You have your home, you have your work and then you have your place to get your sweat on: yoga, boxing, jogging, rowing, cycling, swimming etc.
That could be your 3rd, or maybe 4th if you are a FIT Athlete, place which seems like a really healthy approach. And most of the time, it is!
But there is a term in sports known as load management, that needs to be applied here.
And since we consider our clients FIT Athletes, it’s important that you are educated on the importance of load management for an adult training like an athlete.
Here’s the challenge for you: often times the supplementary training is fun and the objective is set by the instructor or the program to GO HARD! We love things that are fun, but they don’t always need to be HARD…
Because going hard 4, 5, 6 + times a week, which I know is common, results in overuse of the sympathetic nervous system and effort that isn’t challenging enough to create a training effect.
More importantly, without recovery, the body is always overstressed and the likely result is a reduction in training effect: loss of muscle mass, gain in weight, feelings of exhaustion or lack of energy or injury. And injury, with all the other side effects, can cause a loss of confidence and motivation, which is a downward spiral we don’t want ANYONE to experience.
So how do we undo all this stress: BREATHE!
But we have to be intentional about it to get the sympathetic nervous system (SMS) shut down and get a response from the parasympathetic nervous system (PMS).
Recovery is the key to getting training results and a parasympathetic response is the best way to get that process started.
So, with these breathing exercises designed to do just that, there is one critical point:
4 breaths in THROUGH THE NOSE, 8 breaths out through the nose or mouth (nose ideal).
Remember, I’m a concepts guys that likes to give a solid framework and have you fill in the details so here is the concept: 1 count in THROUGH THE NOSE, 2 counts out. Some people will find it almost impossible to breath in 4 counts or out 8 (there are various reasons for this which I won’t go into detail about here but am happy to discuss), so doing 2 in 4 out works, moving towards 3 in 6 out etc.
Others may find they like 5 in 10 out because that really gets them chilled out quickly. If you can accomplish that, go right ahead.
Here’s three basic breathing exercises:
- All fours position with your knees just slightly off the floor
- As you inhale THROUGH YOUR NOSE, you will feel your torso fill with air
- As you exhale, push the ground away, lengthening your arm as much as possible (may feel the shoulder “round” forward towards the floor, that is okay)
- Repeat for 3-10 breaths or 1-2 minutes
- Lie on your back with your feet up in the air and your knees bent
- Extend your arms perpendicular to the floor
- As you inhale THROUGH YOUR NOSE, you will feel your low back and possibly upper back connect with the floor
- Attempt to maintain that connection as you exhale and continue to get more of your torso connected with the floor as the breaths continue
- Repeat for 5-20 breaths or 2-5 minutes
**If you are someone who has always wanted to meditate but can’t get into it, put your feet against a wall and do this for 5 minutes. That is a basic version of meditation :)**
Half Plank Forearm Breathing
- Lay on your stomach with your forearms in a plank-like position
- Push off the ground so your knees and forearms remain connected to the floor but the body in between is elevated
- Breathe in THROUGH YOUR NOSE and feel the torso fill with air
- As you exhale, you will feel your abs working to push the air out and hold the position you have created.
- Maintain position throughout the breathing reps of the exercise
- Repeat for 3-10 breaths or 1-2 minutes
** This is a GREAT pre-workout reset to get the nervous system in check and activate the trunk stabilizing muscles**
I want you to enjoy training, that is ultimately the point. Being miserable after every workout is not an existence I wish upon you or anyone.
Feeling beat down, worn out and generally exhausted due to your training means you need some more recovery. So start working on these breathing exercises and get the most out of the work you are putting in!