Watch full recording of Robson's talk with our Master Breath Coach, Sean Coakley
After his Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Robson knew something had to change. With an all-or-nothing mindset and an addictive personality, he had ended up taking a bit too much of his prescribed medicine: benzodiazepines. So, he had two choices: either losing himself or turning his addiction into an advantage.
He had already made the decision to switch his life around back in 2012. Robson had gone from drinking and partying to taking 5 yoga classes a day. His friends had also introduced him to the world of marathons, but he had chosen to go for triathlons, to IRONMANS in particular. It was a perfect match for him! He loved the long distances and the challenges that participating in such sports represented. Yet, it was like switching one addiction for another. Robson was still going for the extremes and he was still pushing the limits.
That was until February 2016, when he suffered an awful accident during a hockey match. When he was admitted to the hospital, his body checkout revealed 8 brain bleeds and his prognosis was not good. Doctors were dubious as to whether he would be able to live “normally” again, so he had to relearn to read, write and even move. But he was not willing to give up, that was not him! What’s more, he had decided he would race at the IRONMAN World Championship, a goal that he was able to achieve due to his great determination!
Breathing: From dubious to a believer
So, when Robson heard about breath training, he was already a persistent, disciplined, resilient, and admirable athlete. But he started getting curious about how many athletes stood many minutes of ice baths. He could only hang in there for 30 seconds, so he asked one of his friends… And this friend told him it was “all about breathing”, that he needed to separate his sympathetic nervous system from his parasympathetic system and then, he would be able to do as the others.
Robson was more than dubious, he could not believe that for one second.
“I went like…yeah right”.
But his curiosity had been spiked so he gave breathing exercises a try.
“And I went from 15 seconds to 2 minutes in water below freezing. When you can calm your breathing down, then you can prevent your brain from reacting to the threat.”
Those ice baths turned out to be the only thing that could actually calm his brain down. And so he started wondering if breath training could actually do more for his body and take his sports performance to the next level. Then, he found Airofit.
Starting with Airofit
“People ask me about how Airofit affects me and you know, I can send them a bunch of data but I just know that this helps me.”
As he learned more and more about breathing, he discovered that whenever he was disciplined and consistent enough, he could see results. But he wanted to go further, and so he started training with Airofit, with a customized training program that was perfect for achieving his goals!
“This device looks really simple but it’s my me time”. “If you look at the screen and follow the app, then you’ll find out that everything else simply vanishes.”
Robson found that Airofit’s added value was that it was a complete system. Now, it was not about just doing a few breathing exercises, it was about adding resistance to those exercises, following patterns, tracking progress, and changing his training routine. The guidance that he got with Airofit was crucial for him! It’s like going to the gym for the first time, you go and do the exercises with poor form and without a structure that tells you what you’re doing. And then, you get a personal trainer, he gives you a program and corrects your form so that you can actually get the results you want!
“What my coaches and I like about Airofit is that it’s a 360 thing. It’s not just certain parts, it encompasses all. It’s not just the fact that you need physical training. Because then physical training means that you need recovery.”
A great time to value ratio
And then another thing that Robson loved about respiratory muscle training is that it did not take much space from his already hectic schedule. With only a few minutes a day, he could feel impressive changes in his performance, his sleep, his mental clarity, and his mindset. It was unbelievable how 14 minutes could make a difference!
The ratio of time to value is very strong because usually, a professional athlete is not required to train their respiratory muscles for over 14 minutes a day. Apart from that, then their connection to their breath gets stronger for the other 95% of their day. This means that this brief time impacts all the other aspects of their lives! And, then, it’s setting aside a few minutes to invest in yourself.
“One thing that I got is that if you don’t have 10 minutes of your life for yourself, then you don’t have time at all and you have no control at all. Where are your priorities?”
This is what Robson tells himself when he “jumps off the wagon”. Because let’s admit it, we all have times when it feels like we cannot bother to train our breathing for 10 minutes a day, let alone 14 minutes. But then again, Robson remembers that he can actually feel and see a difference when he does, he remembers that he’s beating the odds and that he needs to continue pushing, pushing himself to be better and better, to get to his full potential. And then, he gets back on track!
If there is one thing that’s clear in Robson’s head is that he doesn’t give up, he simply won’t. And also, he does not believe in failure; he never fails and he will try to get the most out of him until he succeeds. Maybe even then, he will set himself new goals, a new achievement, a new IRONMAN challenge, just a new experience to prove to his body that it’s ready to step up to the next level, regardless of where it was, now it’s all about where it is going to be.
“That’s why I like what Kobe Bryant said that failure doesn’t really exist because when we train, we “fail” if we cannot complete something, and as we couldn’t complete it, then we try again and then if we can’t complete it again, then we analyze why, and then we do it until we know why. And if we learn why then we haven’t failed, we have actually learned something.”
With Airofit, Robson has reaffirmed what he already believed, that he could reach more and more, that he could prove everyone wrong and live a life that’s beyond what doctors expected him to after that brain injury back in 2016. Robson inspires all of us, Airofitters, and confirms that if you commit yourself enough, there’s a broad range of capabilities you can reach. It’s just a matter of mindset..and, of course, of breathing.