In my opinion, nasal breathing is one of our most powerful but underutilised tools in fitness. For a sympathetic state (when exercising) and a parasympathetic state (recovering from exercise).
It’s possible to make simple TRX exercises challenging through controlled nasal breathing.
Practising this improves circulation during workouts due to increased nitrogen in the blood. It also increases aerobic capacity. Defined as: increasing the body’s maximum ability to produce ATP in the presence of Oxygen (VO2 Max).
The body becomes better at performing high amounts of work while burning fat as the primary energy.
How and why does nasal breathing achieve this?
The body is more efficient at oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange with nasal breathing as it utilises more lobes of the lungs.
This means more oxygen availability in the cardiovascular system thus more oxidation of fat cells for energy and more CO2 by-product expelled from the lungs.
Walking when combined with nasal breathing helps place the body in a parasympathetic (relaxed) state which encourages it to utilise fat metabolising pathways for energy. Rather than glucose, which is the primary pathway for a sympathetic state (when we exercise).
A parasympathetic (relaxed) state is also the prime state for repair and recovery from exercise. Outside of training, we want to consciously try and be in this calming, non-stressed state to recover quicker and better.
Speaking from experience, I do notice a significant difference in incorporating hour-long walks with nasal only breathing into my days when my goal is to burn fat and lean out.
I see nasal breathing as having gears:
- Gear 1 = only nasal breathing
- Gear 2 when intensity increases = in through the nose and out through the mouth
- Gear 3 when intensity increases a lot like a HIIT or cycling up a hill = mouth breathing
From normal day to day living I always check myself and make sure I’m living in gear one. Sleep, general living and suspension training workouts (except leg day, that’s gear 2) = mouth closed, tongue to the roof of the mouth, and only breathing through the nose.
Below, performing TRX Curls with nasal breathing. Notice the disco ball?
The above is purely my own opinion and understanding from research and application. As always, it’s highly debatable. The beauty in the exploration of fitness.
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