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Health Club Management

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People profile: John Steele, Loughborough University

Executive Director OF sport, Loughborough University

Published in Health Club Management 2018 issue 5
John Steele
John Steele
Loughborough’s new hotel will have altitude bedrooms designed to improve performance by up to 5 per cent

Loughborough University has revealed plans to open an innovative new hotel, targeting a large number of elite athletes who visit and train at the university.

Designed by David Morley Architects, the Elite Athlete Centre and Hotel (EAC) will feature 44 bedrooms and will be located at the heart of the university’s extensive sports campus, next to the Paula Radcliffe Athletics Stadium.

Described as the first of its kind in Europe, the hotel will house 20 specially-designed altitude rooms, allowing athletes to “live high while training low”. The rooms will prepare guests for competition by improving their oxygen carrying ability, as well as maximum oxygen take-up.

Other athlete-centric facilities at the hotel include fully-accessible bedrooms – capable of accommodating para-athletes – a nutrition lounge, an athletes’ relaxation area and a seminar space for 30 people.

Where did the idea come from? At Loughborough, we’ve been building an ecosystem for elite sport for a while. We felt an important part of the set-up would be to offer specialist accommodation to Someelite athletes, so the EAC is the last piece of the jigsaw for us and we’re very excited about it.

Tell us about the altitude rooms
Going to altitude camps usually means travelling – we wanted to take this out of the equation and offer athletes high altitude training in the UK.

There are only a handful of facilities in the world which provide the kind of rooms we’ll have. They’ll be able to simulate climatic altitude up to 5,000m

The tech, provided by a company called Sporting Edge, will allow us to inject air into the rooms which is either 10 or 7 per cent oxygen, while at the same time increasing nitrogen levels in the room.

This increases red cell count to achieve a 3-5 per cent improvement in performance. Gains can be considerable over time.

Who will use the EAC?
We expect it to be of interest to individuals – serious athletes training for triathlons or endurance events.

National governing bodies can use the facility, rather than camps abroad, we’ll work to attract pro teams in non-Olympic and Paralympic sports and hope athletes from other countries will come and use the EAC before taking part in competitions – as well as training camps.

What’s the bigger picture?
At Loughborough, we’re proud to be recognised globally as having one of the most advanced ecosystems for elite sport.

We have everyone from students setting out on their journey in elite sport, to athletes like swimmer Adam Peaty – a multiple gold medalist in his prime.

We also have an incredible diversity of excellence in areas from nutrition and conditioning coaching to physiotherapy, research and education: something that’s difficult to find anywhere else in the world.

Hotel rooms will have oxygen airstream 
kit by tech company Sporting Edge
Hotel rooms will have oxygen airstream kit by tech company Sporting Edge
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/764251_630638.jpg
'Loughborough's new Elite Athlete Centre and Hotel will have altitude bedrooms designed to improve performance by up to 5 per cent' – John Steele, Loughborough University
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