I just joined the forums today, the main purpose of which is to find information and support on my fitness goals, which involve cycling as part of my evolving overall plan. A little about me: I'm 37 years old, 5'9" and 215lbs and live in Bend, Oregon. I've been told by gym trainers that I should shoot for a "fit" 180lbs--meaning that I should build some reasonable (not Musclemag style) muscle mass along with good cardio training and reasonable diet. I'm not shooting for a body fat level of 8% or something elite like that. I just want to get back into good shape and increase my endurance and overall health.
My dad died of a stroke while I was still a baby. He was 42 years old. Now that I'm 37 I've been thinking about that a lot. I don't want to leave my wife a widow because I didn't take care of myself. There are already a myriad of ways I could leave this world, over which I have little or no control, so I've decided why add one more way (bad health) that I do have some control over.
So here's the general plan:
First, I'm going to start riding my bike again. I think this is my BIGGEST CHALLENGE. I have a Specialized Allez Sport that I bought in 2006 (deeply discounted 05 model). I've got a few things I need to get for this bike, such as a cycling computer, spare innertubes, small toolkit, pump, water bottles and holders. Here's why this part is my biggest challenge during the summer: I would like to ride my bike to work, but it's the middle of summer and I have to take a large cooler with my lunch and Gatorade/water bottles, so that won't work. It will be difficult for me to ride in the evenings as I get home late--usually around 8pm--and I have to get up damned early to go back to work the next day. There are the weekends, of course, but that just doesn't seem enough. Any suggestions in this area?
Second, I'm going to work on the diet. I've already sworn off fast food--mostly. I've had one fast food meal (yesterday, working late) in the past 3 weeks. I make my own lunches, which I mentioned above. I'm not going to go cold turkey on every little questionable food item in my diet as I know myself enough to know that I will fail if I try that. I'm going to work on one or two things at a time. I think the first couple of things I will focus on are my beer consumption (I LOVE microbrew) and adding a nutrition shake or two to my daily diet.
Third, I'm going to join the local Gold's Gym and start strength training. This will also be challenging during the summer months due to my grinding work schedule. But I can always stop by early in the morning before work or do a workout after work, as they are open early/late. This may end up being my salvation on the bicycling/cardio front during the summer.
So, that's the general plan. It's a work in progress, I realize. But I know I have to start somewhere. As to how much this relates to cycling, well like I mentioned above, I intend to use cycling as my main cardio source, since I abso-freakin-lutely hate jogging or running. Always have. I'm also interested in eventually taking part in organized bicycling events such as century rides and weekend rides, such as the Cycle Oregon: The Weekend ride.
I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has travelled this same road and what your experiences have been, as well as any advice you might offer to someone just getting started.