For the last eight months I’ve consistently been nasal breathing only during workouts, and I’m thrilled about the effect! I’m very excited to see how far I can stretch it. When doing my workouts these days I do it from a breathing perspective. I want to increase my co2-tolerance. I want to see if I can learn to thrive and perform on less adrenaline. My aim is to delay the point where I default into working anaerobically.
I have found that by controlling my breathing during workouts I can stay aerobic longer and longer, and with this I see huge potential. The longer I can stay aerobic, doing the same amount of work, the better. I also have a feeling that my body has adapted to using fat for fuel, which is a huge advantage.
At first I had to slow down the tempo and lower my expectations on performance, but gradually it’s getting easier and easier to breathe solely through my nose, even at higher intensities.
I feel huge improvements in efficiency, I sweat less, I feel no need to drink during workouts, I have higher levels of energy and very fast recovery. It simply feels like I’m wasting less energy, and it has had a positive effect on my movement pattern and core stability as well.
During the workout it’s more of an inner battle, getting used to handling higher levels of carbon dioxide, and much less of a physical struggle compared to before. I don’t experience soreness och lactic acid like before and I never feel drained after training. I leave the workouts feeling healthier, and I see working out as doing breath-training.
Training at elite level is many times a choice between fitness and health, but by changing the way I breathe I’m convinced I can continue to push hard, while at the same time staying healthy. By increasing my co2-tolerance during training I also benefit from it outside of training. I feel less stressed, and I have plenty of energy for life outside of training as well. I think the secret is patience, and I have a lot of patience for things that matter.
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With nasal breathing I get a carbon dioxide boost which delays the lactate explosion in my muscles. I was able to push really hard without feeling strained, and afterwards it was as if I had not done any real work, even though my exertion level was probably about 85% for 60 minutes.
I love the feeling of being completely recovered after a hard workout, as I do with nasal breathing. Not at all drained and exhausted.
Alexandra Kolam, 42, @alexandrakolam, Personal Trainer, Massage Therapist, Conscious Breathing Instructor and former elite Crossfit athlete.