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The Paradox of Over Easy Miles…

November 2014
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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]).

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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:
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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.


6 Comments

  1. I envy your on-the-fly 20mph photo skills! 🙂

    Easy miles have their place but of course if you want to get fitter/faster/lighter you need to smash yourself past your limits! I went out for a 40 mile solo blast today. It was cold, raining and dark, but I did it because I want to be faster (and it helps that I enjoy riding my bike).

  2. Remember what it was like when you first started cycling and literally watching the fat melt from your body? I do. I jumped in with both feet, riding 300-400 (or more) miles a week right away. I did not work up to it, something I do not recommend to anyone. My wife and I also were eating nothing but low fat meals. I would come back from a ride and could see where I had lost weight. It was incredible. The weight loss was extreme, probably something my body could not take at my current age. I started in July at close to 240 pounds. By December I was at 185 pounds. Crazy.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Oh my God man, that’s awesome! I started out between 70 and 90 miles a week, I’m still lucky if I can top 200. Too cool brother.

      • That was pre-kids. I am where you are now, lucky to get even 150 in a week. And I do not have the speed you have.

        Do you find yourself eating more healthy when you are riding more?

      • bgddyjim says:

        To the contrary… I eat healthier through the off season. I can’t keep my weight up through the season if I eat like I do off-season. I live on fast food several days a week to pick up easy calories. My main problem is that I don’t eat a whole lot per sitting – I don’t have the stomach room. It’s a good problem to have, admittedly.

  3. I see exactly what you’re talking about especially at the pool. I see overweight regulars backstroking or doing this skip/hop thing through the water, probably like a Zumba class. I’d like to tell them they need to skip/hop on dry land-the water makes them lighter. I don’t know why it bugs me when I see them doing that but for some reason it does. They’re all nice folks, I’d just like to see them really swim.

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