Lose weight mountain biking? Yes, it is very possible.
For anyone that has been following along for a while, you might remember waaaay back in January when I set an ambitious goal to lose a bunch of weight through mountain biking.
How ambitious, 40 pounds.
By when, October 8th.
And since that time I haven’t really provided a lot of updates on how I’ve been doing with this goal, nor about how my strategy for getting it done has worked out. There has been a lot of success and also some failure, so I wanted to give you an update on where it all stands.
As of today I am 6 and a half months in to this challenge. I have lost 21 pounds so far, ridden over 1o00 miles and my goal seems to be in reach.
Some Backstory on my need to lose weight
In December of 2010 I got engaged to my beautiful wife Amanda, (Hi honey I love you!). We lived 40 minutes apart and worked in opposite ends of the metroplex so we saw each other only on the weekends. At the time I had just finished up the DORBA Fall XC race series and was in the best shape of my life. I was 167 pounds of Cat 3 racing fury.
Unfortunately, that excellent mountain biking physique quickly began to suffer as I spent every weekend with my new fiance and was frequently planning for our upcoming wedding. This was made even more complicated when I took a new job that added an hour commute each way to my day. Instead of having 2 hours each day that I could spend riding, I now spent it in the car fighting traffic.
Holidays came, chocolate (my nemesis) was eaten, pounds began adding on.
Pretty much all of 2011 was spent fighting with this schedule. Working, driving and helping to plan for the upcoming wedding. Finding time to ride became not a challenge, but a non existent legend in my day.
How was I supposed to stay in riding shape when I had no time to ride or was always on the go?
Finally, the wedding came. It was a gorgeous and picture perfect day and my wife was even more gorgeous.
I thought that this being behind me would help me find time for riding. It did for 2 weeks. Then we moved out of our apartment and into a 36 foot RV for 3 months while we waited on our home to be ready to move into. Unfortunately, there isn’t much room in an RV you live in full time for a bike. So I didn’t ride for those three months at all.
Finally we moved in to our house over christmas weekend. Moving and RV living was done.
On December 31st, 2011 I found myself weighing in at 210 pounds and having not ridden at all in months. I looked at myself in the mirror and was disgusted at how different I looked from a year prior.
Ugh. I had put on 43 pounds over the past year.
Excuses, Excuses, Excuses
If you read that above then you should have noticed that those reasons weren’t really reasons at all… They were all just excuses for me being lazy. Mere inconveniences had I really wanted to get out and ride.
I passed roughly three group rides and 2 weekly crit races on my commute to work that I could have been riding. All on my way and easily fit into my schedule. My wife was living at the time just 5 miles from Erwin Park in McKinney and since I was there every Saturday and Sunday I
could should have been riding. And of course there is a place for a bicycle in an RV, or at the least I could have kept my bike in the trunk of my car… which I did. I just never rode it.
The fact is that staying in shape, losing weight and being a mountain bike rockstar takes a ton of dedication and sacrifice. Things that I wasn’t willing to put into it at the time.
So back to the point of the story
How I lost weight mountain biking
I set up several strategies at the beginning of the year on how I would lose weight. I had both a diet and an exercise plan that I intended to stick to. But here’s the deal, both of them were just a little too intense to keep up with.
The diet plan I wanted to stick to lasted about 3 weeks… It was requiring around an hour and a half of cooking a day in addition to riding, working and everything else. It just wasn’t do-able. The workout plan I’m not sure it ever started. Exercising every day is a great thing to do, but I just never got that into a habit.
So the new diet plan has been to just watch my calorie intake by using the Livestrong app. So far it has worked for the most part. I have a week or two of slipping on occassion, but the weight continues to trend down. As for the exercise plan, it has actually been the primary driving factor in my weight loss. I found as many group rides and events around me as possible and started doing all of them. For about 2 months my weekly schedule looked like this.
- Monday – 25 mile group road ride
- Tuesday – 10 mile ride with my wife around the neighborhood
- Wednesday – 40 minute crit road race, it was about 15 miles
- Thursday – 25 mile group road ride (or a rest day)
- Friday – 10 mile ride with my wife
- Saturday – 25 mile group road ride, sometimes followed up with mountain biking as well.
- Sunday – 15 mile mountain bike ride
Well, I have another 20 pounds to lose to reach my goal of 169 pounds by October 8th and just about 2.5 months to do it. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m up to it. So long as I watch my calorie intake and continue riding I should be able to reach that goal. I’ve slacked a little bit on making it to the weeknight group rides and racing the crit, so I have to be more diligent on getting back out there.
The one complication I have is a pulled gluteal muscle. It’s not pleasant feeling while riding, and trying to rest the injury is really digging into my time on the bike. I’ve gone from 100 miles per week of riding to roughly 40 or 50 while trying to give it the opportunity to heal. At this stage though, to reach my goal I am going to have to tough out some additional ride days at slower speeds, this means no crits for me. But this is still very achievable.
3 tips to lose weight mountain biking
- Watch what you eat, but don’t go crazy. As long as you eat fewer calories than you need you will lose weight. Use a phone app to help out like the LiveStrong app or the LoseIt app.
- Branch out, become a multi-disciplined cyclist. Sticking to just MTB riding limits your potential for fun, meeting friends and losing weight.
- Identify your excuses early and make sure you don’t give them a chance to take root in your life.
So that’s how I’m doing with my goals and a few tips for you to accomplish yours.
Share your progress on your 2012 goals in the comments below.
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