This morning’s workout was a nice way to start the week. I woke up about 20 minutes later than I wanted, which meant that by the time I got to the gym I only had about 5 minutes for a warm up. We mainly focused on chest and triceps exercises.
We started with dumbbell bench presses, using an incline bench to start, doing three sets of presses super-setted with three sets of dumbbell flies. From the incline bench press Ali moved me over to the universal weight stack, to do one armed cable fly, and a one armed standing cable press. There was some work on the TRX for both the chest and triceps.
Overall the chest work was using weights which were about 15% lighter than I had in the past, but the movements were more varied, and including a decline bench press. I think because of the variety of motions I worked more of my entire chest. Because the weight had been lower, I thought I didn’t get a good workout, so at the end I asked to a burnout or a pyramid. In attempting a pyramid I grabbed a 55 lbs dumbbell which normally I don’t have a problem lifting, but when I lied back to press the first one I just couldn’t get it up. I had to move down 10 lbs to a 45 lbs dumbbell which I was able to do 5.
At the end of the workout my chest had reached the point of failure, although the road to failure was one I hadn’t been on before, so I didn’t even realize I had done that much work.
After the session I moved to the treadmill to my first session of Mountain (12 increases of intensity every 3 minutes)on a treadmill. I started at a speed of 3.5 mph, and raised the incline by one every 3 minutes. At about the 10th increase I realized I had only burned 125 calories, and my heart rate hadn’t gotten any higher than 120. So after 35 minutes ( a 5 minute warm up too)on the treadmill I felt like I wasn’t getting what I needed so I hopped on the Arc Trainer and did another session of mountain. By the end of my gas tank, I had gone for 45 minutes on the Arc Trainer. In total I spent just around an hour and half of cardio after my session with Ali.
Working out in the morning I think is more in line with my biological make up. All day today I’ve felt great, and the feeling of accomplishment I felt this morning was equally as significant. I think moving into next week I am going to do most of my workouts in the morning.
The entire day I felt fantastic. I didn’t have a sense of fatigue, or exhaustion, and each meal I ate felt as if I was recharging my body.
At lunch today I was reading a menu, as I scanned it I realized there were only two items I was willing to eat. I had a choice between a steak salad or a chicken salsa salad. I was unsure which one I wanted so I asked the server if the beef was grass fed, and she looked at me like I was speaking to her in Korean (was not in a Korean restaurant). She went back to the kitchen to ask, and came back to the table to tell me they sell regular beef. I laughed, thinking in my head good for you ditsy one.
So I ordered the chicken salsa salad, of course to be difficult I asked for no cheese, the dressing on the side, and oh yeah don’t out any oil on my shit. As I ate the salad I started to think did I really make a better choice?
If their beef wasn’t grass fed this restaurant’s chicken was probably purchased from a mass wholesaler as well. After lunch while driving I started to think about everything I read in Omnivores Dilemma, and the documentary Food, Inc.
In 1950 it took a farmer 70 days to take a chick to full grown broiler size for slaughter. Today it takes 48 days, with the chickens being more than double the size, further as a result of the premium on white meat these newer bigger birds have most of their mass in the breast. While scientifically altered breast might be great at Spearmint Rhino in Vegas, I don’t think I want it in my chicken.
I reflected further on the documentary and thought about my own research a few years back on becoming a chicken farmer. This was an attempt to devlop ideas to udilize the 40 acre tract of land my family owns in Virginia which now I believe we will convert to a sustainable farm. It used to be the farmers would rear their own chicks and sell them to a processor or wholesaler. Today the chicks are owned by the corporations, so a company like Tyson actually owns the chick and outsources the farmer to care for them. By doing so Tyson controls all aspects of not only what and how the chick is fed, but how the farmer farms.
By virtue of Tyson’s corporate policies, and the contracts the farmers enter into with corporations like Tyson, these mega corporations work to keep farmers in debt whereby keeping them in a perpetual state of fiscal stress. The worst thing to happen to a franchisor in the business world is for the franchisee to reach a point of no longer needing the master, which is why most franchisors work very hard to keep their partners in a state of constant need by either strengthening brand recognition or bettering the operating method.
In the world of industrialized chicken production it appears the rules are the same, but rather than building a traditional franchise type structure were farmer and company become partners. Companies like Tyson see it in their best interest to keep the farmer as their indentured servant, or chicken growing surrogate.
Chicken Farmer from Food, Inc.
It ultimately made me realize that I can’t become a strict local eater. It’s too hard may almost be impossible, but I can choose to frequent more establishments which have the a belief system more inline with my own, that food not only tastes better when care is taken in production but's healthier for us.
Why is that we can spend hours upon hours trying to find someone to help us with our car, or insurance, even cleaning our homes, yet when it comes to choosing where our foods come from we don’t give it a second thought.
As Americans we have become conditioned perhaps even developed a sense of entitlement to believe that our food comes from safe places, and that there is no need to question who is producing it. I think if we spent a little more time choosing not only what we put in our mouths but where it comes from we will be significantly happier and healthier.
Do I blame mass corporations for my initial weight gain? No, because I am a rational human being who can think and make choices for myself. Am I pissed that their practices probably helped contribute to keeping me in poor physical health? Yes. Fuck them for putting shit in our foods to maximize corporate profits, and not consider the ramifications on the end consumer.
I’ve said this before but weight loss is not a journey. A journey would indicate that there is some end point. This is not a fixed path. If we think this way then gaining the weight back will be easier, and more rapid. The destination is living life better. Making better more informed choices like choosing to dine at restaurants which are conscious of where the food comes from, if the Silver Diner can start a policy of Farm to Table I think most other establishments can try a little harder.
Weight loss is not a journey but more an evolution to creating a better life for yourself. By developing better habits, a more positive state of being we will become happier and more productive human beings. So all the other fitness and weight loss gurus can keep their journey, because this kind of journey sucks, I am living through the evolution of my life style. I choose to evolve.