Last month, I watched so much Olympics coverage that the two-week event seemed to totally fly by. I’m a sucker for competition, as you probably could have guessed, and seeing the world’s best athletes competing on such a huge stage is basically what I live for.
One of the things I like most about the Olympics coverage is how deep they dive into the lives of the Olympians themselves. They always start with how each athlete’s career began as a dream during childhood; survived early trials, tribulations and other tests; and ultimately resulted in the once-in-a-lifetime chance to represent their country in Sochi. During those segments, they show the athletes in their natural elements to help remind us that they’re just regular people, but then they also like to mix in footage of the athletes working out in state-of-the-art facilities.
Now as a former mixed martial arts fighter, I’ve been exposed to world-class workouts, trainers and nutritionists, but nothing seems to compare with some of the high-tech systems used by Olympic teams. At different points in time, I caught myself feeling a little envious of what the atmosphere must be like training in Colorado Springs, but then it was time for me to head to the gym for a workout of my own and I remembered something—I can hold cutting-edge training technology right in the palm of my hand.
Like most people, I’ve never set foot in a gym specially designed for Olympic athletes, but also like most people, I don’t have to in order to get a superior and efficient workout. I mean, once I kicked my workout into full gear with the O2 Trainer, I could pretty much imagine what it would feel like to workout in the rarefied air of the Rocky Mountains.
Before my fight against Kevin Randleman for the UFC heavyweight title I went to CO to train at high altitude. The first week was very hard for me to adjust, I simply couldn’t get enough air. I adjusted and around 2 weeks I was good to go, but it always stayed in my mind how hard it was.
When I made the O2 Trainer and started training with it I realized it was even better at training at high altitude, because at high altitude your respiratory system doesn’t have to work hard to get air in, it just needs to breathe more often and STILL there is not enough oxygen. So you don’t strengthen your core and respiratory system at high altitude but you do build up more red blood cells.
Still, now I would always chose a strong and powerful breathing system over more red blood cells. If I would still compete I would ONLY train at high altitude when the fight would be at high altitude, and my training would be with the O2 Trainer as well (after probably 5 days, haha).
Have to say that all the subjects in Doctor Wyatt’s test who trained with an O2 Trainer also had a slight increase in their red blood cell volume, not as much of course as training and LIVING at high altitude, but there was an increase.
In basically every sport, you hear about the difficulties of competing in high-altitude locations like Denver and Colorado Springs. The altitude definitely affects athletes in strange ways—they’ve trained their bodies to reach peak performance by increasing their lungs’ endurance, but when there’s less oxygen in the air, it takes them so much more effort to get the same output.
This is basically the genius in this tiny device I love to use for all sorts of aerobic workouts. It limits the amount of air you can take to make sure that you’re giving your body an extra level of difficulty, and it gives you the kind of edge that athletes training in Colorado enjoy after they acclimate themselves to their surroundings.
Now that the Olympics are over and we won’t get to see all that great coverage until the 2016 Summer Games, we’ll all go back to our normal routines and probably forget all about that awesome training facility up in Colorado Springs. But when you head to spin class, the treadmill or the weight room with your trusty O2 Trainer, you’ll be giving yourself the same sort of advantage that separates world-class athletes from the wannabes.