I am a volunteer firefighter and once every year we have to pass a fitness test to prove we are physically capable of working as a firefighter. One part of this test is to do a sport program with a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).

Now what I've noticed is that I need a lot more air than my colleagues, while I am quite fit: I exercise around 4-5h a week, divided into equal parts of cardio and weight-lifting.

Yet I need more air than slightly overweight smokers who only sparely exercise. Is there any technique or training method maybe divers use to minimize their air-consumption? (I am not quite sure which tags to use, so feel free to add or remove)

  • Unless you objectively compare you air-intake I am not sure how this can be more than an opinion based on perceived effort? Are you sure you need more air because of fitness or because of stress or some other factor? Nov 8 '15 at 13:01
  • It isn't an opinion, you know exactly how much air you've consumed if you look at your manometer
    – Christian
    Nov 8 '15 at 13:18
  • I am not saying you can't measure the air, but you can't be certain it is because of fitness or some other factor. Perhaps elevated stress which causes you to breath harder. Nov 8 '15 at 13:20
  • Some very fit people can use more oxygen than the average person. Although they are more efficient for the same action as another person, they can simply do more and require a higher metabolism to do so. Higher metabolism requires higher oxygen. Nov 10 '15 at 1:05
  • 1
    I guess you need more oxygen because you have more muscle mass (in fact, you might have more body mass without taking into account fat). It is not the same driving a Smart Fortwo than a Hummer H2 or a Lamborghini, if you know what I mean.
    – Felix L.
    Nov 10 '15 at 10:44

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