I felt sluggish today. I just wasn’t lighting up during the WOD. I also felt like something could be off in my back. So I took it easy, and I hate taking it easy. For me, a workout never happens in equipoise: it either lights me up or shuts me down. Today it shut me down. Nothing to do except let it go and try to get after it again tomorrow.
I have been doing extra strength work, which has been taking time away from mobilizing. I thought that that could be breaking me down a bit, so I refocused on mobilizing after class. I wandered into the back room, which is small and dark, like a makeshift high school weight room. Mukunda, his brother Ash, who just moved here from L.A., Anthony and Sean were back there. They were taking turns bench pressing at 115, going for volume and not weight, changing their hand grips from snatch width (about a foot wider than shoulder width), to bench press width (hands lined up with the outside of the shoulders), to narrow grip.
I was thinking about nutrition and thought that maybe I could pick their brains a bit. So I sat on a box, put a lacrosse ball under one of my hamstrings and started working the fascia against the ball. Ash was on the bench. He has the lean, ripped look of a male model. High chest, flat stomach with washboard abs, narrow waist with muscled hip flexors trailing into designer shorts. “Hey Ash, do you worry that Abercrombie is down a model when you’re here lifting?”
“I don’t think they worry too much about it anymore. They ended that program a few years ago.”
“Wait, you actually were an Abercrombie and Fitch model?”
“Oh, ya. I did a bunch of store openings back before they got sued.”
“Sued for what?”
“For only hiring people who look like him,” Anthony said.
Mukunda owns a half dozen coffee shops and a bakery. “We’re going to put Ash out in front of our stores wearing just jean shorts, a cowboy hat and boots and have him offer donut holes to customers.”
“You should. Be a shame to waste him at corporate,” said Sean, who was now taking his turn on the bench. Ash now had a couple of 5 lb. plates and was doing an exercise like a bird flapping its wings.
“Ash,” I said, “you aren’t working out. You’re just flexing your muscles.”
“That’s what he does,” said Mukunda. “He hasn’t worked out in a year.”
“Ya, I just work on flexing, and not the bigger muscles, only the ones just under the skin. I don’t have a great muscle to strength ratio.”
“But you probably have a pretty good muscle to sex ratio,” I said.
“Wait, hold on” said Sean. “I thought all of us were just working on our muscle to sex ratios. Have I been doing it wrong?”
Sean and Anthony, meanwhile, were doing a workman like job with the benching. “Hey Anthony, what should I put in my protein shake?”
“I don’t know. Dragon sperm?”
“I have a moral objection to that suggestion. I’m a vegetarian.”
“Well I don’t think they have to kill the dragon to get its sperm.”
“Do you know much about nutrition?” I asked, attempting to segue from dragon sperm back to nutrition. In that room, the maneuver had a high degree of difficulty.
“I focus on macros and timing.”
“How did you learn to do that?”
“I guess I just talked to people here.”
“Certainly not to Ash,” said Mukunda. “My brother has been living on nothing but skinless chicken and diet sprite for years.” He paused. “The thing about nutrition is that our genetic makeups are all so different. The thing you want to avoid is inflammation, but it’s hard to know what triggers an inflammatory response.”
“Oh I know,” said Sean. “Double unders. I hate those goddam things. They get me inflamed every time.”
By now I had tied a mobility band to a post and was using it to stretch my hamstrings. “How do you find out your genetic makeup,” I asked.
“Sperm sample,” said Anthony. “Just don’t get it mixed up with the dragon’s.”
“I don’t know,” said Mukunda, “they might be similar.”
“Are you basing that on Tony’s breath or his skin?” Asked Sean.
“Hey Tony, what is that tattoo on your back?” asked Anthony, who had just noticed it.
“It’s a Japanese symbol. It means ‘dragon sperm.’” I gathered my empty protein smoothie container and other things to leave. “Gentlemen, I came in here hoping to pick your brains about nutrition. Thank you, for nothing.”
Sean was laughing as he picked up his things to leave. “It was our pleasure, Tony. Come on back next time we’re here and we can pick up right where we left off.”
I headed out to the front room as they went out the back door. My back still felt a bit off, and I hadn’t learned anything useful about nutrition, but somehow I still felt a whole lot better.