The Fit List -- cont.

Jun 1, 2001
Outside Magazine

   Photo: Girl Ray

4. Sleep High, Train Low (No Matter Where You Are): Hypoxic Bed-Tents
Remember a few years ago when all the experts were extolling the benefits of training at altitude? Let's amend that. Traditional altitude training has drawbacks, says Shaun Wallace, two-time British Olympic cyclist and vice-president of Hypoxico (877-258-8368;, a New York­based company that manufactures portable altitude tents. He cites studies of Finnish skiers, Texas-based middle-distance runners, and the overall plateauing of world records since runners began training at altitude. Hypoxic training remains useful for acclimatizing, he claims, but the real benefits come from sleeping at altitude, which increases your body's red-blood-cell production, and training at sea level. Hypoxico's $6,000 unit is expensive (and a wee bit claustrophobic), but may not be too frivolous for serious amateurs. Just ask Australian triathlete Michellie Jones, who took silver in the Sydney Olympics' inaugural triathlon after sleeping in a Hypoxico tent for three years. "I was feeling a lot better in my workouts," says Jones, "and could go a lot harder."

5. Summit Fever: Trekking Classes Workout classes are embarrassing enough, but being spotted lunging, leaping, and pole-striding your way through city parks—well, how do you explain that to your friends? Just tell them you've joined a Fittrek class, currently offered in such aromatherapied locales as Miami, Aspen, and Tucson (but likely coming soon to a workingman's gym near you). Fittrek (305-534-6016;, founded by adventure racer Dan Barrett, redeems its mall-walking-retiree chic by transplanting the cardio benefits of a good elliptical trainer outside; think of it as sport-specific training for next summer's trek to Aconcagua base camp. Classes take you through warm-up, then aerobically intense power trekking on flat terrain, speed drills, hill climbing, plyometrics, lunges, squats, and push-ups. You can also up the ante with a weighted pack and gloves. Too soft for serious athletes? Hardly. Even seasoned jocks get a whuppin'. "It basically spanks them," says Barrett. "Some of these Spinning instructors were huffing and puffing, saying, 'Wait up!'" That is, when they weren't hiding from their friends.
6. Hydration, Version 2.O: Fortified Water for Sports
Sports drinks follow a simple philosophy: Replace fluids your body loses through sweat, but also the electrolytes—primarily potassium and sodium—and energy-rich carbohydrates. Problem is, endurance athletes tend to gag on the traditional, overly sweet sports cocktails. "A lot of athletes cut sports drinks with water," says Brian Vaughn, president of Sports Street Marketing, the company that produces GU Energy Gel. "But they're shortchanging themselves of the calories they need by diluting the mix." Enter Vaughn's GU20 ($18 for 27 servings; 800-400-1995;, an ostensibly more potable on-the-go beverage that tastes much like water but is enhanced with maltodextrin (a complex carbohydrate) and electrolytes. The formula, claims Vaughn, hydrates and replaces energy better because it empties from the stomach faster than traditional beverages. See also: Gatorade's Propel ($1 per 700ml bottle;, introduced early last year.

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