I lay on my back on Lared Hamilton’s pond deck, high on a mountain overlooking the Pacific near Malibu. There are about 20 strangers around me, who are doing just that. Deep clouds are wrapping around the water, covering the nearby hills, and Hamilton breathing in on us, issuing orders to regulate his breathing. Breathe through the nose, out of the mouth. Hold fast, slow. It’s definitely not a Saturday morning, but it’s not strange about it: I’m happy. My arms and arms are beating and arguing, and I feel like I’m taller. And I breathed a little. I’m at Laird’s house to get XPT Health Introduction, a comprehensive health rule that he developed with his wife, volleyball player Gabby Reese.
For more than a decade, XPT has fitted perfectly for Hamilton and Ross, elite athletes, military special forces, and anyone wishing to bring themselves to a new level of physical and mental fitness. Stopped by the way. Breathing with me on the pool deck include a former Navy SEAL, an MMA fighter, a former NFL player, an Olympic water polo player, and numerous very fit men and women from all over the country.
XPT consists of three parts: breathing, mobility and recovery. In between sessions, I spoke with PJ Nessler, XPT’s Director of Performance, to gain some more insight into the structure of this program.
take a breath
Nestler told me that breathing is the basis of work, and there are two reasons (feeling high is not one of them). First, if you are not breathing properly and are not using the full capacity of your lungs, you are more easily tired at work. Second, you can effectively control your mental state by controlling your breathing, reducing anxiety and stress, gaining better focus. In some ways, mental play is more important than physical.
“If your psychology is off, your technical skills, your knowledge of the game, the strategy, the physical skills – all of this is out the window,” he says.
Nestler said breathing work comes from a variety of sources. Breathing sessions include slow, meditative breaths. High-speed huffing and puffing; and even the Weimhoff method.
“We have developed breathing through learning from other people,” says Nestler. “Many of these things have been going on for thousands of years.”
The movement of XPT is in the pool. With weight training in the water, you get more solid workout with less impact on your joints than you do in the gym. Water helps you when you move, and offers another benefit: it forces you to work on your mental game.
Nestler takes me to a pool workout that includes a variety of weight squats, and a pool and a backdrop with dumbbells. Sounds pretty straightforward, but if I mess up an anxiety and don’t break the surface, I just don’t have a bad look. I miss the opportunity to breathe. When that happens, all of my bad memories of swimming in the seventh grade suddenly get reversed. The key is that when I come up above the water, I breathe deeply, then go down. That way, I use more energy to finish the workout And I stop my anxiety.
Raising the cross pool was also a major challenge. The purpose is to rig 30 pounds of dumbbells to the bottom of the pond – with only one breath across and behind it. In half of each rep, that feeling of that burning, frustrating air creeps into my lungs. But by focusing on this task, I manage the power. And by the time I am finished, by slowing down my breathing, I am well and will move fast to the next rep.
In XPT, recovery means 220-degree gold and ice baths, or what the website calls “hypothermic training”. I usually enjoy sauna trips, but it was definitely hotter than me. After struggling with 15 minutes of intense heat, my group and I took turns in the ice bath for three minutes. The heat was severe The ice bath was amazing. Once again, it all came down to breathing: By focusing on breathing and breathing, I gained strength through pain.
Although studies have yielded some contradictory conclusions regarding the efficacy of ice baths over the years, therapy is still widely used by athletes in their efforts to accelerate muscle recovery. The idea here is to help your body recover through exposure to intense physical heat and cold. Ice baths are thought to reduce inflammation and tissue dysfunction, while gold is thought to promote growth and hormone while reducing stress hormones in the body. Like breathing work and rhythm exercises, they have a great mental aspect. By sweating in the sauna and immersing yourself in an ice bath, you slowly make yourself a bet to cope with extreme conditions.
Until now, XPT was primarily available through multi-day retirees in remote workshops or local workshops run by certified teachers (there are about 250 XPT trainers present). As the crowds of the Saturday, for example, have largely appealed to elite athletes and people who are already in physical form. But with the recent launch of the XPT app, which includes guided exercise and breathing sessions, the company is working to make the program more accessible to everyday people.
“I personally think these things are more effective for the average consumer,” says Nestler.
Nestler explained that a naval seal could try to push the XPT a bit beyond its mental and physical boundaries. But the average person has a lot of room to grow, and XPT could potentially do more for it.
I certainly appreciated the unique challenges during my visit, which I went through with a new understanding of how breathing can be a powerful means of enhancing performance. I really enjoyed the pool workout, which is a type of exercise that I am generally ashamed of. But the biggest surprise was the next day, when I was out for an evening run. As I was running away, I focused on breathing deeply slowly from the routine. I found my fastest time to travel this route and felt less tired than usual. So, yeah, I’m a little bent.
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