During my marathon preparation, I abandoned weight lifting for six weeks. This was not my wisest decision, since I proceeded to lose all my (already negligible) muscle mass. Unlike aerobic activities like running—and now, swimming—which I enjoy, I hate the exhausting pain of weight lifting. In order to perform well in my upcoming triathlon, however, I need to build a functional base of strength. Besides the constant, low-level muscular exertion of swimming, I started using a few free weights, too. Beginning back at the little dumbbells feels a little disheartening—but I’ve learned a little patience over the last semester. Not surprisingly, I crave meat and high-protein foods constantly—eating animals indeed. Weight lifting calls for increased protein intake, because all those microscopically torn muscles require repair.
The kind of hungry that comes from weight lifting is different from that which follows aerobic exercise. After a long run, hunger pops up randomly throughout the day, even following heavy meals; it feels as though the body just can’t get enough nutrition. The appetite swells, and hunger pangs take on a dull, throbbing edge. Anaerobic activity produces a more ferocious fixation on protein though: a protein fetish that captivates the mind. Only amino acids can satisfy a creeping hunger that leaves muscles quivering and weak; only protein can satiate the never ending hunger moving from biceps to belly.
From my protein sketchpad:
Casarecci with Bumblebee Tuna (only the best for the triathloning diet).
Big Apple Barbecue Block Party (2 pulled pork sandwiches, 3 rib, 4 rib, 5 rib, 6, brisket, sausage)
Clif Builder Bar (the world is ready for a vanilla-almond candy bar, too).
Plain Fage Yogurt (this stuff is basically just protein, water, and a little fat).
Larb Pla Korb at Zabb Elee—crispy whole Thai tilapia with shallot, mint, cilantro, and chili lime dressing. The interwebs have exploded with chatter about Zabb Elee, supposedly the (new) best Thai restaurant in Manhattan. I picked the flesh from between the fish bones and then dug the eyeballs out for dessert.
The Twister from Hamdel—don’t worry, Tour de Hamdel is making its (glorious) return this weekend. Nothing better than smoked turkey and Provolone for a protein pick-me-up.
Out of all possible fetishes, protein is pretty harmless. I still eat my fair share of Absolute Bagels, but there’s always extra room in my stomach—and heart—for a new food love interest.