Maximize Oxygen Utilization Efficiency, Simulate High Altitude Training, Get The Cardiovascular Capacity of a Navy SEAL & More With “The Oxygen Advantage” Author Patrick McKeown.

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It's no secret that I'm somewhat obsessed with breathing.

In the past years I've written articles on everything from combining ketosis, breath holds and freediving, to how to make your own hyperbaric “exercise with oxygen therapy” (EWOT) device, to Wim Hof style breathing for cold thermogenesis to underwater workouts with Laird Hamilton to making yourself high with holotropic breathwork to the use of fancy breath strips and “Turbine” devices to enhance nasal breathing during both exercise and sleep…

…and recorded plenty of podcasts with breathing experts too.

Several years ago, Wim Hof appeared on the BenGreenfieldFitness show for one of his first ever podcasts, entitled “Conquer The Cold And Get Quantum Leaps In Performance In This Exclusive Interview With The Amazing Iceman Wim Hof“.

He came back again for “The Iceman Returns: Wim Hof On Climbing Frigid Mountains In Underwear, Eating Only Once A Day, Activating Hormones With Breathing & More.

Then there's my interview with freediving expert Ted Harty “Freediving, Breathholding, Iceman Wim Hof, Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible Training, How To Use Static Apnea Tables & More!” along with my performance breathing interview with Brian Mackenzie on “How To Hold Your Breath For Four Minutes, Training Mask Myths, Performance Breathing & More“.

Just a few months ago, I interviewed Dr. Belisa Vranich for the episode “Pee Strips, Power Lungs & Pulse Oximeters: How To Flip The Switch On Your Body’s Own Natural Ability To Heal Itself (& Little-Known Ways To Breathe Better).

And then there's this epic XPT performance breathing workshop you can join me at in Kauai, Hawaii Dec 7-10, where guys like me, Brain Mackenzie and Laird Hamilton will teach you every form of breathwork on the face of the planet.

Today's guest is yet another oxygen expert, and the author of The Oxygen Advantage, one of the best breathing books I've read. In The Oxygen Advantage, the man who has trained over 5,000 people—including Olympic and professional athletes—in reduced breathing exercises, shares his scientifically validated techniques to help you breathe more efficiently. His name is Patrick McKeown, and in his book, you learn everything from the fundamental relationship between oxygen and the body, to how to use a Body Oxygen Level Test (BOLT) to determine how efficiently your body uses oxygen to how to increase your BOLT score by using   light breathing exercises and learning how to simulate high altitude training, along with techniques used by Navy SEALs and professional athletes to help increase endurance, weight loss, and vital red blood cells to dramatically improve cardiovascular fitness.

Patrick McKeown completed his clinical training in the Buteyko Breathing Method at the Buteyko Clinic, Moscow, Russia in 2002 and was accredited by the late Professor Konstantin Buteyko. Patrick has spent the last 15 years working with tens of thousands of children and adults worldwide, who experience breathing pattern disorders, sleep disordered breathing and anxiety. To date, he has written eight books on the subject, including Close Your Mouth, Anxiety Free: Stop Worrying and Quieten Your Mind, Asthma Free Naturally, Always Breathe Correctly and Sleep with Buteyko. To date, Patrick has worked with some of the top athletes in the world across a variety of sports including tennis, cycling, American Football, MMA and track and field.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-Why we have always thought shallow underbreathing was a health problem, but why Patrick says the opposite: that's it's chronic overbreathing that is the issue…[9:18]

-The scientifically proven benefits of nasal breathing…[13:20]

-The fascinating links between acidity, alkalinity, overbreathing and weight gain…[19:30]

-What happens if you're breathing ‘too much' for shorter periods of time, like during exercise…[22:50]

-What the BOLT measurement is and why it's important that you have a long BOLT measurement…[28:56]

-Why Patrick is such a fan of humming…[32:00]

-The best simple exercise you can do to increase breathing efficiency and increase your BOLT score…[37:00]

-The oxygen saturation percentage level you need to get to before you start getting the benefits of holding your breath during exercise…[46:40]

-The sprint and track breathholding workouts Patrick implements with the athletes he coaches…[48:00]

-A quick breathing trick you can use to decongest congestion from a head cold…[51:45]

-A baking soda, apple cider vinegar and carbonated water hack you can use to increase your breathhold time…[55:35]

-Why you may want to consider taping your mouth shut while you sleep…[58:25]

-How the way you breathe actually changes the structure of your face…[60:25]

-Why the naked mole rat lives so long, and what this has to do with breathing…[64:30]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

-Patrick's latest book and the topic of our discussion “The Oxygen Advantage

Pulse oximeter

3m micropore tape for taping your mouth shut during sleep

Living High and Healthy: Why Coloradans and Others Who Live at High Altitude Live Longer, and What Flatlanders Can Learn From Them

Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Patrick or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply.


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31 thoughts on “Maximize Oxygen Utilization Efficiency, Simulate High Altitude Training, Get The Cardiovascular Capacity of a Navy SEAL & More With “The Oxygen Advantage” Author Patrick McKeown.

  1. derek says:

    thanks ben, i was wondering when you were going to have patrick on as a guest as i have herd you mention him and that you were using the techniques. cant wait to listen

  2. Howard says:


    Hi, great podcast, Thank-you.

    Is there a protocol that can be used to use Buteyko breathing in combination with EWOT exercising regimes. (Exercise With Oxygen Training)

    Are the two training methods compatible?

    If your not sure, is there anyone that you can refer me to?

    Thanks again,


  3. Gary Daniels says:

    Hey Ben, very cool that you interviewed Patrick! This episode had unfortunately gotten by me; but heard you mention it In another recent podcast. I had already read Oxygen Advantage (3 times) and have both incorporated the techniques into my daily breath training routine, as well as made suggestions of both reading the book and application of the techniques to my athletes. I do also credit it for helping me lower my (assumingely) genetically quite high blood pressure…

    I was hopeful that you could put me in touch with Patrick, i.e. if he’s not checking the comments here, as I’d really like to feature him and his work in an upcoming segment of my “Coach’s Corner” article in Next Moto Champion (online) magazine. I definitely feel this form of breath control would greatly enhance the training and competitive performance of any motorcycle racer.

    Best regards,


  4. moshe says:

    Great episode! This episode blew my mind. Thank you for the work that you do Ben!

  5. tedbennet says:


    he doesn’t mention CPAP by name. Could using this device actually over breath someone all night, every night…for years? Classic.

    I use one and I am a terrible sleeper …


  6. Steve says:

    It would be interested to see the hematocrit of someone who has implemented this type of breathing during mid- or high-intensity training over a long period of time. Unless I’m mistaken, restricting breathing to only the nose would restrict oxygen flow and you’d get an adaptive response similar to using a hypoxic mask (or doing something else that would stimulate EPO production).

    I remember hearing about a guy taken to the hospital who was having trouble breathing. His hematocrit tested really high and it turned out his breathing had been restricted for months because of a tumor that was partially blocking his throat. Cancer probably isn’t the best training aid, but I would be curious is consciously restricting air intake would have the same effect; more red blood cells.

  7. Michael says:

    That was great! I’ve ordered Patrick’s book.

    The American painter George Catlin, who spent a lot of time with Native Americans, noticed that they breathed through their noses and would shut the mouths of sleeping children. He wrote a pamphlet about it urging whites to do the same. He also noticed that poor facial structure went together with mouth-breathing:…

    I’d assumed that actually the poor facial structure was down to poor diet (c.f. Weston Price) and that that was causing the mouth breathing. But maybe this is two-way?

    BTW, as I recall one mineral water that’s high in bicarbonate is Badoit. That might be worth trying for the mineral water trick; it can be got in glass bottles, too.

  8. David Gibson says:

    Ben –
    Breathing and Christian firmness come together in the Russian Systema method, often identified only with its martial arts dimension. But it is a comprehensive program of self-mastery that is characterized by strength, courage and humility. And everything is lead by the breath. Check out the book “Let Every Breath… Secrets of the Russian Breath Masters” (and consider a podcast with the authors!). Also explore the website: Hope to hear how it strikes you (carefully chosen phrase as you’ll see).

  9. David says:

    Glad I listened to this.

  10. This was fascinating!! And I don’t use the word fascinating a lot!! Thank you Patrick & Ben!

  11. John Marco says:

    Great interview! I have just ordered the book. I have deviatted septum that forces me to mouth breath during heavy exercise and sleeping. Should I have it surgically corrected, does it play a big role on good breathing habits. Does such a surgery negatively impacts the body later on. Thanks.

  12. Mark Dowsett says:

    Hi Ben great interview! I’m amazed more people don’t talk about the benefits of nasal breathing. I read The Oxygen Advantage last summer and have experienced almost complete recovery from lifelong asthma and hay fever symptoms.

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