"If you're a competitive athlete, you're always looking for an edge," reads the promotional copy for a strange-looking device called Training Mask. This workout accessory claims to recreate the conditions of working out in an area with high elevation. In practical terms, the mask "creates pulmonary resistance" by reducing air flow. Why, you ask? The website claims that by decreasing the amount of air you get when you breathe, the mask makes your lungs work harder. In theory, the company claims that you'll be forced to take "fuller, deeper breaths," which will increase your lung capacity, endurance, and respiratory efficiency. As the website says, "Training Mask will make your workout so efficient, you can actually cut the amount of time spent in training by as much as two-thirds." Each Training Mask costs $79.99; festive sleeves and multi-colored resistance valves are also available for style-conscious customers.
Our thoughts? Even if the idea of depriving yourself of oxygen sounds like a fun thing to do, we'd be afraid of recommending this to anyone who isn't at the very top of their fitness game. Call us crazy, but abruptly putting your lungs through the ringer seems like something you should get a doctor's signature for. Safety concerns aside, though, the idea of someone going for a casual jog in something that looks like a cross between a gas mask and that thing that Bane wore on his face in The Dark Knight Rises is pretty darn funny (although it might make your neighbors mistakenly believe the apocalypse is nigh).