If you are serious about your racing, the system is well worth a look

Marc Laithwaite BSc(Hons)
Sports Scientist

I'm sitting at a large conference table with a collection of guys twice as large as I am. They are all rugby players, engaging in the usual changing room banter, if I remember correctly, 'desperate housewives' are the subject of conversation.

Matt and myself daren't try to make conversation; we are 2 tiny, skinny bodies amongst prop forwards. So we sit, silently, and watch 'deal or no deal' whilst keeping one eye on our blood oxygen levels. Everyone is wearing a mask, the kind that falls from the ceiling when the air stewardess does her routine. The masks are connected to a computerised machine, which regulates the percentage of oxygen we receive.

My blood oxygen drops below 80% and as instructed, I remove the mask and wait for it to rise before continuing. Matt notices, gives me a nudge and grins from behind his mask, his message is clear, "not very fit then Mr Laithwaite?"

In January, both Matt and myself went to Bury to use the just sport pod. We both volunteered to test the system to examine the effects upon triathlon competitors. The process involved attending the centre for 15 days, spending 45mins each day breathing hypoxic air. As the 15 days progressed, our simulated altitude gradually increased, until 'topping out' at Everest Camp 2 for the last few days.

It generally takes about 12 days to produce new red blood cells, so we didn't expect to feel any benefits until 10-12 days after completion of the programme. As the centre is based at a gym, we took the opportunity to swim each day during our visit. By day 12 of the programme, we both commented on how our breathing somehow felt easier in the pool. Specifically, we were able to hold our breath for longer.

During the final week, I noticed how my body had adapted. The blood oxygen levels were not falling to the same extent, I was breathing air relative to Everest Camp 2 and my body seemed quite happy about the whole thing. An unplanned appendix operation on New Year's Day had set the training back a little, yet I was performing well over cross country and throughout January and February, had one of the most consistent training blocks ever.

I was a little disappointed that I didn't test my haematocrit level prior to the test, it would have been very interesting to compare before and after. I did test Matt just prior to starting the programme and again ten days after completion. On his bike, he showed improvements in maximum aerobic power and a hefty drop in blood lactate readings.

Matt's Results:

- 34% Reduction in Lactate

- 12% Increase in max aerobic power

- 11% Increase in VO2max

From a personal perspective, I can only be subjective, since I have no physiological data to show. Following the treatment, I had the best block of training I have ever experienced and I am confident that my race performances will be better as a result.

At the time, Matt was suffering from the 'winter training blues' and struggling to do much at all. Looking back, there is a clear link between completing the programme and Matt starting to feel much stronger.

We are both due back in 2 weeks time for our 5 day booster, to prepare for the National Duathlon Series. The guys had planned the programme around our racing season to ensure that you peak for the right events. If you are serious about your racing, the system is well worth a look. If you are planning an adventure race abroad this year, competing at altitude, you should pay them a visit.

I certainly think it helped me train better, but that is a subjective opinion. I'm already looking forward to the booster and would say it's an 8 or 9 out of 10 for product performance. Working out value for money is harder. It's expensive, but compared to the cost of 4 weeks altitude training its fantastic value. People spend that amount on new wheels and wouldn't get as much improvement, but then they like the shiny carbon mementos!

MY EXPERIENCE OF thinAir sport


Marc Laithwaite BSc(Hons)

Sports Scientist

"From a personal perspective, I can only be subjective, since I have no physiological data to show. Following the treatment, I had the best block of training I have ever experienced and I am confident that my race performances will be better as a result."

Lynn

Before After
Power (Watts) Average Heart Rate Power (Watts) Average Heart Rate
50 102bpm 50 93bpm
100 123bpm 100 115bpm
150 143bpm 150 138bpm
200 161bpm 200 160bpm
Recovery to 120bpm 61 Seconds Recovery to 120bpm 49 Seconds

Callum

Before After
Power (Watts) Average Heart Rate Power (Watts) Average Heart Rate
100 90bpm 100 84bpm
150 106bpm 150 96bpm
200 123bpm 200 109bpm
250 138bpm 250 123bpm
300 151bpm 300 138bpm
Recovery to 120bpm 61 Seconds Recovery to 120bpm 30 Seconds