Brian MacKenzie: Shifting, Adapting, and Breathing To Reduce Stress and Speed Recovery


Manage episode 293852172 series 2421902
By Brad Kearns. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

What a treat it is to welcome Brian MacKenzie back to the show!

Brian first appeared on the podcast back in 2018, and that episode remains to this day one of the most downloaded ever! Brian can always be counted on to share tons of interesting, cutting edge insights, and also he brings a philosophical perspective to this wide-ranging and reflective conversation about athletic training, the many facets to human performance, our obsession with “capacity,” and why his main area of interest has become breathwork.

In this episode, Brian talks about his background and how he became interested in alternative approaches to endurance training, and shares fascinating scientific facts about breathing and the role our breathing technique plays in our health. We then discuss why and how breathwork can contribute to your athletic performance and fitness goals, as well as the benefits of minimizing breathing to improve your C02 tolerance.

Anyone with an interest in fitness, athletic training, and human performance can greatly benefit from this show and an opportunity to learn about the integral role breathwork plays in our health. Don’t forget to check out Shift Adapt, Brian’s website!


Brian MacKenzie brings his insights on athletic training with a focus on breathing. [01:27]

In order to make your workouts less stressful, improve your tolerance to carbon dioxide, not through breathing in more oxygen. [03:34]

The human performance experience has been vastly misunderstood. [08:55]

Comfort is the difference between how things are and how you want them to be. [09:38]

Endurance athletes need to look at their sport with a more holistic approach. [11:00]

The foundation of all exercise and athletic endeavors is breath practice. [14:23]

Calorie burning as related to exercise has been misunderstood. [17:12]

When you are mouth breathing you offload carbon dioxide which you need. [24:02]

What is actually happening to CO2 when the mouth breather changes to nose breathing? [26:41]

Many professional athletes struggle with identity because once the game is over, they don’t know who they are. [29:36]

Your normal breathing should be short and small through the nose. [36:55]

You can be a world class athlete and be CO2 intolerant and be aerobically inefficient at low levels. [43:46]

On a day-to-day basis we can train ourselves in proper nose breathing techniques with some of the practices on Shift [46:42]

The major benefit is that the workout itself is going to be less stressful if you minimize your breathing. [51:47]

It takes time to adapt to nasal breathing but you can actually increase your performance across the board. [55:45]

Is it cheating to use the Breathe Right Nasal strips? [01:05:46]

Where can we get more information from Brian MacKenzie? [01:08:10]



  • "At the foundation of yoga is breath practice. At the foundation of a Tai Chi practice is breath work. The foundation of most martial arts is breath practice."

  • "People today are convinced that if they don’t get a run in, or if they don’t go work out, they’re not going to be “healthy.”

  • "Gorillas don’t have the ability to put on body fat the way we do, that was our gift. Our gift was to be able to store things in order to survive, if we weren’t getting food."

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