In a recent interview, Craig Mac caught up with mechanical engineer and specialist Chris Chatto from Xtreme International (Altitude by Design), to discuss what’s involved in converting an existing and perhaps underutilised room in your gym or studio, into a fully functioning simulated altitude training (SAT) room.
CRAIG MAC: XTREME have been at the forefront of simulated altitude technology for over 10 years now. Why do you think altitude training has become a popular add-on or supplementary service offered by gyms and studios?
CHRIS CHATTO: The fitness and wellbeing marketplace has never been more competitive.
Businesses are looking for a point of differentiation to attract and retain valued clients.
Simulated altitude technology, with purposely designed training programs and education, offers a viable solution for time-poor clients (you burn approximately 25% more calories at altitude than at sea-level) and enables businesses to introduce another chargeable service to maximise the return on investment.
CM: Rather than an extension on the premises or building a completely new room, I now know that I have an option to convert an existing room into an altitude training facility. Are there some basic rules or guidelines for a gym owner to consider when selecting an area for a conversion to an altitude environment?
CC: Well, it’s easier than you think. Whatever space you have selected for the conversion, you need to get it ‘altitude ready’. Here are some basic tips:1.Door Entrance: The door needs to close flush to the frame with door seals added, to create a better contacting surface. The door gap to the floor should have a knife edge seal to prevent altitude air leakage. 2.Roof Type: Its preferable you have solid plasterboard to create the best seal. If tiled, we suggest a change to solid tiles which secure to the frame. 3.Air Conditioning: The AC system requires an independent air conditioner unit to the central system. 4.Lights: Ensure all your lights are properly sealed at the back in order to prevent altitude air leakage.
CM: A simulated altitude training room is powered and regulated by a compressor which pushes ‘altitude air’ into the room. Are there any guidelines for calculating what you require?
CC: A ‘flow rate’ is required for every person you have in your altitude room. The basic rule is to have 100lpm (lires per minute) of altitude air flow per person.
Let’s say that amongst other types of training you intend to run group fitness sessions and want a maximum of 15 people training in the room, then your room would require 1500lpm of altitude air form the altitude system.
CM: Okay, with the altitude flow rate selected what is the room volume or size I can convert?
CC: For cost effective operation the basic rule between flow rate and volume is to achieve an altitude of around 2880m (metres) in 60, 90 or 120 minutes. This is achieved by:
Volume(60) = Flow Rate (lpm) @11% O2 (oxygen) x 0.08m³/lpm
Volume(90) = Flow Rate (lpm) @11% O2 (oxygen) x 0.095m³/lpm
Volume(120) = Flow Rate (lpm) @11% O2 (oxygen) x 0.11m³/lpm
If I want the time to altitude for my 15 person system to reach 2880m in 90 minutes then 1500 x 0.095m³/lpm = 142.5mÑ.
This basic rule can help you select a room or decide on the construction dimensions of the new room if that is also an option.
CM: Is there a minimum room size requirement for an altitude training room?
CC: Not really, it very much depends on your business direction and target market – fitness, sports, rehab, weight loss, etc. Based on XTREME’s experience, to successfully adopt simulated altitude technology, businesses should view implementation holistically.
In addition to implementing the room, you should ensure you invest in ongoing training, education and programs to maximise personal benefits for clients, and for your business model for effectively monetising your investment.
CM: When selecting a supplier for my altitude room conversion or installation, are there key commercial features I need to consider?
CC: It is the compressor package. The system should be driven by 3 Phase industrial compressor package. You also need the lowest power rating compressor that will achieve your target altitude air flow rating.
Industrial compressors are deigned to operate 24/7, 365 days a year and in all conditions.
The compressor supplier should have a detailed maintenance strategy, which should be initiated on completion of the projects installation.
If you have considered adding a simulated altitude training room in your facility or converting an unused room, start a conversation with Chris at Xtreme International. You may be surprised how easy it is to upgrade your facility and introduce a new training solution to your members. To contact Chris, call 07 3102 3478, email email@example.com or visit www.xit-sys.com.
Chris Chatto is a mechanical engineer and technical specialist from Xtreme International (Altitude by Design). This interview was conducted in November 2018 and complied by Craig Mac for the What’s New in Fitness Magazine – Summer 2018 Edition.