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Secrets to Oympic Success: Training at Altitude

Long used by Navy SEALs and professional athletes to get a competitive advantage, high-altitude training is now available to regular guys—no mountain climb or plane ticket required.

How it Changes Your Body

Eckert has seen consistent results among his “average guy” clients, whose ages range from 40 through to their 60s. By sleeping at altitude, oxygen utilization abilities and the ability to push harder during workouts are enhanced, resulting in increased power. Lactic acid threshold also increases, allowing the “average guy” to push himself harder during workouts. As well, these clients sleep deeper at night due to an increase in red blood cells, and the result is a refreshed start for the day and an increase in productivity.

Eckert has also seen his client guys “drop a ton of weight,” saying it’s not uncommon for them to lose 10 to 20 pounds. He adds that one individual in his late forties has also seen a large increase in HGH.

When using this type of equipment to sleep at altitude, it's as simple as zipping into the tent and starting at a low elevation setting of around 3,000 feet. Over the course of a week or two, Eckert recommends increasing the elevation to the optimal elevation of 9,000 feet.

Start Slow

Despite all of the positives, there’s only one major drawback: the temptation to sleep in the tent at settings that are too high, too fast. Many have the mentality to get in the tent and go from sea level to 9,000 feet in only a few seconds and their bodies react by developing signs of acute mountain sickness. Some acute mountain sickness symptoms include shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and fatigue.

With the ever-growing popularity of altitude training, it should come as no surprise that simulation equipment is becoming easier to find for home use. In fact, many businessmen are even transforming their offices into altitude chambers. Not surprisingly, fitness centers such as ClubSport in Portland, Oregon, are also climbing on the altitude training bandwagon.

Regardless of where you’re training, however, the important thing to remember is that you start slowly before gradually building up the altitude—and amping up your training efforts.

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