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Cough Cough! What is Fran Lung?

Do you ever cough for the rest of the day after exercising? If you have ever gone completely all out in a workout then you know exactly I’m talking about.

Towards the end of your workout your throat burns, it feels like you can’t breathe, and you vigorously gasp for air. As soon as you finish you think the workout is over, but for some reason you can’t stop coughing. It feels like your throat is scratchy, maybe you have gone hoarse, and you probably taste metal. No matter what you do you can’t get it to go away.

Fran Lung/ Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Edema

The CrossFit community has fondly dubbed this host of symptoms “Fran Lung.” This is because the workout “Fran” is one of the most effective culprits of these symptoms.

The medical term, however, is exercise-induced pulmonary edema. Essentially the lungs actually fail to keep up with the heart. 😬 As the heart begins pumping out blood at a higher rate to the lungs it also sends it with greater force. The lungs are trying to get oxygen into that blood and keep it moving to the rest of the body, but they can no longer handle the volume and pressure coming in. Because of this fluid seeps into the lungs themselves. They literally back up…sounds pleasant right?

This build up of fluid starts to make you cough and you can now taste metallic blood. Along with a dry throat from breathing so hard you are definitely aware you pushed your physical limits. But do you still take pride in having those symptoms now that you know what’s really going on?

If you’ve had this symptom before you know it is not the end of the world. Eventually, after time the lungs clear the liquid and you return to feeling normal within about a day or two. So you don’t have to necessarily avoid this at all costs. It is absolutely a sign that you pushed yourself to your own personal limits, which has benefits if done sparingly and with intent.

Overall, though, wouldn’t it make much more sense to train your lungs to keep up?

At Trinity Strength we strategically program the intensity by guiding the exertion you should put into each workout. You should be able to control your heart and respiration rate in order to build stamina and endurance. You do not reach peak fitness by burning yourself out and causing “Fran Lung” regularly. Fitness is built through sustainable effort day in and day out.

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