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It May Look Scary and Creepy - But Are There Benefits To This New Gym Trend?

December 09, 2015 2 min read

The first time you see it, it is nothing short of terrifying. You are deep in your workout zone, taking a moment of rest between exercises when you notice it. The dude across the room is wearing a face-covering that can only be described as resembling some sort of hazmat mask. What the heck is going on? Are you in danger? Is there something wrong with him or the air in the gym? It's simply just a new trend hitting gyms everywhere. These scary looking masks are elevation training masks. They are designed to simulate exercising at a high altitude and claim to improve lung capacity and strengthen your diaphragm to improve performance. screen_shot_2015-12-07_at_4.38.55_pm This raises a few questions, though: is it better for you to workout at high altitudes and do the masks really work? [bctt tweet="It May Look Scary and Creepy - But Are There Benefits To This New Gym Trend?"] “When you’re at high altitude, the air is less dense, so there’s less oxygen compared to sea level," says Benjamin Levine, M.D.,  of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. Our brains and bodies are very sensitive to the amount of oxygen in our blood. The brain gets a signal to send more oxygen to the blood and that causes you to breathe heavier. These masks cannot alter the amount of oxygen in the air at the gym, but they do create resistance. It is like breathing through a straw. Therefore, the only real similarity to working out at a high altitude is that you will feel like it is hard to breathe. mask It sounds promising, however Levine says there is no correlation between working out at a high altitude and increased fitness levels. “We studied training at altitude and found that it didn’t improve respiratory muscle strength or endurance more than training at sea level," he says. Levine believes that it is possible, under careful and controlled conditions, to train the respiratory muscles to fatigue and improve oxygen circulation, but these masks are not the way. The masks' only benefit seems to be a placebo effect. You'll have to work hard to suck air while wearing it, so when you take it off, breathing will feel like a piece of cake! If your goal is to look scary and intimidating at the gym, this mask is an essential piece of gear. Although, when it comes to improving performance and fitness levels, it won't do much. Have you noticed this trend in your gym? Have you tried it yourself? Source: Women's Health [caption id="attachment_122573" align="alignnone" width="100"]Instagram logo @BodyRockOfficial[/caption] [caption id="attachment_122574" align="alignnone" width="100"]snapchat logo @BodyRockTV[/caption]

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