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High Altitude Halo! Introducing the Altium i10

Posted May 11, 2016 by in Uncategorized

We’ve struck up a very interesting relationship, with Altium i10, makers of a “Personal Hypoxia Device”, after meeting them at The Cycle Show, at the NEC in Birmingham (UK), last September, where the device officially launched.

 AltiumpicWhat is it though? Here is the answer, in their own words:
The Altium i10 device measures and reduces the oxygen concentration that the athlete breathes in, during a session. Over an initial period of 28 days, with an athlete using the device for one hour a day, every other day, the body adapts to improve oxygen flow to the muscles.  Improving oxygen uptake is key to boosting cardiovascular fitness. 

Based in Glasgow and officially launched in September 2015, Altium i10 has been making waves across the endurance sport community in recent months. It is currently being used by keen amateur athletes competing at age-group level, along with elite cyclists, runners and triathletes aiming for the Olympic Games and the pinnacle of their chosen international sport. Brand ambassadors include: Rio qualifiers Callum Hawkins (marathon) and Hannah Miley (swimming); elite athletes Matty Hynes (running), Charline Joiner (cycling) & Grant Sheldon (triathlon); and amateur age group triathlon team the Hartree JETS.

Altium i10 offers a way of physically stressing the body to simulate altitude without overloading the body. It is a convenient and alternative method of training that simulates the benefits of being at altitude. 

We’ve gotten the chance to give a unit a go, and join the ranks of the fit-as-fiddle product ambassadors already on board.  Altium were very open, or dare I say quietly confident, we’d want to jump on board, after testing the product.  The deal is simple: we get to put the unit to the test, run the numbers, and take a view!  They have done so, in the development of the unit at the University of the West of Scotland Human Performance Lab, and make some pretty compelling performance improvement claims:

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 07.31.48

So we are going to do a few of our own tests!  Mike will be our pedalling guinea pig and using the unit on a 28 day cycle, during the month of May, to see how it helps him improve, and posting the results here on our blog.

The review will be both quantitative, looking at the product from a performance improvement point of view, and qualitative, about the experience of using it.  We will not be doing any social tests to see if the unit makes Mike a nicer guy, or less grumpy when it is bedtime, post-training.

The test protocol we plan to undertake is as follows:

  1. VO2 max, immediately before and after the 28 day cycle
  2. FTP (Functional Threshold Power), immediately before and after the 28 day cycle
  3. Race pace climb segment – Race pace ride up a specific climb, immediately before and after the 28 day cycle. This will be done with the same bike, at the point in the weekly training programme, on the same nutrition.
  4. Real Race comparison, using the Girona Gran Fondo Els Angels Hill Climb Time Trial as a test.  Mike was 2nd (age group) & 6th overall last year – let’s see if he can beat his time and/or his result.  He has been following by-and-large the same training programme as last year, including an identical supplement regime, and nutrition (inasmuch as moving to Spain has meant I eat a bit lot more rice).

Grains of Salt
There are a number of testing protocol caveats that as coaches and cyclists come to mind in devising this set of tests.  For example we can’t control for weather in the latter two tests, or any other “real world” occurrences.  Also, in the real race comparison, we may be looking at different bikes, as Mike may yet choose to ride the “Starship” (and it is F-A-S-T, see below), though this has yet to be confirmed.

Result! Halo training is working / my @louismeintjes #Qhubeka #Cervelo is uber fast / or it responded to road graf

A photo posted by Mike Duff (@haloveloproject) on

We will also be undertaking the VO2 max testing with the new Garmin 520, which has recently added this feature. So while it is safe to say this will not be as accurate as a lab-based test, it will nonetheless be consistent across the tests.

However, it is our feeling that the kind of academic rigour that might dispel the above caveats has been taken care of by the PhDs and their papers, which form the foundation upon which the Altium i10 was launched.  We are here to join the ranks of those performing “real world” testing.  You can read more about the Altium’s testing results on their website, here, as well as checking out their vid below.

VO2 max test Altium from Filament PD on Vimeo.

Any other ideas?
Have you got any other good ideas for tests you’d like to see?  Get in touch via the blog or any of our social media channels. At the risk of going the way of Boaty McBoatface, we’d be interested to hear what kinds of test protocols you’d find useful and compelling.  That said, the words of Meatloaf come to mind too, in that we’d do most anything for endurance sport performance, but we won’t do that.

You can visit the Altium i10 website here.

Follow us on social media to keep up with this story, as this month unfolds.