We recently interviewed Dr Brad Farra and Eric Lubell at Evolution Healthcare & Fitness in Portland OR. Among other subjects, we discussed the benefits of their altitude training room, the only facility open to the general public in the US.
Altitude training is good for improving general health and improving performance for people living right here at sea level as well as for people traveling to high altitudes. It’s great for people of any ability level, and you don’t need any experience at altitude in order to train in this room. This is a big, 650 square foot room, and you don’t need any masks. The entire room is at altitude. Altitude training conducted in an oxygen deficient (hypoxic) environment and is pursued for many reasons. Most commonly, it is utilized as a tool to improve performance. The body’s most basic physiological response to a lack of oxygen is an increase in EPO (erythropoietin) and a resultant increase in red blood cells. Red blood cells deliver oxygen to the body, thus the increased number of red blood cells leads to improved oxygen delivery. This is beneficial when looking to:
- Improve performance
- Improve aerobic fitness
- Increase strength
- Pre-acclimatize to high altitude events
- Accelerate general recovery and return from injuries
- Maintain fitness while injured
- Increase fat metabolism
- Increase mitochondria
- Increase energy production
- Increase capillary density
- Increase oxygen delivery
Training inside the room is definitely harder work than training 'at sea level', and we know a lot of locals that use it to prepare for high altitude races and hikes, and to recover whilst still giving the body the benefits of restricted oxygen intake. Head over to their website for more info, and if you're in the area be sure to drop in.