Are you up for the ultimate challenge? We chat to Bobby Rich, personal trainer and six-time British Judo champion, about Elevation: Third Space’s answer to high altitude training in the centre of London.
Q: World class endurance athletes like Mo Farah and Paula Radcliffe are well known for heading to the hills when training. Surely I need to splash out on a sojourn in the Alps if I’m serious about my next triathlon?
A: Not at all. You can have all the benefits of training at 3,000m without leaving W1. The newly renovated hypoxic chamber at Third Space Soho is one of very few in London, and is designed to simulate the altitude of Le Panoramic in Chamonix.
Q: Great, shall I order a Vin Chaud whilst I am there? Seriously though, how does being at altitude help improve fitness?
A: The reduced oxygen level forces your body to work harder in order to produce the required amount of energy. Essentially, your body generates more red blood cells – the carriers of oxygen from your lungs to your muscles – to make up for the shortage of oxygen in the air.
Q: What happens when I’m back at sea level – or back in the gym in this scenario?
A: The theory goes that the extra red blood cells supercharge your muscles with oxygen, giving your more power and endurance. You’ll also be able to clear lactic acid at a faster rate.
Q: So, essentially, working out in the hypoxic chamber is a much more efficient use of my time.
A: Absolutely. One 15 minute high-intensity hypoxic session is the equivalent to a one-hour workout at sea-level. But it’s not for the faint-hearted.
Q: Is this really the hardest workout in London?
A: You’ll find it a struggle to begin with, because your body is working so much harder. But stick to it and you’ll notice better breathing efficiency, increased metabolism and higher energy levels. It really is the complete full-body work-out.
Q: Who do you know who has benefited from this type of exercise?
A: David Haye, who I trained for his fight against Dereck Chisora in 2012, is a big fan of hypoxic workouts.
Q: Are there any other benefits to hypoxic training?
A: Oxygen is essential for daily life, so if we can increase the capacity and efficiency of oxygen in our body this will have a beneficial effect on almost every part of our general wellbeing. It can trigger weight loss, boost the immune system, improve blood circulation and is even thought to have an anti-ageing effect on your skin.
How to take part in Elevation: the hardest workout in London
Third Space is on the hunt for the fittest Londoner in town. Those up for the Elevation challenge will need to complete a 1km row, a 50cal assault bike session, a 1km run on a 3% incline and 10 burpees, all in the high-altitude hypoxic chamber. Once participants have completed their hypoxic session, they just need to record their Elevation times on the leader board in Third Space Soho and challenge a friend or colleague to go one better. There are a range of prizes available for the winners, from a donation to the charity of their choice to free Third Space membership.
About Bobby Rich
When he’s not training clients, Bobby can be found at Third Space Soho, working out in the hypoxic chamber or leading a spin class. Judo is his go-to sport: he was in the Team GB Judo squad from 1996 to his retirement in 2008. He was the British champion six times and was reserve for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Bobby also has a black belt in Jiu Jitsu.