I’ve had an Altitude mask for over a year now and as soon as people see it they’re either curious to what it is or quick to jump on the band wagon of saying that they don’t work. Then you get their expert scientific opinion of how the lungs work at altitude and before you know it you’ve stopped working out to listen to some stranger’s pointless opinion of something that they know nothing about.
In this Blog I am going to try and break down why I use the Altitude mask and what benefits I get from it. I wont pretend to have scientific knowledge or pass ‘Expert comments’ I will simply explain what I personally get from using the mask.
Tips when using the Altitude mask for the first time
When I first bought the mask, I did the typical ‘Manly’ thing and set it to its highest setting and got on a treadmill. Big mistake! I had no experience training with it on, and I wasn’t used to how it would feel which ended up in my first masked session lasting no longer than 20 minutes.
As you can imagine after spending a fair bit of money on this equipment I was a little miffed to have such a short lived session with it. It was entirely my mistake and the factors below add to my dismal first session:
- I hate running anyway so I was never going to enjoy the session
- As said in the instructions, you should build yourself up using the mask starting on the lowest setting.
- Most importantly I had not given myself chance to settle into the workout
The negatives of an Altitude mask
Over the next few weeks and after dropping the setting slightly, I tried the mask in different sessions gradually getting more success in sessions. As I said I have now had the mask over a year and as such have found some flaws. I will list what I have found to be negatives then explain why I still use it often for ‘Fight training’:
- The mask is not natural and feels uncomfortable which at points during a hard session can get annoying until you get used to it.
- I sweat ALOT more whilst wearing the mask (Can also be considered as a positive).
- You can’t work out as hard or as long with the mask on which if you overuse the mask session after session, this could cause your muscles to get less strenuous activity and consequently weaken them. For example, the leg muscles may only get a 6 mile run with the mask on rather than a 12 mile run without it.
The Altitude mask benefits
As you can see the negatives are just common sense and you should be expecting the above when restricting your breathing anyway. I will now explain why I personally love this mask and what benefits I get from it every time I train with it:
- The mask restricts breathing and straight from the off puts you out of your comfort zone. Every fighter knows, that to be a good fighter you have to “be comfortable with being uncomfortable’. This puts you straight away under pressure and helps you strengthen your mind, determination and mentality in a whole. Yes, there is no proof these masks improve fitness but I can promise you they improve mindset. Its like being in the final round of a fight with nothing left to give throwing what you can where you can as fast and hard as you can. There’s not many other training aids that can give you that feeling straight away.
- As above (in the negatives) it makes me sweat like mad. This has to go down as positive and negative depending on the person. Me personally, I love to sweat more in a workout, this shows the body is working hard and needs to cool down rapidly.
- It adds variety to your workout routine. There is nothing worse than getting bored of routine and losing the will to get up at ridiculous o’clock in the morning to go and train. These masks give you another level and option in your training.
Final thoughts on the Altitude mask and are they worth buying?
My final thoughts on this short and sweet blog about Altitude masks is YES they’re not for everyone and YES there may be no proof that they improve fitness as such but if you’re a fitness fanatic that loves a challenge and thrives off of being on your ‘last legs’ then these masks are definitely worth parting with your hard earnt cash. It comes from the old saying ‘train hard, fight easy’. Going rounds with the mask on in training will push you to your limits and the second you take it off for a few rounds you will feel like your breathing all the oxygen you need to go forever.
Hope this helped you decide this common argument whether these masks are worth buying or not.
Don’t knock it until you try it!
MKM Head Instructor