Founder and CEO of Air Locker Training, Roman Brady believes that anything is possible if you have a strong belief in yourself and consistently work towards achieving your goals.
An MBA student at Newcastle University, a background in mining and mechanical engineering, and no stranger to training as an ex-footy player, Roman has created a concept that he feels is the perfect training environment to achieve real results and is a potential industry game-changer.
Craig Mac drops by the brand new Air Locker Training studio in Newcastle, NSW for a catch up with Roman.
Craig Mac: How would you best describe Air Locker Training?
Roman Brady: Air Locker Training is a health and wellness franchise focusing on group training and health and wellness services inside a simulated altitude environment.
This means the oxygen available inside the studio is reduced from 21% to 14.5%, forcing the body’s cells to become more efficient at using oxygen to fuel the body during exercise.
The franchise model includes group training classes in the mornings and afternoon for all ages ranging from primary school kids to mature adults aged over 55 years old; and during the day the studio is used for professional health and wellness services including rehab, prehab, return to work programs and corporate wellness etc, delivered by health and allied professionals.
CM: Where did the idea for Air Locker Training come from, and has the end result changed from the original concept.
RB: The idea of training in a simulated altitude environment has been around for years. Previous simulated altitude training providers have been unable to penetrate the fitness market mainly due to focusing the product on trekking; endurance training and a large focus on science.
Trekkers and endurance athletes are an exclusive club and “science” is not an inclusive language, which in return, this has made it hard for the general population to connect to.
Air Locker Training consciously broke away from the science, trekking and endurance themes to allow the general population to connect with the product.
Through some engineering nuance and many hours in R&D, we made the hypoxia system more commercial, meaning we could make the business accessible and attractive to everyone.
CM: Explain “FTF” – Focus Through Fatigue method and what was the thought process behind it?
RB: “Focus through Fatigue” is a new training method we created which was a blend of many loved and trusted methods of we introduced to our business model. In turn, that pushed us away from being identified as a fitness product, and more toward a health and wellness product.
This style of training combines hypertrophy and strength training with functional movements, boxing and cardio to produce muscle gain whilst burning unwanted fat in a low impact, low wear and tear environment. The concept is very simple.
Boost your heart rate and drop the oxygen levels inside your blood (desaturation) down to 85%
Perform a quality compound movement for strict form Tempo -> 3-1-1
The challenge is to perform a quality lift after you’ve jacked your heart rate….. aka “Focus through Fatigue”
CM: With a background in mining and engineering, what was your attraction to the fitness industry?
RB: From a young age my dream was to play professional rugby union. Injury took that away from me at age 19. Over the pursuing period of 4 years after my career ending injury I was very depressed and had no direction.
Getting back into training helped me get back on track and since then I have always stayed fit and healthy.
The industry – “Health, Fitness and Wellness” holds a very special place in my heart, so as soon as I had the chance to get involved, I took it with both hands and haven’t been happier.
CM: Apart from training at ‘altitude’ what differentiating factors are placed around the member experience at Air Locker Training?
RB: The environment is critical as it gives the studio so much variety and options around services, programs and target markets including age, level of fitness and personal health, wellness and fitness goals.
We have a mindset block at the end of each session which encourages our members to bring gratitude, compassion, love and positive vibes into their bodies. We also introduced reaction and concentration drills to encourage brain function during exercise. These elements are very powerful in many ways and have been incredibly well received.
CM: What would you put forward as the standout benefits from training at altitude?
RB: This is actually not a straight forward question to answer because there are so many benefits. I’ll suggest the following as my top 3: –
- The health benefits relating to cancer, anemia, crohns, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), diabetes and many more.
- The wellness benefits relating to the body becoming more efficient at using oxygen for fuel, making daily tasks easier, hence making people happier.
- The ability to burn up to 30% more calories during a session compared to training at sea-level.
CM: Group fitness is at the heart of Air Locker Training. How was the content for the different workouts developed?
RB: Group “Training” lol. We pulled together some basic flows to organise a big group and used the FTF method to give each session a particular focus on a body part/s or energy system/s. In total, 33 ‘themed’ workouts have been created and scheduled into 4 week blocks.
CM: So is altitude training suitable for everyone?
RB: I am of course going to say yes to that question, but with good reason. Amongst our themed workouts, we cater for both ends of the spectrum through our kids (Rising Stars program) and seniors (Silver Sneakers program), with everything in between for gen pop. The response has been overwhelming.
CM: Are results felt quicker or last longer training at altitude?
RB: I would say that results are superior when training at altitude. Especially when its performed in the right way. I want to note though, its not all about results. A lot of what we do is aimed at building confidence in people and creating an inclusive community. It may sound cliche, but Air Locker Training offers more than just results.
CM: Do you believe there is still a misconception behind ‘altitude training’, perhaps it’s seen as only for elite or well conditioned athletes or is it just misunderstood as a training method/experience?
RB: Yes I do. Air Locker Training is on a journey to break that view. Our mantra is “altitude is for everyone”.
CM: Do you have a system for measuring feedback to training?
RB: Yes, we use pulse oxymeters to provide immediate feedback and gauge effort levels. Everyone is different so it’s a great guide and an essential tool for progression.
CM: What has been the member feedback thus far?
RB: People love the motivational style of the altitude workouts and the program variety has keep them walking back through that door again and again. I have to say though, the trainers are at the heart of the positive feedback. The members are really loving the community element of the studio, there is such a buzz during (and after) our sessions; it’s addictive.
CM: What does the future hold for Air Locker Training?
RB: We are very excited about the future. Franchise enquiries have been strong, with searches currently under way for 6 locations.
The business is evolving every day and our focus remains on building a successful brand that offers unbelievable health benefits to the community in a fun, safe and enjoyable exercise environment.
All the team behind Air Locker Training believe that this business will create a happier and healthier world one franchise and one member at a time.
Air Locker Training is located at 924 Hunter Street, Newcastle NSW 2300.
The Air Locker Training AirPac! is the “all-you-need-to-know” guide to successfully establishing and growing your own studio. The AirPac! includes resources and collateral across:
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Article written by Craig Mac for the What’s New in Fitness Magazine – Summer 2019 Edition.