Archive for the ‘Top Performance Consulting’ Category

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You are a competitive endurance athlete (triathlons, marathons, etc.) who frequently wins or places at local/regional events (takes competing quite seriously), and are having an issue with shortness of breath in the days leading up to big events.

You describe it as feeling like your airway is constricted but your doctor has been unable to identify any physiological cause. You believe this feeling is linked to the anticipatory stress of racing, because it goes away after the race and will not reappear until the days leading up to the next one.

You are concerned both about the discomfort that the shortness of breath is causing, and also about the possibility that this breathing impairment may be hurting your race performances.

As a triathlete, I experience the same thing although unlike you, I don’t actually win the events or even make it to the podium!!

This constricted breathing also happens to me when I am highly stressed in other situations. It has happened at jobs I’ve hated or before meetings with people who made me uneasy.

What I most experience is this strange inability to complete a ‘yawn’, so I’m forever attempting to yawn, often, and with my mouth wide open for a length of time, while on-lookers certainly find it amusing.

It first happened to me in Israel in the 90’s and it was diagnosed there as “Behavioural Breathlessness” or “Psychogenic Dyspnea.”

Some of the other suggestions of diagnoses included acid reflux, anxiety, and vocal cord dysfunction.
None of these were the cause, but they often are for others who go through this…so check these out!

Nevertheless, it was suggested to me to read about Hyperventilation Syndrome and so I did.

The context of your problem appears to be mostly anxiety-related, but before you pop an anti-anxiety prescription drug, please consider reading up on Hyperventilation Syndrome and see if it possibly fits your case.

Click here for a fairly technical article describing the syndrome.

Although the article seems to be more about excessive breathing than shortness of breath, I feel that if you are at this high level of fitness, your condition could be catalyzing the conditions upon which this disorder lies.

For less complicated reading, here are other articles (some more technical than others):

Article 1

Article 2

Article 3

Article 4

My coping mechanisms revolved around whole body progressive relaxation (while awake, sitting or doing other activity, focus on all body parts in a sequential fashion, then systematically tighten and relax the muscles), diaphragmatic breathing with the exhale longer than the inhale, and standing with my head tilted back, open mouth, and deep breaths in and out (3 usually), then place head back in neutral regular position.

Hopefully, this will give you some information from which to make a deduction. Or if it’s not this, you can cross off one more possibility from your list while you attempt to discover the cause of your problem. Feel free to comment on this blog, or even to contact me personally for any assistance with this situation.
I wish you all the best!

Good luck,
Anna Weltman

It’s here at last!! Top Performance Consulting

I have been fearful of taking this and other steps, for a very long time. I have been shying away from actually getting started and getting myself OUT THERE…for fear of…well, not really sure what I’m fearful of. Perhaps just doing something wrong, or looking silly. I am a perfectionist and don’t like to create things that are not EXACTLY as I want them to be…but you know what? I’m learning that if you don’t get out there and try, get going and START creating, or making steps, you will never get ANYWHERE!!

I didn’t want to choose the wrong name, or choose something that I would want to change later, and regret…or choose a theme, or site, or template that I will not like in a few months time. I also want to please everyone – by choosing something that is appealing to all…yet this is very much impossible! We can’t appeal to ALL because everyone’s tastes are different.

So for the longest time, I didn’t make any moves. Only THOUGHT about the moves I needed to make, but didn’t actually take the steps!

My supposed dilemma was getting the correct domain name.

I was looking for “” (Top Performance Consulting DOT COM) but it was taken so I’ve been in the process of trying to come up with a different name…and just watching time go by as I fuss and fret over the hundreds of names I’ve come up with…

Well, lately I’ve been more persistent and courageous and have again dragged myself and my hours of time over to several websites where I could purchase a domain name. Today, I was lucky.

I noticed that there is a push now towards domain names ending in “.co” (DOT C-O) rather than “.com” (DOT COM). These are indicative of business sites and anyone with a company should be looking to use these suffices for their sites – hopefully this is the start of a new trend.

I tried my original search, using my company’s name (Top Performance Consulting) and lo and behold – there was a domain available with the .co suffix, for that name. Now, is ALL MINE!!!

Well, now that this next substantial step has been conquered, I am once again led to a path of OPTIONS TO TAKE and FURTHER DECISIONS TO MAKE…but I am glad I took this step. The fear has again subsided yet even more…

I did a 5k race (barefoot as usual) at the MCRD (Marine Corps Recruiting Depot) in San Diego last fall.

It really was an honour to spend a few hours at MCRD  contemplating the lives of service-people and what they give up for the rest of us.  I tried to picture myself in their shoes (oops, sorry for the pun) and realize how lucky we are to have choice and comfort.

If we get outside of our comfort zone; we stop what we’re doing and return to comfort.  If Marines get out of their comfort zone: too bad, they sometimes have to stay there.

So when kilometer 4 was beginning to tire me out and I was contemplating walking, it made sense to think about how grateful I am to have my choice and free will.  I decided to sacrifice my comfort – it was the least I could give – and I kept on runnin’!!

Body Focus: Eating right, sleeping well, stretching, building strength, powering through endurance and speed workouts, treating aches and tired muscles to yoga and massage.

Brain Focus: Now it’s time to focus on the the “Control-Center”. Recognize the smartest project manager of all, the coordinator of all your efforts, the motivator, the energizer, the relaxer, the emotion-tamer, the goal-setter, the reward-giver : Y O U R B R A I N !!


I want to introduce or re-introduce you to your best friend. No, not your spouse or significant other, not your parent, not your dog or cat…it is your very own BRAIN!!

I want to re-awaken your curiosity, re-kindle your awareness, re-stimulate your senses, and get you THINKING about that which allows you to THINK.

Your body feels; your brain knows.

Together, they work as a coherent team to give you the unique edge to stand out from everyone else. They give you the “Head-Start”!

GET IT!! ….

More coming soon… from Anna and TOP PERFORMANCE CONSULTING – “Head-Start” Mental Training.