Monday was a rough day at work. I’m busy. Really busy. So for once, after a fantastic weekend on the bike, I was actually looking forward to a day off. I needed one.
So I pull into the driveway after getting a new hitch installed on my truck (it only took ten minutes and I’d budgeted two hours) and there’s Mrs. Bgddy straddling her bike and she says, “Quick, I haven’t gone out yet, get changed and go with me”… So much for a day off. Fortunately we took it easy on me, with the exception of the few miles of the 25 mph headwind. There is no such thing as taking easy into that.
I watched my cadence and kept if above 90 while using easy gears – I even used the small ring into the wind. Even so I was a little spent when we got back.
And that led into the club ride yesterday evening… The wind had even calmed down to a more reasonable 20 mph with gusts up to 30 (chuckle). It was brutal. The group was all over the place and throw in a yahoo on a Time Trial bike (who knew better) and I was off the back after ten miles or so. And a good few came with me (or shortly thereafter). My buddy Mike, Justin (a horse working on his pro mountain biking card), Diane (a former Olympic cyclist) and Chuck. The four of us hammered out some great miles and because we were such a small group we actually got a little rest at the back and we worked really well together.
For the last seven or eight miles we were going to have a tailwind… Two miles before, who popped up a mile up the road but that guy on his TT bike. He’d been spit off the back too. The four of us were gaining on him, and fast so we had a conversation… Two of us decided that rather than allow him to join on, we were going to bide our time, then start hammering just before we overtook him so he wouldn’t be able to join on. We picked an order, me first for the initial surge, then Mike so we could sustain the push… It didn’t work “perfectly”. When I signaled that we were going, the last two weren’t quite ready so we split up for a short minute and TT man had just enough in the take to catch on… so we broke him on a hill.
The last six miles were awesome and very fast. Chuck fell off and it was just Diane, Mike and me.
This little story goes back to my post the other day about whether or not one should bring to light another cyclist’s detrimental behavior. In the case of TT Man, he almost took Mike out yesterday while we were still in the big group. Later, before we dropped him the second time, he almost took Diane out (he did apologize immediately after it happened) when it was just five of us. In other words, TT Man is a danger to the group whenever he rides that stupid (and incredibly expensive) time trial bike. Rather than have a discussion about the finer points of cycling safely in a group while humming down the road at 24 mph, Mike and I chose to drop him without comment. While people can disagree as to whether or not this was “mean”, what they can’t argue against is that Diane, Mike and I were safer with him off the back. This goes to the heart of why cyclists can be such jerks… If you’re running in a group and you mistakenly cut someone off, the worst you’re looking at a scraped knee or two and maybe a sprained ankle. A mistake on a bike at 25 mph can be fatal. While being a jerk should never be acceptable, when you’ve got a boneheaded cyclist who shows he (or she) is either to incompetent, or worse too inconsiderate to cycle safely with the group, self-preservation must rule the day. Best to leave the offender in the dust lest you end up kissing the pavement for the sake of being “nice”.
Cycling is, without a doubt, a calorie shredding sport. Done correctly you can tear through just shy of two pounds in a quarter of a day. Two POUNDS in six or seven hours. Now, it takes some time to build up to the distance required to do that so let’s stick a little closer to something attainable… Two pounds a week. So, how long would this take? An hour a day during the week and a couple on Saturday, leaving Sunday (or any other you choose) for rest.
It gets better though… To burn through two pounds a week you’ll be creating more of the one thing that will keep burning more calories while you’re off the bike: Muscle. Properly fed and watered, you turn your body into a furnace. This isn’t a hypothesis, it’s not a theory… I live it every day and I can drop significant weight at will.
So if you are now significantly pissed off and wondering why it works for me but not you, read on. But be warned. There is no easier, softer way for sale here. There’s no BS tip or trick that I’m going to give. Nope, we’re going hardcore reality. If this is too much, I’ll give you a second to close this page. I have nothing for you…
Okay, you’re still here.
If you’re having trouble dropping weight, running or cycling, it’s one (or both) of two things: You’re either still eating too much or you’re not moving fast enough. Or both.
Let’s start with food. Food, when you’re exercising, is fuel for your body. Period. Anything that doesn’t fuel you well (sugar, treats and pop) should be avoided… It isn’t rocket science and it’s not what you’re eating (as long as we’re not talking about junk food, snacks and pop – those are forbidden from this day forward, until you hit the weight you want). I eat fast food like it’s going out of style and used to smoke. After a full blood workup, lung test and physical, you know what my doctor said? “Whatever it is you’re doing, keep doing it”. Done responsibly, fast food is legal. The test is whether you know what responsibly is and if you can stick to that. If not, best skip Mickey D’s until you drop below your healthy weight. You don’t have to kick bread, or anything else (except treats, sugar and pop) either. The trick here is that if you’re not dropping weight and you are exercising rigorously, you’re simply eating too much. Cut your portions in half. For two weeks you will be very hungry. Deal with it, your body will get used to it and those hunger pangs will go away. Also, when you eat has a lot of impact as well. Always within 45 minutes of a workout (I’ve heard it’s 30 minutes for ladies though I don’t know how true that is).
The second factor here is speed or effort. When you’re big, effort doesn’t necessarily translate into speed, but it will if you stick with it. I’ve seen studies that show a person would have to walk for 50 hours to equal one hour’s worth of a rigorous workout. Now, if you’re heavy to begin with and/or you’ve got ticker issues that you’re worried about, you have to check everything through your doctor first, and then work up to some serious effort. This, at first, will not be fun. It gets better as you do. Take your time working up to it, just know if you want to take it easy and go slow, you have to work about fifty times longer before you’ll see decent results.
Now for the kicker: Both. I know a guy who will suck down two or three Gu’s during a 5 km run thinking he’s fueling his workout. He believes he needs that sustenance to run. He is entirely mistaken for such a short effort (40 minutes in his case). In fact, worse, he’s consuming almost as many calories in those two Gu’s than he’ll burn on that run. Looked at the proper way, first you don’t need food during exercise for anything less than 1-1/2 hours of continuous hard effort. Zero, zip, nada. The refueling comes after. Second, you will get hungry as your body starts burning reserve calories. It’s saying “Hey, pump some carbs in here because I like to burn those… otherwise, I’m gonna hurt you”. This is normal. In fact, as you deplete your carb stores, your body will be forced to burn mainly fat for energy (this is why those long weekend rides are so important). Now, there are those who do not believe the body works like this and that’s okay. I respectfully disagree. In any event, you want your body to be shy on fuel so it’ll resort to the fat that it stored for just this purpose. Don’t wreck the burn by giving the body something easier to chew through to fuel the workout.
Also, while we’re talking about running and cycling – if you really want to burn through the calories, you’ll want to do it on a bicycle. While there is plenty of precedent out there for your body needing impact, at least some, you won’t need the same recovery time and you’ll be able to work harder on a bike. Running is great, there’s no doubt about that, but you’ll hurt less getting your miles in on two wheels.
In any event, weight loss is simple…as long as you’re not sabotaging your hard work at every turn.