T Nation

Breathing Problems (Dyspnea) When Lifting

I developed problems that are mostly exhibited while at the gym about 2-3 years ago. I get what I would assume are asthmatic-like breathing issues, where I constantly feel like I am unable to get a full, complete breath of air and I spend the whole workout going for very deep breaths of air that don’t relieve this feeling.

I would assume to an observer I look like I am having an asthma attack for 60 minutes-- every 15 seconds or so I go for a huge breath of air and pause at the height of my breath to desperately try and get more air. I’ve noticed this is more common when I am doing heavy lift days and does not seem as prevalent on days that are less intense.

I finally took my ass to a respiratory expert about 6 months ago and ran up a couple thousand dollars in bills from the doctor visit and numerous lung tests. The results came in-- I have some of the best lungs the doctor and tester have ever seen. I also did wonderfully on all other tests (X-ray, blood work, blood pressure, EKG, etc).

The doctor came to the conclusion that I might just have a sort of nervous twitch or anxiety that comes out when I am at the gym, and that this is a psychological issue rather than anything else.

Does anyone else have this kind of issue? I wonder if it may very well be that I have anxiety at the gym. I am not too sure what might cause this though… I’ve always been the kind of unique gym-goer that workouts not because I want to be huge or impress girls, but more because it is a meditative thing and keeps me sane. I have a huge craving all the time to feel strong and healthy.

Does this happen if you work out at home?

Did they test you on a treadmill for exercise-induced asthma? You might have a mild form of that.

It can happen if I do mild workouts at home, but not normally. They did test my lungs and what not after getting my heart rate up (fast-paced walking, going up and down multiple flights of stairs) but the results were not changed as a result of my heart rate =/

[quote]chrism665 wrote:
It can happen if I do mild workouts at home, but not normally. They did test my lungs and what not after getting my heart rate up (fast-paced walking, going up and down multiple flights of stairs) but the results were not changed as a result of my heart rate =/[/quote]

So no diagnosis of asthma? I still do well on the breathing tests with moderate asthma. It sounds like you may be hyperventilating, which I have done at the gym a couple of times. I just walk off on the side until I catch my breath again. You may be breathing too shallow and don’t realize it.

Rob