For the simple reason that the effect is blowing my mind, I have made reference to this subject a *lot* on Facebook lately (and if you aren't following me on the FB, how 'bout going here and throwing me a "like," hmmm?). So, if you are reading this and thinking, "What? Again with this shit?" then you have my apologies for, to quote Jimi Hendrix, "wasting all your precious time." But it may be helpful to a few people, which is, ostensibly, why I write here in the first place (secret: "a few people" includes me), so if it ain't yer thing, wompwompwomp.... and all that.
Anyway.... summertime being what it is, July and early August involved a greater amount of revelry for me than the months that preceded it. Mind you, I didn't actually get *drunk* at any point then. I haven't been drunk in so long that I can't actually tell you when I last was That Guy. (I fucking hate That Guy, by the way, which is why it has been so long). But, during that same time, with just a daily drink or two, I noticed that my stomach was bugging me more than usual. "Usual" isn't very bad, but I have always had a bit of reflux-y things going on -- less in the actual "reflux" category and more in the "vaguely gnawing pain" category, to be accurate -- and so, after a scope stuck in there from the top down showed some "cheap inflammation," to quote the doc who was driving that particular bus, four weeks ago I decided to heal my stuff up.
Principally, the idea was to remove all the potential irritants (coffee and alcohol, along with tomatoes, spicy stuff, etc. as well), take some "delicious" (read: awful)-tasting supplements and see where things went.
It has worked well. And it is still a work in progress. The full run of supplements, etc. isn't done yet, so I won't bore you with that regimen. (We'll save *that* level of excitement for another post). But it's been good. I drank black or green tea for the first few weeks, and was able to add coffee back in -- one cup, bulletproof, each morning -- pretty easily. But I kept the alcohol out. Because that seemed to be the principal stomach irritant? Maybe, but more because, out of nowhere, I began PR-ing every lift I did in the gym, nearly every day I am in there.
Honestly, it's ridiculous. I can't tell you what *all* the biochemical/physical processes at work are, but let's just say that it would appear that if I don't distract my liver with processing alcohol, it is just on crazy fucking super-efficient cruise control (that's CFSECC to the scientists) when it comes to supplying glycogen to muscles.
And it keeps getting better, as if the more time I have away from the sauce, the higher Zen plane of CFSECC my liver reaches in its role as supply depot on the Muscle Glycogen Highway. Yesterday I PR'd my front squat solidly enough for three reps at 275 that suddenly I got an idea.... A fitness goal. By and large, I don't have those. I am just in this game for health and longevity, and I think setting too many (or too extreme) fitness goals can distract (or even impede) you from the main prize: living long and being happy.
But a 300-pound front squat -- by the end of this year, for at least one rep -- would be pretty sweet for this 51-yr-old dude.
So I am going to continue this no-alcohol experiment for a while in pursuit of that vaunted (read: vaguely egomaniacal and utterly arbitrary) number. I am mentioning it here for two reasons: (1) it's a little closer to a blood oath when it's here for all to see, so when Christina Hendricks phones me up (like she always does) and asks me to drink whisky with her over a smart/flirtatious discussion of obscure, but important, grammar/usage rules, I'll have an additional reason to turn her down (like I always do), and (2) as a suggestion for a training tweak for those so inclined to try it.
I don't care whether you drink, but, even more than some of the other suggestions I offer here, ditching alcohol lately has had a particularly dramatic and immediate effect on my pursuit of happiness (which includes at least better-than-the-general-populace strength numbers). I can't keep my mouth shut when things works that well. What you choose to do with that info is your call, though, as always. I ain't yer poppa.
“There’s something about coffee where when I drink it I just instantly feel better. It’s the same thing I had with alcohol minus the shame.” -- Jon Wurster