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Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? WHAT HAPPENED.
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A friend lent me an altitude tent and mask setup. This is a machine generator and not a restriction mask. Lots of whooshing and pumping.:0)
I borrowed it to get acclimatized to high altitude for a trek I am contemplating in March.
And I was also curious about how well it works for endurance training, which I won't do until the summer.

Using only the mask (no tent) I spent 3 days (set at 8,000) gradually using it for longer periods. Thought I would start slow.

From a total of about half an hour (3-10 minute sessions) to a little over an hour (2 - 30+ min sessions) with some minor exercise (chair squats) and a little acoustic guitar playing for fun.

Although, during use, I experienced no problems or shortness of breath. A couple of things happened later.
On the third day, a nasty little headache developed later and my average resting heart rate over 24 hours went from low 50's to mid 60's.
(and it did nothing for my guitar playing, which is only at the 3 chord level in any case, imagine Darth Vader playing "I Saw Her Standing There").
The following day it remained higher (above mid 60's, asleep) than normal although I stopped using the system.
I have a Garmin and it monitors 24 hrs. Perfect for my level of OCD.

HR returned to more usual levels after another day and a bike session showed negative side effects.

In all seriousness, who has tried these machines and what side effects did you experience.
Last edited by: michael Hatch: Apr 17, 19 8:57
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [michael Hatch] [ In reply to ]
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SO you took your body to 8000ft, you got a headache, your workouts suffered, and your HR went up. Sounds about right, what did you expect to happen?
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [monty] [ In reply to ]
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What surprised me was it persisted and the periods I used were deliberately short. I read a fair number or articles in advance and that's a starting range for altitude and way below any conditioning time frames. Which is why I was curious about other peoples experiences, such as yours?
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [michael Hatch] [ In reply to ]
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Dont use tents, but real altitude. And if I go to 8000ft from sea level, it is drastic what happens immediately. 8K is very high to start at, so having side affects very quickly is not that uncommon(and I'm in the top 1/3 of easy adapters). And you could be in the 1/3 of folks that are not good at altitude and its acclimation to begin with, and that would exacerbate your conditions.

If you want to acclimate, you will either have to go through these problems, or start off slower and lower, and do it for longer..
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [monty] [ In reply to ]
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The slower and lower had occurred to me, also the possibility that persisting may have also resolved the issue. But being a wuss, I thought I would check with the experts before taking that route.

It's pretty flat here in the "center of the universe" and the tallest thing around here is the CN Tower at 553m (1800'), going to altitude to check it out is impractical.
However the possibility of being a slow adapter had also occurred to me, which is why I started the whole process. Finding out just after I land at Lukla aiport alt.2860m (9,400') with nowhere to go but up, made me nervous.
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [michael Hatch] [ In reply to ]
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Finding out just after I land at Lukla aiport alt.2860m (9,400') with nowhere to go but up, made me nervous. //

As you should be, those altitudes are no joke. I had to carry an old girlfriend down from 11k ft on a hike once, and it looked like she was going to die. Severe altitude sickness is no fun, I have flirted with it in the past, but like I said, I'm a born adapter to it, so it has to be really traumatic, or my body is just off for it to sideline me. But I also recall a Colorado trip dan and I took, in 8 days in was feeling like superman, he was hugging a toilet and vomiting everything he took in. A complete ruined week for him starting on day 2, one of the best I ever had, go figure...
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [monty] [ In reply to ]
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Good thing I haven't paid for the dam trip yet....
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [michael Hatch] [ In reply to ]
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Maybe you could get your doc to get you some EPO? And there are a couple other drugs that high climbers take to stave off the affects of really high altitudes. Just dont enter any races in the meantime!!!! (-;
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [monty] [ In reply to ]
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Trek's in March, my race is in October.

Plenty of time to bugger up both.

Have already got the drugs sussed.
BTW a little known drug for relief, while at altitude is Ibuprofen.
The other drugs are used before going up.

I'll be taking a pharmacy.
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [michael Hatch] [ In reply to ]
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My baseline and active hr definitely jump up even with lower levels of altitude along with compromising workouts fairly easily. Using these to acclimate is basically another stress that can be more or less depending on the person. It sounds like it was significant for you despite the brief exposures to start with so I’d say it’s smart to start farther out in advance like you are to be able to build into it.

Adam Feigh
Christian, Dad, Nurse, Professional Triathlete
Feighathlon.com
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [michael Hatch] [ In reply to ]
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Were you monitoring SpO2?

My experience agrees with Monty's in that the range of response to different altitudes is huge, i.e. one athlete can get their SpO2 to come down to 90 at 5500ft, while, for others, it might take 11,000 ft to get that low! Needless to say, if a 5500-footer cranks it up to 11,000, the effects aren't good Smile

It can change quite quickly over time too, i.e. after 3 or 4 of weeks adaptation, it may take an athlete another couple of thousand feet to get the same response.

Looking at desaturation (as opposed to altitude) as the primary metric helps to even the playing field so responses are similar among athletes (& continue over time).

Alan Couzens, M.Sc. (Sports Science)
Exercise Physiologist/Coach
https://alancouzens.com
Last edited by: Alan Couzens: Jan 27, 19 13:04
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [Alan Couzens] [ In reply to ]
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You lost me in there. sorry.
I looked up SpO2 and that's not something I was doing (yet) .
Just altitude and HR.

As a trial run I did short intervals, simply to gauge reaction, which I fancy, for me was a little over reaction.
Also, the friend didn't leave me the O2 monitor, if that is what you were thinking.

But I'm all ears for anything you got.

cheers
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [michael Hatch] [ In reply to ]
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Sorry, yeah, the pulse oximeter is what you want to ensure you're getting the right 'dose' for you as an individual.

They're pretty cheap -- $30 or so and well worth the investment if you're going to include altitude work in the mix e.g.

https://www.walmart.com/...sion-Index/165943306

Other thing that I would highly recommend is getting blood work prior. Sufficient iron/ferritin is essential to getting a good response to any altitude block. I found this out the hard way when my ferritin tanked to 17ng/ml when I first moved to Colorado! Smile

Alan Couzens, M.Sc. (Sports Science)
Exercise Physiologist/Coach
https://alancouzens.com
Last edited by: Alan Couzens: Jan 27, 19 13:26
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [Alan Couzens] [ In reply to ]
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Me and google will be busy with this...ta
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [michael Hatch] [ In reply to ]
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Hello michael Hatch and All,

This is so old it has whiskers but might be interesting .... 18 years ago or so .....

Some of the reference links have died of old age .... the email address for me no longer exists ....

https://runnersweb.com/...titude_training.html

Cheers, Neal

+1 mph Faster
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [Alan Couzens] [ In reply to ]
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Alan Couzens wrote:
Were you monitoring SpO2?

My experience agrees with Monty's in that the range of response to different altitudes is huge, i.e. one athlete can get their SpO2 to come down to 90 at 5500ft, while, for others, it might take 11,000 ft to get that low! Needless to say, if a 5500-footer cranks it up to 11,000, the effects aren't good Smile

It can change quite quickly over time too, i.e. after 3 or 4 of weeks adaptation, it may take an athlete another couple of thousand feet to get the same response.

Looking at desaturation (as opposed to altitude) as the primary metric helps to even the playing field so responses are similar among athletes (& continue over time).

Hi Alan,
Have you or any of your athletes tried sleeping in a altitude tent over night whilst living at sea level over a longer period of time?
I'm curious about the longer term benefits or drawbacks.

Assuming I can get my iron/ ferritin levels up beforehand, I'm tempted to invest in a tent.
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [Joshua_L] [ In reply to ]
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [monty] [ In reply to ]
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I was being a bit "thick" when I read over this the first time, I sort of thought to myself, there must be two kinds of EPO. But reality sunk in later.
Never thought I would have a situation where I would consider taking a PED. But then again, it ain't cheating if it saves your life, I guess.
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [nealhe] [ In reply to ]
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Interesting reading...thanks

I am trying to get smarter at this.
Pretty impressive HRs there.
If mine got that low I would think I was "mostly dead".
Last edited by: michael Hatch: Jan 28, 19 6:03
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [michael Hatch] [ In reply to ]
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I did the 3 pass trek a week after doing IMLOU a little over a year ago. I can't tell you about the tents as I am able to play in the mountains up to 11K' here without much issue. I think the most important thing going into your trek is overall fitness as opposed to trying to climitize in a high altitude tent. Work on being in the best shape possible and your body won't have to work as hard. We didn't take any rest days but a couple shorter days of just a few kilometers on our way up. The hardest part was from Lukla to Namche.
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [Snowvols] [ In reply to ]
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Doing much the same except it goes to Island Peak, where I'm going to watch a kid climb the last bit.
But the trek hits most of the same spots, I'll say hi to Namche for you, we hit that on the way up as well.

Most of the literature says it makes no particular difference with regards to acclimatization if you are an endurance athlete.
And one paper I read says that in fact it can cause more problems for them
https://minds.wisconsin.edu/...ssers.pdf?sequence=1
(page 8 of the paper) maybe, like Monty you are quick to acclimatize.


The problem with experts, is that you can find one for almost any opinion you want to hold.
Thank god I'm not asking an economics question. :0)
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [Joshua_L] [ In reply to ]
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Joshua_L wrote:
Alan Couzens wrote:
Were you monitoring SpO2?

My experience agrees with Monty's in that the range of response to different altitudes is huge, i.e. one athlete can get their SpO2 to come down to 90 at 5500ft, while, for others, it might take 11,000 ft to get that low! Needless to say, if a 5500-footer cranks it up to 11,000, the effects aren't good Smile

It can change quite quickly over time too, i.e. after 3 or 4 of weeks adaptation, it may take an athlete another couple of thousand feet to get the same response.

Looking at desaturation (as opposed to altitude) as the primary metric helps to even the playing field so responses are similar among athletes (& continue over time).


Hi Alan,
Have you or any of your athletes tried sleeping in a altitude tent over night whilst living at sea level over a longer period of time?
I'm curious about the longer term benefits or drawbacks.

Assuming I can get my iron/ ferritin levels up beforehand, I'm tempted to invest in a tent.

Hey Joshua,

Yes, most of the elites that I've worked with have included some extended altitude exposure (tents, 'real' or a combo of both) in their prep.

In my experience, if done right (individualization, supporting nutrition, hydration, blood work, recovery), the benefits, in terms of increases in Hb mass & subsequent VO2, are pretty significant (+0.5-1 g/100 mL) from a good altitude block. It definitely plateaus after a while, which is why it's good to alternate with higher intensity/higher recovery blocks.

As far as drawbacks, the main drawbacks fall on the practical side, i.e. depending on how much $ you want to spend, tents can be noisy, hot and generally irritating to anyone who you intend to share your sleeping space with Smile Of course, these factors can also affect sleep quality in some athletes as well, which can negate the benefits. This is improving over time as the costs come down and the tech improves and I expect we'll see more use of simulated altitude trickling down to the AG market.

Alan Couzens, M.Sc. (Sports Science)
Exercise Physiologist/Coach
https://alancouzens.com
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [Alan Couzens] [ In reply to ]
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Alan Couzens wrote:
Hey Joshua,

Yes, most of the elites that I've worked with have included some extended altitude exposure (tents, 'real' or a combo of both) in their prep.

In my experience, if done right (individualization, supporting nutrition, hydration, blood work, recovery), the benefits, in terms of increases in Hb mass & subsequent VO2, are pretty significant (+0.5-1 g/100 mL) from a good altitude block. It definitely plateaus after a while, which is why it's good to alternate with higher intensity/higher recovery blocks.

As far as drawbacks, the main drawbacks fall on the practical side, i.e. depending on how much $ you want to spend, tents can be noisy, hot and generally irritating to anyone who you intend to share your sleeping space with Smile Of course, these factors can also affect sleep quality in some athletes as well, which can negate the benefits. This is improving over time as the costs come down and the tech improves and I expect we'll see more use of simulated altitude trickling down to the AG market.

Thanks for the detailed reply Alan.
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [michael Hatch] [ In reply to ]
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well, the good news is, the machine is working as designed.
bad news, looks like you aren't good at altitude adaptations. Those aren't side effects, those are the effects of altitude adaptation.

My recommendation would be to use the tent consistently for the next month at least, and see if you can adapt.

Also read up on HAPE,
https://en.wikipedia.org/...tude_pulmonary_edema

The tents work,
"there have been several studies showing that the use of altitude tents for only nine to 10 hours a night at a simulated altitude of 8,200 to 9,842 feet (2,500 to 3,000 meters) for 21 days while living at 5,905 feet (1,800 meters) will create the hematological changes that occur during hypobaric hypoxia exposure (15,13). It’s important to note that these studies were conducted by the Australian Institute of Sport, the University of Tokyo, and the U.S. Army Research Institute for Environmental Medicine and do not have conflicts of interest with companies manufacturing normobaric hypoxia devices."

The shorter daily exposures, not so much,
"there has been a keen interest in the effects of short daily simulated hypoxia during exercise on either inducing altitude acclimation or helping maintain altitude acclimation once you return sea level, something like 10 minutes to three hours of day of normobaric hypoxia exposure during exercise. Unfortunately, what these studies show is no recorded change in red-blood cell mass despite increases in EPO levels after four weeks of use, although it does appear there is an effect on ventilatory conditioning to hypoxia (10, 14)."

I've lived at 6000ft most of my life, with regular mountain trips to 10-14000ft. As trip leader for mountain clubs, Sierra Club, Boy Scouts etc etc, spent some time reading up on altitude effects..
After living in Sacramento for a year, at 30ft, then going to the Golden Trout wilderness over a 14000ft pass and sleeping at 11-12000, it was very unpleasant, headaches, high HR, poor to no sleep, etc etc. It took about four days/nights to get comfortable. That's my only experience of altitude adaptation. Going from 6000 to 10000 doesn't seem to affect much.
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Re: Altitude tents and masks, my experience so far, what was yours? [michael Hatch] [ In reply to ]
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I live at 2,600 ft, and bought an attitude chamber several years back. Here's my "non-scientific" assessment.

I used it several times leading up to an event and developed a routine I would follow:
Week 1 - Minus 4.5 Hg, roughly sleeping at 7,500 ft
Weeks 2-3 - Minus 5.5 Hg, in the 9,500 ft range
Depending on the quality of sleep, sometimes I would go up from there, but I seldom went up beyond 11,000 ft. Mine is an older CAT (Colorado Attitude Training) fiberglass tube. Not for the claustrophobic.

I seemed to get the best recovery+sleep quality if I stayed below 11,000 ft. Above that, sleep was compromised beyond gains. Sometimes, at 9,000 ft sleep was compromised, which (again, unscientifically) seemed related to relative effort, body temperature and temperature in the tube.

If I missed more than 2 nights in a week, I always stepped back down for 2-3 nights before resuming the same elevation.

I used it primarily when I was divorced, and single. As someone above commented, it is loud, disruptive and certainly not made for 2.

But I found it very effective. My biggest gains were in recovery. Back to back hard days were much, much easier to hit. Breathing under duress seemed much better as well. I never had blood work done, so, purely anecdotal.

I enjoyed using it, but as mentioned, it's not made for 2. Mine is no longer in use, just sitting there.

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