Posts tagged asthma

Exercise Induced Asthma and Being Athletic


Happy Monday folks! It seems like everyone in my house has been battling a bug the past few days – coughing, achy and cranky. And today’s Highbar workout had running in it — and yes, it did cause a coughing fit.  It frustrates me to no end that my lung capacity is limited when I work out and today was a perfect example. After the 400m run, I was coughing so much that I couldn’t do all the pullups/lunges I needed to.

I recently read that Olympic athlete Apolo Anton Ohno has asthma.  Around 30 million Americans have EIB (Exercise Induced Asthma) and think what they are experiencing is a normal part of working out. Imagine doing endurance based work and your chest tightens up, you can’t catch your breath and you start having coughing fits — your lungs can’t get enough oxygen and you start to sound like Darth Vader because you are grasping for air. Yeah, that’s what happens to me  while I am working out.  The most endurance based activities I do, the better I feel though and since it’s the start of spring – I plan to focus on more cardio work so my lungs will get used to it. 

Whether it’s a physical ailment like asthma, extra weight to shed, nutrition or physical – we can always improve and get better. I came across this post from Chef, owner/coach at CrossFit Rubicon. I thought it was good enough to share this AM about starting with the basics — diet, training and sleep before buying into other ‘fixes’.

“Supplementation? Lacking in some vital nutrient? then supplement. Additional supplement choices? the protocol is easy and straightforward: Add ONE and ONLY ONE supplement to your current consistent regimen. If you see or feel a marked improvement in strength, recovery, speed, endurance or general sense of well being in 30-60 days? Keep it. If not? You don’t need whatever it is and should save your $$. Feel like trying another supp? Do the same but ONE CHANGE AT A TIME. The crux of the biscuit is this: if your diet, training and/or sleep are at best irregular and inconsistent, there is no supplement that can help you perform better than getting your fueling, training and recovery act together. Nothing can supplant determined consistency in the work. Do. The. Work. The rest is theme music.”

Read This

Be Inspired

You get a 2nd chance, every second


1P/2P Cleans
Strict Pullups
OH Lunges
–30sec rest–
400m run
–30sec rest–

Yesterday’s workout: Flow Yoga

Cold Weather Brings on Exercise Induced Asthma


excuseHappy Monday! With colder weather beginning, many athletes find that they begin to suffer from exercise induced asthma. If you find yourself suffering from coughing, wheezing and feel a tightness in your chest and are very short of breath while you are exercising – then you are experiencing the effects EIA. I have issues year round, but mornings like today, I definitely notice more pronounced symptoms.  It’s not an excuse to not get your butt up and exercise though, because it can be managed. Depending on how severe, you can manage EIA with medication and with breathing techniques.

Learning to breath and getting into a rhythm with your breaths while  you are exercising can help manage it. I personally am working on my breathing techniques all the time, because when you do have asthma, you also have to manage how you react to being short of breath, so you don’t freak out and make it worse.

The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology has some good info on EIA to check out and if you think you may be experiencing it, talk to your doctor.

Motivational-Fitness-Workout-Quotes-93Asthma can make your workouts tougher, which can lead to you not wanting to workout. It’s cold, dark and you know you will be really challenged during your workout. All of those factors can make it that much tougher to find the motivation to get your butt up and put in the work. Here is a list of 40 Things to Try When You Don’t Want to Work Out to help you dig deep and find what resonates and motivates you to make you and your health a priority.

This quote speaks to so many of us every single day: Why Not You?  

Here’s some interesting stuff I have ready the past day or so:

Don’t Let the Alarm Win!


This morning was tough. I was prepared to not go – I’m going to switch up my workouts a bit and add in some yoga and running. My body is sore and hasn’t had time to really recover properly. So, im am considering dropping to 3-4 workouts a week and add in more stretching. I know, what problems I have!

But the Alarm almost won. I turned it off and buried my head deeper in my pillow but my internal voice is so strong after years of doing this and after 5 mins, I got up and headed to get ready. I knew I would regret not going, seeing my friends and getting my exercise ‘fix’.

And with friends like the ones in the picture to the left, how can I not get up and go? These are just some of the amazing ladies who inspire, support , and work hard with me. They also make me laugh and strong. All of us ladies need strong, amazing women around us to help show us the way. Men are great – of course – but there is nothing like hanging out with a group of beautiful, strong women to help reset your perspective. They also help to remind you that you need to loosen up and have fun, often!

50 DUs
25ft bear crawl
good mornings
25ft bear crawl
10 push ups
Whirly Birds
Bendy Whirly Birds
Pass thrus

Box jumps
Wall Ball Shots

5 Rounds for Time
400m Run
30 Box Jumps (24)
30 Wall Balls (20)
time: 31:15 and it was a struggle, but to my surprise, I improved my time by 1m 7s! The cold weather and asthma is brutal.

Here’s some info for others who have to deal with the annoyance of asthma that tends to worsen during the winter:

Coping with Asthma During Winter

CrossFit Games 12.1 Workout – Complete!


I’m pretty much wiped out from my workout today. I did the CrossFit Games Workout 12.1 – 7minutes of Burpees. Total reps is your score. I do not like burpees —

I was all excited/nervous gearing up for this workout. Not sure why — it’s a competition and I guess that’s normal. I also in the back of my mind worried about my asthma. Wall balls, box jumps, running and burpees get me every damn time and this was no exception. I had a full blown attack during the workout!

So I was all ready to take this on–visualizing me doing it, getting in the zone and rep 13 — i felt my chest tighten and my head started to wander about what the heck! I shouldn’t have done this — i feel this way and it’s only the beginning of the workout….you get the idea. Basically I lost focus on getting the prize and started to think about how friggin hard this is.  Then the breathing started to get labored — I started to sound like Darth Vader (at least that’s what some of the guys told me afterwards). My chest seized up and I wasn’t getting any good deep breaths. I would do as many as I could, stop and try to regroup and that usually resulted in a few really good deep, hurting coughs but I was not going to stop. I have my team to be on the hook for and I work too hard to let this get to me.  In hindsight, that may have not been the best route.

When time was called, I literally laid on the floor for a few sec, got up and headed right outside to try to catch my breath. Hacking, coughing, grasping for air – Kim came out after me to make sure I didn’t full on die. For that, I am forever grateful. I think most of the people thought I was throwing up, but I was trying to regulate my breathing.

I didn’t realize until afterwards too, that the 2 chalk X marks that were done on the ground for another athlete’s guide probably didn’t help as I was breathing that chalk in with each burpee.  My chest was so tight and I was having spasms.

Exercise-induced bronchospasm causes shortness of breath, chest tightness, exhaustion, coughing and possibly wheezing. These symptoms may occur a few minutes after starting to exercise or about 10 minutes after stopping the exercise. If you have exercise-induced bronchospasm, it will be difficult for you to exercise for more than 30 minutes at a time.

Read more:

It took literally an hour or so for me to regroup and here it is 6 hours later and my chest still hurts and I am wiped out.

It also took a bit of a toll on me mentally. It’s so friggin frustrating to be hindered by it – can you imagine how much more I would be able to do if I didn’t have this issue? This is probably one of the first times I have actually really continued to plow through it and it scared me. Tears came 30m later – not only because I was annoyed and frustrated but also, it was scary.  Not being able to get a full breath of air – to fill up your lungs. Yeah, not a super pleasant feeling…

total reps=71


Wall Ball Shots WOD


It was one of those days when you look at the workout and say –oh that’s not so bad – but afterwards, all you want to do is lie flat on your back and never get up again.  Seems like a reoccurring theme with CrossFit. I often hear from people about how short some of the workouts are — or how ‘simple’ they look. All I can offer to combat that idea is to say Try it. The thing is –if you are pushing to your limits, then those shorter workouts are sometimes even more difficult than the longer ones. I know that from experience —  So the point is don’t be fooled by what is up on the board. Do the WOD and then let me know if you think you don’t work as hard with CrossFit as other programs.

Today, one of my favorite people coached the class – Laurie Bikart of Amaiza Fitness a company that specializes in triathlon training and coaching. Laurie is a business owner, trainer, mom, inspiration and friend of mine. She is one of the great people I have met through CrossFit and she continually inspires me. She may even be the one that gets me on a bike again.  Don’t get me wrong, I can ride a bike. I am just not comfortable at all on one — I prefer to have a bike with the back pedal brake that my kids have. I have asked her to help me find a bike that fits me, is not like 1000 gazillion dollars, but also not a Schwinn pink bike with a basket either. A good, sturdy hybrid road/trail bike that will help me get comfortable riding along with my kids. Can she do it is the question? Hmm…..

Oh — and today is her Birthday!

Happy Birthday Laurie!

Dynamic Stretching

Running Drills (CrossFit Endurance)

400m Run
50 Wall Ball Shots
200m Run
35 Wall Ball Shots
100m Run
20 Wall Ball Shots

time: 11:21

Wall balls and running = asthmatics rule! These are tough for me simply for the breathing aspect. I have come to the realization that if the WOD includes some sort of heavy cardio aspect, I will have an extra challenge added.  It gets frustrating to me because technically I can do it, but breathing is kinda important so I end up stopping to catch up with my breathing. One day I will learn to attack it head on — just you watch!

Weekend Running


It’s a gorgeous day in Northern VA. I woke up — got dressed for a run — had some water and headed out.  I sometimes use to figure out the distance I go and today I mapped it at 5.16 miles. I am telling you the weather makes such a difference in my cardio workouts. When you have asthma high humidity/heat in the summer and in the winter, cold, crisp air do a number on my breathing and as you know — Breathing is pretty important. As I have progressed in my fitness level, my overall cardio/lung capacity has gotten so much better but it still challenges me on a regular basis.

I use 2 different inhalers to help me — a steroid one called Qvar I use 2x a day (when I remember) and then right before or during/after I use Combivent.  When used consistently – they really do make a huge difference. Also — I tend to start to panic when I begin to breathe heavy where I need to catch my breath. I am working on pushing through in most cases because for the most part – it’s more out of habit and conditioning than an actual sign of an asthma attack.

I have a lot to do today around the house. With family in town and the kids off to camps this past week — my house is a wreck and I need to get it back to the half wreck it normally is. Look – I am not a super woman and have prioritized thing that are important to me and a super, clutter free, dust free home is just not at the top of my priority list.

Have a great day and do at least one 20 min session of something cardio today — 100 push-ups, 100 crunches, or 20 min walk. It’s not a lot to ask for and you will feel so much better if you get your body movin!

Workout in the Heat and Humidity


Hot, humid = Sweaty!  It looked like we all just took a shower to give you an idea of how sweaty we were at the end of the workout. For me, it felt like I was getting back to my old self — I found the heavier weight challenging but not too hard — and got thru the standard workout like I used to. Don’t get me wrong — it was hard but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. I also am having a hard time with my asthma. The heat and humid weather — I just can’t seem to catch my breath at times, especially after the heavy jumping rope.

On Saturday – I was telling my friend Lidia how lucky I was that Mon-Thurs every week I get to see and hang out with my friends. It makes it so much easier to workout and incorporate fitness in your life when you know that you are doing it with an amazing bunch of friends who support you, keep you focused and will call you out when you aren’t living up to your potential. If I start to zone off, you can bet that someone is right there saying – ‘come on Steph, you can do it’.  That’s the key – making it fun, challenging, and rewarding. It’s like being able to go to work every day with your BFFs — 1 hour every day – i get to see these people and take care of myself at the same time. Feed my mind and body – what else can you ask for!  Lidia is moving in the next few weeks to NC — and one of the things she is most concerned about is the workout opportunties!

Warmup x1
rockette kicks
backwards lunges

Core Work x2
pilate half pikes
bicycle (up and down with your shoulders)
general stretching
25 bottom up push-ups

65lb hang snatch
heavy jump ropes x4
box jumps x2
25lb kettle bell swings x2

Breathing is important


Group training today, inside with the smaller group.

2 min jump ropes

core x2
general stretching
squat thrusts
6 inches
V Ups

workout 2x:
oblique tugs 50lbs
ring rows
30lb db step ups
20lb wall ball squats (have to get the ball over the 10ft line)
85lb push presses

PT Station
broad jump burpees
65lb upright rows

So during the PT Station – which we do outside –  the air was really thick and in the middle of the broad jump burpee, I started to have an asthma attack. I did use my inhaler like I always do prior to the workout but I was going at it hard and just couldn’t catch my breath and then started to panic a bit — I walked away and talked myself out of the panic and started to focus on my breath and managed to get it under control and resumed the workout. That was scary though – very scary.

Get out there and work on your fitness!


Another great workout. We switched up partners which always adds a new element to the workout. Kristen was my partner and her and I are about the same height and level and we kicked ass.  We finished the workout – pull ups and all. And trust me, it was a lot of Pull -ups 30, 24, 18, 12, 6 = 90 Pull Ups!! I feel great though – lots of cardio makes me feel like I can conquer the world.

jump skips

partner 14lb dynamax ball bridge x 2
partner woodchuck bounce x 2
25 partner high five push-ups

15, 12, 9, 6, 3
back squats
1/2 mi run (only 15, 9 round)
3 max deadlifts 85lbs
partner pull-ups x 2
45lb sand bag run 100m (partner does the 100 m back)

So since I started working out regularly, I have definitely noticed an improvement in my lung capacity. I have asthma and at times – it gets very painful to do serious cardio depending on the weather.  My brother suggested I look into this tool called Expand a Lung to help me improve even more. I am going to give it a try and will let you know.

Get out there today and do something Active! Please it for yourself!

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