Breathing for Better, Safer Surfing Performance – contact me to register – email@example.com or 0425 739 918
Here are details of my upcoming breath coaching course at Stable Base Personal Training and Pilates.
Breathing Dynamics for Sporting Performance and Stress Management/Relaxation
www.takeabreath.com.au OR www.stablebase.com
Tuesday July 2nd, 6pm-9pm @ Stable Base Personal Training and Pilates – 1350B Toorak Rd Camberwell.
A 1/2 day (3 hour) Diaphragmatic breathing course
Led by respiratory therapist and Molokai surfski champion, Tim Altman that will lead you through breath-holds and diaphragmatic breathing techniques and rhythms, including the Wim Hof Method that will maximise your athletic performance and stress management skills by:
- Increasing breath hold time
- Developing advanced aerobic capacity
- Learning how to breathe at lower breathing rates and lower heart rates at high levels of exercise
- Delaying lactic acid onset
- Reducing recovery times between efforts
- Increasing relaxation during exercise
- Allowing greater access to ‘zone’ or ‘alpha’ states during exercise
- Improving relaxation and calmness within minutes
- Improving postural stability
These techniques are also fantastic for preventing and treatments ailments such as asthma and breathing difficulties; anxiety; snoring and sleep apnoea; IBS, reflux and other digestive complaints; fatigue; chronic pain; headaches and migraines.
They are simple to learn, and don’t take long before you will notice a difference.
The Mouth is For Eating, Drinking, Talking, Singing, Kissing, but Only For Breathing in Emergencies – Not All of the Time!!
Based on how the anatomy and physiology of our respiratory system is set up, and the biochemical principles that describe how oxygen in the air we inhale in our lungs, most efficiently arrives at the individual cells in our body (via the bloodstream) for energy production (described in intimate detail by ‘The Bohr Effect’, for which Danish biochemist Christian Bohr won a Nobel Prize in 1903), it is beyond question that the nose is specifically designed for breathing. Not the mouth.
Yet, most of us do not realise or understand how important this is. We take our breathing for granted thinking it is fine, yet the vast majority of us over-breathe using our mouth as well as our nose, breathing twice as often as we should (based on medical diagnostic norms) and with far too much volume.
The mouth is for eating, drinking, talking, drinking, kissing, but is only useful for breathing in emergencies. But not breathing.
Your breathing is as, or more important than nutrition for your health and performance, so there are consequences to mouth breathing:
- Too much volume of air leads to too little energy – mouth breathing allows up to six times the volume of air to enter our lungs and respiratory system, which seriously upsets the delicate biochemical balance that governs how efficiently we get oxygen to our cells for energy production (mentioned above). If you breathe with your mouth open or with parted lips, you will produce energy far less efficiently and therefore get tired more quickly.
- It kicks you into fight or flight mode – when you breathe with your mouth it puts you straight into emergency mode. For example, when someone gives you a fright, you take a big gasp which involves a big mouth breath using the chest and shoulders. This puts you straight into ‘fight or flight’ mode, but is only useful in short bursts. As such, mouth breathing a lot will wear you out. A lot.
- You by-pass an incredible air-conditioning process – for respiration to work efficiently, the air reaching the lungs needs to be filtered, disinfected, humidified and heated or cooled. Breathing through the nose does exactly this. The nasal hairs filter the air, the mucus in the nose and sinuses disinfect, humidify and heat or cool the inhaled air. If we by-pass this incredible air conditioning system by mouth breathing we make the lungs work harder, expose ourselves to higher risk of respiratory tract infection, minimise oxygen uptake in our lungs, and reduce energy production.
- Much less nitric oxide – nose breathing leads to 50% higher production of nitric oxide than mouth breathing. Nitric oxide acts as a neurotransmitter, immunoregulator and vasodilator, particularly in the gut and lungs. Some of its’ actions include: regulating blood pressure, boosting the immune system, fighting bacteria and viruses, fighting cancer, increasing blood flow to cells, in muscular control and balance, and protecting against cardiovascular disease, impotence, diabetic retinopathy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
- Over breathing – nose breathing contributes to over-breathing, or breathing too often as well as with too much volume. The body’s reaction to counter this is either apnoea episodes or constriction and spasm of the smooth muscle surrounding our breathing tubes (this reaction is typical of symptoms seen in asthma and breathing difficulties). Unfortunately this can create a flow on affect and affect other systems in our body serviced by tubes contributing directly to, or predisposing us to a number of ailments: fatigue, asthma and breathing difficulties, snoring and apnoea, headaches and migraines, anxiety, IBS, reflux and other digestive complaints, chronic pain and many more.
Put simply, mouth breathing is far less efficient, and it will make you more tired – and sick. Don’t do it unless it’s an emergency.
Contact me via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0425 739 918 to have your breathing efficiency assessed or to learn how to breath more efficiently to eliminate illness, enhance performance or increase relaxation and wellness.
ABC National Radio Interview on Breath Coaching with Joel Spry
A recent radio interview on ABC National radio with Joel Spry, a former client, now good friend of mine with whom, we used a combination of MIckel Therapy and Breath work to overcome IBS, anxiety and CFS. Interview linked at the bottom.
We discussed breath coaching and many things breathing related – that most of us don’t breathe correctly; we over-breathe. The consequences over over-breathing, including:
- Lack of energy
- Apnoea episodes
- Constriction of our breathing tubes as we see in asthma and breathing difficulties
- Constriction in other tubes in our body, as seen in IBS, reflux and constipation, which are so often worse when we’re stressed and we breathe more rapidly.
We also discussed the affect of slouching whilst we’re sitting on our breathing; why we over-breathe in the first place; and what we can do now to correct this.
Finally, we finished with a simple diaphragmatic, nose breathing exercise.
See www.takeabreath.com.au or www.timaltman.com.au for more details.
I’m excited to be offering a 6 week performance breathing course in October-November as a joint venture with One Lifestyle Fitness Centre, RACV, Torquay.
It is suitable beginners, or as ongoing training for those who’ve already done a breathing course with myself or anyone else before.
Ideal for surfers, water and land based athletes, asthma sufferers, or those wanting more energy and relaxatation, or to manage stress more effectively.
Breathing has been described by one of the World’s top sports doctors as the last unchartered frontier of exploration for sporting performance, and has certainly started to attract more attention of late, with increasing amounts of research stating to support the evidence for breath training. In fact, the Trek cycling team has just employed a breath coach to work with their professional cyclists.
One of the reasons we started to pay attention to breathing as a modality for improving performance was from the fact that we know that the average person breathes way below diagnostic norms for breathing – the average person breathes twice as often as we should; using the mouth instead of or in addition to only the nose; using chest and shoulders instead of the diaphragm; and we breathe fa too much volume of air. In other words, we over breathe.
By correcting this dysfunction in clinic and the lab has seen a consistent flow of research and clinical evidence as to the efficacy of breath work in treating ailments such as asthma and breathing difficulties, snoring and apnoea, anxiety and depression, fatigue, headaches and migraines, IBS, reflux and other digestive issues, chronic pain etc.
Similarly, correcting this dysfunction, and enhancing the function beyond norms can offer significant improvements in sporting performance for a number of reasons. By learning breathing in and out through the nose only, using the diaphragm to drive breathing you will slow down the rate and volume of breathing at any level of exercise, and will offer the following benefits or advantages:
1. Greater surface area of the lung used for gas exchange – therefore increase oxygen uptake.
2. Increased oxygen delivery to cells, and therefore, energy production – based on the principles of the Bohr effect (as reduced rate and volume of breathing increases blood CO2 and therefore delivery of O2 to cells – see previous videos of mine at my ‘Tim Altman’ Youtube channel or blogs on www.timaltman.com.au. Or my book, ‘Breathing Dynamics’). We have found that you can learn to breathe with nose only during exercise up to about anaerobic threshold (or roughly 90% of max heart rate). But it takes time for the brain to accept higher levels of CO2 – so be patient.
3. As a result of increased O2 delivery to cells, lactic acid onset is delayed.
4. Potential buffering of lactic acid by increased CO2 – as it can be converted to bicarbonate as well as carbonic acid.
5. Increased brain tolerance to CO2 allowing for longer breath holds (for surfers etc), reduced breathing rate & volume, leading to greater breathing efficiency.
6. Increased core stability via the role the diaphragm plays in core stability.
7. Reduced heart rate during exertion resulting in further efficiency benefits – because, of all of the automatic functions in our body (controlled by the autonomic nervous system – ANS), breathing via the diaphragm is the one function we can consciously control with ease. As such, diaphragm breathing at a reduced rate, will influence the ANS and lead to reduced heart rate (via increased parasympathetic enervation).
8. Quicker recovery between intervals – due to increased breathing efficiency, and increased parasympathetic enervation.
9. Greater access to zone states or alpha brain wave activity whilst exercising – because of increased parasympathetic activity.
I’ve used these methods when paddling and finished top 10 twice in the Molokai World Surfski Championships, despite being in my late 40’s. I nose and diaphragm breathed throughout and my experience was that, once I settled into a comfortable reduced breathing pattern, I felt fantastic, and relaxed, so was able to accelerate in the last half to two thirds of the race – something that was not typical for me previously.
If you would like to learn how to breathe more efficiently during exercise to hold your breath for longer, improve performance and recovery, increase relaxation and enjoyment of sport, and improve overall health and well-being, contact me at email@example.com or phone 0425 739 918 to discuss or make an appointment. I work one on one, with groups or online.
Video: Breathing Retraining Provides a Fantastic Natural Solution for Resolving Asthma and Breathing Difficulties
Tim Altman. breathing coach and naturopath (www.timaltman.com.au) discusses some fantastic and simple to learn, natural solutions to asthma, that more often than not, will help you wean off your asthma medication for good.
Most people accept that the medical treatment of asthma using pharmaceutical drugs, such as preventers, relievers and the modern combination medicines of these two, is the only effective way to manage asthma long term.
This is not true.
Research has started to suggest that what is often diagnosed by GP’s as asthma is more likely breathing difficulty (in about 80% of cases). As such, the main pathology in most asthma is to do with dysfunctional breathing.
This is not surprrising given the average person breathes nowhere near what is considered functional, according to medical diagnostic norms. We breathe twice as often as we should, and with far too much volume (meaning that we over breathe), using our mouth and chest/shoulders to breathe, rather than mostly our nose and diaphragm. In fact, when not exercising we should use our nose and diaphragm only.
This over breathing upsets the delicate biochemical balance in our respiratory system that dictates how much oxygen we get from the air we inhale into our lungs to the cells of our body for energy production (the mechanics of which are described by the ‘Bohr Effect’). If we breathe too much, we fail to produce energy efficiently, and the body perceives this as a threat to survival, so it creates constriction and spasm of the tubes that service our lungs and respiratory system to prevent the excessive loss of air; which are the symptoms we see as asthma and breathing difficulty.
As such, whilst we must also address immune hypersensitivity in some cases, the treatment priority needs to be correcting breathing function – eliminating over breathing by retraining the breathing to functional levels, breathing more slowly and with less volume. This will naturally dilate the whole respiratory system and prevent, or make it far less likely that asthma and breathing difficulties will occur at all.
We use biofeedback technology (Capnometry) to assess a person’s breathing, and retrain them using specifically created breathing rhythms that retrain your breathing from the level you are at.
There are other breathing techniques that we can also to facilitate or speed up this process also. For example, we know that a 45 second breath hold will produce roughly the equivalent vasodilation in your lungs as a puff of Ventolin.
I have found that using breathing retaining to treat and prevent asthma to be a simple and easy to learn solution that will give most clients a permanent solution to their asthma and breathing difficulties with a couple of months. It takes practice and some persistence, but it provides a long term solution, that avoids the expense and negative side effects of long term use of medications. The only side effect of breathing retraining, other than being free of symptoms of asthma and breathing difficulties, are that you will feel more relaxed, and have more energy!!
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0425 739 918 to make an appointment.
I offer clinical sessions online, or n person in Torquay, Barwon Heads at 13th Beach Health Services – www.13thbeachhealthservices.com.au) and Melbourne.
Free Talk on Men’s Health Issues @ Surfcoast Wholefoods, Torquay
“Men’s Health Issues”
Free Talk by Tim Altman www.timaltman.com.au
Surfcoast Wholefoods, Monday 9th of July @ 7.30pm – Bookings not necessary. email@example.com or call 0425 739 918.
Over 20 years of practice these are the main complaints I hear from men, but most suffer in silence.
Fatigue, Burn Out or Lack of Joy
Stress, Anxiety or are ‘in your head’ a lot
Impatience, Irritability or Chronic Pain
Difficulty Sleeping or Poor Sleep
Breathing and/or Digestive Issues
Using an evolutionary medicine approach based on genetic, anthropological and neuroscience research, I outline simple and easy to implement solutions to this chronic issue by addressing not only nutrition, breathing and exercise, but also how we rest and rejuvenate, process stress, communicate, and find work/life balance.
Testimonial: CFS Recovery using Breathing Dynamics and Mickel Therapy
Below is testimonial from a lovely client who recovered fully from CFS after 25 years of suffering from it. She was an online client and we used a combination of techniques including Breathing Dynamics, Mickel Therapy, Nutrition and Naturopathy.
“Earlier this year, I completed a course in Mickel Therapy with Tim Altman. I found this technique extremely helpful in my journey to wellness after 25 years with chronic fatigue. With Tim’s guidance, I found the programme easy to follow and was able to achieve improvement after just one session. This improvement has continued over time. I appreciate Tim for his depth of knowledge, empathy and honesty and would be happy to recommend him to others suffering chronic illness.” Andra Moores, Brisbane
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0425 739 918 if you would like help recovering from CFS, ME, adrenal fatigue, fibromyalgia, post viral fatigue, IBS, anxiety, depression or autoimmune ailments.
BREATHING DYNAMICS FOR OPTIMAL HEALTH AND PERFORMANCE
Do you want to know how you can influence your quality of life by understanding the role of breathing in rest, activity, attention and composure?
Breathing is central to all life.
It is the one thing that we have conscious control of that we do more than anything else – up to 30,000 times per day on average.
BUT, did you know that:
The quality of your breathing affects the quality of your life?
And that most of us OVER BREATHE – both in rate and depth.
Normal breathing is 4-5 litres of air per minute at 8-10 breaths per minute (as opposed to 14-20 breaths that most of us take!!).
And breathing should always happen through the nose driven by the diaphragm. Most of us alternate between mouth and nose breathing using predominantly the chest and shoulders, causing us to breathe too much volume of air, with poor postural strategy using far too much effort in breathing.
This over breathing, or dysfunctional breathing, when repeated up to 30,000 times per day can result in significant compromises in optimal functioning.
Do you know what it means to breathe optimally?
The limiting factor in OPTIMAL RESPIRATION, and therefore OPTIMAL ENERGY FOR OUR CELLS, is not a lack of oxygen that we inhale? We breathe in 21% oxygen and exhale 16%, so we only use less than one quarter of the oxygen that we breathe.
It is a lack of oxygen released into cells due to low levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) caused by OVER BREATHING OR DYSFUNCTIONAL BREATHING!!!!
Yet most of us OVER BREATHE or MOUTH BREATHE.
In 1903 Danish physiologist Christian Bohr won a Nobel Prize for his discovery that the lower the partial pressure (and therefore concentration) of CO2 in the arterial blood, the tighter the bond between circulating haemoglobin (Hb) and it’s bound oxygen (O2). The tighter the bond between Hb and O2, the less the amounts of oxygen released into tissues for energy production.
What causes low arterial concentration of CO2?
OVERBREATHING/DYSFUNCTIONAL BREATHING CAN RESULT IN:
Snoring, sleep apnoea, waking un-refreshed
Asthma, breathing difficulties
Anxiety, panic attacks
Hypertension, high blood pressure
Eczema, dry skin, skin irritations
Fatigue/lack of endurance or stamina
Allergies, sinusitis, excessive mucous production
When you reduce oxygen release to cells, those cells lose functionality or under perform.
OPTIMAL BREATHING CAN RESULT IN:
- A full night of quiet sleep. Waking refreshed.
- Controlled, easy breathing (even when exercising).
- Greater energy levels and vitality.
- Greater mental concentration and clarity.
- Significantly improved work, sporting and/or artistic performance.
- Clear skin.
- A well formed set of teeth.
When you optimize oxygen release, you optimize cellular performance. Cells flourish!!
THE IMPORTANCE OF MEASURING AND MAINTAINING OPTIMAL CO2 LEVELS.
Over breathing causes hypocapnia (low partial pressure of CO2 in arterial blood) which results in both vaso- and broncho- constriction. And if the required ‘reservoir level’ of CO2in the lungs after expiration (namely ETCO2) is too low there will be constant interference in smooth muscle tube function and fluctuations in oxygen concentration at cellular level – causing sub-optimal cell regeneration with the accompanying chronic tiredness, sleep disordered breathing, poor concentration and lack of energy and stamina.
This is a sophisticated bio-feedback monitoring instrument that optically analyses the exhaled breath, establishes the ETCO2 and displays it in various graphic formats along with measurements of breathing rate and heart rate variability. It connects via USB and works on most PCs and laptops.
ETCO2 consistently below the horizontal line which represents 35mm Hg pressure – minimum level for functional breathing.
ETCO2 above the horizontal line showing 40 – 45mm Hg pressure which is the correct level for optimal functioning.
We are the only clinic in Victoria to use this new CapnoTrainerTMbioefeedbacktechnology to assess your breathing levels and retrain you to breathe optimally.
For athletes and business people, the benefits of breathing retraining can be both surprising and life changing. Both performance and efficiency of movement will improve dramatically.
We focus on training you to:
- Nose breathe at all levels of exertion.
- Use your diaphragm (rather than the chest and clavicles) as the main driver of breathing.
- Reduce the rate and volume of your breath at all levels of exertion.
- Manage stress levels by regulating your autonomic nervous system – specifically by reducing sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) dominance and increasing parasympathetic (relaxation) function.
This will result in the following benefits:
- Use of a greater surface area of your lungs for gas exchange.
- Increase oxygen release to tissue and cells of your body.
- For athletes – delay onset of lactic acid.
- Reduced heart rates even under pressure or at higher levels of exertion.
- Greater relaxation at all levels of stress or exertion via increased parasympathetic nervous system activation.
- Greater access to ‘Zone’ or ‘alpha’ states during performance, exercise or racing.
- Increased deep system stabilization (postural) via diaphragmatic control.
- Relaxation of nerves prior to stressful events or races.
We teach Breathing Dynamics to the public both one on one in clinic or in courses for groups.
Tim Altman B.Sc.; B.H.Sc (Naturopathy) www.timaltman.com.au
Ph: 0425 739 918
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY OF MUSCLES INVOLVED IN BREATHING:
I ran a Breathing Dynamics course for Surfers and Sports people over the weekend, (details linked here https://www.facebook.com/events/2083394425213514/) and a question came up about the muscles involved in breathing, and their relationship to posture. One of the attendees, Torquay myotherapist, Gary Javoneva was able to contribute some fantastic information. He followed up with this fantastic article on the ‘Anatomy and physiology of muscles involved in breathing.’ I have included the full article, including Gary’s contact details here.
“I have prepared this article to explain you the principle and the relation between breathing and your muscles and on how can your posture mess up with your training. I tried to keep it simple and brief.
BREATHING PUMP MUSCLE:
The breathing pump muscle are a complex arrangement that form a semi-rigid bellows around your lungs.
Essentially, all the muscles that attach to the rib cage have the potential to generate breathing action. Here are the main muscles involve in breathing and that can be treated during a myotherapy session:
The principle muscle of inspiration is the diaphragm, it attaches to the lower ribs and the lumbar vertebrae.
Diaphragm contraction induces the lower ribs upward and forward, increasing the thoracic volume.
The muscles of the ribs: The Intercostal muscles located in the space between the ribs. Contraction of the intercostals cause the ribs to move upward and outward.
Intercostal muscle contractions also stiffen the rib cage during lifting, pushing, and pulling movement.
Some muscles in the neck region also have an inspiratory function, the Scalenes and Sternocleidomastoid muscles are attached to the top of the sternum, upper two ribs and clavicle (Collar bone). When these muscles contract they lift the top of the chest, but the scalene muscles are also involved in flexion of the neck.
The most well known and visible expiratory muscle is the rectus abdominis (6 pack), the other muscles less visible, but arguably more functionally important in any sports with their primary actions are the transversus abdominis and the internal and exterior oblique muscles.
The internal intercostal which slope backward, when they contract the ribs move downward and inward. Both internal and external intercostal muscles are also involved in flexing and twisting the trunk.
HOW POSTURE CAN MESS UP YOUR BREATHING:
If you sit down and lean over, stretching your hands toward the floor in front of your feet, your breathing is far more difficult, because your lungs cannot be filled as easily with air.
What does this extreme example tell us? Quite simply, the more restrictions you place on your breathing, the harder it becomes. Leaning over squeezes your lungs, making them smaller, and decreasing your breathing volume. Shallow breathing means less oxygen into your system. Less oxygen means less energy support.
Sitting or standing straight for a few minutes after slouching most of your life is not good enough. Your muscles, tendons and ligaments become trained by constant slouching. You need to train them with an entirely new habit. You need to create a new “upright” lifestyle.
If you would like to learn more about your posture or you breathing muscles, feel free to contact me 0456074732-
email@example.com, or come in a for a chat at the clinic which is located in the heart of Surf City in Torquay. Torquay Sports Medicine Centre.
Gary Javonena – Myotherapist”
Here’s the video from the fantastic article I linked in yesterday’s blog on the cyclists who attempted to an ‘Everesting’ at the foot of Everest itself. I was happy that the small role I played in training the cyclists to breathe more efficiently to aid in acclimatising to altitude, to recover from exertion and to relax, was of some help in their mission..
Worth taking the time to watch this video – not just for the adventure. The scenery is incredible.
Article: Roadtripping Everest – www.cyclingtips.com
Linked below is a fantastic article and video by Andy Van-Bergen from www.cyclingtips.com on a road trip he took to base camp at Mt Everest at an altitude of 5,000m to attempt what has now become known in the cycling world as ‘Everesting’ – to climb the equivalent of 8,848m — the height of sea level to the summit of Everest — in one ride.
Andy’s desciption of this task sums it up:
“Doing a regular Everesting is hard enough — 24 hours spent riding up and down the same road is beyond taxing, both physically and mentally — but doing it on the approach to Everest itself would take things to the next level.
The temperature would range between 8 degrees and minus 5, the cold air rolling down the North Face would all but ensure we faced a block headwind as we climbed, and the effect of high altitude would be an unknown factor we would struggle to simulate and prepare for. After all, there was no precedent for endurance cycling at high altitude that we could find.
In short, it was clear that we had found ourselves an adventure.”
As a part of their preparation they trained regularly at Melbourne Altitude Training using the Wattbike-equipped altitude chamber which replaced oxygen with nitrogen, as well as adjusting humidity to simulate a height of 5,000m (at 11.5% O2).
It was via Oz Begen of the Melbourne Altitude Training that I met Andy and Matilda (two of the three cyclists attempting this gruelling and pioneering task).
Training at altitude has benefits of helping the body acclimatise to low oxygen environments, making it more efficient at taking up oxygen into the bloodstream. At lower altitude the body then maintains this increase efficiency at up-taking oxygen into the bloodstream for a period of time. Athletes from many sports have found benefits using altitude training over the years, and many research studies have validated these benefits. In fact, many professional athletes and clubs have invested in altitude training facilities at their training venues.
However, whilst increasing blood saturation of oxygen certainly has benefits, being able to deliver the oxygen into the blood stream more efficiently will further increase these benefits – and this is where breathing retraining comes in.
I had only 2 weeks to train with Andy and Matilda, so I couldn’t teach them to effectively nose and diaphragm breathe whilst riding at higher levels of intensity, however I could teach them techniques that would facilitate their recovery and help them relax.
The diaphragmatic breathing rhythms using the nose help athletes to return to resting heart rate more quickly after exertion (so they can exert again sooner, and/or more efficiently when they do exert again). In addition they help to use more of the lung volume for gas exchange, deliver oxygen to the cells for energy production more efficiently (which also means they delay lactic acid production), and relax the nervous system, increasing parasympathetic nervous system enervation.
Whilst the mission they undertook proved too difficult, the techniques learned did help them out along the way. Here are a few excerpts from the article illustrating the training and benefits:
“We also used the sessions to work on our strength and recovery breathing techniques with our respiration coach Tim Altman. The recovery breathing felt like a structured version of meditation, with a simple 5 second inhale, 2 second hold, 10 second exhale. It took a few minutes to get on top of following an effort, but was calming and relaxing.
The strength training to build lung capacity was genuinely terrifying in whatever form it took, and there were many forms. While riding at altitude in the chamber we would perform 10 second maximum effort sprints while clamping our nose and mouth shut. We were given ten seconds recovery, followed by another 10 second sprint and so on for blocks of two minutes. Usually by the third or fourth rep things were far beyond uncomfortable. These blocks were then finished with a coached breath hold. At around the one-minute mark convulsions would start to set in, and all the while Tim was gently telling us to fight through it.”
“The training certainly seemed to help. A few weeks in and I was feeling stronger than I had in years. I was on every supplement known to man (well, the legal ones anyway), the respiration coaching we’d been doing with Tim Altman was finally starting to kick in, and I even scheduled in a Zwift ‘virtual Everesting’ before we were due to leave. I felt as prepared as I could, considering I had no idea what to expect.”
“Walking up the gangway while lugging 20kg of ‘carry on’ a strange sensation of dizziness and the sound of rushing blood in my ears combined with a noticeable breathlessness. We shot each other panicked looks. Gone was the banter, replaced by fear. As we stood waiting for our bags we reminded each other that a big part of this initial feeling could be attributed to anxiety, and we knew from our training that this could be controlled with our breathing. Sure enough, in the time it took to arrive at the hotel we were on top of things again, and had almost forgotten about the altitude. This was to be the pattern we’d follow for the next two weeks. A seed of a thought could easily grow into breathless anxiety, only to be controlled with breathing.”
“Tim Altman’s respiratory recovery came to mind. I flipped on some jazz, closed my eyes, and spent the next ten minutes performing breathing exercises. I wasn’t back above 80%, but I felt like a different person, and it only took one mention of the switchbacked descent to come to have me out on the bike again.”
It’s a enthralling read and a fantastic video, scenery is simply breathtaking. I highly recommend you both read and watch. And huge thumbs up to Andy, Matilda, Shannon and the team for attempting such a monumental, unchartered challenge. Super impressive. What an adventure.
If you would like to learn more about breathing for sporting performance, relaxation, health and well-being, or assisting in acclimatisation to altitude, then feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +61 425 739 918.