The Art Of Breath w/ Rob Wilson

Rob Wilson join us today to provide us with a deeper understanding of the breath. He comes from a formal education in manual therapy with 15+ years of experience as both a practitioner and teacher. Rob’s been traveling side by side with Brian Mackenzie teaching The Art Of Breath seminars.

He co-owns and operates CrossFit Virginia Beach with his wife. In addition to working with the Power Speed Endurance team, Rob was also a member of the world-renowned MobilityWod staff under the direction of Dr. Kelly Starrett.

His main sport background is youth martial arts including Jeet Kune Do (the philosophies of Bruce Lee), Judo, Muay Thai, and Maphiliindo Silat and Kali. Rob’s journey is about developing a deeper understanding of human performance to better serve those who wish to actualize their potential.

We talk about the difference between toxin and medicine, sympathetic tone, diaphragmatic breathing, fear and anxiety, and much more. P.S. — A 30 Day Breathing Challenge is SERVED for you to take on.

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    Show Notes

    • (16:25) – Optimal breathing
    • (24:15) – Training to improve yourself as a whole
    • (32:31) – Sympathetic tone
    • (36:06) – Fear & Anxiety
    • (48:38) – Difference between toxin and medicine
    • (51:27) – Motor control when breathing
    • (56:55) – Diaphragmatic breathing
    • (1:02:31) – 30 Day Challenge

    Podcast Transcript:

    Rob  00:00

    Hey, this is Rob Wilson and you’re listening to the Airborne Mind Show.

    Misbah Haque  (00:36):

    Hello, everyone, this is Misbah Haque. Thank you so much for joining me today. And welcome back to the show. Whether this is your first, second, 10th, or 30th episode, I appreciate you tuning in your time, your energy, your attention, and your ears mean the world to me. Without you listening, this show would not be where it is today. So once again, thank you. Before we get started, the biggest compliment that you can give is by leaving a review on iTunes, you have no idea how much that helps in terms of rankings, bringing more awareness to the show, and bringing on more interesting guests. So if you could take two or three minutes, not while you’re driving, but take two or three minutes go ahead, leave a review it would be greatly appreciated. Also, be sure to head over to the airborne mind comm where you can check out some free resources and the full show notes there as well. 

    Today’s episode is brought to you by revive RX. ReviveRX has played a huge role in my recovery over the last six months or so. If you are in the market for a post workout supplement or a protein supplement, and you want something that’s clean, that’s effective and that is simple. I highly recommend their products. I obviously use them myself. I personally love the Recover formula in the strawberry flavor and I take four scoops after my training sessions. If you want some education around is a protein supplement right for you what’s the difference between recover and rebuild and honestly just some good basic nutrition information. I shot a couple of videos with Marcus Filly that you can get on my site exclusively be And if you would like to get a 10% discount on revive RX supplements, head over to and enter the code miz10 M I Z 1 0 Once again, that’s miz10. 

    Today, my guest is Rob Wilson. Rob teaches the art of breath seminar side by side with Brian Mackenzie. He comes from a formal education in manual therapy with over 15 years of experience as both a practitioner and teacher. He is the co-owner of CrossFit Virginia Beach. And in addition to working with the power speed endurance team, Rob has also worked with the world renowned mobility WOD staff under the direction of Dr. Kelly Stirrat. His main sport background is youth martial arts. He’s practiced many, many disciplines, which I won’t even try to pronounce. But somewhere the philosophies of Bruce Lee, Judo, Muay Thai and many more. Like many coastal kids, Rob grew up surfing and skating as well. And that’s where he kind of developed his love for the ocean and nature at an early age. Rob is really passionate about developing a deeper understanding of human performance to better serve those who actually wish to actualize their potential.

    So if you’re somebody who falls in that boat, you’re going to enjoy today’s episode, because we dig deeper, as I’ve gotten a chance to gain more exposure to these breath protocols. Several weeks since I last chatted with Brian Mackenzie. And since that episode was released, more questions kind of came up for me so I had a chance to discuss these with Rob and he gave me many things to think about and a different perspective on how to kind of view the art and the science of breath. We just dug deeper. So I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. And more importantly, I hope you do something with it. Rob, welcome to the show.

    Rob  (04:41):

    Thanks Misbah appreciate you having me on man.

    Misbah Haque  (04:44):

    Yeah, I’m really excited because I had a chance to talk to Brian Mackenzie about breathing and he’s given a lot of insight over two episodes and he’s talked about you as well. And so it’s about time that I’ve had you on getting your perspective is going to be really valuable.

    Rob  (05:01):

    There you go. You froze up, man. Sorry.

    Misbah Haque  (05:05):

    No worries. So give me just a little bit of context and some background as to how you got into this breathing arena. I know your background is kind of in physical therapy. But how did that bridge or that connection come to happen between the two for you?

    Rob  (05:23):

    Let me just start off by saying, I’m so impressed that you gave Brian two episodes. I feel I need to stretch all my answers out to get at least two episodes out of it. So that’s a good conversation. So Brian will take you down some roads, for sure. That’s my boy. So the breath journey for me has been kind of an interesting and circuitous one.  It wasn’t a very direct row. Some people are like how’d you get into the breathwork? Let’s see. Last year or two years ago, I heard about Wim Hof. Then I went from Wim Hof. And I did this and then I did this and bottomed right. For me, it wasn’t quite that linear. It was far more circuitous. First of all, many things in life have some early influences around our thinking or behavior that we might not even be aware of yet. And then, it’s only later when we become more mature that some of those things sort of codify into a tangible idea. So for me, I grew up around a lot of martial arts practices. And specifically, my first serious martial arts study was judo from seven till I was about 13. And then, when I was 13, I started doing Muay Thai and judo, which is the philosophical martial art of Bruce Lee. And we did all kinds of integrated martial arts systems in that. And breathing is an important part of that now, in the way that it’s sort of being looked at, and we’re doing it now. 

    Not necessarily, but it was talked about, and you knew that it was important. And probably in my teen years, I was super obsessed with martial arts practices and Buddhism, specifically Zen, and some of the Zen practices. And so, I was meditating as a kid, in my teens, or at least playing with it, experimenting with it, but I still didn’t really realize quite how important the breath was. And I would say my first formal exposure was in college. Maybe when I was 18, or 19, I had to take a PE credit. And I decided to take yoga because any late teens, young man, I was interested in meeting girls. So there were a lot of girls in yoga class, and I was like, whoo, all right, let’s, let’s go meet some ladies. And I went into yoga class. AMmy first wake up call was that I was horribly inflexible at the time. And I actually was, I was really fortunate because the instructor actually was an old school I and our yoga instructor who is a very knowledgeable woman. And I ended up getting a lot out of her class. I really ended up taking the practice quite seriously. And sort of forgetting about my original base instinct reason for going. And I really got into yoga practice pretty deep. I had a few serious instructors over about six or seven years, and different styles of pranayama were my first sort of real introduction to a formal nomenclature around breath practice. One thing that sort of turned me off about it was that first of all, most of that language has been sort of CO opted, by the New Age community. 

    And then the other thing is that most of those terms don’t have a really, really good contextual relationship for the current cultural environment that we find ourselves in. Even  in its homeland like India. If the terminology is antiquated, it’d be walking around using Latin names for trees that you see, that’s a dead language and we have better terminology that is more widely understood. So why stay attached to that, so I did that yoga practice pretty seriously and, and maintained some sort of breath practice or meditation through that time. And then I would say, to some degree naturally, sort of understanding that cadence and breath were important in not only my theory pewter background, but also coaching athletes. That there’s sort of an intuitive understanding that, when somebody is sort of hyperventilating, even in training, that they don’t have control over their mental state, right, and they’re sort of giving themselves away to the stress that’s going on. So one thing actually ended up becoming sort of a thing that is said at our gym now is breathe on purpose. And that was a thing I started seeing years ago, before I had any sort of understanding of the cadences and rhythms that we use in the art of breath now, just just taking control over it and not letting the tail wag the dog. 

    So that was sort of all culminating and coming together. And then probably a few years ago, I came across Wim Hoffs work through your Kelly store, it was a friend of mine as well. And he’s like many check this stuff out. It’s really cool. And I just went, I’m a, by nature, a very obsessive person, when something sort of sticks to my brain, I just won’t let it go until I know as much as I can about it. And I did the Wim Hof course. And I was like what’s going on here? There’s something to this. And I wanted to understand more about the physiology of what’s happening. And then I started integrating my old yoga pranayama training and like, wait, what’s the relationship between these two? Are they doing something different? Do they do the same thing? Do they all do the same thing for everybody? Or is it mine to do this for me and other people do this? And I had a lot of questions. And so Kelly linked me up with Brian. And Brian. And I ended up having a couple of really good phone calls. And he came out to my wife and I own CrossFit Virginia Beach for about 12 years. 

    And so Brian came out and presented his old school performance breathing course here. And he and I just really hit it off. And he was like you’re really deep into this work. And I want to be involved. And I need to teach this, like, I need to understand this and teach this. So I ended up going out to XBT and XBT events, when Brian was still involved with XBT. And I went out and talked with him there. And again, just sort of solidified our chemistry, we just, our personalities, just mesh really well together. And really, we’ve just been sort of CO experimenters in that space, probably for about two years. And it’s just, the rabbit hole keeps opening up. And the more the more the more doors I open, then, if I open a door, it leads to five doors, every time with breath work. Because it’s really old stuff. It’s not like this is new, it’s not like a new thing we’re trying to harness or it’s not like it’s a new set of human problems that we’re trying to solve. I feel like what we’re doing that’s really different is we’re being more specific for one, but also we’re applying a modern and universal nomenclature, to breath practice that is secular, it’s apart from a philosophical system. So you really don’t have to have any kind of philosophical paradigm shift in order to, buy into the heart of the breath, because we’re about just sort of brass tacks principles underlying all breath practices. 

    And not necessarily what’s this method? What’s this style? What’s this philosophy, it’s what’s really happening here, and then call it whatever you want, we don’t care. So that’s where it sort of brought me to the present day and in developing the seminars. And so what we feel like is the current live seminar, which we feel like is probably the most cohesive introduction to breath work because I think when a lot of people go into breath practice, there’s a lot of assumed knowledge. And there even was on our part, when we started presenting, and we realized, most people don’t have 15 years of human performance work behind them. They don’t have anatomy and physiology training. They might have a large spectrum of body awareness. And so, teaching something that’s more subtle in nature, like breath practice, requires a very simple and foundational layer that needs to be in place before some of these more potent and advanced practices are introduced into people’s lives. They need a base layer and really what happened was, Brian at I constructed the course we’d wished we’d had.

    Misbah Haque  (15:04):

    That’s the best way to kinda do things?

    Rob  (15:06):

    If I could start this over, where would I begin? And it’s, for us, it’s basic things, Well, where is your diaphragm? How do you find it? How do you operate it? Things that. So yeah, it’s been a very long and circuitous path. For me, it’s you coming back to breathwork. And what happens is, I sort of go through wave periods of my sort of what we would call a formal breathing practice. But now it’s just integrated into every aspect of my life. So, everything’s mobility practice, just mobility work, I was on a mobility WOD staff during its inception, and it’s not that I need to be constantly stretching, it’s just you just start moving differently, and you move well, and if you have a full range of motion, and you use it on a regular basis, then you just keep it, but iwhen I’m teaching classes, people are how are you? So mobile? How are you? How are you so flexible? And I like, it because I have a full range of motion, and I use it. And so then my body has a reason to keep it. I am not spending all this time laying on the floor with lacrosse balls and rolling around and doing all this corrective work, because I already possess the range, I just need to maintain it, which is the idea. 

    Optimal breathing

    Misbah Haque  (16:25):

    This kind of circling back to what you said about breathing on purpose is that it has. I’m assuming that’s because we’ve kind of lost that ability over time. As technology has kind of furthered and we’ve just become busier overall, it’s like, we’re still breathing. But the way that were breathe is not optimal, right? You can see a lot of issues and movement, you can see, I think I’ve heard you talk about issues, and even jaw structure, and things that, that can happen from long periods of, breathing incorrectly or not sufficiently. So that is why there’s so much attention now, days around a breath practice is we’re kind of circling back to what was natural, and what was kind of a part of us, but we’re starting to lose it as other things simply kind of start to occupy our mind.

    Rob  17:24

    There’s sort of a multiple, there’s multiple answers there. Right? So I’ll tell you one thing is that, a lot of times in, in the fitness and an overall sort of wellness spaces, there’s this idea of what is natural, that I think can be misleading. And the reason is that there is no such thing as something that is not natural, because we are a part of nature. So even if we’re doing something less optimal, the adaptation that led us there is still natural that our body followed the signal we were giving it right. But what the real question is, is what we’re doing optimally for what we want. Yeah. And that’s the on purpose part, it’s me understanding, am I? Is my behavior going to directly and positively affect the outcome that I want? And do I even know what that outcome is? And you, you see this in coaching spaces all the time, you ask people, what’s your what do you want? What do you want to get out of this? They’re crushing themselves day after day, they’re working so hard, they’re dying, and then you ask them what they want? And they can’t answer that simple question. And if you don’t know what you want, then how do you reverse engineer what you’re doing? It’s impossible. And so it’s the same thing with the breath work. 

    So the on purpose part doesn’t mean I need to be fully conscious of every breath that I’m taking throughout the day, it’s probably not possible. And if it is, who would want to do it? There are way more fun things to do and to think about. But it’s in the moment. am I allowing my physiological reaction to the stress that I’m undergoing, in this specific case? Training stress? Am I allowing that to drag me into a state of physiology that is less optimal in achieving the outcome that I desire? Or does it match? So now, it does take a mature person and a mature athlete to put themselves in that space? Because sometimes that requires a shift in focus and consciousness where you can’t hide behind the simplicity of just suffering.

    So a lot of people just fall into suffering, because they use training as this sort of amnesiac. Yeah, if you will, forget about the other sort of unpleasant things that day that they don’t want to deal with. And for me, That’s a terrible waste of time. Right? When we’re talking about breath work, whether it’s a formal breath practice, or whether I’m integrating it in a training session, it’s just about some level of consciousness about what am I doing? And what am I getting from it? Right? Because time for all of us is finite. Right? We’re all falling apart. So there is no time to waste. Right? So am I good? Am I optimizing this? If I’m going to work this hard? If I’m going to give this much energy, then don’t shouldn’t I get as much as of what I want out of this? Yeah, right. And people would use that same logic to apply to almost anything else. But when they get into physical, physical movements, or stress, they can forget it. So the breathe on purpose game, because I could see people’s physiology dragging them around, where they would be in a stress, a stress mind state, because of their, in this specific case, because of their training stress. 

    And I would say breathe on purpose, because sometimes, without inserting any specific protocol, just the simple act of becoming aware that it was happening was enough to create some change, and just people go and take a pause and focus, right, so it’s more just about focusing their mental state in that case. And now it’s evolved into more specific instructional cueing and commands, but especially at the time, and I that’s something I’ll still say, because shouting out to the class, Cadence one a that’s not very motivating. And that’s not when somebody is under stress, you have to keep your cueing as simple as possible. So sometimes just, hey, breathe on purpose, and then that person can fall into whatever other habit they’ve put in place, or you’ve helped them develop. But  that’s sort of where that’s come from, over time, and how I see it being applied best, if you will.

    Misbah Haque  (22:11):

    yeah, it’s, it’s kind of like when you start food logging that the act of you logging your food is a reflective experience in and of itself, that sometimes signals you to make some type of change. When you see what you’re eating on paper or on your phone day, by day, you’re like, there’s a certain communication that’s happening from you writing it down, and you staring at it. And it seems  this is somewhat of a, similar process. I want to use myself as kind of an example here, because I’ve been doing this for five or six weeks. And certain questions have kind of arose for me as well, that I think could be of use for listeners. I know with Brian, we’ve discussed how breathing can impact performance. But what if we think about just health and longevity and sustainability in day to day life and having mental acuity and energy to everything you’re kind of doing? How can we use these breath protocols or breathing practices as a way to impact that, what’s going on physiologically? When I do my am session, my pm session, my tasks switch, what’s the bigger picture thing that is happening inside of me that is going to help me? YIn performance, really, I guess, but day to day life versus training?

    Rob  (23:37):

    I’m sorry, you broke up just at the very end there. Could you repeat the end of that question for me?

    Misbah Haque  (23:43):

    Instead of thinking about how this is helping me with training stress, if I was now to shift it to how this is helping me on a day to day basis, and my work, and just coaching and things of that nature, mental acuity energy and things that physiologically, what’s going on inside of me from doing these different protocols am pm, tasks switch and things like that.

    Rob  (24:10):

    Sure. So I’ll give you a general answer. And then I’ll give you.

    Training to improve yourself as a whole

    Misbah Haque  (24:15):

    I know, we could go deep on that.

    Rob  (24:16):

    I’ll give you a specific answer. Okay, so my, my general answer is, what’s the difference? Right? So if you’re improving yourself, in training, right, let’s just say, sorry to wax poetic on you, but if you have a purpose in your training, to improve yourself, it’s to improve yourself wholly, right, as a person. Obviously, you want to improve your sports performance, but our training doesn’t exist inside this, this bubble that is separate from the rest of our being and I think that’s, that’s where people get into trouble in a lot of different ways is is that we put this bubble around our training, our training, stress and our training, the benefits that we get from it sort of exist in this bubble outside of it. But just to give a very simple example here, everybody knows that if you become better and stronger in the gym, you become more useful outside, right? Like, do you see somebody who needs help carrying things out of the store, you feel able, you’re more likely to go help them because you feel able to, right. And in the same way, the breath practice the awareness that it brings to your mental state while you’re under duress. And the ability to have to feel you have some measure of control over your physiological response to stress. It’s the same. It’s that, hey, I can use this very simple and universal tool to change my mental state, to change my physical state, and to alter my physiology very, very rapidly. 

    And it doesn’t matter if I’m in the gym in the middle of a really hard training session, or if it’s the end of the night, and I’ve had a really hard day at work, right? Because physiologic stress, to some degree, especially on the neuroendocrine level, is received the same by your system. Right. So, more specifically, though, to answer your question, what we’re talking about when we do an am session pm session, to some degree, there’s some principle of individual response there, right? Depends on who you are in the morning and what you require, but generally speaking, it is about bringing focus and intention to your day. So even five minutes in the morning, for me is enough, if I’m focused on a specific concept that I’m exploring, then I can spend a long time in my practice, doing some research and development, but generally, five to 10 minutes is my, daily norm in the morning. And, because I have a really precise protocol that I’ll use, and it brings my energy up, but not in that sort of over-caffeinated, super energetic way. But just a very clear focus about what it is that I need to do and even the order in which I need to do it, right. So it just enlivens creativity, right? In your cognition, because it’s really hard to be creative. If you’re tipping towards what we call a sympathetic tone. So I can talk a little bit more about that physiology, right? And then, and then in the evening, right? 

    What happens is a lot of people go from work, right. And I imagine that most of the population that listens to your podcast is a fitness population, right. So a lot of people do their fitness thing, after work, right. So they spend all day at work. And then they go to the gym, they get pumped up at the gym, their nervous system is jacked up, they have something to eat. And then they basically try to go to bed. Soon thereafter, right, especially people who come to later classes or do longer training sessions. And so you’re basically asking your central nervous system to operate like a toggle right on-off. And we’re way more complex than that. We’re more, like a dial on a combination safe. And we need to slowly wind that system down. And that’s not the case for everybody. Some people can downshift very easily. I’m like that. So I can downshift. Fast. I can go from pretty peeked out. And then kind of lay down on the floor. And I’m out if I choose. Other people who tend to be a little bit higher on the anxiety spectrum might not wind down so easily and need to tune their system down. Or if they were just exposed to a higher level of stress. They might need to tune their system down for a while, I know for me, even though I tend to be a really chill person, just by nature. There’s one class a week where I go to jiu-jitsu and I roll at night and spar at night. 

    And I usually don’t get home until around nine or so. And it takes me a while to come down from that if I don’t purposefully take steps to bring my nervous system down. Because I’m so amped I’ve been so focused and basically all things being equal. I’ve been fighting, right. So all this physical activity, intense mental focus, followed by fake fighting with people. So some people will just stay up, stay up, stay up. You got to find a way to bring that system down and then just to allude to The physiology a little bit. So we have what’s called autonomic tone, right? So autonomic tone refers to your autonomic nervous system, which controls things that are generally below your level of conscious awareness, heartbeat, your breathing, blood pressure, all those kinds of things that are normally below your conscious level of awareness. And one of those is the flight or freeze response. Right. And that’s the sympathetic fight or flight freeze response. And then on the other side, we have the parasympathetic, which is sort of the Rest Digest procreate side, we’re never totally in one or the other, just one is sort of upregulated. And one is sort of down really regulated, based on things like genetics, behavior, environment, choice. 

    There are a lot of factors. And so some of us might be that our autonomic tone is basically were in that continuum, we are sitting at the moment some people’s personalities and behavior, tipping them, in general, more towards a sympathetic response. Now, on the positive side, those people tend to be go-getters, very motivated type A action-oriented people, and they get a lot of shit done, right. My wife’s like that. She’s very sympathetic, dominant in general, and tends to be very action-oriented. I tend to be more parasympathetic, more easygoing, sometimes too easygoing, right? If you’re too parasympathetic, you can become lethargic, lazy? So it’s where in that spectrum do I want to be? And then how do I make adjustments with my breathwork to push myself in the direction I want to go. So for me, sometimes, I need to bring myself up when I might not necessarily want to be right. So I tend to before training hard, as I’m warming up, use some faster breath work to get me up and going and moving faster and tighten my focus up. Whereas some people need to take it a little bit slower, move into it easier, or they’ll overshoot it, right and get too stimulated and almost feel tired by the time it’s time to perform. That makes sense.

    Sympathetic tone

    Misbah Haque  (32:31):

    So is that kind of what happens if you lean towards that sympathetic tone, and you’re in that state? I mean, I mean, the way you described it almost all the time, right? You wake up, you go straight to work, you go from work to the gym, you go home, and you sleep, and you rinse and repeat. Like what happens over time, if you’re constantly leaning towards that sympathetic tone?

    Rob  (32:53):

    Well, I mean, some people buffer it incredibly well, until they break, oh, you can definitely have some some problems with organ dysfunction, things  that, because you have low levels of like, vasoconstriction, right, so you’re not getting as good blood flow to those areas, things like that. But one of the probably easiest things to prove is his chronic hyperventilation or, or in the boucicault method, which is a Russian breathing method, they would call it over breathing. In which case, you would constantly be offloading high levels of carbon dioxide from your body and in effect, slowly, over time getting less oxygen to tissues, right. So you just have this sort of general, for lack of a better term, it’s not hypoxia in the truest sense. But for our purposes, you’re not optimizing your carriage of oxygen to tissues in order to keep them healthy. Does that make sense? Right, because did Brian talk to you guys about the chemistry behind carbon dioxide and oxygen? When he was on?

    Misbah Haque  (34:09):

    A little bit.

    Rob  (34:12):

    So that’s one of the things that happens in sort of a chronically sympathetic or chronically stressed state is, is over breathing. And your tolerance for carbon dioxide gets very low to offload a lot of co2, and as a result, your body transports oxygen far less effectively to your tissues. Does that mean you can’t be a good athlete, or executive or soldier or whatever? You can buffer that stuff for a long time, pretty much until you can’t. And then when it’s just there’s just people who are very good athletes who move absolute shit, and they’re still the best in the world. But the question, Are they the best they can be? So what we’re, what we’re interested in is optimization? It’s really interesting. And it’s a very deep rabbit hole with all that physiology, and what we find is there are some general rules and principles, but exactly where somebody sits in that spectrum is very individual and can change. It can change pretty quickly. And not everybody responds to what we would call a stressor in the same way. What some of the research stuff that we’ve been doing with Stanford Medicine has been about is about identifying what are the markers for different states, and what really are the markers for when somebody identifies a stressor and how their body deals with it. So it’s really interesting stuff. And again, there are some sort of general rules within there’s individuality.

    Fear & Anxiety

    Misbah Haque  (36:06):

    I love how you frame the physiology of all this. It’s very digestible and easy to understand, how does fear and anxiety play into all of this, because you mentioned a little earlier, your body, to some extent can’t tell the difference between the stress you’re getting from training versus the stress that, at the end of a long, hard day at work, potentially. So does that mean that, when somebody is experiencing fear or anxiety, we’re also triggering that sympathetic state. And we can essentially, we’re leaning towards an almost living in that chronically, a lot of people might be if they experience a lot of fear and anxiety, a lot of stress from work, maybe lifestyle stress, and then their training on top of that, how do we even how do we know when is? What is too much?

    Rob  (36:58):

    Great question. So that’s the whole idea, right, is to develop, to develop systems of sensitivity, so that, so that, when it’s too much, and I mean, to some degree, if you’re listening to your body, performance will usually tell you when you have sort of unknown decreases, and unexpected decreases in performance. Unfortunately, that’s usually the last thing that happens and not the first one. But just to answer your question on the level of physiology when we look at, fear, fear is really important. Fear, when I see the sort of Fufu,  don’t fear, choose love over fear, and stuff that,  is not a choice, it is a built-in response, in order to perpetuate your species that you don’t want when it’s time to be scared, it’s because there’s a threat to your safety, right? You need fear. Sometimes it’s important and it can prepare and ready your body for action and in a way that nothing else can fear is super important, right? But it is meant for the short term to save my life right now stuff. It’s a very base instinct, where you either prepare to run away from danger, or you freeze and hide. Very few things. instinctually fight. Usually, that’s a learned behavior or kind of a statistical anomaly. But most things prepare to flee. Now, physiologically, what’s happening is a heart rate goes up, respiration goes up. 

    We have less blood flow, the organs more blood flow to soft tissue, we get tense, our nervous system keys up, we start releasing acetylcholine, which is a transmitted neurotransmitter, right? We’re right. It’s basically readiness to go readiness for action. Anxiety, on the other hand, is a low-level fear response to something that is not a threat. It’s a fear response to a non-threatening stimulus. That is, that is anxiety. And a lot of us are walking around with this sort of low-level nervousness and stress response. And some of it is visual in nature, we receive an overload of visual stimulation on a constant basis where eyes are focused on very narrow points of view. And this is something that Dr. Huberman from Stanford Neuroscience talks a lot about and how much the visual cortex plays a part in the fear response. I don’t want to quote his work, but he might be somebody you’d want to talk to you in the future. But the visual response systems are incredibly important for identifying fear markers. And because of the amount of very narrow, focused visual stimuli we have, and the sort of high rate of workloads that we put ourselves under, etc, we can sort of being in this low level of anxiety, this sort of low hum of anxiety for long periods of time, and not really realize it until it builds to a crest. 

    And this is when you see people burn out. People have emotional problems, stress, sleep disorders, it manifests itself in a lot of different ways. What most people though, I was alluding to earlier, is they will use exercise as a way to deal with their stress, I’m sure you have heard that before. People like how I get my stress out. And I’m like, it kind of is. But it’s because your brain releases some super amazing chemicals because it’s a very concentrated dose of stress. And so your body goes, you’ve just done a bunch of damage, and we have to deal with it. So it releases these chemicals from your brain that make you feel better, so you won’t do more of that stuff. And then it starts healing you and you get stronger. And what it should be is a measured dose of stress. And as coaches were trained to look for some of these indicators, probably the one that comes up and is the most obvious is people lose the desire to train or move, mood, this is something that we talked about in the course, what are indicators of ready state? Or what are indicators of adaptation, adaptability? 

    And the mood is heat is one of the biggest indicators, the right mood tells you more about where a person is than anything else, any other physiological marker, anything else mood tells you so much. And if you’ve ever been a competitive athlete, or you’ve ever been a coach of a competitive team, or in charge of an athlete’s career or event, when you see them that day, the first thing you ask them is not, what’s your HRV? It’s hey, how are you feeling?  Do you want to know how they feel? And in the way that they answer you, I’m a good coach, then you’re like, wait for a second, what’s going on? You’re not fired up? What’s so that there’s that social cue that gives us so much information about somebody’s emotional status? Then the other thing that we look at is, these are sort of the three pillars kind of leads me into the three of our pillars for the art of breath. We have a state, which is sort of psycho-emotional status. Then we have mechanics, right? So when you see a consistent breakdown and motor control, somebody’s inability to effectively control their position in space under stress, then you go wait for a second, what’s happening?

    There are other factors, such as injury problems, where they are in their learning stage as an athlete and their athletic development, things like that. But, if you have an ongoing relationship, and then somebody seems to be digressing for no other logical explanation, and they, they’re, they’re having trouble moving well, or controlling their mechanics, that’s another indicator. And then there are other interesting neurological tests, you can do tap tests, and range of motion tests and things that people use um, Zach Greenwald from strength ratio. He used Yeah, he uses a J-curl test, which is brilliant.

    Misbah Haque  (43:50):

    He’s on to talk about that. 

    Rob  (43:52):

    Was he? So that J curl test is really brilliant. Kudos to Zack if he listens to this, and then usually, we have some kind of physiological tests in for us the breathwork. And specifically, we do a carbon dioxide test which has been the deepest indicator, right? Because of your entire metabolic system. It to some degree is regulated by your breathing. So that’s all about chemical regulation inside the body, and so we have these three pillars that come up over and over for us state mechanics and physiology, to how to use the breath, how to know where it is, what am I indicators for adaptation, and it’s such a broad, broadly applicable and thus far in our experience, the universal pattern for identification. We go into some detail about it at the art of breath seminar. But, but yeah, those are some of the metrics that you can use, and honestly, if we’re, if we’re honest with ourselves, most of us know when we’re doing too much. Yeah, most of us really, we really do know when, why am I doing this? And again, if you’re keeping your training in context, right, then, for me, I’m not a CrossFit Games athlete, I’m not a pro sport. I’m not a pro athlete. So for me, I have to keep it in, why am I doing this? 

    It’s to enhance the rest of my life outside of that place. And so sometimes if I’m not, if I’m not, and I’ve been doing some kind of hard physical training my whole life, I don’t remember a time in my life when I was not doing some hard physical training. So it’s not just a matter of like, hey, toughen up or anything like that. It’s, hey if I’m not feeling right, today, something is going on. And that doesn’t mean do nothing, either. Some people are like, oh, so if I don’t feel good, I’m not supposed to ever train? No, if I did that, I would never fucking train. I don’t feel like lYahoo all the time. Most days. I just feel like I’m training today. But you can modulate volume, intensity, movement, choice, duration of the session, how many days a week, were you doing it, there are a lot of variables that you can control to alter that input of training stress. And what’s different about most of the other environmental stresses that we encounter is that we have no control over those. So you don’t have any control of your bosses and asshole, you don’t have control. If the bus is late, and you work in a city, you don’t have control, necessarily, if your car breaks unless you fail to maintain it properly. 

    There are just so many all my kids got up late,  my husband or wife was being a jerk today. And I had to deal with that. There are so many variables, it’s raining and I forgot my umbrella or whatever. There are so many things that are outside of our control and stressors that we have no choice but to deal with. Training, stress is one that we have all the control over. And people use it as a merit badge if they use suffering as a merit badge. And some of that is just because we have this really nice, long, deeply ingrained, Judeo-Christian work ethic of suffering. ingrained in our culture. That sort of informs  He Who suffers most is best. But for me anyway, suffering isn’t necessarily good or bad. It’s just for what am I giving myself to? 

    And am I getting out of this time what I want again, and so it comes back to that context, why am I doing it? So yeah, I mean, there are always indicators there. And most of them, once they’re described to you, is very intuitive. You’re like if suddenly I’m squatting and I’m like, why can’t I? Why can’t I go down as far? Why don’t I feel comfortable there? I don’t have an injury or anything. Why doesn’t this feel right today? Because something’s off. So respect that I’m not in a really good mood. I don’t really feel training and the workouts are a crusher today. Back off and go easy. Don’t do it as much, what do I mean? Respect your state respect, your mechanics respect your physiology.

    Difference between toxin and medicine

    Misbah Haque  (48:38):

    There’s definitely a paradigm shift that has to happen with that, because you’re right, it’s become this, that mentalities become ingrained in our culture. Looking at this, from a perspective, as a coach, I can think of so many situations, especially since we’re all about individual design, when people come to us and we take a look at their lifestyle and all these other factors beyond training as to how all these things correlate. You can really measure the dosage in so many ways and affect these variables through tempo, volume, intensity, and  you said, to kind of enhance the effect that training is having and not be counterproductive to what their goals are. So that to me is really interesting. 

    Rob  (49:27):

    I’m sorry to interrupt here. I’ll tell you, I had this really amazing ANP anatomy physiology teacher. It’s one of my very first instructors in school. And he said this amazing thing to our class, we were just sort of having an open discussion and he said, Do you guys know what the difference between toxin and medicine is? And everybody was kinda like. Dose ha dose. The difference between toxin and medicine is dose. Morphine and heroin are the same thing. It’s just how much do you get? It’s a matter of how much not putting a value judgment on it. I think those are really important things to keep in perspective. I understand where the sort of toughen up mentality came from, because there is this sort of dichotomy in our culture where some people really wear the bandit badge of honor around suffering, and toughness. 

    And on the other hand, we have people who are complete pennyways, if you’ll excuse my French, but  who will crumble, who are triggered by any slight in life, scoff at them. And so that toughen up, came because in nature, whenever there’s an imbalance in one direction, something else appears to balance it out. And what some of this swing towards awareness represents is some balancing out I think, in the center, because working, understanding how to grind and work super hard, and just putting your head down and not complaining and not being a special little snowflake is super important. If you have a goal you want to accomplish, but abusing yourself, just for the sake of checking the box is foolish.

    Motor control when breathing

    Misbah Haque  (51:27):

    Agreed. I love that I want to kind of carry this over into maybe you can give some insight into the breathing protocol that I’ve been doing for the aim, which was a one, the 132. And originally, what I got back from my assessment was a second inhale, 24 second hold, and then 16 Second exhale. And I’ll be honest with you, I could not maintain that for more than like, two cycles,  I would do two cycles. And then I’d try to catch my breath and take a normal breath, and then try to jump back in. And I gave it a good week or two, and maybe even three weeks, and it did get better. But I still wasn’t able to maintain that for like, 10 good cycles. And that’s when I reached out to Brian was like this is really hard. Should I keep just taking a stab at it? Or should I back it down? And he told me to back it down a bit. What is it about inhaling that slowly? And then I think the hold is one thing, I get that part I can hold and I can force myself to do it. But the inhale and the exhale, trying to do it with that much control. And for that duration of time. Why is it that it’s so difficult?

    Rob  (52:50):

    The exhale specifically, first of all, has a lot to do with your co2 tolerance. So I imagine if you were given an eight, you’re given an 82412. So your (inaudible) 16 Excuse me? 82416. 132. Sorry. Simple math, man, I’m a coach. So that probably means your co2 tolerance test was like, what? 41 or 42? Second exhale. 

    Misbah Haque  (53:26):

    I believe so.

    Rob  (53:27):

    That seems. Which is, we would put that in like, average, that’d be like, pretty average. 60 seconds is where we go like, we’re, it’s good. And then 7075 or more seconds is like, you’re a baller, you’re you’re balling. One of the first things that happens, especially with the so the exhale, control to some degree is an expression. I assume this is all nasal too.

    Misbah Haque  (53:56):

    Yes. at least I’m trying to.

    Rob  (53:59):

    Some of this is mechanical control, right, and understanding how to control the musculature in your throat. To close the airway a little bit more, and then slowly release the diaphragm. If you think about it, this, just just from a mechanical perspective, not even talking about the chemistry that’s going on, but just from a simple mechanical perspective, two weeks really isn’t that much time to practice a skill. So it’ll take some, especially something that’s more subtle in nature, your diaphragm and your intercostals. So it’ll take some time to develop just enough awareness around those tissues, and probably the first thing that will happen is you’ll start feeling them better. And then you’ll get better control over them just because you’ll have a relationship with where they are in space, I would say was sometime in the last six months or so. I felt my lungs. Most people think they feel their lungs, but what you’re really feeling is your ribs. But in the last six months or so, I started feeling my lungs,  the literal space of my lungs moving. And that, I’ll tell you what that trip that tripped me out.

    Misbah Haque  (55:21):

    It tripped me out just thinking about it.

    Rob  (55:23):

    You feel your organs move like crazy. Because we’re so fixated on our musculoskeletal system. But that’s the first thing it’ll happen is you’ll start to get more awareness around your diaphragm. And if you’re not doing any diaphragm smashing, I would recommend that because it’ll give you if you want to, we have some resources on PSC brief. Dr. Kelly starts work and supple leopard, he has some diaphragm release. Jill Miller yoga Tsuna, has diaphragm release work. That’s all good stuff, for just developing some simple mechanical awareness. And generally, the same thing with the inhale is that we’re not used to. We’re not used to feeling what it’s like for air to go that deep. And so most of us our sense, our sensory relationship with our airway is only about half. It’s our chest.

    But we don’t realize how far down those lungs go. They go really far. And so we don’t have a good relationship with their movement with either the ventilation, which is the musculoskeletal component of breathing or with the organ component. And what you’ll find is that that’s easier to control. And once that starts to be controlled, the physiology will follow suit really, really quickly. So usually, it’s mechanics first, and the physiology starts to shift very closely there behind. But in my experience, you don’t get one without the other.

    Diaphragmatic breathing

    Misbah Haque  (56:55):

    So one thing I think about diaphragmatic breathing is something that is talked about, within performance, but in many other realms as well I did an improv comedy class for quite some time. And that was something that we were really stressed to do was  you should when you’re talking, you should be really amplifying your voice to be able to project to the people who are in the audience, when you’re coaching and this was at Invictus has bigger classes, and I had a tougher time projecting my voice. So that was one of the pieces of feedback I got was , hey, breathe through your, breathe into your diaphragm and speak from there. And then that led me into taking this voice lesson course, where you’re doing these vocal exercises and things of that nature. And a lot of that stems from you being able to access your diaphragm and kind of speak from there, essentially. So how, and I’ve had a tough time with it. But how difficult? Is it to get somebody to feel that is there an exercise you could give us right now that people who are listening could mess around and be, Oh, this is this is what it feels just to bring some proprioceptive awareness to it.

    Rob  (58:10):

    Probably the simplest thing is for somebody just to lay down on their back, with their feet on the floor up pretty close to there. But maybe six to eight inches away from there. But you can even put your legs up on a chair if it feels more comfortable. And the reason is, we want to take any anterior tilt out of the pelvis, right, so we want to neutralize the pelvic position. And then what you do is you take your hands, you basically make the letter C, with each hand, put them on the very bottom ribs, and you slide them around to about halfway towards the back. So your hands are sort of like your thumb is almost partially cupped underneath your low back. So if you lift weights, it’s where your two little bread loaves are. You’ll be back there. And as you inhale, what you want to feel is your bottom ribs move first, and where the top of your lumbar spine will depress down towards the floor. So as you inhale the bottom ribs and the top of your lumbar spine, which should be the same space. We’ll push down towards the floor. And as you continue to inhale, you’ll feel your middle ribs start to move out and back. And then as you continue to inhale, and once most people are down there, they have a hard time continuing to draw enough air in to get all the way up. But if you can, kudos, you’ll feel your upper ribs, lift and go back.

    Misbah Haque  (59:39):


    Rob  (59:40):

    So that’s a way to, and that’s the breath wave, right. And so thinking about breathing, you don’t want to breathe with just your diaphragm, right? There’s a complete mechanical system there for a reason. And it’s because we want to distribute the mechanical stress through as broad an area as possible. So it is not that we can’t only breathe with your diaphragm because you have intercostals in between your ribs that are super important to make space in between your individual, your individual ribs, right, so we just want to make sure we include the diaphragm. But when we talk about voice, a lot of projection comes not only from having enough air but knowing how to open your throat and your mouth enough for that air to make enough volume to carry into a room, right. So if you took a voice class, then, if right now I’m speaking at normal room tone, but just for, the sake of display, just for the sake of the experiment, I can easily change my voice, if I was going to talk to someone across the room who I’m not yelling, but I’m just talking louder in my normal voice, right. And that is because I held some tension in the bottom, and then my throat opened up.

    And so that is an understanding of projection. It’s really interesting. It’s the same thing that happens like if anybody’s ever taken to a striking art, boxing or Muay Thai, it’s that same time,  the impact on the pod. That yell across the room is that same, it’s or if you’re in karate tech, right? It’s a little bit of tension with the projection. So understanding those mechanics is really important and actually doing some of the exercises that you learned or rebooting some of the exercises that you learned in voice class. Where did you do any exercises where you do something like this? Where you voice control that. So if you do that, you do that, but you do it with your mouth closed? That’s you letting air out. You’re just getting less out. Because he vibration of air. That makes a sound. So if you’re doing your apnea, and you have your mouth closed, it’s your throat that you’re opening and closing to allow certain amounts of air out, right? You’re just not creating tension in your gut to push the sound out. So it’s just a little different intention. But it’s the same opening and closed control of that opening and closing. Does that make sense?

    30 Day Challenge

    Misbah Haque  (1:02:31):

    That’s amazing. So first, people can experiment with just kind of feeling their diaphragm by doing that simple exercise by lying flat on your back. And then the next thing, if somebody wanted to take this a step further what should they do? Like, post workout first thing in the morning at night? What’s kind of a way to dip your toe into the water?

    Rob  (1:02:58):

    How about this? How about tonight issue a challenge? 

    Misbah Haque  (1:03:02):

    So that’s perfect.

    Rob  (1:03:04):

    I would issue a challenge to your listener. So let’s just do, let’s do a month. I was gonna say two weeks don’t be a wimp if you’re gonna do a challenge. Give it 30 days, for the next 30 days, as long as you don’t have a competition or a test for sport. Every other training evolution, you do breathe through your nose only for one month. For all of it, it’s gonna suck, you’re gonna be mad at me, man, Rob Wilson said breathe through my nose, I’m slower, I don’t like it. I like to get number one on the scoreboard. My friends, your performance will go down, you’ll be slower because your pulmonary system won’t be used to drawing so little air at one time. But what will happen is you become so much more efficient and effective. At drawing air, your mechanics will get better and your aerobic base will get so much better than when you do go back to the other way, you’ll be like, I feel like I have nitrous in my system. If you can only do one thing, breathe through your nose because it’s the structure of your body. That’s mostly made for breathing. People hate it because they’re used to hanging their faces open. But let me just say this. Nobody ever thought being called a mouth breather was a compliment.

    Misbah Haque  (1:04:33):

    But do I know there’s somebody who’s probably going to be listening to this episode who I met at Invictus and he was at the endurance class. And every time he was I mean he forgot endurance class but  he adopted this methodology of experimenting with only knowing breathing for six weeks, I think it was and he said it was really hard you just described but now that is all he does. And he has this funny look on his face because he like kind of smile while he breathes through his nose. And you can see him just running around the track just totally looks relaxed. Even though inside he’s probably a little bit stressed. But it’s super interesting to me and I may actually take you up on that challenge and give that a shot.

    Rob  (1:05:16):

    I bet your apnea protocol will get way better so it’ll skyrocket. your body will have to deal with that buildup of co2. It’s pretty interesting. When I first started doing it, Brian, I started playing with it. I remember nasal only. And I was just telling Brian, this retested the other day, I maxed out my wattage on the assault bike when we first started playing with it last year, and I can only get sort of in the mid-eights nasal only breathing. And I maxed out my wattage. Last week nasal only breathing and it was 1589. Nasal only on the assault bike. So I’m not saying try for that because you can blow your sinuses out. And I have done that too. Like where I hurt myself being a dummy. That’s the price you pay. That’s the cross I bear to bring you guys good information. Experiments are so Butterman I would say just try nasal breathing, keep it, keep it smooth, keep it even as best you can for this month. Unless, again, unless it’s a test, or you’re competing, don’t all, if you’re competing. Don’t try to alter it. Don’t try to alter a big right. If you’re doing a one-rep max squat test. That’s a test. Don’t try to nasal they breathe when you’re doing that. Because you’ll it’ll bet brutal, you will be hard you won’t max out. So yeah, give it a try. Be fun.

    Misbah Haque  (1:06:49):

    Couple more rapid fires before I let you go. So let’s say that you had a couple of billion dollars. And you had a staff of 40 people. So these 40 people can be top performers, top thinkers in whatever it is that you’ve recruited them for. And you want it to use that to do something. Whether it’s some type of change pursuing some type of passion, whatever it might be, what would you do with that?

    Rob  (1:07:19):

    That’s a good question. a couple billion dollars, how to educate more people in the world?

    Misbah Haque  (1:07:34):

    Anything specific or just the concept of education and learning in general?

    Rob  (1:07:39):

    I think that first because there are so many places that are still very ill-educated, and most of them are still very violent because of it. Because people don’t see a way out of there. They don’t, they haven’t developed a good problem-solving metric. So they feel desperate and desperate people do desperate things, right, their mind is always on survival. A friend, a good friend of mine, at one point, was an intelligence officer in the Middle East, and I asked him, in his opinion, what was the number one thing we could do to help with all the problems there. And he said, teach more of those people how to read because most of them don’t even can’t even read their own religion. So they’re easy to manipulate. So he said, we could just, we could just increase literacy, it would solve a bunch of problems. So I think education is super important. More specifically, I would like to see more people in our country and abroad. 

    Learn basic logic and development of strong philosophy. So and when I say logic, I mean, in the truest sense, like Aristotelian or Socratic thinking, how do I develop a thesis about something, do research, prepare an argument, and then prepare to see, listen to other people, and either end debate, and then if I’m proven shaky on shaky ground, then to go back and rethink what my opinion is, and then formulate a newer and better thought process around that. And I think one of the things, unfortunately, a strong country as the one we live in, and I do love our country, a great deal. But one issue that I do have with our education system, and it’s not an easy one to solve, is that we have an education system based on memorization, and I do not fault educators, educators work super hard. And I have a lot of respect for people who go to work and educate kids especially. 

    But I do feel like there is this sort of lack of ability just to think on one’s feet for oneself. And you see this shift in the entrepreneurial space that most of the people who are making big waves in research and development and entrepreneurial spaces are not necessarily people who have gone and maximized the formal education path, they saw flaws very early and moved on. Again, not to say that there’s anything wrong with pursuing a formal sort of university direction education, I think it’s super important. It can be very powerful, especially on higher levels, but for most, it’s about, caters to the lowest common denominator. And as a result, people don’t really know how to think and I think some very simple problem sets would be solved if more of us could learn how to work together and to just think.

    Misbah Haque  (1:10:41):

    I love that. Let’s say that you’re still a billionaire, right? And you could give 123 books to every person in the nation or in the world, for that matter. What would they be?

    Rob  1:10:54

    That’s really hard because I really love a lot of books. I can tell you some that have influenced me, specifically. One is Iron John. And the subtitle of that is a book about men. And it has a lot to do with men’s role in culture and in a lot of different traditional cultures and specifically about the importance of Rites of Passage. For young men, specifically. And I think that’s something, not to I don’t want to give the wrong impression not to issue the needs of women at all. But I feel like for both men and women this book is is really important and it’s not written in a masochist this masochist or insensitive way at all actually talks about the importance of women in our culture, but I feel it’s a very timely and well thought out treatise on cultural roles. And whether whatever one that you choose to or feel like you fit in, but to realize that, the old Dallas’ the balance of the masculine and the feminine is very, very important for the health of any culture or society. And it uses the old fable Aizen Hans, which means iron John as this sort of anecdotal parable for displaying these concepts from the author’s point of view. It’s by Robert Bly, a fantastic book. What’s another book I go to a lot? 

    I’ve been very influenced by Eastern thinking, so shoot, I just lost it. Freedom From the Known by J by J. Krishnamurti is one of my favorite all-time books, which is just about understanding your own shortcomings and thinking and how you’re attached to your own ideas around yourself, your own thinking, what culture you come from, whatever philosophies you’ve been exposed to, and really developing freedom of freedom and clarity around thought. Jiddu Krishnamurti is a very interesting character and has written some amazing volumes. And if I had to give one more, I don’t know if I could. I think those two I’d sit here and just sort of ponder on. And I don’t want to burn your time. So I would say those two are great, those two are a great start. There are lots of amazing books out there that I have read. Those two are great. So yeah, I’ll just, I’ll just stop with those.

    Misbah Haque  (1:13:58):

    My last question for you is, is there something that you wish people would ask you more about something you don’t get asked enough about? So what I mean by that is like since you are really big in this breadth, space, I’m sure you get a lot of questions related to that specifically or you might get a lot of tactical questions as to what protocol should I do here and there but maybe there’s some bigger picture thinking or questions that you would like people to ask you is there anything that comes to mind?

    Rob  (1:14:35):

    I guess I could phrase it like this. There’s not something I wish that people would ask me more, but there’s something that I wish they would ask me less. And what I wish they would ask me less is for me to spoon-feed them. A today perfect call that will just work forever is that people want to a panacea for everything.  And what I wish, I guess I could say what people would ask me more about is, what’s the best way for me to develop my own understanding of this work?   Not like, not necessarily like what is so and so think and what is that? But, can you help me through the process of discovery? So it’s more about the tone of the question. I think it’s pretty normal for people to ask tactical questions first, because they’re easier to articulate to some degree, right? But I do personally enjoy it when I can tell that there’s an undercurrent of that person wanting to get their own understanding for themselves.

    Because if you have somebody who’s on a journey of self-discovery, then they’re valuable not just to themselves, but to their whole community.  So now I can learn from them too because I can only ever experience my own life. I can’t experience their life. So I can’t, I can’t learn from their life unless they’re trying to figure stuff out too. And then they share with me what they learned. So when I get exposed to somebody else who is in their own process of self-discovery, and maybe I can give them a nugget or something that makes them think, and then they come back and go, I tried this. And then I took it, and I did that. And hey, here’s what I learned. And I shared this, and they’re doing their thing. Those are the kind of questions and relationships that I really feel  I get the most, the most enjoyment out of.

    Misbah Haque  (1:16:45):

    Love that it. This reminds me of, I don’t know, if you ever read Steal Like an Artist by Austin? Kleon? Yes. Yeah, it’s like that. It’s like  you’re borrowing what is useful, and then you’re adding your own layering your own experiences and discovery on that. And in that process, it turns into this unique thing to you specifically.

    Rob  (1:17:06):

    As I said, I came from a martial arts background, largely G KUNDO. And so the philosophies of Bruce Lee, which are heavily influenced by Zen and Taoism, and have been a heavy influence on my thinking, and the main Treatise of G KUNDO. It absorbs what is useful, rejects what is useless, researches your own experience, and adds what is specifically your own. So those guidelines, find me over and over again. And you and you tend to find true thought leaders in any space, that one, they give credit to their predecessors, and to their peers. Right. They’re very open about who their influencers are. They know what they’ve tried and doesn’t work for them. And there, they will talk about it openly. I tried that, or no I did have not tried that. So I can’t speak about it. And then here’s what I took away, but not in a lot of definitive terms. Because once you start speaking very definitively, it’s a crystallization. And you’re no longer open to a process. And the reality is, none of us. 

    None of us know it all. We’re even in some things that we think we know about something as simple as muscle physiology. I don’t know if you’ve had Andy Galpin on before. But we don’t know shit about that. And it’s what most of our training philosophies are based on something that we just recently got good tools to measure. So we thought we knew all this stuff. Hey, guess what we don’t really know as much as we think. And that happens over and over. That’s why it’s much better, I think, to have a process-based approach to whatever you’re doing to go, I don’t really have all the answers. But here’s what my experience has been. Please take that. Use it to inform your own experience, and then let me know how that works out so that I can improve my own thinking, right? And then we can all learn and grow together.

    Misbah Haque  (1:19:23):

    Totally agree with you. Is there anything else that you would like to leave listeners with?

    Rob  (1:19:30):

    I think I just did. 

    Misbah Haque  (1:19:35):

    So where can we point people to where we can follow you and your work, what you’re doing, and kind of support your journey?

    Rob  (1:19:42):

    So the easiest way to find out about our work and what we’re doing with education is at And if you add a forward slash and art of breath to that, that has all of our seminar series, but basically all of the education then anything that we put out will be through Power Speed Endurance is the home site, and then I am on Instagram, @preparetoperform is my Instagram handle. And then also @powerspeedendurance, all of our seminar stuff, and our basically our entire educational overview in power speed endurance other than Brian and myself. We’re very fortunate. I mean, the team of people that we have working together is a really amazing group of people who are very mutually supportive of one another’s thinking and work. And it’s not a hyper-competitive environment, it’s very cooperative, where we’re trying to help one another and prove each other’s understanding. And we reach into one another’s spaces a lot to help and provide for each other.

    So it’s a really cool team that Brian has brought together. And anybody who would expose themselves to any of the coaches or educators on their staff would be better for having done so.

    Misbah Haque  (1:21:03):

    I love that man. I’ll get all that linked up in the show notes. Thank you so much, Rob, for coming on dropping massive knowledge, and maybe we’ll have to have you back on to dig a little bit deeper into this stuff. 

    Rob  (1:21:15):

    For sure. My pleasure. Thank you.

    Misbah Haque  (1:21:18):

    Thank you so much for listening, guys. I appreciate you taking the time tuning in and lending me your ears. Two things I want to leave you with before you head out. Number one, if you are a coach or gym owner, head over to the airborne mind calm and check out some of the free resources we have for you there. Myself and a clinical psychologist are partnering together to create a course called The Art of Connection through questions. It’s something I’ve loved and studied and has fulfilled me for years. And to be able to finally put this together in a way that’s going to help other coaches and gym owners connect deeply with their clients is super fulfilling for me. So if that sits well with you, head over to and check it out. Number two, leave a review on iTunes. It’s the best compliment that you can give and it would mean the absolute world to me. But other than that, I hope you enjoyed this one. Until next time.

    Resources we may have talked about:

    How to connect with Rob Wilson:


    Instagram: @powerspeedendurance

    Instagram: @preparetoperform

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