Dec. 9, 2016

Reposted from November, 2015:Sounds like a pairing from Top Gun doesn't it? Well they might not fly F-16s, but these two (who have never met) are more similar in their quest than even they probably realize. It's funny sometimes how things cross your path in close succession and I happened to listen to the full video below the day before meeting James Lawrence at Podium Multisport  (The Iron Cowboy. I'll be reading, listening and sharing more from him as I get the chance to digest it all). 

Even though it is long, I urge you to find times here and there to listen to Wim Hof's story as it is simply remarkable and will definitely make you appreciate how nice and comfortable our swimming conditions are here in North Carolina. Without getting into the weeds, my biggest take-away from listening to these two men, was the crystal clear message of "Mind Over Matter." Not as platitudes, but as probably the two most profound epiphanies on the subject in our modern times. 

Whether swimming for 7 minutes in a frozen lake without taking a breath or completing 50 Iron distance races in 50 consecutive days, these two are sharing with us the insight that we can reach and surpass our goals if we let go of dogma and let our minds connect with our bodies. I was blown away, I hope that this share reaches you with similar inspiration. 

New Thoughts One Year LaterThis week was Self Defense week at WOW Taekwondo and we focused very heavily on breathing. Ok, I know what you are thinking, "that's just about as insightful and exciting as watching paint dry Laurent." Perhaps, but when you actually focus very very heavily on your breath, you gain the most important insight that you may ever achieve in your lifetime. 

This week's exercise was simple, but incredibly powerful. We jogged in cadence first with one inhalation and exhalation per step; then progressing to 2 steps per inhale/exhale, etc., until we reached up to 10 steps per sequence. As we were focusing on this exercise, our SaBeomNim, Master Fleming and his Black Belts ran directly at us and tried to break our concentration thereby interfering with our breath. It was incredible to become aware of how fear and distraction affects breathing. Furthermore, he challenged us to become aware of how often we hold our breath during the course of a day. Try it yourself, just even for the next hour as you listen to the video. You'll be freaked out by how often it happens. 

Bringing The Two Insights TogetherNow, if we consider how important focused breathing was for Wim Hof and James Lawrence to achieve their world records and we should now realize how often we impede our breathe throughout the course of our days; wouldn't it stand to reason that this become a subject on which we place a high priority? I've been experimenting myself while running and swimming (two activities that I'm learning to become competitive in) and the results are unimpeachable. This morning we swam the following sets which were a great test of breathing efficiency:

8 x 100 yard sprints (4 hard, 4 moderate)
16 x 50 yard sprints (8 hard, 8 moderate)
32 x 25 yard sprints (16 hard, 16 moderate)

I experimented with different breathing patterns and noticed huge differences in my interval times in both freestyle and breaststroke.

Later today, I ran a 5K (3.1 miles) and again experimented with the rhythm breathing that we learned in Taekwondo. Negative splits (each mile got faster: mile 1 - 6:45 pace, mile 2 - 6:30 pace, mile 3 - 6:15 pace) resulting from a heightened focus on breathing. Now, I should mention at this point that this is not the only time that I've been explained the primordial importance of breathing. My running guru at EPT Racing, Mike Danenberg also an avid Martial Artist, has repeatedly reminded me of how much of our breath is wasted in running when we fail to fully exhale the carbon dioxide the resides in our lungs during shallow breathing. 

I encourage anyone reading this to really focus on your breathing the next time you are exercising, but also simply during the course of your regular day as you confront moments of stress or anxiety.

Iron Cowboy & The Iceman

VICE

Some insights on how to push your limits.

Laurent Painchaud

Founder of Streamline

EPT Racing Team

Epoch Performance Therapy Elite Level Triathlon Team in Charlotte, NC

Podium Multisport

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