It is fast becoming known within the exercise science community that there are real and tangible physiological benefits to using the Training Mask during your workouts. Most of the buzz stems from stronger breathing muscles improving performance at VT (Ventilatory Threshold) and RCT (Respiratory Compensation Threshold). In fact, the Mask outperformed the control group 31.0 to 15.0 with power output at VT, and Power output at RCT 39.9 to 10.4 (American Council of Exercise, 2016). What does this mean for those of us who are not interested in running a marathon but are interested in weight loss? A great deal when we combine that aspect of training with the mask plus the benefits of elevated growth hormone release from hypoxic training, and the extended calorie burning effects of an increased EPOC response post workout. These three factors will help you to unlock new levels of calorie and fat burning that you did not have access to before you used the mask in your workouts.
Now we are going to circle back to the findings on power output at VT and PCT published by ACE. Why are these values important to the person trying to lose a few extra pounds you might ask? Well because they are directly tied to how intensely you can work out. And the harder you can workout, the more calories you can burn. Look at it this way…It is unreasonable to think one can workout at 100% of their max intensity (RCT) during the entire workout. But having a higher 100% means that the 80-85% of max workload is higher. This same concept holds true in a bench press for example. If your max bench press is 300 pounds, 80% of that 300 pounds would be greater than if your max bench press were 250 pounds (240 pounds vs. 200 pounds). The net result in the bench press scenario is that you will get stronger at 80% of 300 pounds than you would at 80% of 250 pounds. This same concept applies to aerobic/anaroebic training as well. If your RCT is X which is higher than 8 weeks ago when your RCT was Y, an 80 percent effort now will yield higher calorie burn per workout than the same 80% effort 8 weeks ago.
VT Defined: The point at which respiration increases at a non-linear level representing a spike in breathing per unit of effort expended.
RCT Defined: This is the phase of an exertion in which lactic acid and hydrogen ions accumulate faster than the body can clear them. Otherwise known as the ‘wall’ during a sprint.
In addition to a higher calorie burn from being able to workout at a higher intensity, hypoxic training has also been shown to yield benefits in terms of stimulating the increase of endogenous growth hormone levels. Growth hormone has a number of positive properties within the body such as increasing bone density for example. Growth hormone is also one of the bodies strongest mechanisms for the mobilization of fatty acids. High intensity training with the Training Mask creates a hypoxic state within your body during exertion. It’s this hypoxic state that turns on your bodies growth hormone producing machinery.
There is yet another dimension the Training Mask brings to your fat burning efforts as well. Working out with the Training Mask can also improve your EPOC response post workout. What is EPOC? EPOC is the state of accumulated oxygen debt your body goes into after your workout. Elevated EPOC levels have been tied to increased calorie burn post workout, in some instances, well after your workout. EPOC has also been termed the ‘after burn’ effect of exercise because of this element. While you train your body goes into oxygen debt in order to allow you to continue to exercise at certain intensity. Oftentimes this is because we cannot breathe sufficiently to meet our energy demands. Your body naturally compensates for this during your work out at a cost, that cost is EPOC. This debt is paid off after your workout when your exertion levels reach normal levels. However, while this is occurring, your body is in a state of resynthesizing energy to replenish the energy lost during the workout. This process is ‘amped’ up because there is now more oxygen available to the body than there was during the workout. The good news is that the mask can augment this effect by limiting oxygen intake during your workout thereby increasing the EPOC response post exercise.
In closing we can all see that the Training Mask can not only increase our calorie burn during our workout by improving our power output at VT and RCT, but also turbocharge our fat burning after our workouts with increased GH levels, and an exaggerated EPOC response. So before we allow ourselves to think that the mask is only for athletes, and endurance enthusiasts, we should think again. The Training Mask can even help all of those weekend warriors and new Mom’s looking to shed a few pounds after they had their baby. And for all of you Mom’s out there, you can also put a very stylish pink sleeve on your mask while you wear it during your favorite fitness class.
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