Wednesday, December 29, 2021

New Year, New You?

Coming to the end of the year we give ourselves time to reflect on the goals we wanted to achieve. Did we achieve what we set out to? Did we have obstacles to overcome? Were there any unforeseen circumstances or things out of our control?

Sometimes we set the same goals for ourselves at the beginning of every year to hold ourselves accountable for the consistency in our lives. Once you have done your end of the year reflection, it is time to set new goals for the new year and take what we have learned this past year with us to make sure the goals we set are attainable. Remember that your goals can be anything: fitness, nutrition, self, finance, relationship, emotion, etc.

Before you set your new goals, write down everything good that happened this past year on one sheet of paper and everything you want to let go of on another. Keep the good in a place you’ll remember for next year, burn/rip/destroy the paper you need to let go of. Now get a new sheet of paper and write down your goals for 2022.

Start off with five small goals (something you can achieve within a few weeks to months) and two big goals (something that may take the entire year). Remember your small goals could be stepping stones to achieving your big goals. Some of your goals can be the same as 2021 but try to add in a few new ones.

I know it can also be hard to set goals for fear of disappointing yourself or others but they are important even if they are small. As we reflect on this year, try not to be so hard on yourself. We are living through uncertain times and it is important to give yourself some grace and peace of mind knowing that you did the best you could with the situations you were given and the information you had at the time.

Happy New Year from Girl Fight :)

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Altitude/Elevation Training Using Masks

Altitude masks are a special type of mask that can help to increase your cardiovascular endurance. Many athletes and frequent gym folk turn to these types of masks to one up their competition.

Altitude masks work by providing the same conditions as a place that is high altitude on sea level. Altitude training and respiratory muscle training has been reported to improve performance in those that use them. Regardless of what type of workout you are doing wearing a mask or not you will see improvement in aerobic capacity (VO2max), endurance performance, and lung function. However, those who use an altitude mask have shown improvement in ventilatory threshold (the amount of work the muscles can maintain without fatigue), power output from ventilatory threshold, respiratory compensation threshold, and power output at respiratory compensation threshold.

When the ventilatory threshold is surpassed, the muscles don’t receive the necessary amount of oxygen and that is when we start to become fatigued. When the body is exposed to hypoxic conditions (lower oxygen) it stimulates the kidneys to create erythropoietin (EPO), which increases red blood cell production. In turn this gives your hard working muscles a better chance to receive the oxygen they need to reduce fatigue.

On top of the endurance metrics, altitude training has been shown to improve deep breathing and increase ventilatory efficiency throughout exercise when not wearing the mask. The mask works by covering your nose and mouth. You then adjust the valves to increase the resistance, making it more difficult to breathe.

A few side effects of altitude training include: lightheadedness, dizziness, fatigue, discomfort, anxiety, lower alertness and focus, hyperventilating, and fainting. REMEMBER that you are reducing the amount of oxygen you can breathe and these are normal side effects for a reduction in oxygen. Take it slow and listen to your body. If you have high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease it is NOT recommended that you use this type of mask.


Porcari JP, Probst L, Forrester K, et al. Effect of Wearing the Elevation Training Mask on Aerobic Capacity, Lung Function, and Hematological Variables. J Sports Sci Med. 2016;15(2):379-386. Published 2016 May 23.