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Need help to figure out what I am doing wrong in apnea training

j-s

New Member
Feb 1, 2020
5
0
1
USA
Hi. I'm new to freediving. I recently read "The Oxygen Advantage" by Patrick McKeown after watching some of his videos and noticing that at least a few freedivers were taking his classes. However, after a couple weeks of following his program, I started having side effects. My sleep quality decreased and I started experiencing feelings of shortness of breath during the day and at night. I did not feel well. I stopped the program and things returned to normal.

Next I decided to do some apnea training with O2 and CO2 tables (phone app). After a couple weeks I am experiencing symptoms exactly like I did previously, even though the training is very different.

Initially I suspected I might have overdone the "The Oxygen Advantage" training, so (after returning to normal) I restarted my apnea training very gradually. I have worked up to 30 to 60 minutes a day of dry static apnea training and I am not pushing myself hard. I don't go as far into contractions as I think I could. I have never passed out. The training is actually pleasant. But again, my sleep quality decreased and I started experiencing feelings of shortness of breath during the day and at night. I feel fatigued.

Suspecting a possible health issue, I had a very thorough exam, including an exercise stress test to 100% of max HR. I passed all medical tests with flying colors.

Because two very different types of apnea training have resulted in very similar side effects, I am at a loss as to what to try next. I am looking for suggestions please.
 

armstrongm360

Member
Jan 29, 2020
10
3
8
34
Beijing
Hi. I'm new to freediving. I recently read "The Oxygen Advantage" by Patrick McKeown after watching some of his videos and noticing that at least a few freedivers were taking his classes. However, after a couple weeks of following his program, I started having side effects. My sleep quality decreased and I started experiencing feelings of shortness of breath during the day and at night. I did not feel well. I stopped the program and things returned to normal.

Next I decided to do some apnea training with O2 and CO2 tables (phone app). After a couple weeks I am experiencing symptoms exactly like I did previously, even though the training is very different.

Initially I suspected I might have overdone the "The Oxygen Advantage" training, so (after returning to normal) I restarted my apnea training very gradually. I have worked up to 30 to 60 minutes a day of dry static apnea training and I am not pushing myself hard. I don't go as far into contractions as I think I could. I have never passed out. The training is actually pleasant. But again, my sleep quality decreased and I started experiencing feelings of shortness of breath during the day and at night. I feel fatigued.

Suspecting a possible health issue, I had a very thorough exam, including an exercise stress test to 100% of max HR. I passed all medical tests with flying colors.

Because two very different types of apnea training have resulted in very similar side effects, I am at a loss as to what to try next. I am looking for suggestions please.
Hey there. I've read that it is generally not best to do too many tables without rest. If it's only after a few weeks where you are experiencing these symptoms, maybe you could alternate hard and easy weeks? 48 hours of rest between CO2 tables and 48 hours between O2 tables may be better.

I've had this happen before, but the sessions were also not pleasant.
 
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j-s

New Member
Feb 1, 2020
5
0
1
USA
Hey there. I've read that it is generally not best to do too many tables without rest. If it's only after a few weeks where you are experiencing these symptoms, maybe you could alternate hard and easy weeks? 48 hours of rest between CO2 tables and 48 hours between O2 tables may be better.

I've had this happen before, but the sessions were also not pleasant.
Thanks for your reply. Were your symptoms very similar to mine?

I think it is possible that I did push myself too hard. I was going for a new maximum breath hold time every day.

It makes sense that overtraining could be a problem when it comes to apnea training... is that true? In general, what are the symptoms of overdoing apnea training? How widely is this known? I'd like to read more on the topic. Thanks again!
 

armstrongm360

Member
Jan 29, 2020
10
3
8
34
Beijing
Thanks for your reply. Were your symptoms very similar to mine?

I think it is possible that I did push myself too hard. I was going for a new maximum breath hold time every day.

It makes sense that overtraining could be a problem when it comes to apnea training... is that true? In general, what are the symptoms of overdoing apnea training? How widely is this known? I'd like to read more on the topic. Thanks again!
Hey there, a lot of what I know has been through the Padi Advanced and Master Freediving courses and what I've learned from Adam Stern's YouTube channel. I'm also support him on Patreon so I have access to more of his materials. That's where I learned this from. I didn't have shortness of breath but it made my running very difficult and my heart rate was about 10 beats faster than normal at rest.

I know that doing tables puts a lot of stress on the body's chemical systems and I think you may have been depleting too much hemoglobin, so that may be why you have shortness of breath (red blood cells can't connect to the oxygen molecules). Of course I am no expert, but I think you just may have been pushing too hard.

PBs should probably not be done so often either in anything with sports training.
 
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soupblah

Member
Sep 1, 2016
3
1
13
31
reykjavik
Thanks for your reply. Were your symptoms very similar to mine?

I think it is possible that I did push myself too hard. I was going for a new maximum breath hold time every day.

It makes sense that overtraining could be a problem when it comes to apnea training... is that true? In general, what are the symptoms of overdoing apnea training? How widely is this known? I'd like to read more on the topic. Thanks again!
Hi j-s,

To me this looks like a classic case of overtraining. Generally doing more than 3-4 sessions of CO2/O2 tables per week does not give your body enough time to properly recover, especially if you are also going for max breath holds every day. Like you, when I first started breath hold training I overdid it a bit as well. I was doing some form of training (tables, apnea walks etc.) daily, after the third week of this I saw my progress slow to a stop and my performances decreased. I would recommend giving yourself a few days or a week to recover then get back into training only a few times a week.

Also, I would not recommend maximum breath-holds that frequently, especially if it is shortly after CO2 tables. A max breath hold every couple weeks at least 48 hours after your last static session.

In short, breath hold training takes a lot out of you so spreading out your sessions more will give your body adequate time to recover and you should also see your progress increase at a more steady rate.
 
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j-s

New Member
Feb 1, 2020
5
0
1
USA
To me this looks like a classic case of overtraining.

In short, breath hold training takes a lot out of you.
I can confirm this again. I guess I am a hard-head because I had to experience the overtraining symptoms from apnea training more than once to believe that was really the issue. I took time off from apnea training until today. All my symptoms went away and my sleep quality returned to normal.

I started apnea training again today, and I will follow the advice you gave so that I don't repeat the pattern again. Breath-hold training really can be taxing on the system. For me, the surprising part was that it did not feel taxing. It felt enjoyable. The way I slipping into overtraining was very subtle, and that allowed me to go way too far. As I look back, the magnitude of my symptoms was alarming.

Thank you.
 
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