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  1. #1
    Clydesdale commuter Flabulouso's Avatar
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    The Quest Begins: My fitness journey

    Hi everyone,

    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.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    www.fattiretour.org tmdesou's Avatar
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    I recommend John Hussman's page to get you started. It'll answer most of your questions concerning activity and nutrition.

    For strength training I'd urge you to read Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe. I'm an advocate of working the body as a unit, and this approach allows you to learn proper lifting technique while actually developing strength that's directly transferable to real-world applications.

    One last thing I think may be useful to point out is that while athletic ability is largely developed through training, physique is (primarily) created in the kitchen. I may be stating the obvious, but when I was working back into shape I wish someone had bluntly pointed this out to me.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Congratulations on committing to a healthier lifestyle. Your wife and kids will thank you.

    There's some nice bike riding around Bend, that is great. Also, you may have noticed, there's some mountain biking there too.

    How can you fit an hour or two of biking in to your weekdays, maybe 3 days a week?
    -Can you leave the cooler at work and get a rear rack and panniers to carry your lunch & drinks, so you can commute? Or just get a trailer and haul the cooloer? DO you have any co-workers that can help out with that transportation?
    -Can you leave your cooler in your car parked at work at night and ride home, then ride back in the next morning?
    -Can you throw your bike in your car and ride right before or after work? Or during your lunch hour, if your job allows you flexible hours?

    Also, as tmdesou says, to lose weight, you will probably have to count calories. there are some really good tools out there: sparkpeople.com, calorie-king.com, and many others. it might be useful to log your food in one of these for a week or two, and see how much you are consuming. sparkpeople also has a thing where you can enter your weight info, goal, excercise amounts, and it will spit out a daily calorie goal. it's an eye-opener, believe me, how the calories can creep in to your diet. a little while doing something like that could really help you make better food choices, and make informed decisions about what indulgences you choose.

    (and don't forget the helmet and learning how to change a tire)

    good luck, happy cycling
    ...

  4. #4
    Killing Rabbits
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    How is your blood pressure?

  5. #5
    Coyote!
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    Hey Flabulouso!! Love ya', but the very next thing you should consider is changing your ID/handle. The "flab" bit in your identity might just prejudice your efforts in negative ways. Positive image and self-talk is a powerful force, albiethey ones not much talked about. Think "beef jerky", "catgut", and "spring-steel" kinds of names.

    Well here endeth the lesson from an old broke down coyote, but do please give it a thought and good luck, fair wind, high tide, and Godspeed on your journey.

  6. #6
    Clydesdale commuter Flabulouso's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input everybody! I did take a look at John Hussman's website. And it just so happens I have also been looking into the Body For Life program, so that was a neat coincidence. My blood pressure has always been slightly elevated, but the doctors have said in the past that it is not dangerously so. My annual check up is coming up in September, so I'll have another look at that. Regarding my User ID "flabulouso", it is more a function of my quirky sense of humor than being depressed or discouraged about my physical fitness. The other night my wife and I were watching a commercial for Stan Lee's "Who wants to be a superhero" show, and we were joking that I could be "Captain Flabulous!". One thing I have learned is that life is a bit easier if you have the ability to laugh at yourself--I mean, who of us doesn't do something STOOPID every once in a while? My wife says that is one of the things she finds endearing about my personality--and something that is difficult for her to do.

    Anyway, gotta go. It's almost time to take my bike over to the shop. They're going to tune it up, put on a couple bottle cages w/bottles, and add a cycle computer, kitbag under the seat with necessary field repair tools and a spare innertube. They say I can have my bike back by Thursday. I'm thinking of taking a nice ride on Saturday--maybe 10-15 miles. Although I'm overweight, I still have some physical stamina--I hiked 6 miles roundtrip into some lakes a couple weeks ago.

    Later all!

  7. #7
    Coyote!
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    >>> who of us doesn't do something STOOPID every once in a while?

    Dude, I've made a lifestyle out of doing stoopid stuff. Given that the learning sequale of said stuff imparts wisdom, I'm arguably the wisest coyote on the planet!

  8. #8
    King of the Plukers Spreggy's Avatar
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    Hey big guy, I'll call you big guy now, because we won't be able to for long. I had a recent epiphany like you, watching the people around me getting cancer and artery stints, and decided enough is enough time to be healthy. After tons of reading and checking out this diet and that, I figured out what works:
    1. Don't eat trash. Fast food, fried food, it ain't food! It's body poison. No white flour, no soda, lite beer is your friend (and mine).
    2. Smaller portions. Nothing crazy, just think a bit more before reaching for more.
    3. Count calories for a few weeks, it's an eye opener in a few ways.
    4. 30 minutes daily exercise minimum. Bike, weights, walk, run, whatever turns you on.

    The pounds are gonna come right off you, you'll love it.

    For commuting with a cooler, no problemo. Get a rear rack, and work out the details from there. For instance, the grocery stores sell those cooler bags for you to put your lunch and drinks in, which you could carry in a grocery bag pannier.

    Go get em slim, I've dropped twenty pounds since mid-April without missing a meal or even being hungry for that matter. Eat smart, exercise, repeat.
    “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
    ― Muhammad Ali

  9. #9
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    In terms of weight training try picking up the Book The New Rules of Lifting By Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove, you'll be set for a good year in terms of weight training and it also has some good general advice on diet. Also when you do join Gold's be wary of their "trainers" as a former trainer of gold's I can say that the knowledge and skill of the staff can range from the owners dumb (untrained) cousin who needs a job, to some very good staff, so if you do end up getting a trainer be sure to interview them before paying for anything. If you need I can suggest some questions that could give an idea of thier level of skill and knowledge.

  10. #10
    Clydesdale commuter Flabulouso's Avatar
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    Well, I just got back from Hutch's Bike Shop here in Bend, Oregon and am $124 lighter--does that count as a weight loss goal?

    I bought a headlight, taillight, U-lock, patch kit and seatpouch, cyclometer and bottles/cages. Since I'm having the bike tuned up they're putting on the bottles/cages, the cyclometer and lights also. Yeah, I'm capable of putting that stuff on, but with my work schedule I would have difficulty finding time. They said that, since I bought the bike there they will move me towards the front of the work queue. I'll be getting a call sometime Wednesday to come pick up my bike.

    I believe someone up-thread mentioned leaving my cooler at work and just bringing my food/drinks with me each day when I ride to work. That's a great idea! I hadn't thought of that. I use those chemical ice packs to keep my stuff cool, and I figure it'll only take me about 15-20 minutes to get to work each day, so not enough time for meltage. I'll just have a daypack with my food, drinks, and artificial ice. I wear a company uniform, so instead of taking them home when the clean ones are delivered by the linen service, I'll just leave them at work and change into them from my bike clothes. Gotta remember to have some deodorant and wipes stashed there, though.

    I'm starting to get excited about this now!

  11. #11
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    Bear in mind that you're getting advice from avid cyclists.

    If your primary objective is to improve overal health fitness, not to become a racer or randoneur or whatever, then just riding on the weekends is enough if you're working out other ways during the week.

    Of course if you can find ways to ride more often than that, fantastic. But don't think lack of time to ride during the week is an impediment.

  12. #12
    King of the Plukers Spreggy's Avatar
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    I bought a headlight, taillight, U-lock, patch kit and seatpouch, cyclometer and bottles/cages.
    Nice! I would encourage you to add a spare tube (or two) to your pack, preferably the goo type that will self heal (sometimes). As a commuter, you go thru the 5-flats-in-2-days thing sooner or later, so you can get the right tube now and save some hassle. Swapping tubes on the road is much easier than patching on the road. Tire levers also.
    “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
    ― Muhammad Ali

  13. #13
    Banned. mazpr's Avatar
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    To bad you dont like jogging as it is considered one of the most, if the most, efficient form of burning calories in the least amount of time compared to cycling, weights, swimming, etc.

    Dont call it off to quickly, wait til you "feel" lighter and your endurance develops and give it a shot to jogging. Nothing better than mix and match to take a break from the bicycle. I dont know about other people but sometimes blending different sports helps maintain a positive attitude toward workouts. Also, you gain to target different muscle groups that cycling does not workout efficiently.

    Cheers

  14. #14
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    I'm not going to advise on the exercise part except to say that even an extra 10 minutes of walking or riding at lunch is helpful. Work it in if you can.

    Eating. You've GOT to change the way you eat. I'm not talking about going on a diet. Diets don't work. You have to change your life. First, get this book: Meals - Lickety Split. Ignore the silly cover. She's a bit over the top but if you follow the recipes you will lose weight and you'll have good nutrition. Follow the recipes EXACTLY! If it says to use squash and you don't like squash, tough. Make up your mind that you now like squash and in a VERY short time you WILL LIKE IT! It's the truth! She also talks about the 80/20 rule. Eat right 80% of the time and then you can "blow it" 20% of the time. I suggest making that 90/10, at least at first, but it really helps keep you from feeling like you're giving up everything you love. Again, it's not a diet. It's just a change in the way you eat. In time you'll begin to lose your desire for fast food and greasy stuff. You'll still eat it but you'll be satisfied with much less and wonder how you ever ate all that stuff before. You've also got to make sure your head is on straight. Don't eat to medicate yourself. If you're stressed, work it out with exercise, not a double 1/4 pounder with chesse like I did. I'm down 80 pounds in a little over a year. If I can do it, ANYONE can do it.

    Enough preaching. I'm certainly no expert. I just rode my bike 27 miles this weekend averaging 12 MPH and was ECSTATIC. That's the farthest I've ever gone. Many on here would think I'm a slug and unworthy of calling myself a cyclist but in many ways I've accomplished more than they ever will. You can too.

    Joe

  15. #15
    Senior Member VT Biker's Avatar
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    Just keep this in mind:

    According to Science American, dieting alone DOES NOT WORK. They compiled all of the studies of diets from Atkins, South Beach etc... and found most people gained the weight right back. Their conclusion:

    Diets are about restricting calories, but not in a way that alters the nature and habits of ones lifestyle. Once the "weight" goal was reached, they stopped dieting and took on the same bad habits. Wanna know why? Because their life-styles (the modern American lifestyle) is essentially a giant calorie conservation plan.

    The only people who lost weight and maintained that weight-loss were people who exercised and continued to exercise afterwards.

    So let me offer this recommendation as well in terms of exercise: do not work-out, train instead.

    What do I mean: if you ride only to lose weight, I fear it is not going to last. You need to train for something. Something that motivates you beyond vanity/health. Pick a century ride next year (hell, even for this fall depending on your fitenss level) and start training for it. Pick one day each week, and make that your long ride day, where you ride for at least 3 hours.

    Make riding a part of your life. You need to think of yourself as a cyclist, not just someone who owns a bike and rides it occasionally. If you start to feel as if cycling IS a part of who you are, you will succeed.

    It is amazing how training for something motivates and keeps you motivated besides losing weight. My perception is that the event's date is not going to change. So you have a limited amount of time to reach your goal, unlike weight-loss, where you can always keep on putting off when you will reach your goal.

  16. #16
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    I agree with what VT Biker says. You need a goal to work toward, once you reach that goal you need another goal. Anytime you workout without any goal you are doomed to failure. You must also alter your lifestyle and eating habits. Anyone can loose weight, the trick is to keep it off and gain anerobic and aerobic fitness.

    It also helps if you have a training partner, someone who will keep you on the right track when you feel doomed and it doesn't feel like things are improving. All fitness takes dedication, patience and lots of time.

    Good Luck!!!! I wish you the best!

  17. #17
    Banned. 2Tired2Shift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flabulouso View Post
    Hi everyone,

    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.

    Thanks!
    I was exactly where you are last December, 5-9, 215. I'm now 170. It can be done. My best advice is to, above all, avoid over training. The hardest thing for me to do is NOT ride. But if you overdo it you'll end up injured and it will delay you in the long run.

  18. #18
    Banned. mazpr's Avatar
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    Its like VY Biker states, I did the same thing, but instead of going for a cycling event I trained to be fit for next surfing season.

    Whenever I was running, weights etc I would just think of catching that perfect wave and was it worth it. I felt so confident when i jumped in the water and could catch insane waves that never before would have thought about.

    it was amazing to go to the water and see other swimmers just looking at the waves (posing) because many did not have the endurance to keep up when big sets would come in wave after wave.

    Now I am training for the Big Sur Marathon here in Cali.

    No matter how much my friends ask me to I dont drink beer or hard liquor; even if it is my birthday, Christmas, New Year etc. I see it this way, the money I save on alcohol will be the excuse to buy me a new set of wheels, etc.

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