Booost Canned Oxygen
Booost Canned Oxygen
Should we all have pure oxygen in our second bottle? We check out Booost canned oxygen.
Booost is basically a can, or aluminium cylinder to be more accurate, containing a surprising 10 litres of pure, 100% oxygen. Well actually its 99.5% pure oxygen with a 0.5% hint of peppermint for flavour.
We have to admit that when we were sent Booost canned oxygen to test we were a bit sceptical. There seemed to be too many other factors that would prevent the inhalation of this from having any effect.
Most of the serious studies, using double blind controls, showed no real effect from consuming oxygen before or whilst recovering from training or a race. This seems to fly in the face of the way many of the proponents of canned oxygen are using it.
The research suggests that if you use oxygen before an event it will have no effect on your performance at all, as the amount of canned oxygen you can consume in a few gulps pre-event is so insignificant when compared to how much oxygen you will consume during the actual ride itself. It seems that much of the benefit from inhaling pure oxygen before an event comes from the powerful placebo effect that, as we all know, is so effective into tricking our minds into thinking we have a performance benefit.
As for after you’ve finished the event or training, why would you use expensive oxygen to help you recover in a period when the body doesn’t need huge amounts of oxygen? Its obvious that the human body has evolved to recover from strenuous bouts of activity and whilst some might advocate a speeding up of the recovery process, we can’t find any study that actually proves this.
So we thought we’d best leave before and after training well alone until there’s more evidence and concentrate on the thing that really stands out in the research about training with pure or increased oxygen levels – using it during training is of benefit. The usual oxygen content of air is just 21%. If you live in a major city it could easily be less than half that. Inhaling extra oxygen would allow you to train harder and thereby increase any training effect.
The only issue is how do you use it during training on the bike? You could take the Booost can with you on a ride in your bottle cage – it fits perfectly – or more realistically, practically and usefully for performance and racing cyclists, you can use it whilst training on the turbo trainer where the bottle sized can format is very handy.
Having established that this was the place to use it, we tried Booost oxygen over an extended period of time and have to say, based on nothing more scientific than our perception, plus more reliable basic power output, speed and cadence data from our Bkool trainer, it does appear to help you with the hard efforts during your turbo training. We cannot say for definite that its not just the placebo effect as obviously we knew what we were taking and ‘wanted’ it to have an effect but either way does that matter? Anything which gets you training harder is of real worth and the studies we’ve read seem to support our assertions of improved performance as the theory makes a lot of sense.
So here’s that theory first of all. Despite some evidence that there may be a decrease in overall blood volume being supplied to the working muscles when they become much more oxygen rich, the research shows that overall athletic performance can improve after gulping down a few lung fulls of pure oxygen. It suggests that respiratory muscular effort is decreased and blood volume increases. Usually such things are the result of extensive endurance training over prolonged periods of time. If you can achieve this via a shortcut, using pure oxygen inhalation, then the quality of each training session will be vastly improved. Obviously if every time you train you can train harder, you will get fitter and achieve better results.
OK, so there’s the good news. Set-up your turbo and get some Booost canned oxygen; put on some music (again, providing its fast and upbeat, proven to make you train harder) and you will train more effectively.
Ideally if money were no object, you’d be in an oxygen chamber training in an oxygen rich environment or have a mask on over your nose and mouth to ensure continuous oxygen delivery. The Booost can is a compromise but it does have the major benefit of being an accessible compromise for the real world cyclist.
Whilst you can inhale it at anytime during turbo training, the best method that we came up with was to use it during interval training by taking a breath from the can whilst on the recovery section between intervals. It is hard to take a swig from the canned oxygen cylinder, not due to the cylinder itself particularly but due to your physical state. You try doing it in the 10 second recovery between Tabata intervals; its not going to happen. We found that the minimum time needed to use the Booost canned oxygen whilst recovering between intervals was at least a 30 second recovery period; hence the canned oxygen in the bottle cage shots – it has to be easy to reach.
The upshot of all this is that we believe you can get a training benefit and if you use the turbo trainer regularly, like we do, then it may be well worth investing in a can of Booost oxygen and seeing if you notice any benefit in your intervals sessions. However, use it wisely and reserve it for intervals. A single 10 litre Booost can retails for £10 or a three pack for £27.99. You can even order Booost in a 6 pack for £50 or 48 cans for £350. If this is too much for you you can also buy a smaller 1.5 litre can.