Athletes understand that cellular respiration is required for aerobic exercise. You breathe in oxygen, then it travels through your bloodstream to your muscles, where it combines with the stored glucose to create ATP, your body’s primary energy source. Although both oxygen and glucose are required for ATP production, oxygen is typically the body’s limiting resource in this process.
When we start to run out of oxygen, we enter an anaerobic phase of exercise, where lactic acid is produced, energy starts to run out, and your body’s central nervous system limits your ability to push your muscles any further. This results in both muscular and cardiovascular fatigue.
With new advancements in training aids, there are now ways to expand your body’s access to oxygen. One in particular that seems to be really catching on is the use of portable breathing oxygen to increase oxygen supply to the body before and during exercise. This process is referred to as “oxygen loading.”
Loading your body with specific compounds prior to workouts is no new concept. Endurance athletes have been loading their bodies with carbs for decades, in the process called carbo-loading. By eating huge plates of pasta in the few days leading up to a race, athletes increase their glycogen stores providing additional fuel for energy production during the race. Bodybuilders have also been doing it with products like creatine to help increase their strength and muscle pumps.
Oxygen loading is a very similar concept. It’s a safe and natural way to help your body produce additional energy, without additives, extra calories, or side effects. Since oxygen is metabolized so quickly by the body however, oxygen loading must take place just minutes before or during exercise to be effective. So how, exactly, does breathing pure oxygen help athletes?
This method of oxygen loading before and during exercise may increase power output, fight fatigue, allow your body to maintain higher levels of performance for longer periods of time, delay the production of lactic acid, and theoretically increase your body’s ATP reserves.
There’s really no performance enhancer out there that’s quite as simple and effective as oxygen. Once you try it, you will be blown away by the results.