Hi, I have some issues with my cardio that I can't get to grips with on my own.
This is the case:
I believe I have a pretty good basic stamina. My resting heart-rate is around 50-55. And when it comes to low-medium intensity exercise like mountain hiking, I can just go and go for hours (7+ hours uphill or mixed terrain at altitudes up to 2000meters/6500feet, is not a problem). I also bicycle a couple of times a week. The route takes ~45 minutes and includes three hills where I hit 90-95% of heart-max.
But during sparring or high-intensity drilling I am constantly gassed out. It's feels like someone suddenly removes all oxygen from the air and I just can't keep going. I even have to stop moving and just focus on breathing for a while. I don't feel like much lactic-acid, I'm just completely out of breath. And I just cant figure out what the problem is.
This is becoming a problem for me. Not only do I get beat by guys with much less skill and experience, but I feel embarrassed. It's like I'm some out-of-shape-walrus that leans on the wall gasping for air. Also I feel like I am ruining the workout for my partners, who have to wait for me to regain enough oxygen to move. Sometimes when it's been really bad, I've had to rest for 15 seconds out of every minute of exercise.
The really weird thing is that I recover really quick from this. Even if I have just had an hour of gruelling workout that has caused me to almost collapse four or five times towards the end. I just need to chill for five minutes outside of the mat, drink a bit of water, and then I'm ready to go again. And If I switch to something medium intensity, like technical rolling, I can literally keep on training for several hours more.
Help me, I just can't figure out what this is, or what kind of exercise I should focus on to get over it.
How long have you been training? How hard are you going when you gas out?
Sounds like to me (and there are many smarter people who can post on this stuff here) that you need to spend time working on your anerobic (sp?) capacity, as opposed to your aerobic workouts.
Start doing wind sprints instead of jogging. Sparring more and forcing yourself through your gassing point will also help in the long run. Sparring more helps everything :)
This might sound stupid, but how good is your nose breathing?
I assume you are sparring with a gumshield in.
I really struggle to get enough air when sparring just because I cant breath well with the gumshield. Despite having a massive hooter, my nose just can't drag enough in.
Could be as simple as that?
Also, the other exercise types you describe don't sound like they involve much stress or adrenaline. That makes a huge difference to me in sparring too. You get tense, so get gassed quicker.
It sounds like you have problems of tensing and stressing while sparring. Try to spar relaxed and not tens up so much. If you have time and energy for long hikes and biking than you can switch it to more practice. You can ask your partners to go easy with you for a while, so you can learn to calm down, and find your rhythm.
Not to sound like a broken record as I have a whole thread on this but:
"Why treat gluten allergies as sensitivities? Over the last 10 years it has become apparent that allergies to certain substances do not behave in predictable ways. One clear example of this is exercise induced anaphylaxis and asthma,"
It was going through the same thing and reading about gluten and it's relationship to exercise induced asthma on an MMA.tv thread that got me on my Gluten free diet.
Now there are blood test for food allergies that I didn't know about, but I simply went 100% gluten free and found me recovery time and cardio increased dramatically by doing this.
The connection between exercise induced asthma and gluten intake is not 100% scientifically proven but anecdotal.
But for me it exists.
You also might want to try an anti-histamine like Reactine and see if that helps.
Remember I am not a Dr just some dude posting **** on the Internet
This is going to sound completely ridiculous and obvious but are you actually breathing?
A natural response when you try to exert maximum power is to hold your breath and brace yourself. Equally when you have a lot of adrenaline flowing you can end up holding your breath or breathing erratically. I have seen an extremely fit guy pass out while rolling because he basically tried to hold his breath for a 3-minute round.
If you haven't already try concentrating on your breathing, making sure you are breathing regularly and not too shallowly.
Thank you all for replying.
Haven't really thought about the mouthpiece. I don't have a problem with breathing through my nose. But I will keep an eye on my breathing during the workout tonight and see if that is indeed the case.
I'm pretty certain that I am breathing continuously. If I stopped the whole gym would probably notice the distinct lack of the-sound-of-a-steam-train-passing-through. :)
That's interesting to know, but I'm pretty sure that it's not what my problem is. First; I don't have any allergies. Second; I rarely eat either bread or pasta.
erezb & elipson:
I did do quite a bit of martial arts when I was younger (~ 12 years), but haven't done any fighting for the past 15 years or so. Just found my way back a few months ago, and completely fell in love with it again. Can't even recall why I quit. Anyway, it is true that I do tense up a little and sometimes muscle my way through, but I'm quite sure that even if it contributes, it's not really the main factor of the problem (and an issue that gets better every time).
Again, thanks a lot for your input everyone. If you have any further thoughts, please go ahead and post them. I've run out of ideas. Even started going so far as contemplating to go and have my lungs checked.
Much in the vein of elipsin's suggestion about wind sprints... Try interval training (HIIT). It is basically short periods of intense sprint-type activity, spaced with lower levels of activity in between. Fighting is more like this than long, steady state aerobics. Supposedly interval training can also increase your overall endurance better than the steady state stuff too.
The more I think about this, the more I think sprints and HIIT would help you with this problem.
It'll train your body to go 100%, recover, and then go 100% again. This kind of activity isn't really normal to people, and the body needs to train how to do so.
It may also just be an experience thing. Learning to stay calm during sparring is a big part of moving past the beginner stage.
Do you have a mouth guard that is an upper and a lower one? Ifso, try buying one that just covers the upper teeth. It's much easier to breath. I also cut the last 1/4 inch off of new mouths guards so they don't sick so far back and block airflow through the mouth.
Originally Posted by Ignorami
So after a really hard workout that mainly focused on grappling, takedowns and ground-game, interspersed with some strength and cardio exercises. I have some new insights.
I don't have a problem breathing with the mouthpiece, nor do I hold my breath (although I sometimes do a valsalva with a slow exhalation for moves that requires extra core strength or whole-body explosiveness).
My muscles never really feel tired, there is almost no lactic-build up. It's just that I get an overwhelming need to breathe. At times I may need as much as 20 or 30 deep breaths to even be able to go on, and my lungs and throat almost constantly feel like they are on fire.
And an old piece of information surfaced in my brain. (I used to do a lot of free-diving and read a bit of medical info on the respiration back then). The "need to breathe" sensation is NOT only caused by a lack of oxygen. It is the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. And most often it is actually an excess of carbon dioxide that triggers the panicky need to breathe. So I am now thinking that the problem is that for some reason I just don't manage to ventilate enough of it out of my body. If I am correct in this, it would explain why I feel like my muscles have full power, but I can't stop myself from pausing to breathe for a period. And also why I have to breathe for such a long time. It's the carbon dioxide that needs to be vented to a sub-liminal level. Does this sound reasonable?
Now the question becomes, why the hell do I have this problem, and how do I improve my ventilation of carbon-dioxide? Perhaps I could do some yoga-breathing for the ventilation, and practice holding my breath to elevate my carbon dioxide threshold.
Any ideas, suggestions or comments would be appreciated.