I basically stopped doing these monthly reports when I dropped off the face of the planet in October last year. They’re good posts though because they help me plot my progress, reassess goals, and let you know what’s going on. And, just maybe, they’ll inspire a few folks too. So, I decided to start them again and with January now over it’s time to look back.

After posting my 2012 goals, my emphasis in January was simply to get back into the habits of riding and eating right. Having not ridden much since October 2011 I wanted to slowly get back on the bike so I didn’t injure myself or get myself so sore I became discouraged. It’s all about taking it slow and short when getting back on the bike after a long lay off. And after gaining some weight back I needed to re-focus on eating right, taking my lunch to work (i.e. not eating out), and so on.

I think I was successful in getting back into the routine of those habits. I got some good training miles in and cleaned up how I was eating. I still ate out more than I wanted to but the last couple of weeks I’ve been very good.

One of the things I’m most proud of this month is not having any soft drinks. I gave up regular soft drinks a long time ago but diet drinks aren’t any better. Especially when trying to lose weight and eat healthy. I had cut way back on the diet drinks last year but had never totally given them up. I did that on January 1 so I’ve been soft drink free for 31 days. Thanks to Tyler at 344pounds.com for the inspiration.

Tale of the Scale

To start the month I tipped the scales at 277.5 pounds and yesterday I weighed in at 275. That means I’m down 2.5 pounds for the month of January which is great. The first couple weeks were up and down as I got back into a routine. Eventually my weight settled out and has started to drop. How did I accomplish it? Just trying to eat right, drinking more water, no soft drinks, no late night snacks, and reducing how much I ate out. And exercising.

In the Gym

One of the new things I’ve added to my training plan this year is time in the gym lifting weights. I haven’t lifted in years but knew it was something missing in my training. Not only for the weight loss benefits but also to become a stronger beast on the bike (especially on the Saturday group rides). The winter training plan I’m following (more below) calls for lifting twice a week. It’s geared specifically for cyclists so it’s a lot of lower body exercises like squats, leg presses and leg curls. Before lifting I hop on the elliptical for 10 minutes to warm up.

My focus in January was to just get in the gym and not hurt myself. I follwed the sets and reps as called out in the winter training program but kept the weight light. A sample workout in January was:

  • Squats – 3×12. That’s 3 sets of 12 reps. I started really light at 115 pounds. My weight workout on Monday saw me squating 145/155 for each set.
  • Leg Press – 2×12. Again, stayed light in the 130-150 pound range.
  • Leg Curls – 2×12. 90-120 pounds.
  • Bench Press – 2×12. 155 pounds.
  • Chin Ups – 2×8. Weight assisted because I’m too fat, and too weak, to do them otherwise. I’ve never been good at chin ups.

Next week the reps start coming down so I’ll be adding more weight. The current plan gets me through March and then I have another weight training program I intend to follow but we’ll talk about that later when the time comes.

January 2012 Cycling Mileage

On the Bike

I didn’t ride as much as I had planned to for January. In fact, not by half. My total mileage for January was 145 miles which pales in comparison to Bike Noobs 400+ miles this month. I guess it took me longer to get back into the swing of things on the bike than I thought. Plus there were a couple of days where I said it was just too cold or I didn’t feel like it. I really didn’t start riding until January 11th so I guess I should take that into consideration.

The riding I have gotten in though has been quality miles while following the 12-Week Winter Training Program written by Dr. Jesper Medhus.

(Full Disclosure: Jesper sent me the training program for free. I fully intended to purchase it but he was kind enough to send it to me after I asked a pre-purchase question and he learned about my attempt to lose weight. If you decide to purchase it, or any of his other training programs, I see no financial benefit.)

Jesper’s winter training program is interval based and includes the weight program that I talked about above. It’s 12-weeks in duration and will get me through the end of March when Spring arrives and daylight savings time begins. I’ll do a more detailed review later but if you’re looking for a program to get you through the winter you should check it out.

January also saw me return to the Saturday group rides at my favorite local bike shop. I really missed these rides and didn’t realize how much until a couple of weeks ago when I showed back up. I’m just hanging with the B group right now and doing what we call the short route (about 25 miles) until I get more miles under my butt. One of the cool things the group has started doing is stopping at a local Starbucks after about 20 miles. It’s a great break to just sit and talk with the other riders. I am riding with them better this year when compared to last year.

February 2012 Goals

In addition to my yearly goals for 2012, I’ll be setting goals for the upcoming month in these posts as well. Here are my goals for February 2012:

  • Lose 3 more pounds. If I can manage a loss of one pound a week this shouldn’t be out of reach.
  • Ride 390 miles. If I ride in accordance with the winter training plan, and average 15 mph, I’ll hit this.
  • Add 29 days to the no soft drinks count.
  • Add a core exercise routine into the mix. I need to do this in a bad way.

There you have it – my lookback at January and my goals for February.

How are you dong with your goals so far this year?