Over a decade ago, I was a rower in high school. We were doing time trials on an erg and it was there that I learned one of my most important lessons. The pride of the crew was to push yourself so hard on the erg that you puked. It was a stupid adolescent way of proving that you could put mind over matter.
“Shut up body. You don’t know what your limits are.” It was a foolish sense of empowerment and control.
But the problem with pushing that hard your form goes to shit. You’re expending so much energy, but not going as fast as you should be for your output. So you’re inefficient. You’re slow. And then a coach told me something that changed everything – don’t forget to breathe.
It happens when we’re concentrating on something so much that we forget to breathe. We forget to relax and give our bodies what they need most – air. We allow our determination to deprive our muscles and brain of precious oxygen. And this is what prevents us from functioning at 100%.
So the next time that you’re facing a wall and stuck, don’t forget to breathe. It doesn’t matter if it’s on the field, in a race or in the boardroom. Don’t forget to let a little oxygen in your system with some deep breathes.