I get asked all the time about how I overcame asthma to become a Navy SEAL. First off, I want to say that if you have asthma – you need to consult a doctor. The information I am writing about is my experience only and tips I took to decrease asthma.
I know, your thinking – how the heck did you become a Navy SEAL with asthma? You can’t even get a contract or a dive physical with asthma. You will be immediately disqualified (DQ) – there is no way around it. What they (US Navy) don’t know will not hurt them. Lets leave it at that.
Growing up I lived in the deep South with high humidity, astronomically high pollen count (tons of pine trees) and heavy mold. If I tried to run 50 yards I would begin to wheeze. Some mornings I would wake up and already be into an asthma attack. I still carry an inhaler today.
I began to workout with weights at 16. At 19 I began to run.
I moved out to California at the age of 19 (1982) and immediately noticed a difference with the drier air, which meant less mold, less rain and less pollen (they have less trees, especially pines).
I worked out harder and harder with weights and built up my resistance and stamina.
I slowly ran longer distance and swam more. I began to breath hold dive for short distances and slowly worked my way up. In BUDS I passed the underwater swim, but only barely as I was blacking out as I got close to touch the other side of the pool.
I rode my bike long distances and ran further and further to build more endurance.
Whenever I was given a wool blanket for my bunk in the barracks I would make sure it was as clean as possible and had not been sitting on a dusty shelf for a long time. I would take it outside and hit it against the wall to make sure the excess dust was knocked out of the blanket.
The combination of drier air, less pollen, less mold, longer runs, longer breath hold diving and hard physical workouts slowly helped me to be able to cope with my asthma and helped me pass BUDS.
From the New York Times:
In the exhaustive, 219-page report, researchers examined 22 randomized studies of breathing techniques. Among the most common arehyperventilation-reduction techniques like the Buteyko method, which instructs asthmatics to breathe shallowly and slowly through the nose when short of breath. The report also looked at yoga breathing exercises and so-called inspiratory-muscle training, which involves exercises and devices that make inhaling more difficult in order to strengthen muscles.
Question: I want to be a navy seal but i can’t swim – what do I do? Start out with taking a swim course at a local YMCA. Then with a lifeguard on duty and swim buddy next to you – begin swimming laps in a 50 meter pool. As you build up confidence try the Special Forces swim workouts.
Recent news 4-23-15
Cardiff University discovers root cause of asthma and potential cure
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brad McLeod is married with two kids and an all around average family guy. His SGPT motivational audios have been downloaded in 30 countries around the world.
He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida and despite training all the wrong ways – made it to Navy SEAL training in Coronado, California.
He flunked out of Navy SEAL BUD/S training after making it over half way through (6 months of grueling training). After a year in the Fleet Navy on the USS Cleveland (LPD-7) he came back to graduate BUDS and serve on SEAL Team Four.
His story is simple–Don’t Ever Quit on your Dream! Put one foot in front of the other and fall forward.
Proceeds from this website go to help raise funds for the Navy SEAL Foundation on CrowdRise.