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The Turning Point At Which Fitness Becomes A Way of Life…

August 2013

I picked Mrs. Bgddy up from the airport last Sunday. She’d just come back from a trip in Dallas, a fairly regular pilgrimage for her. After she told me about the trip she became quite excited and told me about how she’d seen a reflection of herself and couldn’t believe how much more defined her legs are becoming and how happy she was to be cycling. A few days ago she came back from a 12 mile ride and asked, “guess how fast my fastest mile was”… I guessed 3 minutes flat. She replied, “close, 3:09, but the wind! Guess my slowest mile”… “Um, 4:15?”, I said. “Nope, 3:43, baby!”

This is a magic time for my wife, where the results start piling up fast and furious. I’ve gotta tell you, it’s fun to watch. When we started cycling together, she wasn’t all that excited about it. She could take it or leave it. Mrs. Bgddy is no stranger to fitness, she got me into running, but cycling is definitely new to her…

Now she’s riding every time she gets a chance – often daily.

I took to cycling a little easier. $20 garage sale bike, four miles and I was hooked. Of course, getting a real bike (or three) didn’t hurt either.

So this brings up an interesting question… How long should one wait to see if they catch the bug before trying something else?

My wife took more than a year. I took about twenty minutes but if I had to put a stamp on it, it would look like this:

Getting active is a funny thing. Most people I’ve seen have to work at it for quite some time before they can learn to love what they’re doing. So if you’re expecting a flaming bro-mance with your bike right off the bat, you’ll probably be disappointed (though I am proof it does happen). The trick, I think, if it’s not the flame, is to stick with it until you start seeing results. Either you’ll come around or you won’t. If you don’t, maybe it’ll be time to try something else.

I’m a case in point that way as well. I was strictly a runner for a decade before cycling. I stuck with it because I liked the fact that it took the weight off and the camaraderie was great also (I run with a club too) though I never really loved it. The difference was that while I did talk myself into suiting up and showing up to run, I look forward to my daily ride. I don’t have to talk myself into it. The resultant sleek body is no longer needed as motivation, it’s just a natural result of doing what I love to do – and believe you-me, I love cycling…

That said, running led me to cycling. Had I not stuck with running, I can see a few bumps that might have kept me from ever picking up cycling… And the sheer joy of feeling like a kid – at, well, north of 40.

How many times have you wished, “If I could just go back and do it again, knowing what I know now”!

Well, it may be a backward way of looking at it, but I get to feel like that little kid, who was all discombooberated back then, and enjoy that freedom from bondage knowing what I know now: Wind in my hair, bugs in my teeth, and nothing better to do than ride around the block. It’s just that my “block” is often between 30 and 100 miles.

It’s not perfect, but I’ll take that any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Regarding fitness (and sobriety for that matter), please stick it out, no matter what – you never know how doing the right thing now will make your future more enjoyable. I am a walking billboard. Living, breathing proof that it works if you work it.


  1. Chatter says:

    Good post. I found it started with setting a event goal that stick me to it initially. For me it was triathlons and the Tour de Cure cycling event. Initially running and cycling and swimming felt like work, it felt that why for a while. Then one day I realized hey this is fun and since it has stuck. Of course I am not add hard core as you my friend.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Hard core is a matter of personal perspective my friend. You say I’m hard core for riding a bunch of miles at a decent clip (and I would agree to an extent), but I think a three hundred-plus pound guy deciding to train for a triathlon right off of the couch, AND STICKING WITH IT, is hard core. You’re making the mistake of thinking that struggling to ride or run half as fast as me makes one less “hard core”. I see it differently. You’re hard core in my eyes because you keep at it through your struggles – which is really the definition of the concept in the first place.

  2. Sandra says:

    That’s just it, you have to stick it out. I did in my 20s and throughout my 30s, but in my 40s I sort of lost myself through a variety of major life changes (I’ve not written about all of them yet). Needless to say, I think I am back on track and finally realize that it takes a LOT more work to be fit later in life. Major commitment, a part-time “job” (I don’t mean to say it’s a “job”, just that you have to dedicate yourself to at least an hour or two a day). Find joy–like you have–but that joy, as you say, don’t come quick fer some!

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