One of my fitness participants in my 9:30 Circuit Training class at West Point Grey Community Centre, Robert the Engineer asked me an interesting question last week. He was doing bicep curls with some moderately heavy free weights. I could tell by looking at him that he was experimenting with combining lifting and breathing. He had it backwards to what I earned in weightlifting school. He was breathing in on the exertion and out on the extension.

“Mike,” he asked on the extension. “Why do you tell us to breathe out on the exertion?”

I was about to tell him again about the Valsalva effect that could cause hypertension and even one to pass out while breathing in on the exertion when he said, “And don’t tell us about the Valsalva effect named after Antonio Maria Valsalva, the legendary 16th Century Italian physician. You’ve told us that too many times. It’s tiring, already.”

“The answer may be really dangerous.” I said. “It once caused me to lose a job for sexual harassment.”

“Tell us Mike,” The rest of the class chimed in. “We want to see how you can change weightlifting into sexual harassment.”

The idea of breath control has a lot to do with helping you to concentrate, to maintain focus, and even to stay in the moment while your weight lifting.

“Do you mean ‘mindfulness?’” asked Robert with a bit of a smirk on his face. He smirks when he thinks of New Age stuff.

“Thank you,” I said. “That was exactly the word I wanted.”

I went onto tell the class that several years ago a team of researchers did some experiments on tongue showing. One of the experiments involved having two university professors sitting next to each other on registration day. One of them had his tongue sticking out. All of the students wishing to register went to the professor who did not have his tongue sticking out. It the tongue shower was a geneticist, the would-be student may have thought he was deeply engrossed with Punnet squares. If he was an archaeologist  they wouldn’t want to interrupt his plan on where to dig the next hole, and who would want to interrupt a philosopher who was considering asking , “What the…”

The researchers interpreted tongue showing as a nonverbal communication device for saying, “Leave me alone. I’m  busy”

A second tongue showing had to do with babies and mothers. The tongue on the nipple by the baby was the baby’s way of saying, “I’m done! I’m full! I have to leave the table ‘cause I have blocks to play with.”

Apparently the word “nipple” hand it’s won Valsalva effect at the agency, and the resulting hypertension cause my eviction.

“What does that have to do with breathing out on the exertion?” asked Robert.

I was going to say, “Nothing, I just wanted to talk about tongue showing,” but that would have generated a series of complaints, and West Point Grey pays me $33/hr.

It has to do with staying in the moment and focusing. It helps you to concentrate on those muscle-building goals so you can hit the beach with pride next month. With apologies to those who scoff at New Age jargon, proper breathing builds mindfulness in fitness.


Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .
He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.
He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”
He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.



  1. Sharon Says:

    I had trouble following this one. What did the tongue experiments have to do with sexual harassment and mindfulness? I understand how mindful breathing can benefit exercise routines.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: