This month’s Client of the Month, Chipo Dhliwayo, has been training with The Altitude Centre since August.

Having completed triathlons and cycle races in the past year, Chipo was looking for a different challenge: ‘I woke up one Saturday morning about four months ago and had the bright idea to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children, a charity that focuses on educating less fortunate children in Zimbabwe.

‘After booking my trip, I researched training plans, advice and tips to help me complete Kilimanjaro. I found a number of articles explaining the benefits of altitude training and how exposure to high altitude would improve fitness.

‘The Altitude Centre was perfect for me as it’s just 15 minutes from work, and all the classes start at a convenient time.’

Chipo is been one of our most dedicated clients, attending run and row classes with Alex three evenings a week.

‘My main goal was to get fit for Kili in December and get my body acclimatised for altitude before my trip. Before altitude training, I was hardly doing anything except for some cycling or running on the odd occasion.

‘The first class was so hard! My recovery in between intervals was poor, I couldn’t maintain steady breath and keep up with the class. It was the hardest workout session I’d ever done, and it was ‘only’ half an hour!’

Since starting training with us, Chipo has seen a dramatic rise in her fitness levels: ‘I recover a lot quicker, and can maintain my breathing much more effectively throughout the class. In just three months, I’m the fittest I’ve ever been. My trip is just around the corner, so I am remaining focused on fitness and bettering my recovery.’

One of the main benefits of training at altitude is the short, intense design of the workouts, something that is perfect for Chipo who comes in after work three times a week.

‘It’s so much more effective than doing an hour-long class at a regular gym. Plus, from the real-time feedback from the monitors in the room, and from the report generated after class, you can assess improvement from previous training sessions.

Only the brave train with Alex: He’s not known for his easy-going training methods, and this tough-love approach is one that works well for Chipo and her goals:

‘Alex’s classes are never the same and he ensures we work hard. Alex is very patient, helpful and he always finds ways to make each class interesting, from setting a pace outside of your comfort zone, or he’ll run along with you. It does push me to my limit, but I always feel great after the session.’

Chipo departs for Tanzania early December, and is hoping to raise £2,000 for Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children. ‘I’m from Zimbabwe, and have seen first-hand the hardships Zimbabweans go through,’ she says. ‘I wanted to raise money for a charity that works in educating the next generation.’ You can sponsor Chipo here

Chipo Dhilwayo