One of the greatest blessings when it comes to a 150-200 mile per week cycling schedule is that I’m hungry all of the time and I have to eat more than I’m used to in order to keep from withering away. Yesterday morning I woke up absolutely famished and it took me a second to remember why… First decent ride of the year. This morning, starving. Second decent ride of the year.
While I love being able to ride my bike on the trainer through the winter, because it does allow me to stay in some semblance of shape, there is nothing like putting in an hour on the roads after work. I went from burning about 400 calories per our to about 950 by simply taking my bike off of the trainer and letting the rubber hit the road and the results are immediate – I’m hungry. Oh how I missed that.
I have a lot of family things to take care of today so I’m only hoping that I can get out this afternoon but tomorrow, after we take Mrs. Bgddy’s bike it to get it fitted to her, I’ve got a long-awaited 35.5 mile ride planned and the forecast will be close to perfect for this time of the year – mostly sunny and 55 (F). Thank goodness, it’s about time.
This brings us to an important truth when it comes to diet and exercise… There is an ongoing debate about how to eat, what to eat, how to exercise and where to exercise. This group supports certain foods, that group a specific exercise regimen – the list is endless and they all purport to have “the best way”, claiming if you just do what we say, the weight will just fall off. The truth is most of them are correct in some way or another but the problem lies in whether or not you will participate. The best diet plan in the world is useless unless we stick to it and while burning the most calories possible is important too, if you don’t get out to get your sweat on, a workout routine that we won’t stick to is just as useless. What works is what we will stick with.
I am an unabashed supporter of cross training – cycling and running – to stay fit. The two give the body everything it needs as far as stimuli goes – in other words, a good mix of high impact and low impact aerobic exercise (it is well-known that impact related activities strengthens bones and joints while the addition of the low impact of cycling means that one can exercise every day). As far as weight loss goes, I dropped a half a pound’s worth of calories in two days and all in less than two hours (total) simply because I went for a bike ride. There is a question, of course, about how far one could ride if they’re starting out overweight and one would obviously have to work up to a decent distance (15 miles a day would do) but there are a few factors that cannot be ignored: First, a person can ride almost anywhere – without having to travel to another destination to begin the workout. Simply wheel the bike out the door and you’re ready to go. Second, depending on the type of biking we’re talking about (if I were going for weight loss I’d stick with a mountain bike), it’s relatively inexpensive unless you want to go all in. Even if you were to buy a decent high-end entry-level mountain bike ($500-$600), if well maintained it will last more than a decade – you’re looking at an investment of around ten dollars a month, gear included (this estimate is high, there is no doubt that a decent bike will last two decades easy if well taken care of). You can’t beat that with a stick.