro, helping your body acclimatize more effectively.
  2. Mental Preparedness: Climbing Kilimanjaro is not just a physical challenge; it’s also a mental one. Mental strength is crucial for overcoming obstacles, staying positive, and pushing through when the going gets tough. Signs of mental readiness include:
    • Positive Mindset: Approaching challenges with optimism and a can-do attitude.
    • Resilience: Being able to adapt to changing conditions and setbacks. Training in simulated high-altitude conditions helps develop the resilience needed to adapt to the stress and fatigue associated with the climb.
    • Mental Toughness: Handling stress, fatigue, and discomfort with composure.
  3. Logistical Readiness: Proper preparation and organization are key to a successful Kilimanjaro climb. This includes ensuring you have the right gear, permits, and a well-thought-out plan. Signs of logistical readiness involve:
    • Adequate Gear: Having the necessary clothing, footwear, and equipment suitable for high-altitude trekking.
    • Research and Planning: Thoroughly researching the route, climate, and logistics of the climb.
    • Permits and Documentation: Ensuring you have obtained all required permits and necessary documentation.
  4. Health Assessment:
    • Medical Check-up: Prioritize a comprehensive medical check-up. Simulated altitude training can assist in identifying potential health issues under conditions similar to those encountered during the climb.
    • Vaccinations: Obtaining any required vaccinations or medications for the region.
    • Understanding Altitude Sickness: Being aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness and knowing how to respond.

5. Previous Hiking Experience: While not mandatory, having some previous hiking or trekking experience can significantly contribute to a successful Kilimanjaro climb. Signs of experience include:

    • Familiarity with Multi-Day Treks: Having completed multi-day treks to understand the challenges of sustained physical activity.
    • Camping Skills: Being comfortable with camping, as Kilimanjaro involves overnight stays in tents.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a remarkable adventure that demands physical, mental, and logistical readiness. Assessing your preparedness in these aspects will not only enhance your chances of reaching the summit but also contribute to a safer and more enjoyable experience. By incorporating simulated altitude training into your preparation, you can enhance your overall readiness, increasing the chances of a safe and enjoyable Kilimanjaro expedition. If you find yourself ticking off these signs, you’re likely well-prepared for the ultimate challenge that Kilimanjaro presents. So, lace up your boots, pack your bags, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime!


Take the first step towards summiting Kilimanjaro by scheduling a consultation with one of our experienced coaches. They’ll assess your fitness level, discuss your goals, and design a personalized training plan to ensure you’re Kilimanjaro ready.

Conquering Aconcagua: 4 Tips for Optimal Training and Altitude Preparation

Embarking on an Aconcagua trek or expedition is a thrilling prospect, but scaling South America’s highest peak demands meticulous preparation. In this blog post, we’ll delve into four crucial tips for effective Aconcagua training, with a particular focus on the benefits of altitude training in a simulated gym environment if accessible to you. Let’s explore how tailored preparation, physical conditioning, and simulated altitude training can elevate your readiness for the Aconcagua expedition.

1. Tailored Aconcagua Training Plans

To conquer the towering heights of Aconcagua, a customized training plan is essential. Tailor your workouts to include endurance training, cardiovascular exercises, and strength conditioning. Focus on leg strength to navigate challenging terrains and high-altitude cardiovascular workouts to acclimate to reduced oxygen levels.

2. Altitude Training for Aconcagua: The Simulated Advantage

If accessible, consider incorporating altitude training into your regimen, specifically designed for Aconcagua expedition preparation. Simulated altitude gyms replicate the reduced oxygen conditions of high altitudes, facilitating acclimatization. This targeted training enhances your body’s ability to cope with the challenges posed by Aconcagua’s elevations.

Altitude training for Aconcagua provides numerous benefits:

  • Increased Oxygen Efficiency: Simulated altitude sessions improve your body’s ability to utilize oxygen efficiently, crucial for endurance at high elevations.
  • Enhanced Acclimatization: Regular exposure to reduced oxygen levels in a controlled environment helps your body acclimate more effectively, minimizing the risk of altitude-related issues during the Aconcagua trek.
  • Improved Cardiovascular Fitness: Altitude training stimulates cardiovascular adaptation, boosting your heart and lung efficiency to meet the demands of high altitudes.
  • Mental Resilience: Training in a simulated altitude gym builds mental resilience, preparing you for the psychological challenges of the Aconcagua expedition.
Aconcagua expedition training

3. Elevation Gain Simulation

Incorporate elevation gain simulation into your training hikes. While nothing fully replicates the conditions of Aconcagua, mimicking steep ascents in your local terrain helps build strength and endurance specific to the challenges you’ll face on the actual trek.

4. Comprehensive Gear Familiarity

Become intimately familiar with your Aconcagua gear during your training sessions. This includes testing your clothing, boots, and equipment to ensure comfort, functionality, and suitability for high-altitude conditions. Familiarity with your gear minimizes surprises and discomfort during the actual expedition.

Preparing for the Aconcagua trek requires meticulous training and strategic altitude preparation. Altitude training for Aconcagua in a simulated gym provides a unique advantage, enhancing acclimatization, cardiovascular fitness, and mental resilience. By tailoring your workouts, incorporating elevation gain simulation, and thoroughly familiarizing yourself with your gear, you’ll be better equipped to tackle the challenges of South America’s highest peak. Elevate your Aconcagua expedition readiness with targeted training and embrace the journey towards conquering this awe-inspiring summit.

Our coaches at Altitude Athletic Training have worked with many climbers on specific training plans for Aconcagua. Schedule a time to meet with one of them to discuss your trip preparation:



5 Insane Outdoor Adventure Races

Outdoor adventure races are the ultimate test of your physical and mental limits. These races take you to breathtaking, remote locations where you’ll push yourself to the max. In this post, we’ll explore five insane outdoor adventure races around the world that will put your skills and endurance to the test.

1. The Barkley Marathons – Frozen Head State Park, Tennessee, USA

The Barkley Marathons is known as one of the toughest ultramarathon races on the planet. The race unfolds over 100 miles through the rugged wilderness of Frozen Head State Park, featuring a brutal vertical gain of over 59,000 feet. This event is not for the faint of heart, requiring extensive trail running and endurance preparation. High altitude training can also be beneficial to build the stamina necessary for this grueling race.

    2. The Jungle Ultra – Peru

    If you’re looking for a race that combines trail running and a truly unique setting, the Jungle Ultra in Peru is a fantastic choice. This multistage race takes participants through the Amazon rainforest. Endurance is key as you cover over 140 miles through the challenging terrain and humidity. Additionally, integrating strength training into your preparation is essential to withstand the physical demands of this race. Building strength in your core, legs, and upper body will not only help you tackle steep inclines and uneven terrains but also improve your overall performance, making you more resilient in the challenging conditions of the Jungle Ultra.

    trail running

    3. The Coastal Challenge – Costa Rica

    For those who thrive in tropical conditions, The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica is the adventure race of your dreams. This 236-kilometer race guides runners along the country’s coastline, through dense jungles, and across pristine beaches. Trail running expertise is vital, as is preparation for the intense heat and humidity.

    4. The Dragon’s Back Race – Wales, UK

    The Dragon’s Back Race is an iconic adventure racing event that traverses the rugged terrain of the Welsh mountains. This five-day stage race covers 315 kilometers, with steep ascents and descents. High-altitude preparation can help participants adapt to the challenging elevation changes, and ultramarathon training is a must to tackle this demanding race.

    5. The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) – France, Italy, and Switzerland

    The UTMB is the holy grail of ultramarathon races. This 171-kilometer race circumnavigates Mont Blanc, taking participants through high mountain passes and steep trails. Altitude preparation is crucial due to the race’s high-altitude sections. The UTMB is a test of endurance and trail running skills like no other.

    insane outdoor adventure races


    How To Train for Outdoor Adventure Races

    If you’re based in Toronto and are looking to prepare for these epic adventures, consider specialized training at Altitude Athletic Training. Altitude offers personalized programs that can help you improve your endurance, trail running abilities, and high-altitude adaptation.

    Here’s how Altitude can benefit you:

    • Personalized Training: Work with a coach on a program tailored to your specific adventure race goals. Whether it’s ultramarathon training, high altitude preparation, or trail running, we’ve got you covered.

    • Specialized Training Environment: Altitude Athletic Training recreates high-altitude conditions, allowing you to adapt to lower oxygen levels and replicate the demands of your expedition, which is essential for races like the UTMB and Barkley Marathons. This helps boost your endurance and performance at both sea-level and high-altitude settings.

    These five insane outdoor adventure races around the world offer a unique opportunity to challenge your physical and mental limits. With proper ultramarathon training, high altitude preparation, and strong guidance, you can embark on these incredible journeys. So, lace up your trail running shoes and start your adventure racing journey today!

    3 Tips to Train for the Everest Basecamp Trek

    The Everest Basecamp Trek is a dream adventure for many, but it demands more than just enthusiasm. To reduce your risk of altitude sickness, improve your cardio endurance, and develop the strength required for this epic journey, you need a well-rounded training regimen.

    In today’s post, we’ll explore three essential tips to prepare for the Everest Basecamp Trek.

    Tips to Prepare for the trek to Everest Basecamp

    Tip 1: Understand Ways to Reduce Altitude Sickness

    Altitude sickness is a major concern when trekking to high-altitude destinations like Everest Basecamp. It can cause nausea, dizziness, and even become life-threatening if not managed properly.

    Know the Basics

    There are several basic things you can do to mitigate your chances of getting altitude sickness. For example, when you arrive at higher elevations, take your time to acclimate. Ascend slowly and make sure to rest and hydrate adequately. Also, ensure that you drink plenty of water throughout the trek to stay well-hydrated. 

    Simulated Altitude Training

    Aside from basic strategies, one of the most effective ways to prepare for high-altitude conditions is through simulated altitude training. This is also known as hypoxic training.

    Simulated altitude training is a concept that has gained popularity among athletes and adventurers preparing for high-altitude challenges. It involves exposing your body to reduced oxygen levels similar to those experienced at high altitudes. This innovative approach can help reduce the risk of altitude sickness and improve your overall performance when trekking to destinations like Everest Basecamp.

    Facilities like Altitude Athletic Training in Downtown Toronto offer an innovative approach to help reduce the risk of altitude sickness and improve your overall performance when trekking to destinations like Everest Basecamp.


    Tip 2: Improve Cardio Endurance for High Altitudes

    One of the keys to a successful Everest Basecamp Trek is excellent cardio endurance. Hiking at high altitudes requires more effort due to lower oxygen levels, making it essential to have a strong cardiovascular system. To improve your endurance, focus on activities such as running, cycling, and stair climbing.

    Interval Training

    Incorporate interval training into your routine. This involves alternating between short bursts of high-intensity exercise and periods of low-intensity recovery. Interval training is excellent for building both aerobic and anaerobic endurance.

    Long-Distance Training:

    Gradually increase the duration and intensity of your cardio workouts. Focus on longer, sustained efforts to mimic the demands of the trek. Consider progressively extending your running or cycling sessions to build stamina.

    Altitude Training

    Consider training at facilities like Altitude Athletic Training to simulate the reduced oxygen conditions you’ll encounter at higher altitudes. This type of training pushes your cardiovascular system to adapt to lower oxygen levels, making you better prepared for the challenges of the trek.

    Everest Basecamp Trek

    Tip 3: Don’t Neglect Strength 

    Trekking to Everest Basecamp involves carrying a backpack loaded with essentials. To ensure you have the strength to endure the long and challenging trails, incorporate strength training into your regimen. Include exercises that target your legs, core, and upper body. Aim to handle the weight of your pack and maintain stability on uneven terrains.

    Train with Your Weight Pack

    Carrying a backpack while hiking or incline treadmill walking is an effective way to mimic the conditions of the Everest Basecamp Trek and improve your physical preparedness. Start with a light load in your backpack and gradually add more weight as your strength and endurance increase. This mimics the progression of packing for a multi-day trek and allows your body to adapt to the additional load.


    Build Muscular Endurance (ideally at high-altitude)

    If possible, take your strength training up to higher altitudes (simulated or terrestrial). Doing so will challenge your muscles to work harder and in conditions similar to those you’ll experience on the Everest Basecamp Trek.


    Work With An Expert

    Don’t go into your Everest Basecamp preparation without a good plan or support system in place. Find an experienced coach who can build you a tailored program that includes strength training exercises specific to trekking. Facilities like Altitude Athletic Training can help you with a tailored program that includes strength training exercises specific to trekking. To speak with a coach and learn more about strength training plans for the Everest Basecamp Trek, book a complimentary coach consultation here.


    Preparation is the key to a successful Everest Basecamp Trek. To reduce the risk of altitude sickness, improve your cardio endurance, and enhance your muscular endurance, it’s essential to invest time in the right training methods. Simulated altitude training can be a valuable addition to your training regimen, helping your body acclimate to lower oxygen levels and develop the strength required for the journey. When you arrive at high altitudes, the proper acclimatization, hydration, and attention to your body’s signals are critical to avoiding altitude sickness. By following these tips and adhering to a well-rounded training plan, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle the heights and embrace the breathtaking landscapes of the Everest Basecamp Trek.

    So what exactly is a Red Blood Cell? And what does it do?

    If you have been around endurance sports for long enough, you’ve definitely heard a coach, a training partner, or a Tour de France broadcaster mention something about red blood cells and how they are important for aerobic exercise. But, what are they, really? And how do they work?

    Red blood cells (also called erythrocytes) are miniature concave saucers, and exist in trillions in our blood stream. Their main function is to carry oxygen from the lungs to the working muscles. They are important, because muscles need oxygen to perform aerobic exercise.

    Red blood cells move oxygen with the help of haemoglobin, a red protein that gives the cells its colour. Millions of haemoglobin molecules bind, or grab, four oxygen molecules in the blood. Then, the red blood cells shuttle the molecules to working muscles.

    Look at it this way: if we are oxygen, red blood cells are public transit. The more shuttles we have, the more efficiently we get to where we want to go.

    The more red blood cells we have the more haemoglobin we can carry the more oxygen we can transport to working muscle the better our muscles exercise the slower we tire.

    Recap: if you’re an endurance athlete, you want those red blood cells.

    But, can we control the amount of red blood cells that we have? Can we train our bodies to make more?

    Red blood cell count is in part genetically determined, but yes, it can be manipulated. The body can start producing more red blood cells when exposed to low-oxygen (or hypoxic) conditions. Here is how it works:

    Does erythropoietin (or EPO) sound familiar to you? Think of Lance Armstrong confessing to Oprah about illegally using extra doses of it, nearly 10 years ago.

    We don’t have to be doping to use EPO: we each have a natural source of this good stuff inside of us. When little oxygen is available in our surroundings, the kidneys secrete EPO, which binds to cells in the bone marrow that produce more red blood cells.

    In short: Exposure to a low-oxygen environment can increase red blood cell count, and increasing red blood cell count can improve aerobic performance.

    Runner exercising outside with a mountain view

    How to increase my own red blood cell count:

    It is common practice to train at altitudes of 6,000 to 10,000 feet, in order to increase red blood cell count. Individuals can see an initial spike in red blood cell count as early as 24 to 48 hours after the first training bout at altitude, and tend to see a real change after three weeks to a month of low-oxygen training. That is why it is common to hear of athletes training at altitude for a month, before coming down to race. Read more about the science behind altitude training here.

    How do I know if my red blood cell count is increasing?

    A simple blood test can reveal your hematocrit, which is the ratio of your volume of red blood cells to the total volume of your blood. This value can reflect changes in your red blood cell count. We recommend that you regularly monitor your blood profile when training in a low-oxygen environment, so that you can understand how you are responding to the training.

    Keep in mind: Before you experiment for yourself, know that changes in red blood cell count might vary with the elevation at which you choose to train, the fitness and training background of athletes, and the person to person variability of EPO production.

    The bottom line: If you fancy getting faster, training up high and tapping into your very own natural source of red blood cells (I said natural, Lance) is absolutely worth a try.