Workout of the Day

Recovery Begins With A Breath


You’re likely familiar with the idea of the stress adaptation cycle. Graphically, it looks something like a series of rolling hills that gradually trend up, with each successive peak and trough higher than the least. The troughs represent the time after a stressor (such as training), when you’re fatigued and your performance is down, and the subsequent peaks represent your recovery from said stress and the increased performance that comes from it. Broadly speaking, the goal should be to make the distance between each peak shorter (i.e., recover faster) and to make the depth of the troughs more shallow (less fatigue) and the peaks higher (greater performance).

Volumes of books, both casual and scientific, could (and have) been written about this, but to make matters simple, let’s talk about one simple tool you always have at-the-ready: your breath.

You’ve finished your day’s training and, depending on the focus of that training, you are likely some degree of out of breath. Step one is to get yourself to controlled nasal breathing as soon as possible.

Depending on the intensity of your training, it may take a few steps to get there. Follow this step-down pattern to work yourself to controlled nasal-only breathing:

  • First, breathe through the mouth with controlled, gradually prolonged inhaled and exhales

  • Next, breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, again, controlled and prolonged

  • FInally, nasal-only inhales and exhales — you may need to start with a faster exhale, and then work to continually slow the exhale (consecutive exhales of 5+ seconds is a good baseline goal)

Depending on the type of training and your experience with breathwork, you may be able to skip steps one or two. Regardless, the goal is to step your way down to step three. No more racing to your car while you’re still huffing and puffing.

Consider your breath as a tool to amp up the efficacy of your training. An intentional post-training breathing practice gets your body from a stressed, sympathetic (fight, flight, or freeze) state to a more parasympathetic (rest, digest, recover) state and kick starts your recovery. Instead of finishing your last rep and immediately rushing to get to whatever hustle and bustle remains in your day, give yourself 5 minutes to start the process that makes the training worth it. After all, that challenging training stress does little good when your body can’t recover from it.

- PS


  • EMOM 8:

    • Max unbroken strict chin-ups


  • AMRAP 15

    • Max cal row

    • Every 3 minutes, complete 12 alternating pistols