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Dairy Week

I’m pretty giddy about Crossfit Football after 10 short days. I feel like I’ve lifted more frequently and more successfully than I have in any other two-week stretch since quitting the old gym. And Tuesday’s Fight-Gone-Bad-style WOD (40 secs on / 20 secs off of pullups, dumbbell thrusters, and other torture devices) brought me back to the good old sweat-angel exhaustion that I missed just a teensy bit. And it was over in 12 minutes.

Since this is my second week, it’s my first opportunity to increase weights on the basic lifts, and so far, my progress has been encouraging. I hit 215x3x5 on back squats with great form and not too much difficulty. The verbal cues I give myself during the lift have been super-helpful. Arch the back, stick my butt out and my chest out as I go down, slight bounce at the bottom, and bring the hips up vertically on the way up, without leaning forward. Today’s WOD has me ramping it up to 220. Shoulder press is at 122.5x3x5, and deadlifts are at 355×5 (which I *know* I can improve on as the weeks go by). The worst/weakest part of this, surprisingly, has been the pullups. I guess I’m 25 pounds heavier then when I was at my kipping best, but I’ve been doing weighted pulls for a couple months now, and I can’t even put up 12 straight dead-hangs? WTF?

The other thing I love about Crossfit Football is my freedom to eat as much as I want. I guess I always could have, even with my old training routines, but I really feel like it’s necessary now, since I’m working *so* hard and putting *so* much (good) stress on my muscles. The last thing I want to do in this experiment is not eat *enough* and have my strength gains sputter on me. I’m up to my eyes in coconut milk, potatoes, ground buffalo, and pastured eggs. But what about dairy. What more anabolic, mass-building ingredient is there than milk? To quote The Great Rippetoe, “Baby mammals drink milk, and you, sir, are a baby mammal.”

(“Breaaaaast miiiiiilk, you made my dayyyyyyy-ay!”)

Then again, milk does not discriminate. Lactose stimulates insulin. It’s a powerful sugar with a high glycemic index. Even if you’re eating cheese or butter, many other growth factors in dairy may stimulate insulin. Also, you could be *allergic* to milk proteins, and that could turn your intestines into Antietam and allow every inflammatory cascade in your body to go haywire and slather your arteries with oxidized LDL particles. The horror! I *do* drink whey protein after a lift, because it’s rapidly absorbed and because I want to shove that protein into my muscles, and fresh after a workout, it takes a *minimal* amount of insulin to replete your muscles’ glycogen and amino acid stores. In that case, the insulin boost doesn’t matter as much. Your muscles are hungry and they’ll mobilize whatever you give them, as fast as they can.

So dairy will make you gain muscle, but it could also make you gain fat. So is there a smart way to load with milk or other dairy products without getting bloated, wheezy, sick, or straight-up fat? I attempt to find out. The first step is the massive dairy load. I’m doing 2 servings of dairy a day all this week, some milk, some cheese, and lots of butter. This will define whether I have an allergy, or if I get any significant recovery/strength help, or if I put on boatloads of fat. So far, not a whiff of wheezing or sinus congestion. Fantastic. My weight, we’ll judge at the end of the week. I think the conclusion, like with everything else, is that it’s good in moderation, especially beneficial after a workout, but I have no cause to freak out over some cheese or butter in my mashed potatoes or pick the little bits of feta out of a salad.

Next time: my continued struggles with swimming. Lifting with freakishly long arms (the good and the bad). And The Terrorist and I make ‘kitchen sink’ ice cream for Cheat Day dessert.

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