There is a new way of training in Newcastle.
You might have heard of Olympians and professional athletes training at altitude to improve performance. Now, the general population can access it too, with Roman and Carmen Brady opening up Air Locker in Newcastle West.
I first came across Air Locker during the Variety Spin 4 Kids six-hour charity cycle race at The Forum in September. Air Locker had the bike next to my team and throughout the day we marvelled at how they were smashing their way through the kilometres.
Incidentally their team ended up clocking the most distance for the day to earn the prestigious Kings of Spin trophy.
Upon further investigation I found out the Bradys had set up what Roman says is "a world-first" commercialised altitude training environment for the general population on Hunter Street in Newcastle West.
Since opening five months ago, they have attracted around 300 members.
Former Newcastle Knights players, including Mark Hughes, Paul Harragon, Danny Buderus, Kurt Gidley, used the gym to prepare to climb, and conquer, Mount Kilimanjaro this year.
Roman describes Air Locker as a "health and wellness product", one he says is suitable for anyone.
He has developed a range of group training classes for the general population with a philosophy of "Focus Through Fatigue" training, as well as a Rising Stars program for kids and Silver Sneakers program for over 55s.
When asked exactly what defines the environment as altitude training, Roman explained how nitrogen is pumped into the work-out room to change the ratio of nitrogen and oxygen in the air and simulate being at 3200 metres.
He says it is perfectly safe and Air Locker training is for anyone who has medical clearance to train, just like any other gym.
At altitude, Roman explains, the body has to work harder and he says helps burn around 30 per cent more fat than "normal" training conditions. He says it has been found to be better for performance, recovery and makes the body more efficient.
But it is not just about results. Roman wants members to find "happiness through health".
Workouts are 36 minutes followed by a three-minute mindset block at the end "to clear the mind".
According to airlockertraining.com, some of the benefits of altitude training include:
- Accelerates fat loss and increase calories burned;
- Boosts your metabolism significantly post-workout;
- Helps reduce cholesterol;
- Assists in the management of high blood pressure;
- Improves skin elasticity, tone and appearance;
- Increases collagen production and skin microcirculation;
- Accelerates wound healing, muscle repair and injury recovery;
- Increases your muscle tone and preserves muscle mass;
- Increases production of endorphins and serotonin - your "happy hormones".
Upcoming Fitness Events
Variety Santa Fun Run, The Station, December 8: The event has 5km and 10km courses and is fully inclusive and family friendly. And what more incentive is there than that every participant gets a Santa suit included in their entry fee.
Across the Harbour Swim, Newcastle harbour, January 26: Choose between the 700-metre single crossing or 1.4km double crossing of the harbour.
Coastal Ascent, Dixon Park, February 16: With 11km and 25km options, this trail running event is through Glenrock State Conservation Area with the longer course going to Dudley. There is also a kids event.
Spring Sessions Week #13
It's the last week of spring, so make it a good one to hit summer flying.
This session is tough and combines strength with cardio. It can be modified by changing the running parts to walking or rests. Add a short warm-up and cool-down.
Pick five exercises (more depending on time). Starting with 10 repetitions of each, count down to one. Add a 30-metre hard run then easy run back between each. For example: 10 squats, run hard, easy run/walk back. Then 9 with run, 8 with run, down to 1 with run.
Do squats set, push-ups, lunges/dead lifts, rows then ab rotation.
Make it harder with bonus burpees, mountain climbers and jump squat sets.
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Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.