As I write this post, I am tucked up in bed, yawning over and over again. It’s just gone 8pm and I’m looking forward to bed time yet I am smiling after my session at the Altitude Centre.
I rocked up at 5pm for my induction with Alex. I filled in all the usual stuff – y’know, do I suffer from chest pain, joint pain, is there any reason I know of that I shouldn’t exercise.
Alex then talked me through how this would work. First read what this was all about…
The Altitude Centre aims to improve fitness by training the body how to use oxygen more efficiently. The chamber contains less oxygen than the air at sea level, offering pre-acclimatisation for altitude trekking and allowing you to take advantage of the benefits of training at a high altitude.
They offer one-to-one training as well as regular exercise sessions in group classes, and customers can rent machines to use in the comfort of their own home.
Professional athletes and amateurs looking to get fit can benefit from running or cycling sessions at The Altitude Centre (usually £28 per session).
As explorers climb to a higher altitude, the thinner air and lack of oxygen aims to force the body to work harder, using more energy to acclimatise to the change in atmosphere. Instructors will take would-be mountaineers through a consultation to offer tips and advice on high altitude training and an exercise plan unique to the individual. The guest then has between one and five running or cycling sessions to work towards increasing their stamina or maintaining fitness.
As I have recently started cycling I thought I would opt for the cycle version. What I didn’t realise was that it’d be on a Wattbike which is too clever for it’s own good. I also didn’t bargain on all my stats being on a monitor that I couldn’t block the view of, and the fact I had to wear a heart rate monitor. This meant there was no pretending… not that I ever pretend… uuuhhhhumm!
Before jumping on the bike, Alex also took my blood pressure and measured oxygen levels in my blood. In all honesty, I was beginning to get a little frightened, but if others had survived this then surely I could.
He told me all about how it’s harder to recover and you would feel your heart beating furiously. I can confirm this to be true! He also told me that at the 15 second mark I would want to stop pedalling and bang on 15 seconds I could (did) scream each time and beg to stop …but just so you know, I didn’t! Oooo there was proof of my anaerobic training system!
The session consisted of 3 x 30 second bouts (with a minute rest between) of cycling as fast and hard as I could. I then got 90 secs rest before I had to repeat the set, 90 seconds rest then repeat AGAIN! Alex kept an eye on the power I was producing and (attempted to) motivated me to keep it above 350 to start with then 300 in the later sets! He also took the reins on my resistance too! Jheeez, no go for control freaks eh?!
I was curious so during the session I’d pop my finger into the little gadget to check my blood oxygen levels which did indeed reduce as time went on.
After the session, I received a FULL detailed report of what happened during. Lot’s of statistics, measurements and basically bedtime reading…if you can stay awake. Somehow I even managed to cycle home; mostly I think because I had company!
A few weeks ago I didn’t understand the purpose of training on a stationary / spin bike just to ride a normal bike. But it basically is the same as if you run without purpose, you will never get faster, fitter or more efficient. So although my cycle commute is doing something …it could do something more if I trained effectively.
This is one way…
D’you know much about altitude training?! Do you supplement your running or cycling with different sessions?!