This May, I had the privilege of spending three days in Malibu California at Extreme Performance Training (XPT) led by surf legend Laird Hamilton, beach volleyball legend Gabby Reece and Crossfit Endurance founder Brian Mackenzie. This was a 40th birthday gift and I wanted to use the opportunity to absorb as much as I could from these elite health and lifestyle experts. It was an incredible experience and I gained new insights on a myriad of topics to include breathing, recovery, posture, training, nutrition, and more. What follows are the four most important takeaways that I learned which can be easily applied in your life. Click below to see a quick highlight video from XPT Malibu.
1) Breath through your nose, NOT your mouth
Every day at XPT, we started the morning with an extended breathing session. Different routines were mixed together to oxygenate our bodies which prepared us mentally and physiologically for the upcoming day. If you can master your breath, you can rapidly improve your performance and your everyday life. The most important new idea is that we should all be breathing throughout the day and night with our nose. Your relationship with your breath is critical to achieving optimal performance. Your nose is ergonomically designed for taking in air, and the sinuses release nitric oxide with each nasal inhale. This helps dilate your circulatory system. You optimize more oxygen by breathing through your nose. Your mouth was designed for eating and talking, not the main source of breathing. Have you ever noticed that 99% of animals breath through their noses? The more you work on breathing through your nose, the easier it will become.
BASKETBALL APPLICATION: Do this during a timeout or before a game to increase oxygen in your body.
2) Start your day with a liter of clean water
A majority of the world’s human population is dehydrated. Dehydration causes many of the body’s physiological processes to operate less optimally. The human body is 60% water, so it is imperative to keep the body’s systems and cells hydrated. Darin Olien of Superlife gave us an hour talk on superfoods, but his main takeaway was that these food’s vitamins and minerals cannot be absorbed without optimal hydration.
BASKETBALL APPLICATION: Start each day with a liter of pure, high quality water. A reverse osmosis system to purify drinking water is preferable. Add a pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt to add electrolytes, and your body will be replenished from what moisture it lost during the night. Do this for a week then stop for a day to feel the difference.
3) Be mindful of what you put in your body
If you owned a Ferrari would you fill up the tank with the cheapest gas? Or would you spend the extra few dollars to ensure it ran on premium? Hopefully the latter. One of Laird’s arguments was that when you are sick or hurt, nothing else matters but your health and your body’s wellness. So why wouldn’t you do everything possible to maintain a state of optimal health? This includes eating clean foods, using clean products on your body, even sleeping in non-toxic sheets etc. If you own a mansion or a luxury car but are suffering from a debilitating ailment, you’d likely give up those items to be back in good health. Organic might cost more, but is what you consume, what you feed the only machine that really matters, where you really want to be saving your dollars?
BASKETBALL APPLICATION: Fast food and junk food are ingested by athletes as a matter of convenience, price, peer pressure, and taste. But what are these foods doing for performance and recovery? Definitely not helping either and likely causing or exacerbating inflammation. New studies discuss inflammation and their negative effect on injuries. Putting clean and nutrient dense food into an athlete’s body will only help with playing optimally, help reduce injury and protect the body from inflammation.
4) Hot/Cold Treatments
One of the highlights of the training was going back and forth between a horse tub full of ice and Laird and Gabby’s 220 degree barrel sauna. I take cold showers every day, so I was not scared of the ice. But once I submerged, the two minutes felt like ten. It was far more of a sensory overload than I anticipated. Once you exit the tub, you go directly to the 220 degree sauna. The second time I was in the ice tub for three minutes. My fight or flight voice was telling me to “GET OUT” but I didn’t want to exit. I got through it with focused breathing. Each time we entered the ice, it got a little easier.
BASKETBALL APPLICATION: Cycling between hot and cold temperatures enhances exercise recovery, gets your hormones moving, stimulates mitochondria, flushes your vascular and lymphatic system, helps you sleep, and feels great once you get out. This is especially important with long seasons. The ice exposure also boosts Human Growth Hormone, the immune system, reduces joint swelling and increases circulation.
If interested in learning even more, visit xptlife.com. I’m also happy to answer any questions you might have. Thanks for reading.