Loser on a Bike: Week 1

Loser you ask? Well, not in the bad sense of the word, but hopefully by the end of summer I will be a lot lighter. Thus the title: Loser on a Bike. Let me fill in some blanks for those of you that don’t know me.

   My name is Jack and I’m from Southeast Missouri. Right before my 40th birthday last year, I took a look at some pictures of me and realized that I was just out of control…I needed to take a hard look at myself. At the point I saw the pictures, I really didn’t even know how much I weighed, but I knew it wasn’t good. The scale I owned at the time just reported “Err” when I stepped on it. After purchasing a scale that read a larger weight, I was shocked to find that I weighed in at 367lbs. That was it, I was done…I was going to lose weight and do it now.

   I was pretty much always overweight through school weighing in on average 225lbs and standing 6’2″ tall during my junior year. During basketball season of my senior year, I slimmed down to about 190 and felt great. After basketball was over, the weight gradually came back and by the time I was a sophomore in college, I weighed in at 248 lbs. This was terrible, but I made a decision to join the Army National Guard to serve my country and earn a little money for college, while knowing this would beat me into shape. When I went to the processing station in Memphis, the Army wouldn’t even take me until I dropped below 240. What a slap in the face! They gave me a month to lose it, so I went back home feeling embarrassed and dropped enough weight to get in. Beat me into shape they did! I graduated A.I.T. weighing in at 176 lbs. Little did I know that I wouldn’t be going back to college right away as I had planned, my unit was activated to go to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield (later Storm) within a month of being home. After returning from the desert, I took a job with my hometown police department and proceeded to spend the next 8 years riding around in a police car getting fat all over again. To make things worse, I left the police department to take a network administrator job for an internet company and continued to pack on the weight. Anyway, the years have taken their toll and led me to the 367 lb 40 year old I was last year.

   I really didn’t know where to start, but a friend of mine had the whole P90 series of workouts and really talked them up, so I started there….and lost weight. Within a couple of weeks, I decided that I needed to start running again like I did in the Army, so out the door running I went continuing to lose weight. People started noticing the weight loss and were commenting on it, but I always seemed to get a reaction when I told them I was running. Almost everyone would say, “You need to get a bike!” So get a bike I did! I bought a cheap road bike, not knowing any better at the time, and began riding. Before long I was riding 30-40 miles on the weekends and could tell I was getting in much better shape. By August I was down to 288 lbs. 

   This is where I got stuck! Week after week, I was not losing anymore and a little bit of weight actually began creeping back on even though I was riding religiously. I failed to lose any further weight and was see-sawing between 288 and 295 lbs until I got called out of town on a big project for work the first part of October. My riding season was effectively over. Projects like this don’t come along often, but when they do, I feel like I have to step up. I was staying out of town a lot through the week and just totally put my weight loss/fitness goals out of my mind. I guess I’m the type the jumps in with both feet on project or goals even if other areas in my life suffer. By the time I was back home for good, the summer was over, it was nasty outside and bitterly cold, so the bike was the farthest thing from my mind. I guess weight loss in general wasn’t on my mind because I began eating like I always had and by the time I decided to get back on the bandwagon, I was back up to 332 lbs.

   While I was trying to determine how to approach my goals this time, I came to a conclusion…that one of the main reasons I got stuck last year was that I was just going out riding every day with no plan. I wasn’t doing any intervals, I wasn’t weight training and I wasn’t taking rest days between rides. After reading through some posts on VeloReviews and communicating with Al (King of Pain Painter) a bit, he hooked me up big time! He sent me his INTEGRATE MVP Century training plan. Just looking at the rides on the list, I knew this was what I needed. Some higher intensity rides 3 to 4 days a week to get me there. I also began a strength training routine off the bike in between rides as well. I told Al that I would blog about it each week so we can see how it goes.

   I wasn’t able to get started on week 1 right away, so I started this past Monday (3/21/11) on week 2 workouts. The strength training went very well on Monday and Wednesday. I really pushed myself using a combination of bodyweight exercises and dumbells. 5 minutes rest in between circuits and then was right back into the next until I had completed three total circuits of 10 exercises each. I programmed my Garmin with Al’s rides for the week so it would keep up with my intervals and really focused on intensity. The Tuesday ride was great. Even though I was really out of shape I pushed it and it felt good! It was very cold on Thursday (36 degree wind chill), so I decided to break out my trainer and completed the ride indoors. I hate riding on a trainer, but as long as it’s no more than an hour and a half I can usually get through it. Again focusing on the intensity and finished up the ride really strong and feeling good. The week was going great and I felt great up until the cold front/severe thunderstorms moved in on Friday. As I’m sitting here typing this on Saturday night, it isn’t supposed to clear out until Monday. I hate missing a long weekend ride, but I guess it happens. No need to sweat it, just pick back up and get going when it’s possible. 

   As of this morning I have lost 6 lbs for the week, so even though things fell apart toward the end of the week, I feel good about that loss and I am really excited to see how much progress I can make this summer.  My ultimate goal is to get down to around 220 lbs and see where to go from there. And as a side note…this coming winter will NOT be a repeat of what happened last:)

   I know I’ve been a little long winded here, but I wanted to get that all out there. Hopefully the next post will be a little more brief. Thanks for reading.

  • anthonyta

    I feel your pain… I started at 306lbs (heaviest I’ve ever been) and managed to P90X & ride my way down to 213lbs. I’m not doing the X workouts anymore, just riding and some mild strength training. I feel like I’ve been stuck at 213 forever.. all I want to do is break 200lbs for the first time in adulthood.

  • richarddort

    Sweet!  So right about now you should be feeling like you’re free falling, after having taken the plunge.  And, nope, you don’t hit the water until race day.

    Here’s some things I’ve thought of, that adds to the other great comments here.

    First off, nothing trains you for a race other than racing.  So, know that you can train, and do group rides, but you won’t know how you will react physically and mentall, until that flag drops.  So like Rap said, don’t worry about embarrassing yourself in the first race, or even the second, because it’s almost impossible to predict how you will feel once the gun goes off (or flag drops, ect.)

     

    As someone who is new, having only ridden a year and a half, I would strongly suggest paying close attention to bike handling skills.  Now this ranges from riding on dirt and grass once in a while with the goal of being able to stay up and not panic when you hit sand or dirt, to learning and trusting the feedback that bike gives you you can rail that downhill sweeper at over 30mph, to braking and knowing the limit and how hard to brake to scrub just the right amount of speed before that tight -down hill-off camber- 90+ degree corner that opens out to a wide flat road, to knowing how to not crash in a peleton.  Some of this is setup, such as proper tire pressure (harder is NOT better), to optimum body position for the geometry of your bike-which is directly tied into fit.

     

    Good Luck, and I’m sure you’ll have a blast.