I started a book last week called the Oxygen Advantage by Patrick Mckeown. I was recommended this book by several BeActivated, muscle activation, practitioners when I was looking for ways to help my wife, who recently developed asthma.
Essentially, the author says, we are already at maximum oxygen saturation, yet our air consumption efficiency lacks due to our low tolerance of carbon dioxide. The feeling you get when you feel like your out of breath, normally, isn’t due to lack of oxygen but an uncomfortable increase in CO2 levels.
The more CO2 in the system, the more your hemoglobin has to release O2 into the muscles, organs, etc, providing an increase of energy and health throughout the entire system.
I’m not there yet, but the book will ultimately give the reader a training regimen to build the body’s tolerance to CO2, thus allowing your hemoglobin to comfortably release more O2 into the muscles.
I started asking a bunch of questions about Oxygen levels in the body when I was forced to wear a mask. I hate the way masks feel and I always felt out of breath. I was convinced that masks disrupt our CO2/O2 balance and I would experience light headedness, headaches, etc. The truth is, it was less about the masks than my body’s own tolerance for CO2. Now, I still hate masks, but I’m honestly optimistic about the potential upside of increasing my body’s tolerance to CO2.
According to the author, with successful, regular training, you can experience several significant benefits, including the ability to train harder (thus getting better results) and an increase in energy levels, which we could all benefit from.
There is a baseline test called the BOLD test, that determines your body’s CO2 “threshold”. For someone that exercises regularly, a BOLD score should be around 20 seconds……mine was 10 seconds. I was shocked that my score was so low. Per the author, with training a score of 40 is attainable and with an increase of 5 seconds, benefits can be noticeable.
Want to get a sense of where you’re at? Try your workout today only breathing through your nose. I’ve always training as a heavy breather and even breathing with every rep, but I’m almost convinced now that I was over breathing which is why my BOLD score is so low.
I will run these training programs for the next 90 days and let you know if I’ve experienced any significant benefits and if there is any change to my BOLD score. Also, really, the moral of this story, keep an eye out for things that you may not even notice or be aware of. There’s hidden opportunities to get better everywhere.