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Federica Ferretti has been training with us since April 2013, after winning a month’s unlimited membership in a raffle at work.

‘I knew about altitude training, and that it worked in terms of getting you fitter, but I thought it was the privilege of elite athletes. When I realised The Altitude Centre was so close to work, and very accessible for non-athletes, I was delighted I’d won the prize.

‘The first session was so hard. I had no idea it would be that difficult, and throughout the entire session, I was thinking to myself, why the heck am I doing this?!

‘I pride myself on being someone who doesn’t give up, so I got through the first session, and thought, OK, I’ll never come back! The burn was incredible. I box regularly and thought, if I can do that, I can do the altitude training.

‘When I came back for a second session, I really questioned my sanity. The first session was such a challenge I thought I had finally gone crazy going back for more.

‘But after four or five sessions at The Altitude Centre, I felt the difference in my fitness levels, so I stuck with it, despite the fact it never really gets any easier.’

Federica has genetic Patella Chondritis- chronic inflammation of the cartilage behind the kneecap. The condition of Federica’s knees has been compared to someone twice her age. Advised against running (she had her first operation on her knees at just 14 years old), even normal loading of the knees – like going downstairs – can really hurt.

‘One of the things I’m interested in is the research surrounding hypoxia and tissue repair. It would be interesting to know if my regular altitude sessions (on the bike) could be helping improve the condition of the connective tissue around my knees.’

Knee problems haven’t slowed Federica down. As well as twice-weekly altitude training and boxing, she is also one half of a national beach volleyball team competing in the Volleyball England Beach Tour (which she admits isn’t great for her knees).

‘Altitude training keeps me in shape in the off-season when I’m not competing and it gets dark so early.

‘Altitude training works for me, as I love a challenge. The sessions are tough, but after each class, I feel like I’ve achieved something, as I never give up!

‘Even when I feel like stopping and getting out of there, I don’t let myself quit, as I know at the end of the class, I’ll be happy I persevered. Altitude training has made a real difference to my fitness, and that’s why I stick with it.’