Are You Missing Opportunities?

We all have opportunities in life. Whether we take advantage of them or not is almost always up to us. Unfortunately, two of the biggest opportunities we miss is getting more exercise and losing weight. Why we don’t take advantage of those opportunities to fix those problems can usually be attributed to family, money, time, and career. Missed Opportunities Over the past 39 years I’ve missed lots of opportunities to both lose weight and improve my health. I’ve never really taken it seriously until the last year but even then only made a half-hearted attempt at it. I trained pretty hard last year to ride my first century until bike problems derailed that in September. While training I missed a huge opportunity adjust my diet and if I had done so I would have seen much more weight loss and better fitness gains. Am I unhappy with what I achieved last year? No but I know it could have been better. That’s why this year, my 39th year, will be a breakout year. I will not reach the age of 40 without making some big changes. Over the past two weeks I’ve been posting articles on commitment, self-discipline, 50 reasons cycling is great, motivation, how to measure cycling success, and nutrition. All of those articles mean something to me personally and I hope will inspire cyclists or others, like me, trying to lose weight and improve their lives. What Am I Going To Do? Ride. I never would stopped riding if my old bike hadn’t given up the ghost. There’s nothing I could do about it though and that...

Getting Started With Nutrition

I’ve made a commitment that today I start counting my calories and eating better (you’ll know why tomorrow). I did buy a food scale this weekend and have messed around with The Daily Plate so that I can start tracking my calorie/nutrient intake on a daily basis. Right now my daily calorie intake is set to 2013 calories. This takes into account my age, height, current weight, activity level outside of cycling, and my goal to lose 2 pounds per week. I’m certainly not going to bore you with what I’m eating each day but will provide any insight or lessons learned I have. I Need To Get Smart I am so dumb in the area of nutrition management as it pertains to cyclists. I know snippets of info here and there but there is so much info out there that information overload can be achieved in about 30 seconds. Stuff like hydration, supplements, when/what to eat before/during/after riding based on what type of ride it was, etc. I’m probably going to do some research and experiment a lot and see what works while keeping track of my calorie intake and losses. Creating A Meal Plan I want to move to a point where I plan out my meals a week in advance. That way it will make my shopping/cooking easier. I thought this might be easy but I’ve found out that it isn’t. I’ve found some 2000 calorie/day meal plans on the Internet and may give them a try (or at least portions of them). At least initially, I think I may just stick with weighing/counting what I’m...

The Love and Hate Relationship With Cycling Clothing

Cycling clothes. They can be the bane of our existence as a cyclist. We’re ridiculed because non-cyclists think we look funny in them. We’re self-conscious because of how we look in them (at least I am). I love cycling clothing. It’s functional and jersey designs can be pretty cool. I also hate it. Do they make cycling clothes for real people? So what if I can’t fit into the same tshirt I wore in sixth grade. What’s the big deal? You mean, as a cyclist, I’m supposed to fit into a pair of bibs or a jersey designed to look tight on my little sister? Seriously? By real people I mean cyclists, like me, who are struggling to lose weight. Cycling is a great way to lose weight but the clothing manufacturers out there aren’t thinking about us when designing their spring lineup. I seriously think they use a telephone pole as a prop to help them determine sizes. If they’re designing European sizes then they use a 4×4 post. That’s all in jest of course but I think the underlying argument is valid. Overweight cyclists have a hard time finding cycling clothes that fit. Then you take somebody like me who’s overweight, and short (only a 27.5″ inseam), and you’re screwed. There wouldn’t be a problem if we (I) were height-weight proportionate but that’s why we (I) took up cycling in the first place. Catch 22. Are there cycling clothes out there that will fit? Yes, but it’ll be hard finding something that fits right. For instance, in order for me to find bibs that can compensate for...

I Ate How Many Calories?!

I’ve been very truthful in that my diet is horrible. Have I tried to eat better? Sure but I always have problems with eating too much and eating the wrong stuff. I knew it was a problem but was too lazy to fix it. I made some half-heart attempts but never put anything permanently in place to correct the problem. This is further mind-boggling because I knew that I needed to be counting, or tracking, my calories in order to solve my weight problems. So why don’t I do it? Why Don’t We Count Calories? Is it because we’re lazy? Maybe but I think the biggest problem is because we think it’s too hard. We’ve all seen the books available that show nutritional information for particular foods (calories, fat, carbohydrates, etc.). You have to look up your food, figure out how much you ate, and then write it down in whatever you were tracking it in (legal pad, moleskin, or perhaps excel). Then you had to add up everything and see how you were doing. Now you needed to figure out your balance of carbs, fats, and proteins. Good luck! It Doesn’t Have To Be Hard These days there are online tools (both free and paid) that let you do all this. They have big databases of pre-loaded foods with all the nutritional information already entered. All you have to do is figure out how much you consumed and the rest is done for you. Some of these online tools even track goals (weight loss per week, total weight loss, goal weight, etc.) as well as your exercise. They’ve...

Why We Need A Beech Mountain

Beech Mountain near Boone, North Carolina was made famous in Lance Armstrong’s book It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life. His bicycle ride up that mountain was the culmination of his recovery from cancer and the re-launch of his cycling career. He flipped a switch on that mountain and faced down some demons that were holding him back. We all the know the story that unfolds afterward. I think we all have, or need, a Beech Mountain. Whether it’s life, weight loss plans, or cycling goals each of us has either had, are experiencing, or will experience a Beech Mountain. Why We Need A Beech Mountain A Beech Mountain is nothing more than symbolism for an event in our lives in which our actions will define us. Perhaps it was an ascent or group ride that we struggled with. The loss of a relative or close friend due to illness. Or the loss of a job. How we react to those situations will shape our lives. We need a Beech Mountain because it rips off the scabs in our life and exposes the bleeding sores that reside at our core. It can put our faults on center stage and test our morals, ethics, and values. It shows us what we’re capable of and what we’re willing to do in order to achieve what’s right in our lives whether it’s family, career, or health. A Beech Mountain reveals the man or woman we truly are. Cycling Is My Answer I can remember three distinct Beech Mountains in my life. The loss of a 16-year military career in...

Seven Things You Need To Start Cycling

Yesterday on my post about Three Things You Don’t Need to Start Cycling I promised to follow it up today with a list of things I think you DO need to start cycling. Everybody knows you need a bicycle but beyond that what takes priority? Equipment, skills, mindset, an understanding spouse? Probably a little bit of everything. What you DO need A bicycle. Whether it’s borrowed, used, or new you need a bike. Does it have to be a fancy, smancy road bike? No. Many of the readers of this blog started on something much simpler than what they ride now. I did as well when I re-started my riding in April 2008. I still had my old Cannondale but was skeptical about riding it because of my weight. I went out and purchased a Schwinn Trailways at a local Target because it came with a 700c deep-v wheelset. It actually road pretty good but was heavy (which was a great workout). I road it for several months and eventually moved back to my road bike. I still have that Schwinn in the garage in Florida and it will probably make a good commuter. I could see it filling another purpose as well. If I knew someone who was thinking of taking up the sport of cycling, I wouldn’t mind letting them borrow it to see if cycling was a sport they really liked before dropping a ton of cash on it. Cycling shorts or bibs. These don’t have to be expensive if you shop around and catch some sales. Could you get away with riding in some regular...
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