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Deep Fried Lungs

I was feeling good. 390lb deadlifts for 4 reps, which is about 2.2x my bodyweight now, which yields a potential 1-rep max of 442 lbs (my previous actual max being 425). I jogged home from the gym, downed the remaining half of a Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino ice cream with some whey protein, and a cup of plain white rice. My first experiment with a grain in its actual form. Fast forward 4 hours, and the cough starts. First a congested feeling in my chest and my sinuses, a little heaviness, and then a full-blown wheeze. Shoot.

(A near-perfect post-workout meal. A delightful marriage of caffeine, milk, and chocolate.)

Strike one for rice. I’m operating on a 3-strike method for reintroducing new foods into my diet, and every time I use my inhaler within 12 hours of introducing something I’ve never eaten before, it’s a strike. Dairy and potatoes have no strikes. Neither do bourbon, chocolate or chick peas. Beer has a strike, and now white rice has a strike. Don’t ask me what I plan to do with this data. Maybe another 30-day jaunt where I follow John Welbourn’s advice on the marriage of CrossFit, muscle-building, and clean eating – Paleo plus dairy. Plus potatoes. Maybe some ice cream. And chocolate.

Of course, the recent rollout of the CrossFit Games open workouts has made me a bit nostalgic for the good old days of ripped blisters, jerk/snatch jokes, and vomiting. So I went blindly into the first open WOD, 7 minutes of burpees for time, without really having done much conditioning work in the past 6 months. 180lbs of burpee for 86 reps is 15480C (C being some constant of distance) foot-lbs of work in 7 minutes. Compare this to when I was thinner (155 lbs) – it’s really the equivalent of 100 burpees when I was in my CrossFit prime. This is how I rationalize my not-where-I-once-was performance. I expected to get 70 (10 a minute). A much fitter friend of mine told me to try it again in 2 days, predicting I’d get 10 more reps with less deep-fried-lung sensation afterwards, but I decided to just sit around and do nothing instead.

(Next time I think about burpees, I’ll just take a dip straight into one of these.)

Especially after seeing Workout 2, a brutal ladder of snatches, which are probably my worst Olympic lift, since they require, you know, coordination. I can only move one body part in one direction at one time. And slowly. So for now, I’m sticking with my trio of heavy lifting days, weekly sprint intervals, and walking. I fear I may not be eating enough, but at the same time, I’ve been filling the “good carb” gap with ice cream and chocolate a little more frequently than I should. So my new agenda for the next month is to add some starch to each meal, preferably a small sweet potato (33g or so), so I keep my carbs at 100-150g/day, enough to sustain my high-intensity exercise but not shoot up my cortisol levels.

Next time: from my old med school textbooks – the cortisol/testosterone relationship.

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