The Paradox of Over Easy Miles
For the sake of this post, I’m a hardboiled kind of guy. I hate hardboiled eggs in reality but I digress… I’m a hardboiled guy.
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve spoken with a person who is unhappy with their weight and disappointed with the results of their attempts to lose said weight I’d have a much nicer bike (think S-Works Venge with Enve wheels [another $4,000 on top of a $9,500 bike]).
The tricky part, of course, is explaining one simple truth, tactfully. The knee-jerk reaction is to blame it on genes or some affliction in which hundreds of thousands of others have overcome or some other source that would allow a person to say, “it’s not my fault” when it clearly is:
You can’t get a hardboiled body with over easy miles.
You see, anyone who tries to explain this rationally is instantly met with an emotion-fueled response that consists of any one (or a combination or succession) of the following:
“It’s the best he/she/I can do right now.”
“You’re insensitive to [insert emotional plight here].”
“You’re mean/cruel etc.”
None of which are true of course. The reality is, if the person who uttered the truth didn’t care they would just keep their mouth shut. The truth hurts though and most people don’t want to have to come to grips with the fact that they’re soft. Here’s the problem though: Nine times in ten, the offended person knows this but just doesn’t want to work at it.
So here is the pair of ducks: Taking it easy is nice but it gives one the false sense that something good is happening when the reality is a little harsher (reality is harsher, not the one who points it out). For instance, I have occasion to see the beginning of a water Zumba class after my girls’ swim practice. Obviously the instructor is some semblance of fit (using the term loosely) but the people in the class… Whoa. On one hand, I get it. A person has to start somewhere but you’d have to do water Zumba for what looks like an hour a day for something like 125 years to lose a couple of pounds. Obviously this is an exaggeration but I can’t imagine it’s by much.
Simply stated, I look at it this way: If I have two decades to get into shape and lose weight and I’m not worried about results, I can absolutely get there by walking a couple of miles a day or by going out for a nice leisurely ride on a comfort cruiser bike into town (maybe ten miles round trip). On the other hand, if I want to lose some serious weight, if I really want to get fit, I have to embrace some real work. I have to sweat and put in some time.
Now I realize that this comes with a little bit of fear, especially at first: Will my heart hold out (check with your doctor obviously), what if I don’t have the energy to do what needs to be done later in the day, I don’t have time to get out every day, what if I injure my pinky toe, I will look all nasty and disheveled… I get it, but going for a 30 minute walk isn’t going to. Water Zumba is a good place to start, for like three weeks. Who can forget Richard Simmons “Sweatin’ to the Oldies”? If ever there was a metaphor that worked, that’s it. Fitness is ugly. If you still smell like perfume, have every hair in its perfectly coiffed place and don’t look a little bit like a wet zombie, you missed out on an opportunity. You attended a social gathering rather than did something for your fitness.
I am not immune to the over easy fitness either. I know I can be faster and stronger than what I am. I have my limits but the bar is quite high:
This photo was taken at more than 20 mph, 20 miles into a 35 mile ride.
About 2/3’s of a pound’s worth of calories were burned on that ride (2,000 calories give or take). Now, I can’t do that every day because I simply don’t have two hours a day to put into it, but I can (and do) make room for at least 45 minutes to an hour. The photo above was taken on a Saturday. We also went out on Sunday for another 35-40 (I can’t remember which now). I bought a cycling computer on September 6th, Almost two months ago (not quite). After yesterday’s ride I’m well over 1,000 miles it or an average of 19 miles each and every day (if I don’t take into account the half-dozen days that were missed due to rain) or about 135 miles a week… Why share this information here? With all of those fast, hard miles, I still have to watch what I eat to maintain my weight. Soda, Coke specifically, is (and has been for a while now) a rare treat. Deserts? A rarity.
The simple reality is there is no easy way to a thin, fit body. Not even good genes allow a person to eat like a horse and stay fit walking. What will happen if you choose to go over easy, is that you’ll stay the exact same weight you are now (or worse, you’ll gain weight for the extra muscle) and you’ll become disheartened, relegated to believing that fitness doesn’t help you lose weight, that you’re somehow different. You’re not.
With hardboiled miles you at least have a chance, so get out there and make you look gnarly for a bit. Fear not, you’ll wash up okay.