Yesterday I wrote that the key to my weight loss, my wonderfully quick, easy weight loss, was effort – lots of good old-fashioned, ugly, sweat-drenched effort.
Two things: It was quick, once I figured out what I was doing and how I wanted to get there but it took me something like a decade to get the combination right. Second, yeah it wasn’t all that easy either. Easy is a figure of speech pertaining to its simplicity – I literally had to work my ass off (and I’m using the word “literally” correctly).
Now, often a mental “defense” switch is flipped in certain people when we start talking about effort. People circle their mental wagons, get upset and vociferously defend whatever it is they do (or someone else does) as “good enough”. This is not without its irony.
Some people use races for motivation, others use weight goals, there are all forms of carrots and sticks to be used as incentives to maintain the course that leads to a happy, fit person. I’ve done everything I want to do in cycling already. I can ride pretty fast, I can cover long distances, I’m in fantastic shape, I’m happy with my weight, I have several bikes that I enjoy immensely… You get the idea. I’m pretty much out of “stuff” to use as motivation, with the rare exception that I have a ride to get ready for (this year’s Horsey Hundred in Kentucky for example, 100 and 77 mile rides, consecutively over Memorial Day weekend), with one exception: I use my weakness and desire to take it easy as motivation to push harder.
What this means, specifically, is that when I’m on training rides and I hit those rare instances where I want to slow down and ride easy, I remind myself that I’m being weak, that my fat ass and gut hates me working that hard and that I’ll be better for the effort, and so forth. In reality, I use much harsher language on myself, I cleaned it up considerably for the blog.
Please don’t read into my describing this as a shot against anyone else, it’s not intended that way. It’s simply the only way I know to keep from settling for second-best. This is also a good point to explain that this effort that I’m talking about is not all-out, all of the time. I mix in easier rides as well, just like “they” say we should and I could put more effort into cycling. With the proper training plans, workout regimen a little strength training and most importantly time, I could be racing-fast. This doesn’t fit what I want out of cycling. I’ve got three jobs already (run two companies and being a husband/dad), I don’t need a fourth. My balance is keeping it fun and fast while keeping me lean and mean. Keeping my balance doesn’t require a lot of time during the week – only 45 minutes a day with the exception being Tuesday night where it’s just over and hour and a quarter to cover almost 30 miles (1:18 to 1:25 depending on the group we’ve got), though it does get a little long on Saturday and/or Sunday with anywhere from two to four hours a day in the saddle, I try to keep it manageable.
The point is, if there must be a point, I have to make sure my effort is in line with my desires. If I don’t mind being overweight or obese (and I do mind, considerably), then I can be happy with loafing about the house. If I don’t mind being a little chubby, then cruising around at 15 mph to simply enjoy an hour or two on the bike, there are plenty of local groups I could ride with… Or I could do that and radically modify my diet so my calorie intake drops but I don’t want that either. On the other hand, if I want to be a lean and mean cycling machine (and I most certainly do), then I have to put enough effort into it to be that guy. Unfortunately that means pushing hard enough that I puke every now and again.
The only time this becomes a problem for someone else is when you want to keep up, so please, take what I write with a grain of salt (or two).