Last year when I started racing I still felt like an old, fat guy who was desperately trying to find his inner, healthy self. It was one year ago that I stepped on the scale and realized that I had put on 20-30 pounds in just a few months and that I desperately needed to act because my health was in danger and heading in the wrong direction.
I could no longer make the stupid lifestyle choices that I was making because it was going to kill me. Maybe it wouldn’t I wouldn’t be laying in my grave immediately, but every day I didn’t act was subtracting two days off of the end of my life.
I didn’t feel like me. I had gone to the Ohio state championships in track and field in high school in the 4×400. I felt like an athlete. Even though I didn’t do any sort of formal sports in college I stayed active with running, hiking and riding my bike. I felt athletic. I didn’t always make great choices, but I thought of myself as, at the very least, healthy-ish.
Last winter, I no longer felt healthy-ish.
There was no longer any complaining about how the BMI scale didn’t apply to my athletic, muscular form. It applied alright. I was overweight – no, strike that – I was obese.
So let’s be clear. I didn’t start losing weight because of some competitive, strategic decision to increase my power-to-weight ratio. I did it because I feared for my life.
I’m not racing because I think that I have the potential to become a professional mountain bike racer. Racing is the focal point that keeps centered on living a healthy lifestyle.
This is the tale of two seasons.
One year ago, I was hiking in the woods pondering whether I even had the will power to lose weight and be a healthy person once again. How was I going to turn things around? I was eating and drinking whatever I wanted, riding the wave of craft beer (check out my other other website – BetterBeerAuthority.com – from which I have since retired) and shuffling through an endless tour of children’s birthday parties, with unlimited access to pizza, chip dip and cake.
One year later, I am 46 pounds lighter. I have been riding on a spin bike in my basement and running for most of the winter. This is the healthiest I have been in the month of January – ever. It feels awesome.
Last year when I went into the season I was still trying to lose weight. It was difficult trying to balance the need to provide my body with the calories for exercise and recovery, while at the same time trying to deprive my body of calories for weight loss.
This year I am not juggling that and it has allowed me to focus my efforts.
Last year, at this point, I hadn’t even picked up the Mountain Biker’s Training Bible by Joe Friel. This book didn’t just teach me how to train on a daily basis, it taught me how to plan a season and beyond.
This year, for the first time, I have a plan.
I know longer feel like that lost-soul, mid-level guy that plunks down thirty bucks and muddles aimlessly through a 15 mile race. I have taken the time to do the research and I have measurable actions that i can take to try and reach or surpass my goals.
I am no longer stymied by mental blocks and thoughts that I have reached my full potential – a constant, rolling, mid-life crisis on the trail. I am going into this season excited to see how far racing an entire season with good health and an action plan can take me.
Why am I telling you this?
Well one, because I am celebrating. I am happy that I was able to lose the weight and have kept it off. I had blood work done and all my levels – triglycerides, cholesterol, sodium, etc… were spot on. I have turned my life around and a year later I can officially say that I don’t just feel healthy – I am healthy.
More importantly, I am hoping that I can inspire you. I’m not just talking about weight-loss. If there is something in your life that is holding you back from reaching your full potential then I know you can come up with an action plan and conquer it. For me, I needed to step on the scale that morning. I needed a wake-up call. Luckily, I didn’t wait longer. How long can you wait to make the necessary changes in your life?
Like I said before, mountain bike racing is at the center of that healthy lifestyle. I am planning on writing about my adventures here at Quickdirt.com all season. I will report on my training, race strategies, results & even my failures. I’m not going to hide under a competitive cloak. My training and blueprints will all be out in the open so you have a benchmark for your own performances. I hope you will join the journey with me this season and can learn from my successes and shortcomings.
Remember – at this point last year I was overweight and out-of-shape. It is now 7 weeks until the first race in Ohio. Now is the time for you to step it up. Even if you miss the first couple of races I guarantee that you can still have a good season. But a good season is not always easy to define.
I think a good season is one that allows you to have fun while living a healthy lifestyle.
But don’t let all this feel-good bullshit fool you. My definition of “fun” includes riding fast and beating your ass on the singletrack too.
Here is a list of some books that have shaped how I approach training and nutrition. One way to support this blog is by using the links to purchase them on Amazon.com. I whole-heartedly recommend reading these books, but I also get a small commission on the sale too – just want to be fully transparent here. 🙂 You can also support the blog by clicking this link to Amazon and buying whatever the heck you want.
- The Mountain Biker’s Training Bible by Joe Friel
- Mastering Mountain Bike Skills by Brian Lopes
- The Power Meter Handbook by Joe Friel
- Training and Racing with a Power Meter by Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan
- Cutting Edge Cycling by Hunter Allen and Stephen S. Cheung (This book is more advanced and I don’t recommend it as the first book that you read about cycling.)
- The Paleo Diet Revised by Loren Cordain
- The Paleo Diet for Athletes by Loren Cordain and Joe Friel
- The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Running by Bill Rodgers and Scott Douglas
- Your First Triathlon by Joe Friel
If you have something you need to buy on Amazon, then click here to buy it and help support this blog.