The Fitness Thread

Thought it might be kind of cool to start a thread around fitness efforts and goals. As I’ve noted a number of times I used to be a very very avid endurance cyclist. Having kids, starting a business, chronic back problems and general laziness found me in horrible horrible shape. I’m embarrassed to think how much I used to weigh. I’m also a stress eater and a compulsive eater - in other words, if there is a cookie, I’ll eat the cookie. If there is a box of cookies, I’ll eat the box of cookies. Despite my religious leanings, I’ll never drink. I come from a long line of alcoholics and my compulsive habits around food have me convinced I’d be another family alcoholic.

I’m still a husky boy, at least compared to my mid 30s and earlier - but finally working on it. Two years ago as I sat on my couch and realized my resting heart rate was around 80 and fearful I was showing some signs of pre-diabetes I decided to do something about it. I cut all sugar out of my diet and most carbs which caused me to lose a lot of weight, but also made it hard to exercise.

Previous to my seriously decline I had finally gotten my wife into biking. She is a tiny human being, so we’ll suiting for climbing the hills of our neighborhood.

So, long story short, I had lost a bunch of weight but started putting it back on when I got less strict about no sugar and only certain carbs.

So, this year when Covid19 started up my wife and I got back on our bikes and started riding - a rare moment where in early March you could ride mid day when it had warmed up a bit, and there was basically no traffic. We’ve ridden at least 5, but usually 6 days a week since and I started getting a hankering for long distances again. My wife wasn’t interested and so I eased her into it, with the goal being a 100 miler by mid July. Today we went 85 miles and pushed it pretty hard and I’m still typing about it, so that is good - it means we can complete the 100 miler, we just need to do it now. Resting heart rate is in the low 50s now and while I still want to lose a bunch of weight I’m on a good path.

RockerUte of 10-15 years ago would scoff at this, but RockerUte of that time wasn’t carrying an extra few sacks of potatoes on each ride nor did he have back problems. I’m pretty happy about it. I’m also really proud of my wife - she has always been very fit - runs every day - but never has had any interest in running or biking long distances. 5 miles running and 20 miles biking was always plenty good for her. She is really liking it too.

Funny that you bring this up at this time. I’ve been half heartedly trying to lose weight for awhile. My biggest issues being motivation and discipline. So I’ve done a few things differently this time around.

1st was I found a some hypnosis mp3s to help with the discipline and motivation. I listen to them regularly, they help in other areas of my life too. I use a different one to help with recovery (sports). They all help with insomnia, which does run in my family.

2nd was I started riding more consistently. I’m not as doing as far as I would have 20 years ago when I raced but I’m riding consistently, and tracking it too. I also do some body weight workouts, using TRX like straps and door frames.

3rd I found, I think, a program to help with my diet. So much went by the wayside over the years for various reasons. So replacing the bad habits with good ones, yet allowing for slip ups seems to be helping. So, in the 3 weeks since I started this program I’m down about 12 lbs. I have another 40 to go to hit my goal, but I’m on track to be there around the 1st of the year.

I’m using the diet program to hold me accountable, there is the discipline and motivation. It’s easier to ride when Mrs CCU goes with me. She helps keep my HR down while riding, otherwise I go too hard.

So, while I’ve ridden over the last 20 or so years, the consistency fell off. In there diet did too. My wake up call was a trip to the doc and her telling me about my cholesterol and triglycerides, along with my weight. It all more or less coalesced into I’d better do something. I was doing ok riding until I bruised my ribs from working on the car. It’s mostly up to how much discomfort I can stand while riding until my ribs feel 100%.

I suppose this may not be what you were looking for, but we all approach fitness a bit different. I do have to watch out for comparing my current state of fitness to when I raced. It can be discouraging to make that comparison.

1 Like

That’s awesome. I actually dropped my computer on my bike because I was riding too hard and getting discouraged from what I can do today vs what I used to do. Instead I’ve been focusing on just feeling good, enjoying the ride etc. Gone are the days where I could eat whatever I want and just burn it off. Twinkies and cokes on long rides are no longer a part of this nutritious breakfast. :wink:

1 Like

That stats I pay attention to: HR, cadence, and time. I also pay attention to perceived effort. Many modern riders only watch their watts. I think that there’s something to be said for how you feel mentally and physically. I don’t worry about speed or distance (yet). They’ll come in time, I hope.

I mentioned in a couple of threads recently, that the social isolation of COVID-19 has worked out REALLY well for me, as I took advantage of the ability it provided for me to get out on my road bike and start getting back into shape. I’ve cycled 6-7 days per week, lost 35ish pounds, since this all started and am feeling better than I have in a decade.

The exercise helped, but disciplined cooking of ALL of my meals has also played a large part in both the weight lose and the health improvement.

I’m starting to suffer from another exercise/COVID-19 related problem though and am setting some new goals to go along with my improved diet and cardio conditioning.

Weight training…

For almost 20 years, I cycled, ran, or cross country skied, alternating days, religiously. On the days I was not doing cardio, I went to one of a number of gyms I’ve been a member of over the years and worked with weights, largely on my upper body.

I’m not a body builder, by any stretch, but when I was in my twenties, I used to see a guy regularly at the gym who was in his mid 60s. He looked liked he was in his 40’s, healthy, strong, and in shape. He attributed his health to working with weights on M-W-F, doing cardio T-TH-S, and doing nothing on Sunday. This seemed like a great goal, and I kept with it until I spend that last decade traveling work work and fell into disrepair.

When I stopped traveling for work, I restarted my gym routine, but COVID-19 has killed that.

My goal now is to find and purchase some weight training equipment and get back into some weight training as religiously as my cycling.

The problem is that 2 millions other people have the same goals, and the same COVID-19 restrictions, and weight training equipment suppliers have no stock available. I’m not giving up, just need to keep looking.

RockerUte - I also have back problems, which during the flying years, had become chronic. Loosing the weight, and getting the blood circulating (what little there is around your spine) has made a world of difference. I also have to carefully stretch my hamstrings to avoid having them create stress on my lower back.

RockerUte and CCU - I agree completely with your approach of enjoying the ride, and not stressing over performance stats. I am not close to riding like I did 15-20 years ago, but I AM enjoying it, and I am getting a little closer every day. Riding every day is not ideal, so some days, I do what was always referred to as a bike “walk”. I go real easy - HR below 120 the whole ride. I look at the scenery or the houses, or the girls, or… and come home refreshed, energized, and ready to kill it the next day. Every day that you get on your bike and go for a ride, regardless of how fast, or far, you win!

Happy Riding!

2 Likes

Great idea for a thread. I started weight training last fall and really enjoyed it. When COVID started I fell off the wagon but have gotten back into it and do mostly cardio these days, but plan to lift again at some point. My weight has been a struggle for a while so I’m mostly focused on my diet right now. Kate Moss’s comment “Nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels” has been my mantra.

I intend to get much more active in the coming months. Things I really want to try my hand at are cycling and rock climbing. The thought of being an active person is appealing and my ultimate goal is to summit some peaks.

2 Likes

My wife and I still mountain bike a bit. I used to road bike a lot more, but have found as I’ve gotten older my neck can’t seem to take the set up on a road bike. Eventually we’ll get electric bikes and adopt a more upright stance.
Ive been “rolling” Jiu-Jitsu a couple-o-3 days a week for almost 3 years now and I miss that the most. I love BJJ. I practiced Judo and other martial arts as a kid /young adult, but Jiu Jitsu’s a blast.
Because of COVID, I simply can’t engage in Jiu Jitsu in a safe manner though. Jiu-Jitsu’s entirely hands-on. Sparring is intergral to training. I love the overall physical strengthening and culture of grappling arts. I’m basically tired of counting to 10 lifting weights. I follow the Herschel Walker plan; push-ups, sit-ups and chin-ups and stretching. Basically, reinforcing climbing or gymnast type strength instead of doing reps…
If I get antibodies tests resulting in positive (and my wife as well) then I can consider going back to the mats, but until such a time, I have to wait.

2 Likes

I have the same problem, and had almost given up on my old bike. But I had someone at a local bike shop look at my setup and adjust my fit. You’d be surprised at what a small increase in height (and decrease in length) of your stem will do for neck comfort.

Worked for me; of course my bike does not look as cool :frowning:

3 Likes

Thanks. Been there, done that. Ive had multiple bikes/set-ups over the years but I appreciate your advocacy.
Basically, I can get a neck fusion anytime, but I’m avoiding that. My surgeon said quite a lot of bikers pay the price eventually. Another benefit of BJJ is my neck increased diameter by an inch and seems to really keep the pelvis “core” muscles super strong.

Your approach is good. My weight work out is essentially body weight, using straps like TRX. I found a workout on bicycling.com that seems to do the trick, or at least enough to help. BTW if you go that route, be prepared for a wait. I ordered mine in early May, they didn’t show until early June. One other thing I like about them, I can put them away in a bag, put them in the closet and they’re no longer an eyesore in whatever room I was in.

I still have to have a goal, but riding is more fun now that it was for a long time. Before I had to have a race or event that I was training for. Now, it may not be an event, there is a goal, get back to my racing weight. Once there, I’ll see where my fitness is, and what my motivation is. I may do a few road races to get visibility for my bikes, but I really just need them visible somehow.

3 Likes

I treat myself once in awhile to a cookie or a full sugared Coke. I just only do one now, vs many before. If you’re too restrictive then you over indulge when you get a cookie or something.

2 Likes

I agree. I was only kind of joking about the Kate Moss quote. Right now I’m exploring my relationship with food and am very eager to learn more about it, especially in terms of psychology.

2 Likes

I’m using Noom. It’s working for me, but not Mrs. CCU. You do get a trial period. She’s having a hard time following it, for whatever reason I’m doing ok with it. But it does use psychology.

Sorry it didn’t work out for you. I’m lucky, ruptured the c3-c4 disk about 20 years ago, and was in so much pain I could not wait for the surgery, which was scheduled about 4 weeks out. When the day came, I had a really bad cold and they sent me home and rescheduled for 4 weeks later. By the time the second surgery date came, I cancelled as I was in MUCH less pain and had been told that it might improved to the point I could avoid surgery.

It did, and I still have the disk. It gives me a little trouble now and then, but I continue to avoid fusion, as I’ve seen too many people who had one fusion and ended up having additional problems - I guess the theory is that once you have two vertebrae fused, it puts additional stress on the disks above and below the fusion, eventually causing additional problems.

In any cause, I’ve come this far with the that narrow disk, and I’m not going to change anything easily now.

I am interested in trying Jiu-Jitsu, but I’ll have to wait until COVID-19 is not in my way.

1 Like

Thank you for your story.
Feel free to BM me when you start looking at different gyms.

I don’t contribute these comments for any other purpose then to help someone who might have fears, or wrong ideas about weight training.

In the past, I have been a runner and a road bike rider. Due to Achilles problems I had to give up running, due to increasing traffic and distracted drivers I had to give up the bike.

For the last 10 years or so I have refined my weight training and have learned through many mistakes and periods of injury how to properly address my regimen.

Some lessons learned:

If you look around you will always be able to find someone who can’t lift what you do or someone who can lift far more than you can. Your competition is only with yourself.

Start easy. Commit to three weeks. It will take at least that long for the pain and soreness to diminish.
Never increase your weight or repetitions more that 10% at a time.
Keep a written record of your regimen. You will remember your sets and you will be able to see your progress
Choose good form over more weight. It is the good form that will hit the right muscles and the right angles.

You can do this!

4 Likes

Similar situation here. Prediabetes was the wake up call. Bought an Apple watch a few years ago and starting running again. Proud to say yesterday I logged a 9 mile run. Kids adopted a husky and he is great running partner when cool enough. Good motivation as well.

1 Like

Pleasant surprise today - after the long ride Saturday and rest day Sunday my wife and I went for what we call the Wasatch Loop ride today (basically a ride from my house along Wasatch Blvd) as a rest day of sorts. (I’ve found that instead of being a little sore the next day, it takes two days to kick in now or something - so my legs were a little stiff this morning).

In my prime I was able to time trial it under 52 minutes. Today we did it in 56.5 minutes. Sure 4.5 minutes is an eternity in cycling, but we also weren’t time trialing it either. Plus at the beginning of March that loop took a demoralizing 1 hour 15 minutes pressing pretty hard. So we’ve shaved 18.5 minutes off our ride time.

Wasn’t expecting to do that today, but feels pretty good. Still need to get more active tackling the hills.

6 Likes

In case people are not aware, Emigration Canyon is closed to cyclists for the next 3 months more or less. I was not aware of this and found out the hard way.

I don’t usually ride Emigration too much, until the wasps get really bad in City Creek, which started last week. I guess, Millcreek will have to be my go to hill climb for the near term.

If anyone is riding Big or Little Cottonwood much right now, do you have a report on road conditions, construction, and traffic in either?

I should be in the heart of training for Ironman St. George which I hope gets cancelled as running has been limited due to plantar faciitis and pool closed until just recently. Instead I’m trying to exercise for fun without a specific race to train for.

Rode Little Cottonwood on Monday morning around 9am to the third Snowbird entrance. Road was fantastic with no rock debris I can think of. One short segment has grooves in the asphalt from previous rock slide. Can’t remember anything about the car traffic so it must have been light. Did not see a car in my lane on the descent the entire way down. Scenery was sublime. Perfect day. Next will be Big Cottonwood ride with a burger at Brighton General Store. Maybe Saturday.

BTW, I spoke to a road supervisor who said they are trying to get something worked out to allow cyclists into Emi on weekends. He also mentioned they’d really like to get Millcreek improved in the future but will need to partner with the Forest Service.

I ride a black Canyon.