The science is in. Training at altitude increases blood-oxygen saturation, making your body more efficient and delivering those much-needed O2 molecules to your muscles. It’s a time-honoured tradition for Olympians, star footballers and Tour de France cyclists.
But living at the beach (read: sea level) kinda precludes getting your dose of thin mountain air, right?
Enter Altitude, Sydney’s very own scarce-air training environment in Brookvale. The hermetically-sealed training room is replete with cardio and weights machines, populated by PTs who are more egghead than meat-head and filled with about half the O2 you were happily enjoying in the foyer.
The training benefits are immediately obvious. And when we say immediate, think: before the end of your first ten-second interval, immediate. After just five reasonably strenuous ten-second reps, this guinea-pig reached a max heart-rate of 185, a number that hasn’t appeared on my Garmin in the last year.
It’s a good thing the crew at Altitude could talk for days about low-oxygen training, because it has a significant impact on the body. Knowing how hard to push it, and when to call it a day, are integral parts of safe training in this environment. On your first visit, you’ll get the lowdown, and if you come for one-on-one training or group classes, the friendly folk here will keep an eye on you while you acclimatise.
As an experience, it’s not unpleasant. The air in the room smells pleasantly disinfected, but is otherwise unremarkable. It’s not dissimilar to training in any gym, except you’ll notice that you’re HR is 20 BPM higher than it otherwise would be. Very short sessions give excellent results, so this is a favourite destination for athletes recovering from injury. You’ll get the same bang for your buck here in 75% of the time it would take you to get it elsewhere.
If you’re looking for an edge before race-day, preparing for ski season or readying the body and mind for a Himalayan trek, Altitude will give new meaning to ‘runner’s high’.
Prices: Casual visit: $39.95 / regular membership: $39.95 per week / platinum: $49.95 per week including one hyperbaric oxygen therapy session per week.
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