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Is Altitude Training Suitable For “The Average Person”?

It used to just be endurance athletes who trained at altitude, but now gyms are popping up everywhere with the promise you can burn double the calories by doing the same workout.

The promise of losing more in less time is that enticing to some people that they’re even installing altitude rooms in their homes!

But does working out in a lower oxygen environment actually work and should you do it? 


Dr Andrew Govus, a senior lecturer in Sports and exercise science, joins Katrina Blowers to explain what exactly altitude training is and why so many people are deciding to switch their workouts to the particular form of training.

Dr Govus says the extent of the results depends on how long a person is completing sessions for, and how regular. He also says results will differ for a “layperson” and an “elite athlete”.

“Let’s say hypothetically, I built an altitude gym in my house, then I could definitely go and do something in that every day and be totally fine,” Dr Govus says.

“But generally, I would recommend about two to three high intensity sessions per week because it’s going to increase the intensity with which you’re working… and that’s true for the layperson and for the athlete as well.”

Dr Govus details that there still is research to be done to understand if small gym sessions at altitude are actually beneficial to people.

“If it’s only about 90 minutes’ worth of exposure, then there needs to be a lot more research to understand some of the physiological benefits and adaptions that were getting from that kind of training,” he explains.

“When we have a look at, is there research clear on whether it works or not for the average person? I would probably say on that at the moment, it’s inconclusive.”

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