… or maybe I’m the Hulk (minus the bulging muscles)

I used to lift weights. No, seriously. I can even honestly say that I used to lift weights a lot. I never got really bulky, but I topped out at 195 on the bench press. For a guy who’s never weighed more than 155 pounds, I think that’s a respectable amount.

But I’ve been lifting less and less in recent years—I rarely lift for more than few months at a time anymore. And since I’m lifting so scarcely anymore, I’ve noticed an odd phenomenon that occurs when I do lift. I get ticked. Unnecessarily. It’s not something I’m proud of; in fact, it’s really quite embarrassing. But I’ve realized that if I lift on a Monday, I will, sometime in the next three days, chew out someone who doesn’t deserve it. For hours afterward, I’ll feel this inconsolable frustration at the world alongside urges to mutter colorful epithets under my breath. It’s a bit like male PMS, except without the "M" part.

Weird, I know, but it’s true. I told my wife this theory back in the early months of our marriage, and, sure enough, she says the situation plays out just as I predicted. Now, the physiological whys and hows are a complete mystery to me (my theories range from low omega-6 acids to increased testosterone), but we’ve decided that maybe weightlifting isn’t for me. My wife has decided this as well, and she let me know last night.

Now, oddly enough, cardiorespiratory endurance, on the other hand, seems to have the exact opposite effect. I end up with a greater degree of equanimity when my aerobic efficiency is high. Seriously, when I’m fast on the bike, I’m a more pleasant person to be around. I don’t even get those nasty little bouts with road rage that usually happen as a result of driving behind some really slow vehicle on an Idaho road.

To some degree, I think these phenomena are related. I guess it goes back to my slow-twitch/fast-twitch theory: Maybe I’m built for endurance, and maybe my body doesn’t like it when I try to push excessive intensity on it.

Incidentally, this also has me wondering if I could’ve had a much less grumpy decade during the ’90s when I was lifting all the time.

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