My first encounter with the concept of altitude training was in the mid-2000s while working with the USA Triathlon resident team in Colorado Springs. These athletes were spending 2-3 of their workouts per week in altitude chambers, exercising in a low-oxygen environment and the results were unmistakable. The concept is not a new one. Scientists have been studying altitude training for decades, exploring the reasons why athletes from high altitude regions such as Ethiopia and Kenya are constantly winning endurance events. Over the past few decades, as more and more studies have been published about its effects, many athletes and coaches are using altitude training in various forms as a tool to improve an athlete’s performance both at sea level and high altitude.
The science is simple. To improve any system in the body, you need to stress it within its physiological limits. When you expose the body to high latitude, an environment that provides less oxygen for every breath, it triggers a series of physiological reactions that improves the body’s ability to deliver and process oxygen within the muscle—a factor that will enable the body to perform better. When the athletes return to sea level they are stronger and more powerful due to the increased mass of their circulating blood cells.
Over the years, three altitude training methods have been developed to provide exposure to low oxygen levels without reducing the ability to train effectively.
- Live High – Train High: Maximum exposure to altitude with somewhat limited performance at sea level, mostly due to inability to train at high intensity
- Live Low – Train High: There is substantial evidence that when using high-intensity training protocols within a program, it can improve performance for athletes with endurance, sprint ability, and strength.
- Live High – Train Low: Allows the body to adapt to altitude while maintaining high-intensity training.
At the Well-Fit Training Center, I am always exploring ways to take our athletes to the top of their individual performance threshold and keep them there. I knew there was something to altitude training because high performing athletes all over the world were using it. What I learned even moreso is that the effects on novice or mid-level athletes are even greater than at the elite level. I began to research further the effects of this type of training and how we could bring it here to Chicago, to athletes who didn’t have the luxury of living “high.” Nothing like this exists publicly in the Midwest…until now.
Welcome to Well-Fit Altitude, a training chamber focusing on the live low- train high method, utilizing a variety of training protocols and programs for athletes of all kinds. We are thrilled with this new venture and couldn’t be more excited to remain at the forefront of the best endurance training programs in the Midwest. Well-Fit Altitude will give athletes of all abilities and levels the extra “elevation” they need to achieve a personal best. Coming this February.
Learn more about altitude training here: