Once a month I get together with some like-minded friends and we lock
ourselves in a private meeting room to talk about how we can collectively help each other out.
Every meeting, each of us gets the opportunity to answer 2 questions…
1. What has been the greatest success for you over the past month?
2. What do you need our help with?
These meetings can get pretty deep.
They not only help us by getting the collective input of the group, but also allows us to celebrate our accomplishments and gain perspective on how far we've come.
I remembered one wild discussion about one of our “brothers” – he's a pretty high-strung, stressed out guy – and his experiences with an energy healer (see I told you, it gets pretty deep).
The energy healer has been able to make HUGE breakthroughs in our brother's stress levels by simply retraining him to “breathe naturally”.
But this also works for fat loss, Here's what I mean:
Take a look at a baby when he's sleeping. Lying there, peaceful, still, and take a look at what moves up and down…it's his BELLY.
You see, we're innately belly breathers. It's hard-wired in our system. Our midsections expand and contract as we take oxygen in and blow it out.
Our diaphragm contracts and moves down to expand our chest cavity to let more air into our lungs. As our diaphragm contracts, it pushes our abdomen down and out to create more space for our lungs.
So when we belly breathe, we're actually training our abdominals.
In addition to that, the act of diaphragmic breathing is a parasympathetic activity – it's stress relieving and calms us.
The problem is that society CONDITIONS us to constantly be in a stressed state through shallow “chest” breathing.
When we're stressed out, we begin to shallow breathe through our chest and our diaphragm doesn't get used or stimulated – think hyperventilation, or the end of a 5 minute kettlebell snatch test.
“Stick your chest out, boy! Suck in that gut! Walk with pride!”
Just those commands alone, given to boys (and girls) at a young age will cause them to do all the wrong things and walk around in a “fight or flight” stressed out state ALL THE TIME.
By the way, did I mention that being in “fight or flight” state causes your adrenal glands to produce the stress hormone cortisol? And that increased cortisol levels are directly related to belly fat accumulation? Not just “fat accumulation” but specifically BELLY FAT.
Sometimes it doesn't matter how much you train or workout, if you're constantly in a stressed out state (and training is seen as stress by your body) – you'll just get fatter. Click to Tweet!
Ever see a really fit fitness instructor so strung out on caffeine that they look great everywhere except they're carrying around a paunch belly. Yeah, that's what can happen with too much cortisol.
We were meant to belly breathe by having our diaphragm contract and expand our lung capacity as a natural method to compliment the “fight or flight” breathing response.
How to Retrain Yourself to Breathe Naturally (reduce stress and ward off fat)
So give it a shot: Lie down on your back, turn your cell phone OFF and put it on your belly and see if you can make your cell phone move up and down by expanding your belly.
As you breathe in, feel the cell phone rise. As you breathe out, let your phone fall with your belly. Keep your chest relaxed and not heavily involved with the breathing.
Remember: We're not meant to be in “fight or flight” every waking hour of the day!
I learned this eye-opening revelation from Tim Anderson a couple of weeks ago at the Original Strength Workshop in NYC and it's outlined in the Original Strength Book – a book I highly recommend you pick up and read.
The bottom line is that there is a time to chest breathe – when you're stressed out it naturally happens (like when you're training hard or when you're being chased by a lion).
BUT by no means are we supposed to LIVE in that state. Instead, we're meant to belly breathe and it doesn't take very long to re-learn what we were NATURALLY meant to do (which is repeated over and over in the Original Strength philosophy).
What I gave you is such simple exercise, so try it out, and once you catch yourself in the “fight or flight” state, you'll be amazed how this breathing technique works to help get you “re-centred” and fully relaxed.
I guarantee that you'll feel better, be less stressed out, and more relaxed 🙂