If I told you, that you could improve your cardiovascular ability, your sleep, recovery and performance significantly without having to sweat or do an intense workout regmine, would you believe me?
This isn't some quick fix, it still takes consistency and diligence just like any program to create an adaptation.
With just a few simple habits and exercises you can drastically improve your athletic and training performance in a matter of weeks.
The program in this article will create the following adaptations:
- Improved sports performance
- Improved endurance
- Better and more restful sleep
- Stop snoring and waking up with a dry mouth
- Improved symmetry to your face
- Faster recovery
- Less prone to dehydration
And many more
Before I give you the program, lets get into how this actually works so you understand why you are doing what you are doing.
As you know, humans all animals breathe in O2 an breathe out CO2 to live, but also to perform. As we increase activity or arounsal levels our respiration rate increases, to bring more O2 to the tissues of the body.
Most of you probably understand this concept already, but learn the following 3 lesser known facts to understand why this program is so effective.
1) Your urge to Breathe does not come from a lack of Oxygen, but Instead from an Increase in CO2 levels.
Read that one again so it sticks.
This is why it is advantageous to hyperventilate before trying to hold ones breath for as long as possible, to push out all the CO2, suppressing the urge to breathe as long as possible.
The urge to breathe will not come, even as O2 levels plummet, which is why it is not advisable to do this in a pool. An individual might simply black out before feeling any urge to breathe while underwater.
Many of the modern day issues people have around breathing and health in general come from over breathing and a poor tolerance for CO2, causing the individual to quickly and easily experience breathlessness leading to mouth breathing to expell more CO2.
Increase your tolerance for CO2 and you will be able to reduce your feelings of breathlessness in sports and in life.
2) We are Designed to Breathe through our Noses
Breathing through the nose, warms, moisturises and filters the air we breathe. It also results in more Oxygen reaching the tissues of the body compared to mouth breathing which expells much more CO2.
For many reasons, CO2 tolerance is becoming worse in humans due to improper breathing habits. These habits lead to facial deformity, plugged airways and poor athletic ability.
Breathing through the mouth leads to proper development of the jaw, cheeks and eyes, but most importantly the airways, leading to greater ability to breathe in and out through the nose.
Many people suffer from fatigue or poor sleep, due to night time mouth breathing. The most effective practice in this case it to tape your mouth shut while sleeping. Ask your coach or myself for guidance on this before implementing.
3) We need CO2 to Exchange and Absorb Oxygen
Diffusion is the process of particles in a solution moving from an area of high concentration to a low concentration to establish equilibrium. Think about it like a tea bag getting put into a cup of hot water.
At first, the solution is 100% water outside of the teabag and 100% tea on the inside.
Over time, the particles of tea with diffuse across the membrane of the teabag to eventually create an equilibrium. This is why tea gets stronger, the longer you allow it to steep.
Now that you understand diffusion, you will understand why the body needs CO2 in order to absorb O2. When our muscles work, they produce more CO2 which allows for more O2 to enter the tissue from the bloodstream.
Oxygen rich blood passes by CO2 rich tissues and the gasses exchange to result in a (more) equal balance of O2 and CO2 in the blood and the tissues. Oxygen will generally move from the blood to the tissues and CO2 will move from the tissues to the blood.
If you breathe out all of your CO2, you wont be limited by how much oxygen you are able to pull into your lungs, but instead but how much O2 your body is actually able to absorb.
The best conditioned athletes, are able to tolerate a higher concentration of CO2 in their bloodstream, leading to more oxygenization and better performance.
Increase your CO2 tolerance, and you increase your potential uptake of oxygen.
BOLT Score Test
<10 - breathlessness during daily tasks
<20 - quick breathlessness during sports or training activities
20+ - room to grow but doesn't affect daily life
30+ - advanced cardiovascular capacity and endurance
40 - optimal
- The best part about this program is that one of the major drivers of the adaptation isn't even an exercise, but instead a habit to be mindful of throughout your day. Super easy to implement.
Nose Unblocking Drill
(To open airways that are plugged, or to open already opened airways more)
- Great for in the morning or as a warm up for activity
- 5-7 repetitions daily, or more if airways are plugged
- Great for during activity/workouts
- Begin with 10 breath holds on the minute while walking
- Progress to 20 breath holds and increasing intensity of activity (shooting, light jogging, crawling etc)
3-5 minutes daily. Great for after exercise.
These tips alone will lead to an increased BOLT Score up to around 25
To increase it further, increase the intensity and duration of activity while doing the breath holds, or reach out to me to get a full program for your specific needs.
*This article is not a substitute for medical advice. Do not implement any of the strategies before consulting your doctor. This information is for educational purposes only*
References: The Oxygen Advntage by Patrick McKeown