With many of us back to the office – we can no longer be as generous with our lunchtime workouts. If you can squeeze a lunchtime workout in, often it’s less than an hour — which isn’t much if you factor in transit time to the gym and showering after the workout. So, how do you get the most out of your workout in the shortest amount of time and see faster results? Training at altitude presents an ideal solution to this dilemma.
It’s What’s in the Air That’s Different
Efficiency is one of the greatest assets of altitude. Training in an environment with less available oxygen triggers physiological adaptations (changes in the body) that can lead to fitness and performance benefits. And due to the unique demands altitude puts on the body, results can be seen in less time than the same workout at sea-level.
You will be working harder at altitude. For instance, your heart rate will be elevated and your cardiovascular, pulmonary and oxygen utilization systems will be working harder to meet the energy demand required with less oxygen available.
Higher Efficiency, Lower Impact
Despite being harder in some aspects, people are often surprised to learn that altitude training is much easier on the joints. You can work at a lower impact with less wear and tear on the body, and get the same if not better benefits than sea-level training in less time.
While commonly praised for its physiological benefits among professional athletes, an adaptive approach to exercising at altitude can enhance anyone’s overall fitness. Efficient in burning more calories during a given amount of time than at sea level, the time-crunched gym-goer can get a great workout completed in as little as 30 minutes — a reasonable amount of time to squeeze in to busy days.
Simulated Altitude Training
This all sounds great – but this whole time you may have been wondering how on earth you are going to get up to altitude if you live in a sea-level city, like Toronto. That’s where simulated altitude training comes in.
Altitude training is exercising in, sleeping in, or simply inhaling the oxygen-reduced air that you find at high altitudes. Simulated altitude gyms are one of the best methods for replicating high altitude conditions at sea-level. Picture a gym that is fully-equipped with treadmills, bikes, squat racks and dumbbells but encased in a high-altitude chamber.
It’s All in The Science
The latest research on simulated altitude training shows greater improvements in body composition, overall fitness and health factors for the same amount of training at sea-level. In on study, participants saw a greater increase in muscle mass with 7 weeks of altitude training compared to participants doing the equivalent sea-level training. The altitude group saw an increase in muscle mass of 1.80% compared to the sea-level group, which saw an increase of just 0.38%. Also, the altitude group saw a significant decrease in fat mass of 6.83% compared to the sea level group, which actually increased their fat mass by 1.26%.
To read the full study, click here.