How do you get the most out of your workout in the shortest amount of time? This is a question that plagues many time-crunched folks, especially professionals working long hours in downtown offices. 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.
Training at altitude presents an ideal solution to this dilemma. 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.
The good news — Toronto is the latest metropolitan city to offer a “live low, train high” lifestyle. Altitude Athletic Training, a boutique gym with a simulated altitude chamber housing high-end exercise equipment, will open in Fall 2019 and offer the city a chance to experience the benefits of altitude training in a safe and structured way. Over the next few weeks, watch this site for more on the facilities and its offerings, but for now get excited to learn about how altitude training can complement any fitness program and help you get more out of your workouts in less time!
Anyone can benefit
Training at altitude isn’t just for professional athletes.
Altitude gyms have been popping up in many health and wellness-conscious parts of the world recently — notably, Australia, Singapore, and London, England.
“Toronto is an ideal city to offer an altitude training facility because it’s one of the more active cities in North America, with a high per capita of endurance athletes and fitness-minded individuals” explains Matt Formato, director of Mile High Training. “There’s really nothing like it in the city that can compare and we think it’s going to be well-received here because people of all fitness levels are always looking for an edge in their training.”
It’s not just the top-end athletes of the city that will enjoy the results from altitude training. “It challenges your body to shift into high gear and adjust to something new. If you’re just looking to shed a few pounds, this is a fun, different and effective workout and a great place to start,” Matt explains.
While Altitude Athletic Training will offer programs specifically aimed at helping beginners safely adapt to training at altitude in a progressive manner, Altitude recommends that anyone looking to really reap the benefits of the training method spend time at altitude two to three times per week, for about 30 to 45 minutes.
More for less
Efficiency is one of the greatest assets of altitude training in a gym setting.
“Altitude training has been around for a while, but not available to everyone at sea level,” explains Matt “It’s great for anyone who wants to work out, because the physiological effect on the body makes a 30 minute workout, for example, more efficient than 45 minutes of that same workout at sea-level.”
When the body trains at altitude — anywhere greater than 5,000 feet above sea level — the decreased level of oxygen forces it to produce more red blood cells. These cells in turn deliver more oxygen to your muscles.
“When you’re at altitude, your body is challenged and your heart rate is elevated, so your cardio system is working harder and your body is going to work harder as well,” explains Matt. “Not only does your body use the available oxygen more efficiently but, studies show you burn up to 25% more calories at altitude than at sea level.”
Feel great long after
The body absorbs the benefits of altitude training and holds onto them for weeks after spending time above sea level. This is something that goes away as you stop altitude training however. Which is why consistency and incorporating altitude sessions into your long-term program is important.
Lesley Smith, a professional Ironman triathlete and coach from Boulder, Colorado, does almost all her training at altitude by virtue of where she lives.
“When I come down to sea level, I feel an enormous difference cardiovascularly,” she says. “I definitely think there’s a benefit going back and forth between sea level and altitude training.”
After a class at Altitude, you’ll feel noticeably energized and ready to take on the rest of your day. After a few weeks of consistent training at altitude, “you’ll feel like superman or superwoman!” says Matt.
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