Ask the Expert: What Does “Going Breathless” Mean During Intervals?

Could you expand on what breathless means? And how is it different from gasping for air? I think to some it may mean different things. 
– Terri

When we are teaching an indoor cycling class, we have an overall plan as to how much effort will be needed for specific durations, and what that might feel like physiologically. Instructors may use cues like “out of breath,” “can barely breathe,” or “bordering on breathlessness.” But what IS breathlessness, and is it the same for everyone? 


  1. Thank you for the article, very informative.

    It seems the video link requires a Bicycling membership. Is the video available through an alternate source?

    1. oh man, that’s a new thing on Bicycling’s part. They have moved to a subscription-only model for their content. I wish I could say I knew of an alternate source, but I don’t.

  2. Thank you! The video with Selene Yeager was a great example!

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