Howler Magazine Feature: Laird Hamilton: Surf Legend Chooses Costa Rica Destination to Promote Health and Fitness

We’re excited to head to Costa Rica this week for our first ever Waterman XPT Experience with Laird Hamilton, Gabby Reece, PJ Nestler, Mark Roberts and the rest of the XPT Family. While our customary Experience attributes: including ice/heat, XPT Performance Breathing, Gym Workouts, Pool Workouts, Mobility, Stretching, Nutrition, etc are all on the docket – special to this Experience is a chance to have a unique, 3-hour surf experience with the legend of big wave surfing himself.

Hosted at the Santarena Hotel in beautiful Las Catalinas, Costa Rica, this XPT Experience is set to be our best one yet. Check out a recent article written by Jenn Parker at local magazine, Howler, highlighting XPT choice of this unique, tropical destination for our June Waterman XPT Experience. Stay tuned for highlights of the event on our social media and web channels. And be sure to check out the Experience page on our site to find more locations and dates coming up.

Originally Published in Howler Magazine

Laird Hamilton: Surf Legend Chooses Costa Rica Destination to Promote Health and Fitness

A weekend like this in Costa Rica could change your life!

Who better to show us how it’s done than Laird Hamilton, named by Surfer Magazine as “the sport’s most complete surfer.” He is a living surf legend, having pushed the boundaries of big wave surfing and helped to pioneer the sport of stand up paddle boarding and hydrofoil boarding. Hamilton has also become a fitness and wellness icon. In better shape than most surfers half his age, the 55-year-old powerhouse charger is essentially the poster child for an all-around healthy lifestyle that surfers can embrace anytime, anywhere.surfer laird Hamilton training

It just so happens that Costa Rica is where Hamilton will soon be sharing his tips and techniques firsthand during the XPT Experience, a three-day wellness retreat geared to all kinds of athletes and fitness enthusiasts including surfers. When Las Catalinas hosts the event June 20-22, it will be the first time XPT Experience participants will have an opportunity to surf, train and learn from Laird Hamilton himself. It will also be a first for him.

“I have never surfed in Costa Rica, and I can’t wait to paddle out,” he said when asked about the retreat location. “I have always heard of great spots like Pavones, Witch’s Rock, and Ollie’s Point and especially Playa Grande, where we will be surfing for the Experience. I’m looking forward to that adventure.”

Read the Full Article: Laird Hamilton: Surf Legend Chooses Costa Rica Destination to Promote Health and Fitness

XPT Coach Spotlight: Justin Newman

Name: Justin Newman

Age: 40

Hometown: Lahaina , Hi

Company: Surf Maui Retreats –


Instagram: @justinmnewman

Facebook: Justin Newman


XPT: Tell us about yourself:

Justin Newman: I’ve lived on Maui for almost 20 years. Some of my favorite things to do are surfing, ice baths, jumping waterfalls, cooking for friends, good music, Casamigos Mezcal, self-healing, essential oils & foreword thinking humans!

XPT: You’ve been to a few XPT events in the past. How did you get turned on to XPT?

JN: Living on Maui and being a surfer you’d always hear legendary stories about Laird Over the coconut wireless. (Hawaiian cellphone). Not being able to train hard due to back injuries I was always searching for something. XPT seem to have it all. Low impact in the pool, breathe work for meditation & recovery methods. Everything I needed!

XPT: What made you want to become an XPT Certified Coach?

 JN:  After doing the XPT Experience in Kauai I was hooked. I was so shocked at how my broken body responded to the workouts in the recovery program. When I returned home to Maui I bought a sauna, Ice bath (freezer) & immediately started using the tools daily. Next thing you know the neighbors are coming over, surfer buddies, friends with injuries. People were looking at me to help them since they had seen how XPT helped me.

XPT: How has XPT immediately impacted you and/or your clients?

 JN: The ice and breath work alone have allowed me to be able to heal myself. Using the power of the ice helped heal what was a snowboard accident from 20 years earlier.

Using the breath work to be able to sit in the ice at first but now has become a daily practice & something I can’t live without!

XPT: What’s your favorite XPT related tip, discipline, activity, etc. to teach your clients and why?

JN: My favorite activity is ice baths for sure. The look on people’s faces when they get in ice is priceless. When the first response of flight comes & then the look when they internally say to themselves “shit I can do this”. The joy of walking them through the process is very rewarding.

XPT: What advice would you give to someone considering becoming certified, attending an experience or workshop or anyone considering XPT in general?

JN: My advice is if you’re interested, do it! It will change your life. The misconception is that to be in XPT you need to be an athlete. This is just not true. It not just for just athletes & trainers. XPT is just about being a better version of yourself. It’s about collective energy and helping heal one breath, ammo box , ice bath at a time!

XPT: Can you share with us a quick success story or “WOW” moment with either yourself or a client as it pertains to XPT?

JN: Wow moments happen every day in XPT. That’s the beauty.

XPT: Anything else you want to tell XPT? A quote I remember from the Certification? A cool client story? A personal story as it pertains to XPT in my life? Etc.

JN: My first day in the pool in Kauai was an epic day! I was a bit intimidated around the well sculpted bodies. Everyone looked like a shredded G.I. Joe doll. Laird grabbed two 40 pound dumbbells and took me to the deep end of the pool. After his instruction and what I thought was impossible, wasn’t impossible. I felt great about what I had just done. Laird came back over pointed out one of the GI Joe dolls struggling on the other side of the pool and said “just because he looks like he can do it better doesn’t mean he can, great job “

Just the confidence I needed! Never looked back since!

Mahalo XPT

Wild Salmon Tahini Collard Wraps from Daily Dose

Start your week off with this deliciously healthy Wild Salmon Tahini Collard Wrap recipe from our friend and  XPT Experience Alumni, Tricia Williams and her new company Daily Dose.

Check out their company and more recipes like this on their site:


Wild Salmon Tahini Collard Wraps

Yield: 4 servings


  • 12 ounces wild salmon
  • sea salt
  • 4 large collard green leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Tahini dressing (recipe below)
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • ¼ cup sliced red onion
  • ½ avocado sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel and season with sea salt.
  3. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 15-18 mins.
  4. Let cool then flake salmon into small pieces and set aside.
  5. Remove the hard stems from the collard leaves.
  6. Lay them on a cutting board.
  7. Spoon ½ tablespoon of tahini dressing across the bottom of each leaf.
  8. Add the salmon, carrots, onion and avocado to each leaf, being sure to distribute evenly.

Tahini Dressing
¾ Cup


  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons ice-cold water, more as needed


  1. Place all ingredients in a blender
  2. Pulse until smooth and creamy
  3. Refrigerate or serve immediately

By Tricia Williams

FUEL UP Recipe: ‘Raglan’ Quinoa Salad with Grilled Corn, Mango, Tomatoes, Avocado & Goat Cheese

‘Raglan’ – North Island, New Zealand. One of my favorites for tow-in foiling. Manu Bay has one of the longest and consistent left breaks in the world and with a foil you have the potential to ride for over a mile. This wave was also made famous by the surf classic; Endless Summer.The life in this salad comes from the Mango. A simple fruit that is actually in the same family as the Cashew and Pistachio, packed in powerful antioxidants that help neutralize the free radicals in your body that cause degenerative diseases.

Serves 4
Total time: 15 mins
Ingredients for the dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lime juice 1 garlic clove, crushed sea salt
black pepper
Ingredients for the salad:
1 cup quinoa, cooked
1 fresh mango, cubed
1 large avocado, cubed
15 cherry tomatoes, quartered 1/2 cup mint, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 corn cob, boiled or grilled
5 chives, cut up
2 tbsp goat cheese, crumbled

For the dressing, take a small jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, and add salt and pepper to taste. Put the lid on the jar and give it a good shake.For the salad, start by cooking the quinoa to the package instructions. Let cool and then fluff up with a fork and add to a large bowl. Then gently combine the mango, avocado, tomato, mint and cilantro. Complete by slicing the cooled corn off the cob into the salad, cutting in the chives and crumbling the goat cheese over the top.Serve in small bowl with lime dressing on the side.

Get your copy of Fuel Up HERE

Going Back to Basics in Your Training by Andy Galpin

“As to methods, there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods.”

— Harrington Emerson

When looking at all the information that’s out there online about health and fitness, the famed industrial engineer and business theorist Harrington Emerson’s quote might actually be a significant underestimate. While there are benefits to the ease, speed, and scale at which such information can be shared, there are also downsides. These include sheer volume and the fact that there are many imposters, influencers, and self-proclaimed authorities who people find it hard to distinguish from true experts whose knowledge they’d do well to apply. As a result, it’s all to easy to become stuck in complexity and confused by misinformation peddled for profit, which makes it hard to find guidance that yields the results you’re seeking.

In this post, I’m going to take you back to basics and provide a simple yet highly effective training plan. One of the main goals of XPT is to make you more resilient and well-rounded, and I believe that following such a plan will check both these boxes. Most athletes gravitate towards the kind of sessions that they’re best at or enjoy the most, whether that’s heavy lifts, speed work, or endurance. But if you’re going to ready for anything, you need to develop every athletic quality to some degree. We also need to consider that one of the three XPT pillars, Recover (the other two being Breathe and Move) is essential for closing the loop on adaptation. If you redline all the time or keep racking up the miles, your body won’t be able to bounce back and you’ll start to break down. So you need to find balance in your training and make sure you’re stressing certain systems sufficiently while allowing others to recover.

Here’s a simple system that will help you become a well-rounded athlete. This is based on the assumption that you can train five or six days a week. Don’t have the bandwidth? Then condense these principles into the three-day plan I’ll provide later on.

Long Duration Endurance – Once or twice a week

There are umpteen ways to think about endurance training, and lots of arguments on social media and forums about the best methods. For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to consider long duration endurance work to be a session that challenges your cardiovascular system with 30 minutes or more of low to mid-level exertion performed without a break. Your heart rate shouldn’t go up or down too much in such sessions, which I recommend doing once or twice a week. If you’re tracking your HR, it should stay within 60 to 80 percent of your max, which may well be around 120 to 150 bpm. If you’re going for longer, it could be lower. Activities such as hiking, biking, running, SUP, and surfing fit the bill here. You should finish such sessions without feeling exhausted.

High Heart Rate Training – Once or twice a week

These are typically high intensity sessions in which you take your heart rate way up and then let it come back down before going again. Examples include Gabby Reece’s HIGHX, interval training on a bike or rowing machine, and an XPT pool workout. I suggest doing such a workout once or twice a week. There’s significant evidence to suggest that this type of session is the most efficient type of exercise for overall health. The benefits cross over with those of long endurance training, but there are some notable differences, too, so you should do both each week. You could do one twice and the other once, depending on your performance goals or simply which you prefer or feel most challenged by. Then switch the emphasis occasionally to keep things interesting.

Strength – Twice or three times a week

Muscle mass and strength are two of the highest predictive factors of all-cause mortality. It’s not about looking a certain way, but rather keeping yourself at a high level of function for the rest of your life. We’ll talk about the importance of being fast and powerful in the speed section, but strength training is also invaluable to stave off sarcopenia -i.e. the age-related loss of fast twitch muscle that compromises vitality. That’s why I recommend doing a total-body strength session two to three times per week. Focus mostly on compound exercises (multi-joint movements involving several body parts) like squats, deadlifts, lunges, kettlebell swings, overhead presses, pull-ups, and so on. Each session should be around 30 to 45 minutes long – enough to provide adequate stimuli without too much volume.

The key is not going to failure, contrary to what you might read in bro-science articles. You also should avoid extreme fatigue – that’s for your interval days. When focusing on strength, perform three to eight reps, with two or three sets of one to three exercises. As with your speed days, you should come away feeling that you could have done more volume. There is no scientific relationship between how sore you are and your gains. All excess soreness will do is prevent you from training consistently, which will be detrimental. Quality is paramount – if you feel yourself slowing down or starting to compromise your technique then stop. It’s a case of “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” You’ll pay for that last crappy rep or two later. Be patient and progress more slowly than you think you should be. Practice quality in every rep.

Speed – At least once a week

Muscle speed and power is a highly emergent research area that I’m personally involved in at my lab at Cal State Fullerton. What we’re finding out is that keeping your fast-twitch muscle fibers active and able enables you to age well. Whereas those whose fast-twitch fibers decline become frail, less mobile, and more prone to debilitating falls. The best way to head this off at the pass is to complement your strength sessions by training speed and power. At a minimum, I recommend doing five to 10 minutes of this type of work at least once a week. This could be a standalone session or combined with an XPT pool workout or strength session. Warm up thoroughly and then do your speed/power work first. Choose two to four exercises such as medicine ball slams or throws, box jumps, clapping pushups, or short sprints. If you’re in the pool, you could cover 15 to 25 meters as fast as you can.

Perform two to four sets of three to five reps, with plenty of rest in between so you feel ready to go as quickly as possible in the next work period. Maintain perfect technique and best as fast and powerful as you can while maintaining control. On your interval day/s, you will be expressing these qualities with some fatigue, but your speed work should be done without fatigue. Remember that it’s not conditioning work. If you start to tire, then increase your rest and do less reps or sets. You should finish the session feeling like you haven’t done enough. You can always do a bit more next time – but you can’t go back an un-pull that hamstring. If you’re combining speed work with intervals, strength, or endurance work, be sure to go fast first. Doing it in this order reduces the chance of injury and improves long-term adaptation for both kinds of training.

Covering All The Bases in a Three-Day Plan

If you only have time to train three days a week, here’s a simplified version of the plan to follow, which should give you everything you need to play your sport and live well:

Monday: Speed and power + high heart rate (intervals/circuits)

Wednesday: Strength + pool workout

Friday: Long duration endurance

Remember that although the concepts we’ve covered in this post are few, the methods are many. I’ve tried to simplify the principles, and now it’s up to you to go and experiment with them. Use lots of variety, try out different exercises, use various tools, and see what works best for you.

Using Nasal Breathing to Self-Monitor, Reduce Performance Anxiety, and Increase Attention with Patrick McKeown

In previous posts on breathing, we’ve explored the physical impact of nasal breathing on performance and recovery. Now XPT advisor and author of the seminal book The Oxygen Advantage Patrick McKeown is back to discuss how breathing is tied to your brain’s self-monitoring system, the link between breath and movement quality, and how you can utilize nasal breathing to boost focus.

XPT: How can someone use their breath to increase attention?

Patrick McKeown: If your mind is all over the place, you won’t be able to concentrate on the task at hand. To do anything well in life – whether it’s training, working, or learning – you cannot have a distracted mind. To perform quality work, 100% of our attention and focus must be on the task. If we are living in our minds and our attention is occupied by repetitive internal dialogue, our ability to focus is diminished and quality of work suffers. But the world we live and the technology we use more and more are increasingly distracting. Social media alerts, emails, and text messages all serve to distract us on a continuous basis. How many times per day do you flit from your work to check emails, your phone, or social media, even though you might have only checked them a few minutes before? Unless we have awareness of time utilization, it is likely that much of our day will be spent on non-productive checking for updates. As human beings, we crave attention, and may unconsciously rely on social media to fill the void. Focusing on calm, controlled nasal breathing trains your brain to concentrate on something specific without your focus diminishing. It takes your attention away from external things that are trying to divert you and brings it inward. That can transfer to whatever you want to do better. Don’t wait until game day – get started now.

XPT: If someone’s struggling with performance anxiety, can breathing also help with that?

Patrick McKeown: Certainly. When you slow down your breath, it doesn’t just send signals to the breathing center in the brain, but also indicates that the rest of the brain should calm down, too. This was demonstrated at a cellular level in a Stanford University study. A structure in the brain is tasked with spying on breathing. When we breathe fast, this structure relays signals of agitation to the rest of the brain. Conversely, when we slow down our breathing, signals of calm and rest are directed throughout the brain. Through the breath, it seems that the brain can regulate its own excitability. We also shouldn’t overlook the role of how you sleep the night before your event. If you breathe through your mouth all night, your sleep quality will diminish, which will in turn affect your mood the next day. You’re more likely to be agitated and anxious, and will struggle with focus and decision-making. And that’s before we get to the physical effects, like increased chance of injury. So breathing through your nose throughout the day and night and then focusing on taking deep, slow nasal breaths before your event is a must. On the other hand, if you’re taking quick, shallow breaths through your mouth, you’re just feeding back into the stress loop.

XPT: What is the relationship between breath pattern and movement quality?

Patrick McKeown: You can only move well if you’re breathing well. The two are indivisible. When you breathe through your nose you activate the diaphragm, which is directly correlated to core strength, stability of the trunk, spinal mechanics, and motor control. A study showed that athletes with the lowest scores in the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) also had breathing-related issues. The most fundamental factor here is mouth breathing. Habitual breathing through an open mouth activates the upper chest and causes faster breathing. If an athlete struggles with dysfunctional breathing patterns, they are also likely to have dysfunctional movement. This decreases their power output and increases their risk of injury. Dysfunctional breathing at rest translates into inefficient breathing during physical exercise. The athlete is more likely to experience premature breathlessness and muscle fatigue, and doing so puts them at an athletic disadvantage. Whereas when you breathe through your nose during wakefulness and sleep, you’re encountering resistance to your breathing that increases the load on the primary respiratory muscles and helps to maintain the tone and activation of the diaphragm. This will help you maintain stability in every body position, even at higher levels of exertion. Breathing sets the limit of your exercise capacity and movement quality.

XPT: How is breathing tied into your body’s ability to self-monitor?

Patrick McKeown: It’s a crucial input that helps your body and brain determine everything from autonomic nervous system tone to cardiovascular function to mental state. Your largest blood vessels contain baroreceptors that are constantly keeping tabs on bloodflow and blood pressure. When pressure increases, they notify the brain. It then sends back a signal to open up your blood vessels and slow down your heart rate. Conversely, when pressure decreases, the signal comes back from the brain to constrict the blood vessels and increase your heart rate. Your breathing is on the front end of this process and determines how these baroreceptors are stimulated. So by slowing down your breathing to a cadence of six breaths per minute, you can stimulate the baroreceptors to help restore autonomic functioning. Research shows that people suffering from fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, poor athletic ability, and a wide range of other conditions have poorly functioning baroreceptors. Nasal breathing isn’t a cure-all necessarily, but it’s a good place to start.

XPT: How does breathing impact heart rate variability?

Patrick McKeown: We cannot consider HRV without thinking about breath. There’s strong evidence that connects greater heart rate variability to slow breathing. In order to breathe slowly and to use the diaphragm, nasal breathing is imperative. Experiments by Paul Lehrer and others asked participants to match slow breaths with visual display of their heartbeats, and doing so increased HRV. One of Lehrer’s studies suggests that a rate of six to seven breaths per minute leads to optimal heart rate variability.

Beyond HRV, there are other connections between breathing and cardiovascular function. When you breathe through the nose, your breathing rate is usually lower, and as there’s more time between each breath, there is a greater opportunity for oxygen to be transported through the airway, into the lungs, and into the bloodstream. Plus, nasal breathing allows sufficient carbon dioxide buildup to catalyze the release of oxygen in red blood cells, whereas mouth breathing removes too much CO2 from the lungs. This prompts you to breathe quicker and more intensely, and so the cycle continues. It might seem counterintuitive, but the harder you breathe, the less oxygenated blood is making it to your muscles and brain.

Elijah Allan-Blitz’s Apple Cider Tonic

Want a hydration option that is healthy and has a little kick? Friend of the tribe Elijah Allan-Blitz drinks this daily! This Apple Cider Tonic is super easy to whip up and research shows it has plenty of benefits for you as well!




32 oz water

4tbl spoon Apple cider vinegar

3 drops of stevia extract

1tsp sea salt

1tsp cream of tartar

Apple Cider Vinegar has been proven to have a number of benefits to the body, including being high in Acetic Acid and having potent biological effects, the ability to kill many harmful bacteria, lowering blood sugar levels, weight loss, lowering cholesterol and improving heart health, as well as some positive effects against cancer.

While it isn’t the magic cure to all diseases and ailments, Apple Cider Vinegar has been proven to have many positive effects in the body and it’s worth giving it a shot. If you’d like to do more research, you can read more about some of the positives on Apple Cider Vinegar HERE.

Thanks for the recipe, Elijah and enjoy everyone!

Easter Recipe: Sweet Potato, Cabbage, & Carmelized Onion Hash + Egg in a Hole with Spinach

Tomorrow is Easter, which undoubtedly means family gatherings, holiday traditions and of course…FOOD! While holidays tend to be “cheat” days for some and a reason to slide into the temptation of foods outside of their normal diet, Easter doesn’t have to mean chocolate easter bunnies and caramel filled eggs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Enjoy a tasty, savory breakfast recipe submitted by friend of the XPT Family, Carrie Dodd, which she will be making for her Easter feast. This simple, yet delicious breakfast hash combined with an egg in a hole with spinach is the perfect Sunday morning meal for any Easter gathering to leave your guests feeling happy and satisfied.

Happy Easter from our family to yours!


Sweet Potato, Cabbage, & Carmelized Onion Hash


1-2 Sweet potatoes par cooked (see note below)

1 cup Green cabbage sliced thinly

1/2 Sweet onion sliced thinly

salt and pepper

olive oil (avocado oil or ghee)


In a heated pan, add 1 tablespoon oil of choice.  Heat over medium until shimmering.  Add your thinly sliced onion and cook for about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally so they don’t burn.  Once the onions are lightly browned and softened add your cabbage.  Cook until wilted and softened to your liking.  Set this mixture aside in a bowl.  Add 1 more tablespoon oil of choice and heat over medium high.  Place your par cooked sweet potatoes into the pan and do not move them for 2-3 minutes.  You want to see a crispy exterior and crunch.  Flip the sweet potatoes to another side, again leaving for 3 minutes until crispy.

Once they are browned to your liking, add your cabbage and onions back into the pan and toss to incorporate.

*Note – To par cook sweet potatoes, cube the raw potato first.  Then place them in a pot of salted cool water.  Bring the pot to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until almost fork tender.  You want these to be a little firm in the middle since you will finish cooking in a pan later.  You can also par cook these the night before and use the following morning.

Egg in a Hole with Spinach


1 Organic Egg

1 slice bread (this was Gluten Free) with a hole in the middle cut out


Salt and Pepper

In a heated non stick pan, add 1/2 Tablespoon of ghee.  Place the bread into the pan and let it toast for 2 minutes.  Flip to the other side.  Crack an egg into the hole of the bread.  Cook for 3-4 minutes without moving around.  Gently flip the toast over using a spatula.  Cover the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  The center will still be runny.  If you like it to be cooked with a more firm yolk, then continue cooking covered for another couple minutes.

Enjoy with avocado and sautéed spinach!

To enjoy more of Carrie’s recipes, check out her website:

XPT Book Spotlight: Going Right – A Logical Justification for Pursuing Your Dreams by Logan Gelbrich

Los Angeles based, Deuce Gym and XPT have long had a great relationship together, hosting many XPT related events at the gym and being the home to some of our XPT Certified Coaches. Gym Owner and friend of the XPT Family, Logan Gelbrich has just released his newest book, Going Right, which is doing just that on the best-selling charts.

For the first time ever, we have an air-tight case for pursuing your peak expression. Unfortunately, many feel that they must choose between pursuing their dreams or doing what’s reasonable. This case is both compelling and easy to read. Not to mention, the curiosity that drives our founders, Gabby and Laird, is cornerstone in the book.

In our latest XPT Book Spotlight, we’re show casing Logan’s book, which you can purchase today at the link below. Learn more about this well-crafted masterpiece by reading more about it below.

Originally published on AMAZON.COM

Going Right: A Logical Justification for Pursuing Your Dreams is a world-view shattering model of decision-making. In this book, we are offered liberation from our socialized, detached, and unsustainable methods of making life’s most meaningful choices. This is a fresh invitation to integrate our emotional passions, using our rational brain, while remaining grounded in real-world experiences. Gelbrich builds on leading academic theories and exceptional practical illustrations to support his proposed decision-making model. Surprisingly, most adults today, who are privileged enough not to worry about their basic survival needs, operate as if pursuing the loftiest version of themselves poses a threat to their safety and an offense to the social norms of their lives. Many point to the risks of losing their own happiness, the possibility to not providing for themselves and dependents, and the social consequences of chasing down their ideal self-expression to fuel their logic against reaching for something higher. But basing the most meaningful of our choices, our dreams, on assumptions, and predicting the effects of our decisions on our most important obligations is robbing us and our communities of the happiness, our ability to provide for self and others, and social benefits that we find ourselves instinctively protecting in the first place. Going Right explores the essentially grand, utilitarian advantages of an alternative logic and unlocks universal modern truths of pursuing our peak expression. The enduring stoic path of significance presented here leads us to hold greater commitments, practice deep work, remain resilient to adversity, experience moments of creative flow, and curate transferable skills. Whether in the context of relationships, work, or lifestyle, Going Right presents a solid case that braving your evolutionary resistances to continually pursue your dreams is truly the most logical choice you can make.

Get your copy of Going Right today: BUY IT HERE


XPT Coach Spotlight: Sean Miller

Name: Sean Miller

Age: 38

Hometown: St. Petersburg, FL

Business/Gym: Miller Fitness, NaturBaker, The Travel Trainer on 30A, ZUMA Wellness (Alys Beach, FL)

Social Media Handles: FB – @thetraveltraineron30a, @SeanMiller, @NaturBaker

IG – #thetraveltraineron30a, #NaturBaker


XPT: Tell us about yourself:

Sean brings 20+ years experience in personal training and coaching to the Emerald Coast of Florida.  Father of 2 boys, Finn and Dylan, and husband to “the” NaturBaker, Darcie Miller, he now calls Santa Rosa Beach, FL his home.  Owner of The Travel Trainer on 30A and 2018 recipient of Best Personal Trainer on The Emerald Coast, Miller creates a life worth telling a story about. Sean values happiness, health, and longevity through his creative “play” approach to his workouts and co-owning NaturBaker, a Keto, Paleo Vegan and top-8 allergen free food company. (KPV8)

XPT: What made you want to become an XPT Certified Coach? 

SM: I’ve followed Laird and his lifestyle since the 90’s. After I heard of the XPT certification, it completely aligned with my mindset and wellness principles.

XPT: How has XPT immediately impacted you and/or your clients? 

SM: XPT has immediately impacted me with redefining stress and creating a new adaptation response to life.  I feel mentally stronger and physically more versatile.  Clients are experiencing a “stoked” sensation after classes.  These programs add diversity to a monotonous gym routine.

XPT: What’s your favorite XPT related tip, discipline, activity, etc. to teach your clients and why?

SM: My favorite XPT discipline is water-based programming. I’m a huge fan of beach conditioning protocols as well. Holding breath combined with movement provides a fatigue that the normal fitness enthusiast is not accustomed to doing.  Sand adds the elements of stabilization, balance, and core strengthening that can be challenging and physically rewarding for personal fitness growth. Overall, water is where it’s at for me!

XPT: What advice would you give to someone considering becoming certified, attending an experience or workshop or anyone considering XPT in general?

SM: 3 focus points of advice:

  • Be open and creative to play with ways to utilize XPT. It’s not a one way lifestyle so don’t worry about making mistakes and taking a risk. Just make the mistakes on yourself as you grow in the XPT lifestyle.
  • Play or it’s not going to be fun. Reflect on being a kid where EVERYTHING you did was performed in a functional movement pattern. We can create an injury-preventative program for adults by living like a child.
  • Find an adventure in a variety of elements. Seek places that are very hot, cold, peaceful, in nature, water-based, etc. Everywhere I travel, I incorporate XPT, whether it is through morning breath work, pool workouts using my body weight, or finding the coldest water, whether that be a natural glacier spring or a bath tub full of ice.

XPT: Can you share with us a quick success story or “WOW” moment with either yourself or a client as it pertains to XPT?

SM: WOW moment with a client was with THE ICE! Yes, big break throughs happen here! A recent client had a horrible childhood incident with falling in a frozen lake and nearly drowning. She explained, “I’m not going near the ice bath.”  After focusing on breath and spending quality time getting her relaxed, she took that mindset in the pool.  Again, stayed relaxed, focused, and became comfortable holding her breath.  She wanted to conquer the ice so having a female partner was key. She succeeded! It was a tearful moment to be part of her journey and accomplishment.

XPT: Anything else you want to tell us? A quote I remember from the Certification? A cool client story? A personal story as it pertains to XPT in my life? Etc.

SM: It’s a lifestyle to practice and improve on everyday.  I now play like my 5 year old and 3 year old boys – climbing swimming, jumping, etc. except a lot more relaxed then the 2 crazy monkeys. I’m excited to continue to learn from others in XPT, share my success and become the curators of fitness and health.  Taylor Sommerville, XPT Coach, “THE ICE IS THE GREATEST TEACHER” is a lesson I use every day.

Sean Miller XPT Video: 


Book Spotlight: Paddle Diva by Gina Bradley

Friend of the XPT Brand and all around badass superwoman, Gina Bradley shares her Ten Guiding Principles to life in her book, Paddle Diva, with the forward written by our very own, Gabby Reece and Laird Hamilton. Learn more about her new book in our latest XPT Book Spotlight and be sure to grab your copy today!

Originally published on

Gina Bradley has changed many people’s lives while working with them on or in the water. Using her highly acute sense of reading others’ needs, she has developed Ten Guiding Principles, goals she pursues every day in her life and with clients. She has become one of the most sought after women for inspiration through athletic endeavors. Here, in her first book, Gina shares her wisdom and has made it truly accessible to all. Whether you are on the water or on land, through her guidance you can now live each day as if it is brand new and live your best, most fulfilled life.

In her Guiding Principles, Gina will take you “gently outside your comfort zone” and encourage you to “believe in your strength” and “dig deep” while being “open to the outcome”—all while set against the bucolic aquamarine environments of The Hamptons, Montauk, Boca Raton, and Puerto Rico. Like one of her principles, “positivity is contagious,” you will discover what thousands of students who have worked with Gina have already found: that you want to “enjoy the ride” every day with Gina, and you can, through her book and her brand, Paddle Diva.


Gina Bradley is the Founder of Paddle Diva, a Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP) business created in 2009 in The Hamptons, NY. She grew up in New York City and has lived in Grand Cayman Island and Cozumel, Mexico, and throughout the Caribbean where she worked in sales and marketing. Before moving to Long Island, Gina was a marketing executive and brand creator with several New York design and advertising firms. She is married and has two children. As a fitness instructor, a professional windsurfer, surfer, and PADI-certified Scuba Instructor, Gina became motivated by her love for the water to create Paddle Diva, which is now expanding to Florida, the Caribbean, Bermuda, and the Northeast US Coast.

Gina divides her time between East Hampton, Boca Raton, and Rincon, Puerto Rico, with her sports-oriented family: husband Scott, a world class surfer and real estate developer; their daughter Emma, a dedicated working equestrian; their son James, an up-and-coming golf professional; and their mascot, Coconut, a Chihuahua/Pekingese mix.

Paddle Diva will be available May 21st.

Pre-order your copy of Paddle Diva today:

Fuel Up Recipe: ‘CHESTERMANs’ Gluten-Free Toast, Bacon, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Guacamole

Originally published in Fuel Up with Laird Hamilton

‘CHESTERMANs’ Gluten-Free Toast, Bacon, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Guacamole

Chestermans’ – Vancouver, Canada. Set amongst the stunning islands of British Colombia, this beach break on Tofino peninsula, a favourite amongst the locals, is unbeatable for Stand Up Paddle touring. My thrills however have once again been on my snowboard, close by in Whistler, bombing the Black Hole double- black run.

As if we need a reason to eat bacon! and there are plenty. Bacon is loaded with an important macro nutrient called Choline which works in a similar way to vitamin B. Great for brain function and memory retention.

Serves 2
Total time: 30 min

8 rashers of bacon
12 cherry tomatoes, halved 4 slices of gluten-free toast

ingredients for the guacamole:

2 ripe avocado, diced
1/4 red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 red hot chili, trimmed and deseeded, minced

2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1tbs fresh squeezed lime juice sea salt
black pepper

Heat the oven to 400°F.

Line an oven tray with foil. Place the bacon rashers side by side, next to the tomato halves cut-side up. Cook for approximately 25 minutes until bacon begins to crisp and the tomatoes reduce in size and shrivel at the edges.

Make the guacamole while the bacon and tomatoes are cooking. In a medium bowl, combine the avocado, red onion, garlic, chili pepper, cilantro, lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Then mash the ingredients thoroughly with a fork.

Arrange the toast on a plate and divide up the bacon. Top with a generous spoonful of guacamole and a few roasted tomatoes.

Get your copy of Laird’s book Fuel Up for more delicious recipes just like this one: FUEL UP

Benefits of the Sauna

Heat Exposure -Sauna


  • Increase aerobic ability through cardiovascular adaptations
  • Induce parasympathetic state (if low stress)
  • Enhance thermoregulatory ability
  • Decrease joint and muscular pain

 Equipment Needed

  • Dry sauna


  1. Hydrate well before entering the sauna and if necessary, take a glass of water in with a pinch of sea salt in it
  2. Target temperature is 175-220° F
  3. Sit in the hot sauna for desired time (~10-30 minutes)
  4. The duration will depend on temperature and individual tolerance
  5. Use controlled breathing (nasal if possible) and meditation to regulate the stress response
  6. Leave the sauna if you begin to feel lightheaded, claustrophobic, or ill
  7. Sit and breathe for 2-3 minutes post sauna as your body temperature cools
  8. Use a cold tub or cold shower to cool body temperature

Coaching Tips

  1. Use slow breathing to control the stress response
  2. Slow your cadence with every breath and focus on the inhale and exhale
  3. Perform light stretching or mobility if you like
  4. If the goal is recovery get out before it gets stressful
  5. If the goal is stress stay in just past the point of discomfort

Coach Spotlight: Red Sullivan

Name: Red Sullivan

Age: 33

Hometown: Point Pleasant Beach, NJ

Business/Gym: The Redgimen (

Social Media Handles: @strictlyred on IG


XPT: Tell us about yourself

Red Sullivan: I am a former collegiate athlete who refuses to give up being athletic.  As a working Dad of two, my current focus is on managing a heavy work-schedule, & family life, while pursuing some aspirational fitness related goals.

XPT: You’ve been to a few XPT events in the past. How did you get turned on to XPT?

RS: I first heard of it because I had heard a lot about this surfer, Laird Hamilton, doing incredibly things on water despite getting older.  Naturally, that peaked my interest and wanted to see what he was doing in the way of training/recovery, to be able to perform at such a high level at an older age, especially given the stakes of his sport.

XPT: What made you want to become an XPT Certified Coach?

RS: I first became interested in XPT because of an attitude I saw in it’s founders.  I have never been into surfing or volleyball, but the way that Gabby and Laird approached problem solving was something I aspired to.  They always appeared to be curious, perpetual learners, that were not afraid to experiment, even if there was a possibility of being “wrong”.  When I got more familiar with the philosophy and framework of XPT, I was happy to find the aforementioned attitude/problem solving approach was a consistent thread running through the fabric of everything being taught.

XPT: How has XPT immediately impacted you and/or your clients?

RS: XPT immediately helped me address the major elements affecting the common athlete/person.  Breathing, Posture, Movement, Recovery.  These are the elements of human performance that pretty much everyone can instantly improve with just a little attention and very minimal cost.

XPT: What’s your favorite XPT related tip, discipline, activity, etc. to teach your clients and why?

RS: Mind your Breathing.  Simply paying attention to ones breathing habits can have a significant impact on a persons health/well-being.  The best part is it’s free.  My goal as a trainer/programmer/Coach is to make my Coachees autonomous.  Breathing is the first step in the journey to becoming just that.  Reminding someone that throughout their day-to-day life they should only be using their mouth to talk and eat, NOT to breathe, is often an “ah-ha” moment for a lot of people.  Bringing awareness to the things we do most throughout our day, like breathing, is a great skill to develop for overall health/wellness related problem solving.  If we step back and look at the whole forest, we can instantly see that the things impacting our ability to perform physically, mentally, emotionally, are the things that we do most often – breathing, moving vs. sedentary, sitting vs. standing, postural positioning.

XPT: What advice would you give to someone considering becoming certified, attending an experience or workshop or anyone considering XPT in general?

RS: I would tell anyone that’s even slightly interested in XPT to throw caution to the wind and dive in.  All too often, when it comes to new or innovative fitness related certifications, people let fear govern their decision making, when the truth is learning is a naturally scary undertaking because it is the exploration of the unknown.  Embrace the beautiful experience of not knowing, being a beginner, and overcoming failure.

XPT: Can you share with us a quick success story or “WOW” moment with either yourself or a client as it pertains to XPT?

RS: In the past, I had struggled with my conditioning whenever I am doing a bodyweight related task, like playing basketball etc.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but the reason I struggled wasn’t actually my aerobic capacity, but the inefficient way I was breathing while playing.  For whatever reason, when I was playing basketball, I was holding my breath a great deal of the time, and then gasp for air via mouth-breathing once I reached a rest/lull in the games action.  By practicing mindful breathing and understanding how to shift gears up and down from nose/nose breathing to nose/mouth, mouth/mouth, I became much more effective on the court.

XPT: Anything else you want to tell XPT? A quote I remember from the Certification? A cool client story? A personal story as it pertains to XPT in my life? Etc.

RS: My favorite thing about the XPT learning experience is that it teaches principles, not protocols.  It provides the Coach with a framework that they can use to problem solve in their own unique and creative way.

Want to Increase Your Performance? First Change Your Mindset

By PJ Nestler

If you regularly read fitness magazines or blogs, you’ll likely come across a story with a clickbait headline like “5 Moves to Get a Six Pack” or “3 Ways to Get Bigger Biceps” pretty regularly. The trouble with these articles – other than them sucking you in with a catchy title only to leave you with fluffy content – is that they’re all about the physical. Different exercises, new workouts, the latest fads. While the body-focused element of fitness is obviously important, it’s not the only thing. If you want to get to a certain level of performance, you’ve got to get your mind right first.

It’s a recent phenomenon to try and separate the body and brain into distinct siloes. Ancient philosophers understood that they were indivisible and that while the body is what you use to move through and interact with your environment, it’s the central processing unit in your head that directs your path and attitude. As Plato said, “Reality is created by the mind, we can change our reality by changing our mind.” So while you could balance on a Bosu ball with your left leg while pressing a dumbbell overhead with your right hand – or whatever ridiculous new exercise that magazine story is urging you to do – you’d be better off trying to nail more fundamental exercises with complete and utter focus.

Consider two different scenarios. In one, a girl comes into the gym, concentrates on every word her coach says, and tries to be as aware of how her body is moving as possible as she performs each exercise. She’s in and out in 30 minutes and that time has been well spent on improving the skills of squatting and pull-ups. In the second scene, the same girl arrives with her head down messing with her phone. Her coach tries to talk to her and provide feedback, but she’s only half listening because she’s paying more attention to the TV above his head. Every few minutes she takes a selfie in the mirror and posts it to Instagram with the obligatory hashtags. She can’t figure out why she still isn’t able to do a full pull-up.

Creating Conditions for Focus

Which version of this girl do you think has had a better quality experience? Which is more likely to make progress and achieve her goals? Obviously the first one. The second scenario might be a caricature of an example, but having coached hundreds of people, I can tell you with confidence that sadly it’s not that far from the truth. All too many people treat their physical practice with the same scattered, tech-distracted attitude that they show in the rest of their life. As a result, they’re rarely fully present and find it hard to benefit from coaching. The coach-athlete relationship cannot be simply one way. You could go out and find the best instructor on the planet who’s willing to teach you everything they know, but if you show up and treat every session as a mere box check that simply provides pics for your social media feeds, you’re going to leave a lot on the table.

Part of the transition to being present is on the coach. If you train people, you could institute a “no phones” policy, remove TVs, and eliminate any other things that your clients might find distracting. You can also let them know what you expect in terms of active listening and focus. But then it’s going to be the responsibility of each athlete to not only show up and do the work, but also engage with you for the duration of each session. You might also do well to reduce the total number of exercises. Instead of trying to cram in 10 different ones, reducing the number to two or three per session could improve the quality and also your clients’ attention, as they’ll no longer be rushing to switch stations every couple of minutes and can take their time to get things right.

Get More From Every Workout

Imagine how much better you’d feel and your results would be if you gave your all every single time you trained. At XPT, one of the ways we achieve this is by surrounding ourselves with like-minded people who like to push each other. So if you’ve been flying solo or usually work out with someone who tends to mess around, perhaps it’s time to seek out a new crew that will help you cultivate a different mindset.

It can also be helpful to stop just looking at the numbers. This could be the sets and reps on a given day, your heart rate, or some other stat on your fitness tracker. While there is something to be said for paying attention to such metrics to some degree so there are objective parameters, when you become beholden to them you can miss out on the kind of rich learning experience (and if you’re part of a group, the community aspect) that’s available if you stop fixating on figures. A different way to look at things is to have a set goal for each session. This could be as simple as feeling better when you finish a workout than when you start it. Or it could be more concrete, such as aiming for maximum velocity on each rep and stopping the set when your speed starts to noticeably decline. At XPT, we’re also big on movement quality, so maybe you zero in on getting your mechanics down one day, before upping the intensity in the following session.

Avoiding Going Through the Motions

Another pitfall when it comes to mindset is merely going through the motions. Our brain is always trying to preserve our energy reserves by creating predictable patterns and going on auto-pilot when possible. That’s what happens when you drive home from work or pick up your kids from school without recalling anything about the journey. While it can be positive for certain things to become second nature and happen quasi-autonomously, we can also make a trap of routine to the point that ensnares us.

This is the case when you come in and do three sets of 10 crunches, curls, and lunges every time you hit the weight room, or always run a 5K at exactly the same pace. On a certain level, it’s positive that you’re moving, and even more so if you’re doing it consistently – say three or four times a week. But stick with one routine long enough and you’re likely to plateau and stagnate. This is true in a couple of different ways. First, if your body keeps receiving the same old stimulus time and time again, it will not be challenged to respond to the stressor with growth and so will stop shifting your baseline in a positive direction. Your outputs will also remain stuck, whether that’s your work capacity, the amount of speed, strength, or power you can generate, or your endurance. Beyond this, you’re likely to get bored and start mentally tuning out.

This is one of the reasons that variety is a big part of what we do at XPT. The Move pillar of our philosophy involves pool training, gym sessions, training on natural surfaces like sand and grass, paddling in the ocean, and much more. This isn’t the kind of gimmickry we talked about earlier, but rather a recognition that movement should be playful and that we should constantly be embracing new challenges in order to grow mentally, physically, and spiritually. So try a new sport, try a different class, or join in a game of pickup soccer at your local recreation center. Simply by changing your outlook, attitude, and how you gauge progress, you can radically alter your mental approach. And in doing so, improve how you feel and perform, too.

Positional Breathing Mechanics

Position will dictate breathing ability. The most optimal position for breathing is with the spine straight, to provide access to the diaphragm and minimal compression on the lungs. If you hunch over or get into another sub-optimal position, you’re going to limit your maximum ventilation efficiency by restricting the airway and changing the demands on the respiratory muscles.

Obviously, not all exercises can be performed in a neutral spine position, so understanding how position effects breathing patterns is another crucial teaching step in the early stages of a training program.

One strategy for assessing breathing abilities is to use subjective measures of breathing volume in various positions. To do this, first start lying supine (flat on your back) in an optimal breathing position. Take a slow, full nasal inhale, focusing on filling the lungs and expanding the entire ribcage 360 degrees as much as possible. That full inhale is your current breathing capacity. Now move into different positions, starting with less stressful ones like quadruped, half kneeling, and standing. Then move into more demanding positions like a high plank, squat hold, or hanging from a bar. Hold these positions and perform the same breathing task, noticing the differences in tension, your ability to access the diaphragm and breathe deep into the belly, and whether you’re able to expand the ribcage 360 degrees.

Isometric holds — such as planks and side planks — are great ways to assess and train these breathing abilities, due to the ease of increasing or decreasing the intensity, and ability to create focused practice on the breath itself, since there is no distraction from movement. Yoga is a good example of using static positions to focus on the breath, and you can do the same during mobility work.

Free XPT Performance Breathing Class and LIFERIDER Launch Event

Come join Laird Hamilton and Gabby Reece, March 14th from 4:00PM-5:00PM for a guided XPT Performance Breathing class in the exquisite rug room of this very special venue.

Breathing influences every system and function within the body and if done properly, it will promote oxygen transport to all the vital organs and tissues of the body. Breathing can act as the doorway to a calm, relaxed mental state and can be used to control stress, anxiety and emotions while promoting restful sleep. Through correct breathing habits, new levels of health, performance, fitness and wellness can be realized, for any application or activity.

During this class, they will introduce the foundations of proper breathing to optimize your health and performance, followed by a 40-minute breath work session exploring a variety of breathing methods and techniques.

HD Buttercup

3225 Helms Avenue 
Los Angeles, CA 90034


Beyond Sand Sprints – Beach Workouts Worthy of Gabby Reece and Laird Hamilton

By XPT Performance Director, PJ Nestler

In one of the most famous training montages in sports movie history, Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed race along a beach, every muscle and sinew straining as the two boxers push each other so they’re ready for combat in the ring. The Navy SEALs carry logs through the breakers and undergo “surf torture” as part of the notorious “Hell Week” selection process. And NBA All Stars like Blake Griffin sprint up and walk down dune after dune to get ready for the rigors of the pro basketball season.

As grueling as each of these are, you can do much more with beach-based training sessions. And they don’t have to always be as arduous, either. XPT co-founders Laird Hamilton and Gabby Reece forged their fitness over many years on the sand. In Gabby’s case, it was leaping high above the volleyball net that made her the first female athlete to earn a signature shoe. And while Laird’s most famous exploits take place offshore on the towering faces of Peahi (aka Jaws), he has always honed his strength, power, and speed with sled drags, boulder carries, and other beach exercises.

When thinking about “fitness” in the modern, commercialized sense of the word, many of us think about only what goes on inside a gym. But for the majority of human history, people weren’t physically active in such a formalized, restrictive way. As National Geographic writer Dan Buettner explores in his bestselling book Blue Zones, one of the key commonalities among cultures that not only live the longest, but also have the greatest vitality (like in Okinawa and Sardinia) is continual daily movement. This includes walking between six and nine miles a day in natural settings like along beaches, up and down mountains, and through forests. This isn’t like trying to reach the modern movement RDA of 10,000 steps (which merely attempts to create the kind of activity baseline that sedentary lifestyles have removed) at the mall. Walking, hiking, and running on natural surfaces has greater physiological requirements due to the subtle variations in landscape when you’re moving through terrain.

Being physically active outdoors instead of just defaulting to another strength session in the gym or cardio crush at your cycling studio also provides a profound change in environment. We know from behavior-focused books like Atomic Habits by James Clear that simply altering where you do something can not only challenge you but also help break out of a rut. And in another seminal work, Blue Mind, author Wallace J. Nichols cites multiple studies that show the physical and psychological pluses of regularly being by the ocean, lakes, and rivers (much of which Nichols kindly shared on his website). And flow expert Steven Kotler shares in The Rise of Superman that outdoor sports are capable of triggering the deepest states of embodiment due to the novelty and complexity that nature always presents and the total focus it demands.

Monotony can quickly become the enemy of progress. Even if you’re showing up to train consistently and there’s a fair amount of variety in your program, it’s likely that eventually you’re going to yearn for a different kind of challenge. Fortunately, beach workouts can provide this without asking you to master any radically different movement patterns. Simply putting sand under your feet (or, for that matter, another natural surface like grass in a park or dirt on a trail) changes the physical demands of the session, as you’re asking your body to stabilize and make minute corrections in milliseconds. Speaking of feet, freeing them from the constraints of shoes – many of which have restrictive soles and coddling features like air cushioning and big arch supports – can help remedy conditions like plantar fasciitis and restore the strength and dexterity, which padding along on flat surfaces all day slowly robs us of.

Another benefit to taking your training to the beach is that it introduces a sense of fun and spontaneity not often found at your local 24 Hour Fitness. Between sets you can take a dip in the ocean with your friends, or bring some surfboards or paddleboards along to catch a few waves afterwards. AT XPT, we focus our beach sessions on six elemental movements – jumping and landing, skipping, shuffling, throwing, and – just like Rocky and Apollo Creed – sprinting. Then we add in things like bear crawling and, appropriately for the setting, crab walking. Each of these engages the brain as the body expresses primal motor patterns on an ever-shifting surface. Such exercises can help to re-groove the kind of motions we performed so naturally as kids (see any family having fun at the beach – we don’t always need the “training” label), but let go dormant as adults. Our main movements also require you to explore every plane of motion, whether it’s bounding diagonally across the sand, doing goblet squats with a rock, or twisting to throw the same stone off to one side.

Another thing about beach workouts that people seem to enjoy so much is being out in the elements. This engages every single one of your senses. You hear seagulls’ cries (hearing), see the soothing motion of waves breaking (sight), inhale the fishy brine (smell), taste the salty sea spray (taste), and feel the wind on your skin (touch). Moving on and through the sand also challenges your proprioception and somatic senses as your body provides constant feedback about where it is and what it’s doing in three-dimensional space. You can amplify this by switching between the harder, compacted ground nearer the water and the soft, fluffy stuff further inland. We can also introduce some of the other key XPT practices , such as contrast therapy, by switching between moving with intensity in the heat of the day and cooling off in the surf – not to mention that ice cold beach shower that feels so good afterwards.

There are an almost infinite number of workouts you can do on the beach. To get you started, here are a couple that we used at recent XPT Experiences. Why don’t you join us for the next one to see more for yourself?

*Important* Start every session with a dynamic warm-up including some light movement to get the heart rate up and blood flowing followed by a few exercises to move the joints through optimal ranges of motion. This will help prevent injuries from the unpredictable surface.

Beach Workout 1- Tower Run

Choose a long beach with obstacles along the beach. This can be lifeguard towers, trash cans, jetty’s, or groups of people.

  • Jog to the first marker
  • Perform 15 pushups
  • Perform 15 Mountain climbers
  • Perform 15 Squats
  • Perform 15 reps of a core exercise of choice
  • Sprint to the next marker and repeat
  • Walk to next marker and repeat
  • Alternate jogging, sprinting, walking every 3 markers

If the markers are close together alternate by jogging, sprinting, walking, shuffling, and backpedaling between them

Beach Workout 2- Athletic Movement Continuous Ladder

Set 4 markers in a line approximately 10 yards apart from each other. Starting at the 1st marker, perform each movement full speed to the 2nd marker (10 yards) and slowly jog or walk back (this is your rest).

Once you complete the full circuit from marker 1 to 2 rest 60-90 seconds. Then repeat the circuit from marker 1 to 3 (20 yards), rest another 60-90 seconds and finally repeat from marker 1 to 4 (30 yards)

  1. Shuffle Right
  2. Shuffle Left
  3. Skip
  4. Backpedal
  5. Bear Crawl
  6. Sprint

Once complete, lie down on your back and perform a slow recovery breathing protocol. Breathe in through the nose for 5 seconds and leak it slowly out through your lips for 10 seconds. Follow this pattern for 5 minutes.

Beach Workout 3- 3 Rounds

Set up two markers approximately 15 yards apart. Complete the full round as fast as possible (resting as needed during the round but the clock keeps running). Rest for 1-2 minutes between rounds.

Round 1

  1. Lunge walk from marker 1 to marker 2
  2. Perform 10 close grip pushups
  3. Sprint back
  4. Repeat x 3-4

Round 2

  1. Bear crawl from marker 1 to marker 2
  2. Perform 10 sumo squats
  3. Backpedal back to the start
  4. Repeat x 3-4

Round 4

  1. Broad jump from marker 1 to marker 2
  2. Perform 5 burpees and 10 regular pushups
  3. Sprint back
  4. Repeat x 3-4

Finish lying down with 3 minutes of slow box breathing all through the nose. Inhale for a count of 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4 and hold for 4.

Fuel Up Recipe: ‘CLOUDBREAK’ Seared Tuna with Crunchy Salad, Red Potatoes & Lemon

‘CLOUDBREAK’ Seared Tuna with Crunchy Salad, Red Potatoes & Lemon

Originally published in XPT Co-Founder, Laird Hamilton’s book Fuel Up – Global Recipes for High-Performance Humans

‘Cloudbreak’ – Tavarua, Fiji. Now we’re talking my top five in the world. An absolutely perfect looking left reef pass that is also one of the most challenging waves to surf. It gets serious here very quickly, and proximity to the razor sharp coral reef make wipeouts worth avoiding.

Situated on the edge of the Mamanuca archipelago means that premium grade fish are in abundance. Always be sure that when you buy Tuna to prepare in this way, the meat looks pale pink or reddish, has been recently cut, appears moist and smells fresh. If in any doubt ask the vendor for a fresh cut.

Serves 4
Total time: 20 mins

ingredients for the encrusted tuna:

1 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1/2 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup basil, finely chopped
1/2 cup coriander, finely chopped sea salt

black pepper
1 lemon, juiced
4 8oz tuna steaks, 3/4” thick

ingredients for the salad:

1 cucumber, sliced
1 head, iceberg lettuce, roughly chopped
1/2 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
1 6oz jar of sun dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers, drained and sliced
10 small red potataoes, boiled and halved.
1 lemon, quartered

Crush the Coriander seeds thoroughly with a pestle and motar. Mix in a small bowl with the chili, coriander, garlic, basil, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Then layout your tuna steaks and coat both sides of the steaks with the mixture.

To cook, coat a medium ridged skillet with olive oil and place over a high heat. When the pan is smoking hot, put in the tuna and cook for just 1 minute either side, this really sears the crust on the outside while the middle stays beautifully pink.

To prepare the salad, divide the ingredients between large bowls and then break up the tuna steaks by hand into a few pieces and lay on top. Serve with a wedge of lemon on the side.

Get your copy of Fuel Up today to enjoy a bounty of other recipes from Laird:

Book Spotlight: Waterman 2.0 by XPT Advisor, Dr. Kelly Starrett and Phil White

XPT Movement Advisor Kelly Starrett is a coach, physical therapist, author, and speaker who aims to revolutionize how athletes think about human movement and athletic performance. His 2013 book, Becoming a Supple Leopard has become a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. Kelly is a longtime friend of Laird and Gabby, as well as the XPT family, and has appeared as a special guest at multiple XPT Experiences, providing hands-on mobility methods and educational touch-points that serve crucial when achieving optimal human performance.


Starrett’s newest book, Waterman 2.0 is a movement manifesto for the water athlete. With the foreward written by our very own, Laird Hamilton, this is a book you won’t want to miss. Learn more about it in the review below and grab yourself a copy of it on Amazon in the link: Waterman 2.0

Originally published on

The goal of any waterman or woman is to surf, paddle or row as often as they can, as well as they can, for the rest of their life. The trouble is that few understand how to get the most from their body and when they can’t, what to do about it outside of the usual layoffs, surgeries and cortisone injections. As one veteran paddler recently put it: “Ibuprofen is my second religion.”

There is a better way.

Using insights gleaned from his experiences on the whitewater canoe and rafting national teams and improving the performance and wellbeing of the world’s top athletes, Dr. Kelly Starrett has created nothing short of a movement manifesto for the water athlete.

Equally applicable to the pro waterman, novice and everyone in between, Waterman 2.0 gives paddlers, surfers and rowers of all ages and abilities a one-stop guide to understanding:

  • Basic movement baselines for optimal and sustainable performance on and off the water
  • How to identify and fix weakest links, and become faster, stronger and more resilient
  • Mobility techniques to help prevent, assess and address soft tissue, joint and sliding surface issues
  • Common errors that lead to pain and performance limitations
  • Corrective strategies that enhance movement patterns and unlock more speed and endurance
  • Lifestyle adaptations that enable better preparation, training and racing
  • Tactics for more effective recovery, hydration and sleep

Waterman 2.0 also features unique insights and tips from more than 30 of the world’s top watermen and women, including Laird Hamilton, Kai Lenny, Emily Jackson-Troutman and Paige Alms. This book is the start of a revolution in water sports performance. Are you ready to become Waterman 2.0?

Get a copy of Waterman 2.0

TRAINING TIP: Slow it down

Tip via XPT Performance Director, PJ Nestler 

 Most people exercise with the intent of task completion: perform X number of reps, lift X pounds, run X miles and success is measured on did you complete it or not.

The problem is that most people are not training for a Crossfit competition, powerlifting meet, or marathon, so those arbitrary goals are irrelevant. Even if you are you should never allow short term goals to overshadow long term health. Most people are exercising to stay/get fit, healthy, reduce pain/injuries, and improve body composition (lose fat/build muscle). Therefore, the focus needs to shift to match the goal.

If you want to use exercise to build resilience and bulletproof your body from injury instead of getting hurt in the gym, it’s time to change your intentions during training. Focus instead on dominating positions, mastering every inch of your range of motion rather than speeding through the tough spots, and FEELING the muscles working. Using tempos to slow down movements is one of the best ways to teach proper positions, create mind-body connection through movement and build strong and stable joints.

For the next 3 weeks, decrease the weight and reps on everything you do by at least 30% and add a tempo, 3 seconds during the lowering phase, 2 second pause in the middle, and a controlled 1 second on the upward phase. Pay close attention to feeling the right muscles doing the work and even video a few reps to see if your feeling matches what it actually looks like (excellent learning strategy I used with all my athletes). You will gain strength, body control, and identify/eliminate weaknesses that will improve your future training and pay off big time down the road in long term resilience.

XPT – A New Kind of Human Performance-Focused Wellness Experience/Fitness Vacation

Fitness, wellness, and health retreats are one of the fastest growing segments in the travel industry. According to the Global Wellness Institute, health-related tourism grew from $563 billion in 2015 to $639 billion in 2017 with people taking 139 million more trips, and is forecasted to become a $919 billion market by 2022. In the United States alone, wellness tourism accounts for $242 billion in annual spending. That means every adult in the US spends $960 a year on health-related travel, on average. This is in keeping with the ever-expanding size of the global wellness industry, which ballooned from $3.4 to $4.2 trillion by the end of 2018.

Initially, a lot of wellness-focused travel merely involved staying at hotels that had luxury spas. Then yoga retreats became the next big thing. More recently, digital detox (or unplugged) vacations have taken off. These involve travelers checking in their phones, tablets, and computers at the door of high-end lodges so they can benefit from disconnecting for a few days.

With thousands of different options in places across the globe – from those run by multinational conglomerates like Hilton in major cities to one offs in far-flung, off-the-grid locales – it can be hard to choose the right one. While we can’t speak for the others, we’ve had hundreds of people tell us that they were so glad they selected an XPT Experience. Whether it’s at the home of our co-founders Gabby Reece and Laird Hamilton in Kauai or Malibu, on the beach in Miami, or at one of our other hand-picked locations, attendees travel to a beautiful oceanside location for a restorative, yet highly challenging, three days that’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Soon after arrival, guests begin a comprehensive curriculum designed by Laird and Gabby, XPT performance director PJ Nestler, and world class advisors like Patrick McKeown, Dr. Kelly Starrett, and Dr. Andy Galpin. This is founded on the three pillars of the XPT lifestyle: Breathe, Move, and Recover, and includes pool, gym, and beach training, contrast therapy (a combination of heat exposure in a sauna and cold water immersion in an ice bath), breath work, paddling, mobility, and much more. In addition to Gabby, Laird, PJ, and our advisors leading sessions, we also bring in some of the best coaches to share their expertise, such as Jen Widerstrom, Brett Bartholomew, and Kenny Kane.

The result is an experience unlike any other health/wellness retreat you’ve ever been to. Rather than just simply being an isolated one-off, you’ll have acquired a versatile toolset that you can pull from to meet your performance goals and daily challenges. Rather than ending when you leave, the XPT Experience will become the starting point of profound whole-life change. In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear reveals the power of social facilitation in creating new and beneficial habits.

“Immersing yourself in a group of people who are living the life you want to lead is vital,” said XPT performance director PJ Nestler. “You’ll become part of such a group at an XPT Experience and can then go home and find your own tribe who will support and encourage you. Facing challenges together helps us open up new avenues for learning and inspires us to go further than we previously thought possible. And an XPT Experience is the catalyst.”

Click here to find out more about XPT Experiences and to reserve your spot today.

STUDY REVIEW: Role of the nasal airway in regulation of airway resistance during hypercapnia and exercise

Study reviewed by XPT Assistant Performance Director, Mark Roberts

Original Study:

In this study they look at the relationship between nasal resistance and A) hypercapnia (describes a higher presence of CO2 in the body) B) exercise. Showing a linear decrease in nasal airway resistance as both exercise and CO2 levels increase. What this means is that respiratory efficiency increases as the demand increases as well as decreasing the amount of work the overall respiratory system has to do at high ventilation rates.

The researchers took 10 healthy volunteers, using a posterior mask rhinomanometry to measure the subsequent resistance in the following tests,  EXERCISE – volunteers peddled on a stationary bike at 3 varied loads. HYPERCAPNIA – this was measured by supplying 3 different O2/CO2 mixtures, those being; 5% CO2, 6% CO2 and 8% CO2. resistance was measured during the expiratory breath only due to a potential for nasal collapse/flare during inspiration

What can we take away?

  1. Adding a small amount of resistance to the breath increased work rate by 50%! Increasing tidal volume, inspiratory duration and decreased respiratory frequency. Best way we can add resistance to the respiratory system is through nasal breathing
  2. If we spend most of our time nasal breathing we can regulate not only our breathing mechanics (breathing to match metabolic demand) so we are not over breathing, (This being were we talk about maintaining higher levels of CO2 in the blood to become more efficient at dropping oxygen off to cells and tissues) but also stimulation of the parasympathetic nerve
  3. If we stay patient and work on becoming a competent nose breather, our athletic capacity can be improved greatly. Just imagine being in a position were increased cardiopulmonary output can be made more efficient and less energy consuming!  Leaving us with an overdrive gear where others are maxed out.

Read the original study: HERE

DOSE Feature: 2019 Trend: Pool Based Fitness

“You can be dynamic and explosive without paying a punishing price”, says co-founder Gabby Reece

In a recent DOSE article titled “2019 TREND: POOL BASED FITNESS,” XPT Pool workouts were prominently featured as the perfect exercise to work hard without putting impact on your joints. Check out the feature below along with a great video showcasing an underwater workout with Laird, Gabby and the XPT Crew.

Originally published on

First came hydro spinning, then a HIIT class on water. Now we’re pumping iron beneath the surface and practising underwater training as a powerful tool for mindfulness…


Lifting weights underwater might seem unorthodox but it’s at the heart of Laird Hamilton’s XPT programme. LA’s most exclusive workout provides an opportunity to work hard without putting impact on your joints. “You can be dynamic and explosive without paying a punishing price”, says co-founder Gabby Reece.

Breath holding during training has been shown to improve performance in a variety of sports. A recent study done on triathletes, used breath holding twice per week as a part of their normal training routine. After 5 weeks, the breath hold group improved their performance while the control group saw no improvement. Their results were an average improvement of: 3.7s in 100m, 6.9s in 200m and 13.6s in 400m.

“In a sport where the difference between 1st place and 5th place are fractions of a second, these results are significant” explains Coach PJ Nestler, Performance Director at XPT. “The use of intermittent hypoxic training can improve acid buffering, delaying muscle and blood acidosis as well as enhancing tolerance to rising levels of acid, improving anaerobic performance.”

XPT retreats are taking place in Hawaii, Miami, Costa Rica and Malibu this year. XPT also has several certified coaches in Europe that will be running workshops in 2019.

To read the rest of the article, click HERE

XPT Coach Spotlight: Aaron Manheimer

Name: Aaron Manheimer

Age: 44

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Business/Gym: Wattage


Social Media Handles:


XPT: Introduction:

Aaron Manheimer: My name is Aaron and I am the owner of Wattage, a boutique personal training gym in Chicago. I have been personal training for 16 years following a stint playing professional rugby in Europe. I became interested in post rehab training after my 7 knee surgeries. I love teaching people how to train and to move pain free. I am married and have a 3 year old boy named Noah.

XPT: What made you want to become an XPT Certified Coach?

AM: I had started to dabble with bringing weights into Lake Michigan and working out. After attending the XPT Experience and feeling all the different ways it could impact you I was hooked. Getting certified was a no brainer. As I age I want to train at a high level and teach others while mitigating the risk of injury.  I can make the pool workout as challenging as a rugby game and at the end my body feel great.

 XPT: How has XPT immediately impacted you and/or your clients?

AM: I train clients with a wide range of ages, I was able to start implementing performance breathing immediately. Then we started offering the ice bath experience and I am setting up the sauna/ice/breath/water workouts for retreats in Michigan. We also offer Laird Superfood at my gym.

 XPT: What’s your favorite XPT related tip, discipline, activity, etc. to teach your clients and why?

I really love the water workouts. There is something so primal about it and yet I feel so focused underwater. I have always been a believer of being a calm performer.

XPT: What advice would you give to someone considering becoming certified, attending an experience or workshop or anyone considering XPT in general?

AM: The workshops are a great place to start. It is important to start off with the right understanding of how and why things are done. Then it is a matter of implanting small things into your everyday life.

XPT: Can you share with us a quick success story or “WOW” moment with either yourself or a client as it pertains to XPT?

AM: When I attended the experience in Malibu, I was able to hold my breath for 35 seconds under the ice bath. A few months later I did it again during the certification course. My goal was to just beat 35 seconds. PJ was going to tap my leg every 5 seconds. When I finally came up it was 1 minute 10 seconds. He tapped my leg every 10 seconds. I was blown away.

XPT: Anything else you want to tell XPT? A quote I remember from the Certification? A cool client story? A personal story as it pertains to XPT in my life? Etc.

AM: Beside beating Laird at Bocce Ball??? I can tell you that before I started, the longest I had been on a SUP Board was 10 minutes. During the experience we did a 3-mile paddle out to Point Dume. When I came back to Chicago and got on Lake Michigan, I did another 3-mile trip. I never would have thought I would have been able to do that.

I’m Freezing!” – Overcoming Resistance to Ice Baths and Cold Water Immersion

By PJ Nestler

At XPT Experiences, the thing people are most fascinated by and apprehensive about is the ice bath. Sure, the novelty of our pool training is intriguing – and, once they actually get going, challenging – but there’s something about the cold that captivates their imagination and perhaps makes them a little apprehensive. Yet cold water immersion (CWI) is a core component of the XPT lifestyle and our active recovery pillar. Over the past 20 years, our co-founders Laird Hamilton and Gabby Reece have found that cycling some time in the sauna with a dip in an ice bath provides an incredible boost in their recovery.

This isn’t just anecdotal. In fact, there’s a bevy of research that demonstrates the benefits of getting chilly. Multiple studies found CWI significantly reduced the loss in maximal strength and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) for up to 96 hours post-exercise. The skin temperature decrease resulting from ice bath immersion lowers nerve conduction velocity, which limits muscle spasms and pain sensations. The vasoconstriction that follows alters blood flow to the point that it reduces lymphatic and capillary cell permeability, which limits inflammation and minimizes swelling.

And yet for all the demonstrated advantages it provides, getting uncomfortable in an ice bath is still something a lot of people struggle with at first, even though most of the time it’s just a mental hurdle they need to clear.

“Almost everyone likes getting into heat, whereas most people’s initial reaction to an ice bath is ‘Get me out of here now!’” said Dr. Andy Galpin, a muscle physiologist at Cal State Fullerton, co-author of the bestselling book Unplugged, and an XPT advisor. “That means if you’re presented with an either/or choice, most of us would prefer to just stay in the sauna. But the evidence is pretty clear that a hot/cold contrast is better than just heat alone, so then the question becomes how to convince people to deal with the cold. We need a real-world solution because just telling someone to do something isn’t going to create adherence when you’re not around – if it’s unpleasant, a lot of people won’t do it, even if they understand the benefits. That’s where combining heat and ice comes in. Do the easy thing – getting warm – first, so that once someone feels good they’ll be more willing to tolerate a short dose of cold afterwards.”

Getting Athlete Buy-In

Galpin works with a broad range of athletes, including a bevy of top level mixed martial artists and fighters. Due to the volume and intensity of their training, new modalities have to be introduced carefully and thoughtfully, so that they don’t get overwhelmed with yet one more thing to do. Despite the challenges, Galpin has figured out a way to utilize contrast therapy so that the athletes he advises can reap the benefits of CWI while avoiding some of their potential objections.

“When fighters have been training all day they’re worn out physically and cognitively and are hypocaloric. The last thing they want to do is jump in an ice bath – let alone stay in for several minutes – because it’s just one more demanding thing after they’ve already been bombarded with challenges for hours on end. So with this context in mind, I use the heat of the sauna to relax them and then coax them into the cold for 30 seconds or a minute. They can handle that. Instead of a single long contrast therapy session which might seem too grueling, we do several shorter rounds of heat followed by ice. This way they get the full benefits of contrast therapy and overcome their initial reservations about getting cold.”

Galpin points to the increasingly pervasive adoption of contrast therapy in pro and college sports and the inclusion of it in the modalities used by state-of-the-art facilities like the UFC Performance Center as an indicator that this isn’t some passing fad, but rather an effective practice that’s here to stay.

“If you look across professional sports, a huge percentage of teams have adopted contrast therapy,” he said. “And just about every NCAA Division I college has it available in the athletic training facilities as well. We need to be careful to avoid the logical fallacy of authority bias, as we know that just because something’s popular doesn’t mean it has value. But in the case of cold water immersion and heat exposure, professionals who are responsible for the wellbeing of the best athletes on the planet are only going to utilize a method if it’s working. Such widespread adoption factors into XPT’s evidence-based approach.”

If It Doesn’t Challenge You, It Doesn’t Change You

The benefits of contrast therapy aren’t just confined to the myriad physical advantages of cold water immersion combined with heat exposure. There’s also a mental aspect that cannot be underestimated.

“We spend so much of our time in temperature controlled environments that are neither too hot or too cold,” said XPT performance director PJ Nestler. “As a result, we not only switch off the cold shock and heat shock proteins involved in immune function and other important bodily processes, but also make ourselves too comfortable. Then when we have to perform in harsher conditions, we fall apart. XPT enables people to experience extreme heat and cold in a safe, controlled environment, which allows them to become more resilient and capable. Once you’ve gotten used to the initial shock of the cold, regulated your breathing, and calmed yourself down, you realize that you actually feel great once you get out of the ice bath. As the Fred DeVito adage goes, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

To get you or, if you’re a coach, your athletes, over the mindset barrier that’s keeping you out of the cold, you should follow these steps:

  • Per Galpin’s advice, start with a short sauna session or dip in a hot springs or hot tub to warm yourself up. Begin with 10 minutes.
  • Follow this with a brief dip in the ice bath for 30 to 45 seconds, or even just take a shower with the water as chilly as you can make it the first couple of times
  • Be sure to warm up afterwards
  • After a few sessions in which you follow a single hot/cold exposure, build up to two, three, and four cycles
  • You can also increase the length of time you spend in the sauna and ice bath during each cycle
  • Be sure to take slow nasal inhales and exhales to keep your nervous system in a calm state

Study Review: Spleen volume and blood flow response to repeated breath-hold apneas

Study reviewed by XPT Assistant Performance Director, Mark Roberts

This study takes a look at what happens to the stored red blood cells in the spleen (200-250ml of densely packed blood accounting for around 8% of the bodies red blood cell count) during breath holds. The study mainly focused on the size of the spleen post apnea to determine that it does in-fact contract and release its stored blood after the onset of apnea. Furthermore, it stays contracted during the subsequent 4 breath holds and was shown to only partially recover after 60min.

The researchers tested 27 males (10 trained free divers, 10 untrained, 7 men with spleens removed). They carried out 5 breath holds, 2 minutes apart with the subjects faces submerged in water.

Some things we can take away from this study are that:

a) The spleen seems to actively contract upon the breath hold apnea, staying contracted for more than an hour after the last hold.  This indicates that the influx of red blood cells into the bloodstream remains there for a long time. This could have great implications for endurance athletes if intermittent hypoxic work was part of the “pre game” warm up.

b) There is only a slight (4%) difference in the amount the spleen contracted from the trained divers to the untrained population.  Making the power of this breath exercise accessible to all, not just the experienced.  What they saw was the trained divers being able to endure a longer apnea through mental fortitude, resulting in that extra 4% contraction (dump of concentrated red blood cells) of the spleen.

Read the full study:

XPT Tip of the Day: Reset Techniques

XPT Reset techniques are designed to be used after intense training, major events, competition, or other stressful situations.

Most people focus only on performing at the desired task, whether that means delivering a high quality work project or crushing a gym workout. What they miss is that after any intense stimulation it’s crucial to downregulate and bring the body and mind back to a rested state. This can take hours (even days in severe situations) to happen naturally, but we can design specific practices to “Reset” the nervous system and promote this calm, relaxed state. These Reset methods are primarily aimed at enhancing the recovery response, stimulating growth and repair, and downregulating the nervous system to allow proper adaptation. At XPT this includes a variety of downregulation breathing protocols, sauna and ice bath’s, and mindfulness tactics.

TRY THIS: after a stressful event, emotional experience, or intense workout, bring your focus to the breath. Focus on inhaling through the nose, deep into the belly for a count of 4. Hold the breath at the top for a count of 2, bringing the focus onto any tension/stress/emotions you are holding onto, then release that tension during a long, slow exhale for 8-10 seconds. Let the air release slowly through pursed lips like you were blowing through a straw. Repeat this for 3-5 minutes then check in how you feel. With practice you will be able to shift to this strategy automatically and RESET your mind and nervous system in just a few breaths.

Book Spotlight: Liferider by Laird Hamilton

XPT Founder Laird Hamilton and wife, Gabby Reece believe that fitness involves optimizing their health, physical and mental performance, and longevity so they can continue to live their best life possible, while setting an example for their children and those around them.

And while fitness is a key pillar of XPT, XPT is also a lifestyle. The foundation of Laird’s lifestyle has been built on a few key pillars of his own, along with some unique life practices which have turned him into the international personality and world renowned athlete that he is today. This inspiring lifestyle is documented and explored in Laird’s newest book, Liferider. Find out more in the book description below.

Originally published on


Millions of us increasingly seek happiness in fads and self-help books, reaching upward every day toward some enlightened state that we wish to attain. Surfing icon Laird Hamilton is more intent on looking inward and appreciating the brilliant creatures we already are. In Liferider, Laird uses five key pillars–Death & Fear, Heart, Body, Soul, and Everything Is Connected–to illustrate his unique worldview and life practices, offering inspiration to anyone who wants to elevate their ordinary, landlocked lives to do extraordinary things.

This is Laird Hamilton in his own words—raw, honest, and unvarnished–on topics he has rarely explored before. Based on extensive interviews and conversations between Laird and his coauthor, Julian Borra, with additional insights from Laird’s wife, pro-volleyball player Gabby Reece, Liferidertakes on human resilience, relationships, business, technology, risk-taking, and the importance of respecting the natural world, all through the lens of Laird’s extraordinary life both in and beyond the ocean.


LAIRD HAMILTON is one of the world’s best known big wave surfers. Over the last decade, Laird has transcended surfing to become an international fitness icon and nutrition expert. Many of today’s top professional athletes and celebrities look to Laird for training guidance, including instruction in his unique underwater resistance workouts. He has appeared in a number of feature films and documentaries, most recently Take Every Wave, a biographical feature documentary. In addition to his film work, Laird has appeared on numerous television shows such as Oprah’s Master Class,60 Minutes,Conan,The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and Ellen. Laird lives with Gabby and his daughters on the Hawaiian island of Kauai and in Malibu, California.

JULIAN BORRA has worked for more than thirty years as a creative writer in the media and communications industry at Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett, and at the consulting firm he founded, Thin Air Factory.

Available March 2019; pre-order your copy today!


Barnes & Noble


Apple Books


Home Ice Bath Setup with Chuck Glynn

Last month we shared with you our Performance Director, PJ Neslter’s home icebath set up. If you missed it, you can view it HERE.  At XPT, we have some set guidelines for how cold the ice/water should be and how long we recommend you stay in it, but when it comes to icebath setups, we’re all for any option that efficiently and safely allows you to participate in our XPT Ice methods.

In this article and video below, XPT Technical Advisor and Certified Coach, Chuck Glynn, shares with you another alternative to PJ’s home set up. Take it away Chuck!

By Chuck Glynn

For those looking to build a home ice bath system that uses water instead of ice, here is an option that might be a good fit for you.

I purchased a chest freezer (Whirlpool) that is perfect for 1 person no more than 6’5” up to 350lbs.

Reasons for choosing this freezer over others include:

  • Great usable space inside the freezer
  • Fits on my apartment patio
  • Has the least amount of seams to seal
  • Price was right and it had free delivery

Dimensions of freezer are: 14.8 cubic feet –

Height (Inches) 33.375
Depth (Inches) 30.25
Width (Inches) 47.375

Tricks for buying freezer from Lowes:

You can buy a 10% off coupon from eBay for 99 cents and you can also buy used gift cards online for less then the amount left on the card. For example you can buy a gift card with $50 left on it for $40 and its guaranteed by eBay and other sites that offer used gift cards. I did this and ended up paying about half price for the freezer.

Other items I purchased:

  1. Inkbird ITC-308 Max.1200W Heater, Cool Device Temperature Controller, Carboy, Fermenter, Greenhouse Terrarium Temp. Control $35.00

  1. Smart WiFi Plug Timer Outlet Plug, Wireless Remote Control Outlet Work with Alexa (1 pack) $10

  1. TRC 90033 Shock shield White Portable GFCI Plug with Surge Protection $17


Base: I propped my freezer up on 2×4’s to get the freezer up off the ground away from water. It’s important to keep the electrical controls, which are usually on the base of the freezers, away from pooling water. This will also allow other moisture to dry if some water should get under the freezer while in use. This will all help with rust and corrosion later on.

Sealing the Freezer Chest: I sealed the seams with 3M food grade silicone adhesive to prevent leaks and rusting. I chose a food grade sealant as some sealants have chemicals that can leach over time and I didn’t want to have a chemical bath.

Drainage: My freezer comes with 2 plugs. One plug is inside and the other external. Both seemed to be water tight, and the external plug comes with a hose adapter for easy hook up.

Electrical Hook up:

This how to plug these components in together in the correct order for the desired effect

Starting from the wall outlet.

1st is the GFCI plug. Some outlets have this built in, but not all of them do. This will prevent you from getting shocked or having your freezer short out while you are not around. If it senses a surge of power it shuts down the current to the device. Being that this is a water and electricity game it’s best to play it safe.

2nd the WIFI timer plugs into the GFCI plug. This will allow me to control my freezer chest from an app on my phone. If I am away from my home for an extended period of time, I can shut down the whole system remotely, and I can start it up at any time in preparation for an ice bath when I get home.

3rd plug the temperature controller into the WIFI plug. This temp controller comes with both a heating a cooling temperature control. It has a built in temp probe on a 5’ cord that goes into the water. You

Filling in the Water: Ensure you have placed the freezer chest where you want it before filling it with water. Fill the chest about 1/2-3/4 full of water (you can get in and out of the tub as you fill it to find the desired water level.)

I added 1 cup of Epsom salt and 16oz. of food grade hydrogen peroxide to help keep the water clean.


I helped jump start my freezer with 40-50 lbs of ice to help the freezer not over heat while cooling the chest of water.

Note: These freezers are designed to cool air and other frozen products, and it takes a lot of work for these systems to cool the water. By adding $5 worth of ice it not only speeds up the time until the chest is ready but it also cuts the running time by around 75% to get the water down to temperature.

Gauge Temperature:

I have two ways I keep an eye on my water temperature.

1st is the temperature controller.

2nd you double check the water with a point and shoot temperature gun.


I empty out my freezer chest every two-three weeks. I replace with fresh water, and add the Epsom salts and hydrogen peroxide again.

A pool skimmer works well to take out any miscellaneous floaters on top.

For dirt and heavier debris, I also have an electric bilge pump I use as a water vacuum.


Converting a freezer chest is a relatively safe method as long as you follow some easy safety precautions:

  1. Make sure you have a GFCI outlet between your wall outlet and freezer chest hard power. This will prevent any surging of power or shock just incase the freezer chest fails or gets a power surge.
  2. Keep your freezer chest off the ground. When you are using the ice bath water can likely pool around the base near the electrical components. It’s important to keep your chest freezer away from standing water so it doesn’t short out accidentally should the GFCI fail.
  3. Always unplug your freezer chest prior to using the tub, draining the tub, and refilling the tub. Keep the power off while there is any chance water may spill over and onto the freezer chest controls.

If equipped with a locking door, remember to lock the door while not using the chest. If your freezer chest does not have a locking door it’s very simple to add one after the fact to the lid. Remember, this is a body of water that is a potential drowning hazard. Children and animals may crawl into the freezer and the door would just close behind them possible trapping them in a cold bath.

Home Ice Bath Setup with PJ Nestler

For those looking to build a home ice-bath system, that uses water instead of ice, here is an option that might be a good fit for you.
I purchased a chest freezer (Kenmore) perfect for 1 person up to about 6’6 and 250lbs+
Dimensions: 14.8 cubic feet
Internal measurements: 4 feet long – 3ft deep – 1 foot 8 inches wide
Leaking: I sealed all the internal edges with silicone – to prevent leaks
Base: I used wooden planks to prop up one end of the freezer to allow drainage on the other end
Drainage Screw and Tube:  If your tub is outside it can drain directly otherwise you will need to get a hose to direct the drainage. I added a small hose since my tub is in my garage, with a 1/8th inch male adapter to drain.
Fill the tub about halfway with water.
I added 2lbs of Epsom salt and a few drops of food grade hydrogen peroxide 12% to help keep the water clean.
Timer system: I purchase a standard light timer which enables me to keep my tub at my desired temperature (between 35-38 degrees).
I ran the timer for two days to get it to proper temperature and now I just set the timer to turn on the cooling for 2 hours a night.
Gauge Temperature
I have 3 gauges: a standard pool gauge, an aquarium thermometer (cheap and inaccurate), and a laser surface thermometer. You really only need one I was just testing the accuracy of a few different options.
I empty out my tub every two-three weeks depending on how frequently I use it. Then I thoroughly clean and disinfect the inside and replace with fresh water, along with the epsom salts and hyrdrogen peroxide again.
A pool skimmer works well to take out any misc dirt or items that end up in the tub. We also installed an outdoor shower and require everyone to rinse off after coming out of the sauna before getting into the ice bath. This helps keep it somewhat clean.
Always unplug your timer prior to using the tub. Electrocution is not the type of stress we are trying to adapt to.
Check out PJ’s video below as he walks you through, in fine detail, his home ice bath set up:

XPT Coach Spotlight: Shanti Tilling

Name: Shanti Tilling

Age: 44

Hometown: Punta de Mita, Mexico

Business/Gym: Sweat Play Live


Social Media Handles: @sweatplaylive


XPT: Tell us about yourself:

 Shanti Tilling: Hola! I have been a full-time personal trainer for the last 22 years. My passion is inspiring people to be strong for what they love to do and helping them create their own healthy, active lives.  Although the foundation of my career is based on physical movement, I believe that true health is acquired from the INSIDE out –  that emotional growth occurs when one steps outside their physical and mental comfort zones. I am also an outdoor fitness junkie and have cycled, ran, hiked, climbed, paddled, and surfed all over the world. My love for adventurous travel combined with my passion for fitness led me to create Sweat Play Live fitness retreats based out of Punta de Mita, Mexico.

XPT: What made you want to become an XPT Certified Coach?

 ST: I have been a following Gabby and Laird’s careers for at least 15 years and respect the fact that they are constantly seeking out cutting edge tools to enhance performance on both a physical and mental level. I live and breathe holistic health, movement and the outdoor lifestyle, and the XPT certification is the perfect fit for me.

 XPT: How has XPT immediately impacted you and/or your clients?

 ST: The breathwork is absolutely the foundation for everything. Learning proper breathing mechanics and understanding how to use our breath to control our mental and physical energy is probably the most important principle one can adopt. It is a relatively simple technique that can be used anywhere and by anyone. Personally, switching from mouth breathing to nasal breathing has been a total game changer. Just like any other new skill, it took a couple weeks of practice and focused effort to make it habit. But now I am able to ride, run and even sprint (!) primarily nasal breathing.

XPT: What’s your favorite XPT related tip, discipline, activity, etc. to teach your clients and why?

 ST: I absolutely love the water workouts. As someone who has spent years over training and beating down my body, I enjoy the intensity and mental challenge without the impact on my joints. The water also teaches you to relax and surrender. The more you fight or struggle in the water, the more oxygen and energy you will waste. I have just recently started teaching shallow water workouts and my students and I have already noticed a difference in our maximum breath holds – which is especially important for our ocean hobbies such as surfing and free diving.

XPT: What advice would you give to someone considering becoming certified, attending an experience or workshop or anyone considering XPT in general?

ST: Just do it! The XPT team is a wealth of wellness knowledge. Whether you are just looking to enhance your own health or those of your clients, you will absolutely walk away with applicable tools you can apply right away!

XPT: Anything else you want to tell XPT? A quote I remember from the Certification? A cool client story? A personal story as it pertains to XPT in my life?

ST: Laird has a saying, “slow is smooth, and smooth is fast,” when moving in the water. I think that principle also carries over to our daily lives. Many of us are trying to cram so much into our days – balancing work, family, and social life. When we feel stressed or overwhelmed, there is a tendency to rush and we are stuck in a constant state of struggle – fight or flight mode. If you can slow down, connect with your breath to calm your body and mind, you can maintain focus and ultimately make better life decisions.


Improve Recovery and Bust Stress with Box Breathing

By XPT Performance Director, PJ Nestler

Here at XPT, we use lots of different breathing techniques for many different purposes. Think of it as a breath work toolbox. There is no single “right” way to deliberately control your breathing. When working on a home improvement project, you don’t want to use a hammer to cut a piece of wood or turn a screw – it’s a saw and screwdriver you’re after. Same goes with controlled, intentional breathing. We start with the goal or outcome you desire, see whether that involves upregulating – such as for a hard interval session – or downregulating – like at night after a stressful day – and pick the appropriate breathing pattern. The ability to tweak the knobs and move the levers with cadence, tempo, holds, and so on gives us almost an endless number of possible combinations that can get you to where you need to be physiologically or help you break out of an undesirable state.

Building a Breath Box

One of the easiest and most effective breathwork techniques to master is box breathing. No, this doesn’t involve sitting in one of those giant boxes you get when you move to a new house, but rather refers to the pattern itself. Box breathing involves giving equal time to a nasal inhale, first breath hold, nasal exhale, and second breath hold. Imagine each one being the side of – you guessed it! – a box, with the duration of every phase represented by an edge (see the image below). The even tempo and cadence of box breathing makes it relaxing, not least because it encourages you to focus on counting the duration of all four “sides.”  When people talk about “meditation breathing” or “mindfulness breathing,” they’re usually referring to a breath pattern that clears the mind and draws attention to one thing. Box breathing is perfect for this.

Nose + Diaphragm = Better Breathing

As with the other calming breathwork techniques, box breathing should be initiated by the diaphragm – aka “belly breathing.” This large muscle, which attaches to the front of the rib cage, spine, and multiple other structures in the torso, act like a bellows, allowing us to draw in sufficient air and then expel it again without fatiguing secondary respiratory muscles like the intercostals, lats, and so on. When these get tired out by trying to take over the diaphragm’s natural role of the prime mover in breathing, they send fatigue signals to the brain that causes the nervous system to protect itself by reducing speed and power output. In turn, this has a limiting effect on your performance in both training and competition, and can even contribute to the dreaded “bonk” during endurance events. Until recently, it had been assumed that this phenomenon was purely due to glucose stores being used up, but more recently, the role of shallow mouth breathing has been identified as a causal factor as well. We often think of nutrients from broken down food being the only fuel for our muscles, when in reality, they’re also powered by oxygenated blood. If you’re not breathing in a sustainable, controlled way from your diaphragm, your soft tissues will not receive the supplies they need to keep going and do so optimally.

Nailing Box Breathing Basics

One way to practice or re-learn such breath control is to do it without the added demands of load, speed, or duration that you’d be subjected to during a workout. Enter box breathing while sitting or lying down. Closing your mouth and breathing through your nose is the simplest way to initiate diaphragmatic breathing in this or any other nasal breathing pattern. As box breathing is meant to be relaxing, try to do it in a quiet place when possible to amplify the positive effects of the breath itself. Once you’re situated, focus on clearing your mind, and breathing slowly and rhythmically as you follow this simple pattern:

  • Breathe in through your nose for four seconds
  • Hold your breath for four seconds
  • Breathe out through your nose for four seconds
  • Hold your breath for four seconds
  • Repeat for five to 10 minutes

You can do your box breathing in the morning to center yourself before the rest of your day unfolds. It can also be beneficial to complete just a few “boxes” before you give a big presentation at work, while you’re waiting in line at the post office, or when you’re stuck in traffic. It’s also an effective method for helping you to chill out and decompress in the evening.

Boosting Cognition and Enhancing Recovery

Once you’ve been box breathing for a couple of weeks and have the pattern down, you can try extending the length of each “side” of the box. Move up to five seconds and then, if you feel comfortable with it, extend to six or seven. It’s unnecessary to go any further, however. Unlike certain apnea protocols which feature a long breath hold or the kind of max breath holding that freedivers and big wave surfers like XPT co-founder Laird Hamilton undertake, the power of box breathing is not found in challenging your cardiovascular system. Rather, the value lies in its ability to focus your body and mind, groove vitality-promoting nasal breathing, and ease you into a parasympathetic recovery state.

Even with the 4-4-4-4 cadence, you’ll only be taking four breaths in just over a minute. Research has shown that such a breathing rate can have a wide range of positive effects. Australian scientists found that slow nasal breathing improves autonomic system balance and heart rate variability (HRV) coherence, which help ensure adequate recovery. Taking slow, regular nasal breaths can also benefit your brain. Chinese researchers discovered that after 10 to 12 weeks of controlled diaphragmatic breathing, participants increased their attention span and improved emotional stability.

RECIPE: A Simple Salad Dressing Packed with Herbal Nutrition by Kauai Farmacy

Originally published on

Chop 1 large cucumber; dice 3-4 fresh tomatoes; sprinkle equal parts Savory Blend and Curry Blend (2-pinches of each); fresh-squeeze the juice of 1 lime; drizzle cold-press olive oil (or sesame oil); and add a dash of coarse pink sea salt. Pair it with your favorite tea and Voila! – an enzyme, vitamin & mineral-rich meal.

Savory Blend: tarragon; oregano, rosemary, tulsi, sage, thyme, bele-spinach
Curry Blend: curry leaf; yellow ginger; galangal ginger; turmeric; kaffir lime; Hawai’ian chili pepper
Lime juice
Cold-press oil (Olive or Sesame)
Coarse sea salt
Women’s Wellness Tea: tulsi; bele-spinach; lemongrass; cranberry hibiscus; galangal ginger; moringa; chaste; turmeric; orange peel; stevia; yarrow; raspberry leaf; lavender.

Simply nutritious and easy to make. Enjoy!

Enjoy this recipe and don’t forget – exclusive to our XPT followers: Use promo code “XPT10” at checkout on for 10% off their products!

XPT Coach Spotlight: Dominic Luke

Name: Dominic Luke

Age: 33

Hometown: New Orleans, LA

Business/Gym: Love More Hot Yoga


Social Media Handles: @lovemorehotyoga &


XPT: Tell us about yourself:

DL: I am a former Special Operations Pararescueman or (PJ). I got certified as an XPT coach in 2018 along with getting certified as a 200 hr RYT yoga instructor. My passion is to teach people how to connect with themselves internally, and help guide them on their journey to human performance optimization.

XPT: What made you want to become an XPT Certified Coach?

DL: The philosophy and research behind the modalities of XPT training are similar to the training I went through in the Special Operations. Additionally, we are building a relationship between The Pararescue Foundation and XPT to ensure that Veterans from the Pararescue Community have access to these modalities and can implement them in their transition from military to civilian life.

XPT: How has XPT immediately impacted you and/or your clients?

 DL: The breathing techniques and practices learned through XPT have had an immediate impact in my daily life as well as within the classes I teach to my clients. It has allowed me to navigate the transition from military back to civilian life and given me different options to overcome the struggles I have had during that transition.

XPT: What’s your favorite XPT related tip, discipline, activity, etc. to teach your clients and why?

DL: I have deeply connected with teaching my clients the proper way to breathe and how to manage their breath through all facets of their day. Once a person makes the connection to their breath, they are able to connect with themselves on a deeper level internally.

XPT: What advice would you give to someone considering becoming certified, attending an experience or workshop or anyone considering XPT in general?

DL: Don’t be nervous, come with an open mind to learn, and remember to practice. Whether it is breathing techniques, pool training, or contrast therapy, practice gives you the opportunity to deepen your connection with yourself, which can deepen your connection with your coaching techniques.

XPT: Anything else you want to tell XPT? A quote I remember from the Certification? A cool client story? A personal story as it pertains to XPT in my life? 

DL: I believe that XPT is offering people the opportunity to become the best version of themselves. Everyone is different and responds differently to situations. XPT allows someone to learn how to work through his or her own difficulties to become the most versatile and resilient human being, and it all starts with the breath.

Book Spotlight: Conscious Coaching: The Art and Science of Building Buy-In by Brett Bartholomew

“Communication is an invaluable skill that builds the foundation of all successful teams, organizations, and relationships. Even though many people would agree with this statement, it’s very likely they never spend any time improving their communication skills. Conscious Coaching is not just a practical tool for world-class coaches but also an eye-opening guide to effective communication in any setting. Coach Brett delivers an elaborate breakdown of personality archetypes, common interpersonal challenges, and powerful communication strategies in this one of a kind book that is a self-improvement must read.” –XPT Performance Director, PJ Nestler

Originally published on

In the world of strength and conditioning, learning how to move others—not just physically, but also psychologically and emotionally—is paramount to getting the most out of them. People are the ultimate performance variable, and understanding how to effectively blend knowledge of proper training with the nuances of human behavior is integral to helping athletes achieve their ultimate goals. Unfortunately, while much attention has been given to the science of physical training, little attention has been given to the science of communication.

Conscious Coaching: The Art and Science of Building Buy-In bridges this gap. Readers learn the foundational principles of improving relationships, enhancing engagement, and gaining the trust of athletes through targeted communication. And, every bit as important, readers also learn concrete strategies to apply these principles in day-to-day coaching situations they will inevitably encounter. The result is a game-changing book that sets the stage for coaches to create a culture of success within sport, but also beyond. Conscious Coaching is a movement and its time has come.


Chess Not Checkers: How a better understanding of human nature, behavior, conflict and personality can enhance your programming, training and results.

The Upside to your Dark Side: What social science tells us about how leveraging “negative” personality traits can be our best asset when leading others.

More Than an Art: The science behind foundational principles that underpin relationship management, enhanced engagement, and the ability to gain the trust of athletes through targeted communication.

It Takes a Village: Share strategies from more than 15 of the world’s top performance professionals, as well as their tips behind how to deliver these strategies more efficiently and connect more authentically with athletes of all personality types.

Re-shaping the Culture of The Craft: What it takes to leave a lasting legacy and how to reclaim the lost art of 360 degree mentoring so that we can build more competent future professionals within the field.

Get your copy of Brett’s book today by clicking HERE

Not Hitting Your Performance Goals? Mouth Breathing Might Be the Roadblock

By PJ Nestler

How frustrating is it when you have a good coach, push yourself in your training, and dial in your recovery, only to continually fall short of your aims on game day? When this happens, it’s easy to question what you could’ve done better, how much harder you could’ve worked, and whether you simply choked under pressure.

These are legitimate questions, but the answers we typically come up with – that we just needed more sets, reps, or weight, and the self-defeating judgements – “I guess I’m just mentally weak” can be way off. Rather than needing to do more, there’s actually a fair chance that you need to do less of something – less chronic stress, less red-lining and, perhaps most significantly, less mouth breathing. That’s right. The real reason for you coming up short again might be as simple as the fact that you’re locked in a dysfunctional breathing pattern. And you probably don’t even know it.

One possible cause is that breathing is autonomous – we do it subconsciously because it’s the most crucial factor in our survival as human beings. But this also has a pitfall, in that because it happens automatically, we don’t think about it. “We can develop faulty breathing patterns that compromise our day-to-day state, our physical and cognitive performance, and our recovery, without even realizing it,” said XPT advisor, Buteyko breathing expert, and author of The Oxygen Advantage, Patrick McKeown.

Sometimes a more progressive coach will ask you to focus on and control your breath during workouts. This can help you stabilize your torso in power/strength exercises like deadlifts and squats, maintain a solid tempo in rhythmical movements like kettlebell swings, and boost your endurance in aerobic activities such as cycling, rowing, and running. Best case scenario, you transfer this newfound breath awareness to the other 23 hours in your day. But many people don’t – they go right back to letting breathing just happen outside the gym.

This means that when you’re not training, you’re likely lapsing into breathing through your mouth. We can also consider this to be stress breathing, as taking in big gulps of air signals to your autonomic nervous system that it needs to click into and stay in a mode of heightened vigilance. This in turn can create excess tension in your soft tissues (see: that aching neck and upper back you’d love somebody to rub), which is exacerbated when we’re asking other muscles to take over the role of respiratory mechanics from the diaphragm we cut out of the equation when we breathe through our mouths. The higher frequency of mouth breathing sends additional stress signals to the brain – no wonder you feel cooked at the end of a long day and find it hard to truly relax.

“If you don’t have a coach who emphasizes breath control and awareness, the bad habits you form during day-to-day activities are likely exaggerated when you’re pushing yourself to the max physically,” McKeown said. If so, you’re gulping in more oxygen than your body can possibly process, not blowing off sufficient carbon dioxide, and asking those secondary respiratory muscles to contract faster and harder for longer. This is one of the primary reasons that people fall apart on a long run or ride. We often attribute lacking the energy to continue to “bonking” – a depletion of glucose. And yet in reality, many such incidents are either caused by or contributed to by dysfunctional mouth breathing. If your muscles aren’t getting sufficient oxygen and cycling out enough CO2, you will not have enough energy – let’s not forget that breath is the other way that we fuel performance at the cellular level.

Patrick McKeown’s Tips for Replacing Mouth Breathing with Nasal Breaths

So with all this said, what are you supposed to do about it? While you might be tempted to go right for what you think matters most – training and competition – you’d be better off beginning with how you breathe when just going through everyday life. Here are five steps McKeown recommends to retool your breathing pattern:

  • While it might sound simple, keeping your lips together when you’re not talking, drinking, or laughing can make a big difference.
  • Next, try to hold your tongue against the roof of your mouth so you’re not blocking the airway.
  • Third, try to take slow, shallow nasal inhales and exhales from your diaphragm that almost seem nonchalant.
  • Then reduce how often you breathe.
  • Finally, always keep your breathing under control, particularly when you start to feel panicked or stressed out (just thinking about crowded shopping malls and the endless lines during the holidays is enough to send most of us into a tailspin). As your breath is always with you and available, it gives you a way to modulate your response to any circumstance. And all it takes to calm down is a few nasal inhales and exhales.

In the next installment of this blog series, we’ll move on to exploring the significance of how you breathe at night, and give you some tips that will enhance your sleep quality, reduce evening stress, and make you feel more fully rested upon waking. Until then, breathe easy (and through your nose!).

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot (and Sometimes Cold) – Contrast Therapy 101 Part 2

By PJ Nestler

If you read the first installment of this series, good for you. If not, you might want to take a few minutes to look it over Getting to the Heat (and the Cold) of the Matter – Contrast Therapy 101 Part 1, before perusing this second part. Now that we’ve established some of the benefits of contrast therapy – aka combining heat and cold exposure – let’s do a deeper dive into how and when to use it, depending on your purposes and goals. We’ll also share a few words of caution to make sure you don’t go too far (particularly if, like me, you’re competitive in every element of your training).

Here are a few different scenarios in which contrast therapy can be beneficial for both body and mind:

Warming up by Warming Up

Yeah I know I just used the word “warming” twice in one sentence. But it’s warranted when we’re talking about preparing your body for a hard training session. Doing a quick contrast therapy session beforehand can rev up your nervous and cardiovascular systems so they’re ready to tackle the daily workout. Or if you’re sore as heck, skip the ice and just do a little heat exposure to ease the tension from those aching muscles.


Keep in mind that with any exercise, method, or modality there is always a benefit and a cost. If your goal is to trigger muscle growth (aka hypertrophy), then the latest research suggests getting chilly immediately after training can blunt some of the acute inflammation prompted by your training that triggers muscle repair. As XPT Advisor Dr. Andy Galpin says, “You are either optimizing or adapting.” We recommend pushing your cold therapy to later in the day or onto a rest day if you are training for strength or hypertrophy gains.

Evening Wind-Down

Cycling between heat and cold at night can be a great way to reset your automomic nervous system and downshift from a sympathetic “red alert” state into a parasympathetic “chill out” one (cold related pun intended). That said, your body can view going to absolute extremes with either component of contrast therapy as a threat, keeping you stuck in a high sympathetic state. So dial down the temperature a bit on your sauna and go a little warmer on your CWI than you normally would. Or just go for the milder combo of a warm bath and cool shower instead. Your sleep duration and quality will likely improve.

Thermic Stress

Sometimes we don’t want to treat contrast therapy as a mere recovery aid, but as its own stressor. In this case, you can dial up the temperature on your heat and drop it down for the cold. Or do several “rounds” as if you were doing interval trainer on a rowing machine, Ski Erg, treadmill, or bike.  Alternatively, try increasing the time you spend exposed to heat and cold, without going too far. By using contrast therapy as your training, you can improve resilience and also cardiovascular health. If you start to feel woozy or light-headed in the sauna or start shivering uncontrollably in the ice, then it’s time to stop and get out.

Recovery Day

When your training schedule tells you it’s time for a day off from intense training, don’t use this as an excuse to just sit on the couch. Instead, go do your sport of choice, play some active outdoor games with your kids and significant other, or tackle some of that overdue yard work. Then follow it up with a nice long soak in a hot tub, followed by a quick cool off. This way you’ll boost your circulation and get in some low intensity movement, without over-stressing your system. Plus you’ll likely be less sore during the next day’s training than if you’d just done nothing.

Immune System Booster

Our bodies have cold shock proteins (CSPs) and heat shock proteins (HSPs) that go dormant like your laptop when you put it into sleep mode if you never expose yourself to temperature extremes. Boot yourself back up with a quick sauna session, followed by a cold plunge or ice bath. A single Finnish sauna session has been shown to increase the number of white blood cells, which are responsible for taking out infections. Meanwhile, researchers in both Finland and Germany have demonstrated that regular sauna use reduces the incidence of both cold and flu by up to 30 percent.

Tame Anxiety and Depression & Improve Hormonal Balance

In a memorable episode of Seinfeld, Kramer puts a hot tub in the middle of his living room and encourages Jerry to “take a soak.” Of course, things go wrong when his latest contraption blows a circuit, sending the temperature plummeting and half-killing the zany hipster dufus. But comedy aside, it seems like he was onto something when it came to contrast therapy and relaxation. Cold water immersion at around 14 degrees Celsius has been shown to mimic or even exceed the positive effects of prescription SSRI drugs, improving feel-good hormone dopamine by 250 percent and norepinephrine by a whopping 530 percent. A paper published in the journal Primates shows that humans aren’t the only ones to take to warm water to quell stress – Japanese snow monkeys ease their primate cares away with a daily soak, too. Good enough for our closest animal “relatives,” good enough for us!

XPT CHALLENGE: Keep the Stress at Bay

XPT CHALLENGE: Holiday edition from Gabby Reece – Keep the Stress at Bay

It’s important to be grateful and gather around the holidays, but this is something that Gabby and Laird try and do routinely with their family and friends. And while the goal is endless positivity and togetherness, the holidays tend to add a touch of extra stress to any situation which can cause your to falter in this goal.

So, Gabby’s challenge to you this week is to keep the holiday stress (and any other kind of stress) at bay. You’re going to forget someone on your Xmas list, there’s bound to be situations that may arise causing a bit of extra holiday stress, but it’s all okay. As long as we’re focusing on what’s important, continue to take care of yourself to the best of your ability, even through the holiday season, love yourself and love each other, you can’t go wrong.

Happy holidays from the XPT Family. Let us know how it’s going with this challenge in the comments below.

XPT Homemade Ice Bath by Cory Heitz

Written by XPT Experience Attendee, Cory Heitz

In May 2017, I attended the XPT Experience in Malibu. Of all the XPT offerings, I felt least intimidated by the ice bath and sauna cycling. I take a lot of cold showers, so cold doesn’t scare me. I felt prepared. But seconds after I submerged into my first ice bath of the trip, my fight or flight response screamed, “FLIGHT!!”  The sensation was more painful than I thought it would be and this totally unnerved me. Thankfully, XPT Coach Bryan Diaz was there to guide my breathing—breathe in for four seconds, pause, then take four seconds to breathe out, all through your diaphragm. When the two minutes ended, I shivered over to Gabby and Laird’s famous barrel sauna. I had to ask the sweaty group waiting their turn for the ice if the sauna was even turned on. Turns out, the temperature was around 200 degrees.  I took one more three-minute ice bath during the experience. It still was no less uncomfortable than the first, but Laird was there this go-round to time it, and his calm coaching method made the time seem to go by quicker.  The feeling after taking an ice bath was exhilaration.

After XPT, I thought long and hard about all I had learned. I ended up incorporating many of the lessons and trainings into my daily life, but the one I really wanted to include, was cold exposure via ice. I’d have to figure out how to set up my own, personal ice bath.

I live in Washington DC in a neighborhood of row houses. I have a one car garage and tiny back yard. I researched Laird and Gabby’s ice machine and steel tubs, but thought that setup was too premium for my needs. I discussed the idea of incorporating an ice bath on my property with fellow XPT Experience Malibu participant and now XPT certified coach, Taylor Somerville. Taylor sets up ice baths in Memphis and uses a 150-gallon plastic tub that he fills with individual bags of ice he buys from nearby convenience stores. Taylor said this tub would work perfectly for my size—I’m 6’7’’, 215lbs.

Before I invested in the tub, I looked for a suitable icemaker. I began searching on eBay and Craigslist to get a sense of what was out there and at what price. I looked online for restaurant supply stores and actually found one located within a mile of my house.  I went there to get educated on used icemakers before potentially making a blind purchase off the internet. The owner and I quickly bonded because we both grew up playing basketball in Kentucky.  We even knew many of the same people!  He normally never carries used ice machines, however he received one the week I visited and it had quite the history; it had just been removed from the White House. President Trump wanted to redo the WH kitchen and he wanted new equipment.  Since this equipment supply store originally sold this icemaker to the White House, they got it back to sell on consignment. It was a Manitowoc water-cooled unit that included an ice storage bin and it could make 350 pounds of cubed ice every 24 hours. Perfect! Plus, it was a piece of history, right? It was offered at $775. I got the price to $725 and bought it as-is. The supply store connected me to their best restaurant equipment maintenance contact, so he could install it for me. All I needed to do now was make some room for it in my garage near the main water line. Simple enough, right? Not so much.

We spent the next four months trying to just get the ice maker installed. When the installer finally came, there were parts missing. And then more parts missing. After a lot of hassle and still no functioning icemaker, I came to the conclusion that I needed to find another option.

Right about this same time, I saw an article on Mark Sisson’s site called, “The (Maybe Not So) Definitive Guide to Cold Therapy.”  The article included a video of his friend, Brad Kearns, showing off his chest freezer setup. I also saw a video with former XPT partner, Brian MacKenzie, which showed his chest freezer. Maybe this was the better way to go. Less back and forth, no moving parts, cheaper, less risk of something going wrong.  I reached out to Brad and he quickly got back to me with some ideas. I talked to my wife and her suggestion was to go for it and get one big enough the first time around.

The next day, I put the icemaker and 150 gallon tub up for sale on craigslist and got $725 for both. I immediately ordered a new chest freezer from Home Depot, the GE 15.7cu unit.  It would be delivered in 7 days and cost $580 with taxes and included free shipping. One week later, it arrived.

I placed the unit in my garage and proceeded to fill it up, leaving 6 inches between the water surface and the top edge of the freezer. This was only after I put a silicone sealant along the interior seams.  Once it was full of water, I fired it up. Much to my chagrin, I noticed a leak on the side where the defrost drain is located. I couldn’t risk having this leak flood my garage, so I drained the entire unit using a hose and a deep inhale. Once empty, I got mariner’s glue to seal the drain on the bottom of the inside. I also got a larger rubber cork to plug the defrost drain.  After 24 hours, the sealant was cured and I filled the freezer up again. This time was a success! It took 48 hours to get the water down to 36 degrees. The water was covered with a layer of ice. After breaking it up, I got in for the first time. I only lasted for 2 minutes.  I tried my best to breathe the four seconds in and out, but it was too much.  The next day, we went on a weekend trip.  When I came back, I opened the unit and saw it was a solid block of ice. It took two days of constant chipping and drilling to get the ice broken up. I put large chunks in different buckets and bins in my driveway to have the hot August heat melt it.

Now, I don’t have to worry about it turning to a brick of ice because I have since ordered a temperature sensitive timer to turn the unit on when it warms to a certain degree.  I am still working on the calibration, but it stays around 36 degrees. I have taken numerous baths at this temperature.  It has definitely gotten easier over time. I take 20 full diaphragm breaths, 5 seconds in, 5 seconds out. If I do it in the morning I am charged for the day and feel I can accomplish anything.  Baths taken at night help me sleep like a bear.  There is more research available to give all the additional benefits that cold exposure can offer. That’s my ice bath journey! If anyone has any questions, please feel free to let me know. You can reach me at


Mark Sisson:

PJ Nestler: