My (Only Just Starting) Journey with Breathwork

From Florian M.
GHP Member – Amsterdam

I have been a regular follower of Shift for some years now and it has already helped me tackled a few endurance challenges thanks to the most efficient training system I have ever come across. But I must admit that when they started to talk about breathing practice and introduced it to the program, I was a bit skeptical and not willing to dedicate some precious training time to it. I mean between cranking a few more intervals on the bike and stopping to do some weird cadenced breathing, the choice seemed easy if I wanted to get the best training impact! Many of you probably still think the same.

Then, a few months ago, I was told by a running coach about the benefits of trying to do some runs with nasal breathing only and decided to give it a go. Let’s be honest, at first it sucks: you can’t go as fast as usual, it’s hard and you feel stupid. But very quickly I made progress and was able to run faster, and I realised that it allowed me to control my HR much better, to cool down quicker between intense running sets; it also just made more conscious of how I breathe when I train or race. I can now run at a strong pace for a while using only my nose and it has helped me become more efficient in general, meaning that I run faster with a lower HR than before. During races, I use nasal breathing as a way to stay in control and avoid burning out after a big push, like at the end of an uphill during a trail run.

Given the impressive results from this simple nasal breathing trick, I decided to look into more details at the other elements that the Shift team is now including into the training programs. I have started using some of the recovery protocols for a few months now and have been really impressed by the results: after a few rounds, I feel relaxed and my body seems ready to recover properly – it’s like hitting a reset button to stop the stress caused by an intense training session and switch to recovery mode immediately. As a result, I recover better and quicker, meaning that the next training session can be of good quality again.

Even more recently, I have experimented with some of the pre-training protocols and here I found that the results are even more impressive. I train first thing in the morning so sometimes it’s a bit hard to get into it, but the breathing protocols are now for me is like drinking 10 coffees without the jittering and other side effects: my body wakes up, my mind clears, I feel energized and my system is rapidly in sync and ready to push when I start my session a few minutes after. It’s quite mind blowing to be honest.

I am now playing around with all these different protocols and use them more often, when I feel stressed or struggle to fall asleep for instance. And I feel it is just the beginning because most of what I do is still unstructured and irregular. I will attend the upcoming AoB clinic in London to try to understand better what’s going on. But for most of you who are still new to breathwork and have been reluctant to try it until now, I can only encourage you to give a try! Start easy with some nasal breathing, play around and see for yourself.

GHP Member Florian

Jason Donaldson

Jason Donaldson is a Human Performance Coach who opened the first CrossFit™ affiliate in Western Australia in 2007. Jason has been a team member since 2011 and plays an integral role in SH//FT. As Director of //Performance, Jason oversees all coaching and training programs along with the subscription management. Jason is a lifetime athlete having played many sports, including two decades of Australian Rules Football. He has completed many endurance events such as trail runs, OCRs, cross-country mountain bike races and off-road duathlons.


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