Every Breath You Take ♪

I’d type the rest of the lyrics to the song, but I don’t know lyrics to songs.

Another week, another update to reflect upon, people! This week I want to talk about breathing. Not because I’m in the zen and mindful 24/7, but mainly because I want an excuse to talk about my new cat Ramsey:

We got a new meow meow! Meet Ramsey: hes polydactyl.

A post shared by Jon Dao (@doctorblackjack) on

I could go with the family metaphor and talk about the new responsibilities of a pet are like being a parent. And being a parent, it can be harder to balance the needs of your own tasks, which is understandable. I could keep on with that line of reasoning and encourage you: you got to take care of yourself before you take care of others. But that would just be a shameless plug of our old posts, so I won’t do that.

Instead, let me tell you how my cat took my breath away. Not in the “love at first sight” kind of sense, though he is pretty adorable.

See, I’m actually allergic to cats and dogs. It’s not a simple matter of itchy eyes or a runny nose. I get allergy-induced asthma. I literally can’t breathe. It feels like your chest is pinned under a truck, and no matter how much you try to suck in oxygen, you just can’t get the air flow right.

It’s humbling. It’s completely demoralizing to be making strides in your physical health only to be crippled by something so cute and cuddly.

So if it’s that serious, why have a cat?

Well I love cats, first of all. But secondly, I have a bit of shame that makes me want to do better this time around.

I used to have a cat back in Arkansas, and he was great. But I got scared of the effects of the allergies. I distanced myself and spent less time with him. And then life happens, and I couldn’t spend any more time with him even if I wanted to.

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Long cat story short, I’ve gone completely back on my training schedule word and included some metabolic circuits on my rest days in order to strengthen my lungs. Here’s one routine you might enjoy:

  • 10 Glute Bridges
  • 10 Deadlifts
  • 10 Push-Ups
  • 10 Crunches
  • 10 Squat Thrusts

Run through all 50 reps without taking a break, then rest for 45-60 seconds. Then run through all the reps again until you hit 5 rounds. Remember: the key to any good circuit is a brisk pace, not rushing to hit the moves as fast as possible.

Rushing through your moves and you’re less likely to maintain form. If you don’t keep your form in place, that leads to injury. You don’t want injury! (And that’s why I’ll take the squat thrust over the burpee any day of the week. Burpees are just too easy to get sloppy with.)

You don’t want to sabotage yourself with lost perspective. Don’t think about the moves just to do the moves. Think of what the moves are building towards.

Now, to tie this back into all that cat talk. Even if you don’t have allergies, you could still be sabotaging yourself in terms of breathing. When the moves get tough and your heart rate spikes, it’s your responsibility to bring the calmness. It’s all on you to maintain a methodical approach and not get all spastic.

Implement the Meikyo-Shisui (serene state of mind).

In fighting, if you’re not staying frosty, you’ll punch yourself out. One of the best examples of this is Shane Carwin‘s loss against Brock Lesnar at UFC 116.

As tough as whatever the task might be, your heavy exhales are only bringing more fatigue. From his appearance on the Jay Ferruggia podcast,  Jim “Smitty” Smith puts it like this:

“Focus on the inhale. Let the exhale happen. If you’re in stress or distress and can’t catch your breath, what do most people do? They put their hands over head and walk around. But what you’ll find is in their attempts to get more air, they’re actually exhaling more. So the switch becomes focus on the inhale. Let the exhale happen, and then get back on that inhale.”

The bottom line: let a beautiful view, a romantic interest, or a meow meow take your breath away. If you’re doing it to yourself? That’s self-sabotage!

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6 thoughts on “Every Breath You Take ♪

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