After running my weight down to about a buck seventy over eight years, I grew bored. I never really loved running – I liked not being flabby and the tightly knit running club I belong to kept me honest. The rush of endorphins has been great and the exercise relieves stress better than anything I’ve ever tried with no negative cost…but, I never enjoyed the act of running. Finishing, now that was fun, but you get the point. I began to evolve a few years back though, when I got a bug to run a triathlon. Now I’m not the kind of guy who likes to push himself to the edge. I’ve never run a marathon because I don’t want to put the effort or training into it, but for some reason the idea of running a triathlon just stuck. I talked about it for three years before I even did anything about it because I figured it would be just like running. I bought a bike last spring and it changed my life.
It turns out that I do love cycling. At 41, I’m no Lance or Eddy, but I truly love riding. I ride every day that I can, road cycling, mountain biking – I love it all. For me, nothing beats coming home from a day at the office, easy, hard or otherwise, and pounding out some miles. I feel free at last. The faster I go, the better I feel.
I’m down to 158 and a long way from my high of 195. I’m ripped enough to make 41 look good and not worry about parading around without a shirt on. So, what’s the difference? My buddy English Pete put it best; I found my thing. Cycling is the one thing that will get me off of the couch every day, makes me feel good, makes me look good and puts a smile on my face – each and every time I’m in the saddle. The only thing I like more than a 15 mile ride is a 50 mile ride. On recovery days or after my normal ride, my favorite thing is a slow turn with my wife and kids on the back roads.
How often do you hear or read about this fad or that workout regimen (and eventually about how many people dropped them, then about how they really weren’t as good as everybody thought)? I read an article recently pushing circuit workouts at the gym as the be all – end all because it burns more calories than most anything else… The argument was, fairly paraphrased; if you want to lose weight why do anything other than the exercise that will accomplish this the quickest?
The answer to that question is simple: Because if I find it boring, I won’t do it. What good is the most efficient exercise if you won’t get off the couch to do it? In other words, finding something you love to do is far more important. My buddy English Pete is a runner, that’s his thing. He likes running so much that he does ultra marathons (50 miles plus) for fun. I used to think he’s nuts until I bought a bike, but now I’m signed up for a 100k for the spring and I’ll sign up for my local bike shop’s century (100 miles) when I can and I’m planning a 165 miler later in the summer, add to that at least a couple of Olympic Triathlons and maybe a Tough Man (half Ironman) and the Crim 10 mile run – I can’t wait. The point is, and I know this for a fact, if I were relying on a gym membership and circuit training to stay thin, I’d weigh 225 at a minimum and I’d probably be typing this from my couch with potato chip crumbs stuck to my t-shirt…and my blog would be called: Fifteen excuses needed to embrace a fatter you.
So, with January first coming up, don’t pledge to go on the newest fad diet or waste your time with a workout regimen you hate as your resolution. Resolve to find your thing. Then do it, love it, and find others who share the same passion so you can enjoy the experience as a group.
You’ll love you for it.