The Secret Super Power, You Didn't Know You Had
If you’re new to the world of SteelFit, you’ll soon recognize my passion for all things super heroes. Characters like Batman, Falcon, and Shang-Chi rank among my current favorites. The list sometimes fluctuates when DC or Marvel do a great job of portraying a particular character on the big or small screen. It’s no coincidence these are my favorites right now–they’re all heroes who demonstrate conviction and skill with a particular and unique super power such as laser vision or super strength. I love keeping heroes like these close as goal posts–they possess traits I wish to develop myself. Yeah, I still dream even as an adult of one day having an actual superhero power–like being able to fly, wield a heavy hammer or shoot arrows with a 100% hit rate. For the longest time, I never thought having a super power was possible. And then one fateful day, I found I had one!
Stand back! I am about to share with you my amazing feat of strength! (Insert loud, thunderous horns here!)
I can hold my breath for a long time.
Are you stoked yet?
Right now my peak time is a little more than 2 minutes. Try it out! Set a timer and see how close you can make it to 2 minutes before you’re huffing and puffing gasping for air. I’m not trying to brag here, 2 minutes is actually pretty meager when you consider what the human body can do. In fact, the world record is around 24 minutes!
I see you rolling your eyes at me! Who really cares how long you can hold your breath?
We all know Aquaman is pretty much the lamest hero ever, but I promise you there’s much more benefit to be gained from having such a skill. Mastering a 2 minute breath did a lot of things to improve my life. It either increased or improved my stamina, my recovery, my maximum strength, my sleep quality, and my stress resiliency.
But before I explain how all this works, let me tell you how I found it.
Remember where we were 2 years ago? The world was shut down, all gyms were closed, and we were all looking for things to do to occupy our time while on lockdown. One day, I realized I had tons of credits built up on my Audible subscription. Being the fitness nut that I am, I decided that was a good time to increase my knowledge base. I started with a book called Breath by James Nestor. It was a beautiful text on how inefficiently we normally breathe, and the health disaster that is mouth breathing.
After this initial learning. I was ready for more so then I found another book called The Wim Hoff Method by Wim Hoff. Yes. That is his actual name! He’s a new age wellness practitioner whose book made some some pretty bold claims about his breathing technique (linked below).
Initially I thought it was a tad silly. He claimed his approach could cure almost everything, just by changing your breath. Imagine my surprise when one week after using his technique, I noticed my allergies were better, my sleep improved, and workouts were easier. All this seemed to coincide with the increases I made in being able to hold my breath. As my ability went from 30 seconds to a minute while holding my breath, I noticed major changes in the rest of my body. These improvements seemed supernatural, and so I dove into further research to see why this simple tactic created such significant results. Why did this work so well?
After a few months of diving deep within the search engines and reading, well, listening to a few more books on Audible, I discovered the ancient secret as to why focusing on the breath unleashed such amazing results: it’s highly oxygenated blood!
All the cells in our bodies use oxygen as an energy source, and the drills we do to increase our ability to hold our breath maximizes their performance and oxygen utilization. We’ve all heard “mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell,” or maybe you’re just hearing this now.” For you novices and curious types, mitochondria are membrane-bound cell organelles (organized or specialized structures within a living cell) that generate most of the chemical energy needed to power the cell's biochemical reactions. Chemical energy produced by the mitochondria is stored in a small molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Mitochondria contain their own small chromosomes. The Hoff technique super charges these cell organelles. Sorry to go a little science nerd on you, but I want you to realize how awesome this technique truly is!
Now before you run off and try this, let me say up front that breathing drills can sometimes get fairly complicated. There are other schools of thought on the breath out there; I’m sharing the Hoff method because it delivers incredible results and is highly accessible.If you do your homework, you’ll learn about other drills for more specific responses and improvements. But trust me when I say, you need to attempt many of these through the guidance of an experienced breath-work practitioner (and yes, that’s a thing)!
In short, the Hoff technique regularly brings us one step closer to the superhuman feats we’ve seen from the likes of Wolverine (minus the metal claws). Okay, maybe this is no longer a secret super power now that I’ve shared how you can improve many aspects of your life. I think you’ll see a lot of changes in yourself should you choose to develop your super powers like I did!
Ready to become a superhero? Try the Hoff method and see how far you can take your new power!
Got questions on how to do this and incorporate it alongside some strength training to allow you to leap tall buildings? Or maybe you just want to look and feel better in time for beach season! Contact me if you want to start a new program or add some breathing techniques to your current regimen and you’ll be battling the baddies in record Bat Time!