How athletes will train in the future

  • Upgrade Labs in Santa Monica has workout equipment that gives you an effective workout in less time.
  • It focuses on three areas: physical fitness, brain training, and recovery.
  • INSIDER’s Caroline Aghajanian visited the facility to try out the machines for herself and see if it’s really making a difference in her workout.

Following is a transcript of the video.Caroline: This might not look like a workout, but it is. I’m Caroline, and I visited Upgrade Labs in Santa Monica to try out its futuristic fitness machines. The technology here is meant to decrease my workout time and give me better results. Amanda: So at Upgrade Labs, there’s three areas that we like to focus on with our clients. One is brain performance, two is recovery, and three is physical fitness. So in total, we’ve got about 15 different technologies that help our clients in each of these three areas. Caroline: I tried the cold HIIT, the oxygen trainer, the virtual float tank, and the lymphatic massage. For physical fitness, I first tried the oxygen training machine. Amanda: How it works is we put an oxygen mask on you while you’re peddling on a stationary bike. While you’re going through your workout, the biohacker tech is actually gonna be flipping you back and forth between densely oxygenated air and then hypoxia, or where we take the oxygen away. We’re making your body really efficient at finding oxygen so that it can use it for fuel and, really, for energy. But also, putting oxygen through your cells, it’s almost like it wakes your body up. It makes your brain really sharp and alive and clear. But it’s also a really good workout, so it gives you that nice cardiovascular pump, makes your body feel really strong and athletic. Caroline: I take cycling every now and then. I feel like seven, eight minutes of this cycling is about me sweating, like, 20 minutes into my regular cycling class. The mask, you kind of forget that it’s there. Once you learn and adjust to the breathing, it’s kind of just like you don’t even feel it. I also tried the cold HIIT. You sit on a recumbent elliptical with a cooling pad on it and wear compression cuffs on your arms and thighs. During this 21-minute workout, 47 degree Fahrenheit water runs through the cooling pads. The cold water helps bring oxygen to your muscles and helps with recovery, while the compression cuffs trick your brain into thinking that you’ve had an intense workout. The team claims that a 21-minute session of this high-intensity workout is equivalent to over 90 minutes of traditional exercise. Caroline: Is it too early to feel the burn? Chris: No, if you’re feeling it already. Caroline: I’m feeling it. Chris: That’s good. Caroline: OK. Chris: The more burn the better. That’s what you’re looking for. Caroline: It hasn’t even been a minute. For brain training, I tried the virtual float tank. You wear headphones that deliver binaural beats to your brain and LED glasses over closed eyes that blink patterns of white lights. Amanda: It combines light with sound to tell your brain to drop into deep meditation within a matter of minutes. And while you’re in that deep meditation, the pod actually rotates, and it’s rotating at a speed that your brain perceives as flotation. Caroline: This was pretty intimidating at first, only because the LEDS are like… You don’t really experience that around your eyes. But it almost feels like, it’s weird to say, but every time I rub my eyes, you know when you rub your eyes too much, and it really takes you to another universe? It makes you feel like that. Does anyone know what I’m saying? Chris: That’s probably the most accurate thing I’ve ever heard about this.

Caroline: Yeah! As part of the recovery stage, I tried the Big Squeeze, which is the lymphatic massage. You lay down, and you wear these sensored pants that go all the way up to your chest. Amanda: It almost feels like a 24-hand massage or almost like your body’s being wrung out like toothpaste in a tube, and that helps your body speed up the process of detoxification. It gets rid of all that excess water weight that you really don’t need, and it makes you feel really light, clear, and energised when you’re done. Caroline: It’s like wearing a very tight corset on your legs. These are the tightest pants I’ve ever worn. I came in aching today, but I feel a little loosey-goosey. It feels good. One hour at the lab with a personal trainer costs $US175, and memberships start at $US500 a month. That’s definitely a lot more than I can pay for the gym, but it’s roughly the price of the more elite gyms in the US. So is it worth it? I did feel my body get a great workout in less time, and, of course, I loved the meditation portion of the workout. However, I think this facility is best-suited for athletes or someone who consistently goes to the gym and is looking for new ways to work out their brain and body. But I wouldn’t be too surprised if I started seeing this kind of technology making its way to mainstream gyms in the near future.

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