Zone Out? Grit Through It?

2 min readJun 13, 2023

Today I’ll share what I’ve learned about something most of us do wrong: breathing.

Last year, after listening to the audiobooks “Breath” by James Nestor and “Oxygen Advantage” by Patrick McKeown, I became intrigued by the idea that athletes could use their breath to influence their performance.

Then, after taking a 7-week Wim Hof Method fundamentals course on breathwork and cold exposure, I even tested my own workout performance after doing this breathing technique.

The results were positive. But more interesting than the improved scores was how the workouts actually felt easier.

It all changed my understanding of the importance of breath — and specifically nasal breathing — for athletic performance.

Rather than trying to zone out and grit through a workout (which is what I used to do), now I focus attention, breathe through my nose (as long as I can), and relax (as best I can) — even in the most intense parts of the effort.

It’s easier said than done. But the result is reduced tension, which means reduced pain, which in turn allows me to do more work…

And surprisingly, after the workout, that post-WOD calm stays with me after I leave the gym longer than it used to.

By the way, I’ve stuck with the cold exposure, too. I don’t have a cold plunge (yet). But every day, for over a year now, I take a cold shower.

Over that time, the biggest benefits for me have actually been outside the gym: Lower anxiety. Better sleep.

I’m not about to give you that always super helpful mid-workout advice, “remember to breathe.” :) I just wanted to share some resources with you and let you know what’s worked for me.

Happy training!

Jeremy (and Coach Lisa)
WODwell | Co-Creators

P.S. In case you missed it: last month, we opened up both of WODwell’s training programs on a “freemium” basis (I wrote an article explaining why). That means workouts and activity logging features are now totally free. The rest of the program, leaderboard, and community access require membership. But in the future we’ll be introducing scholarships so no one will be turned away due to lack of funds. Join us to help make functional fitness available to everyone, everywhere!




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