A great Story


I am slightly (i have to admit) Fattist but this story made me proud of the guy and slightly ashamed of my attitude to others ….

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A lot of Americans are struggling to lose a whole lot of weight, and they try all kinds of crazy things.

Ernest Gagnon — a man from Billerica, Mass. — decided to shed pounds by getting into the often intense, high-adrenaline sport of cyclocross: racing road bikes on obstacle courses.

Two years ago, Gagnon tipped the scales at 570 pounds. He was depressed and embarrassed to leave the house.

“Being as big as I was, I really felt like I didn’t belong anywhere,” Gagnon says. “I was stuck in my house for almost 10 years, just going to my work and back.”

Back then, Gagnon’s diabetes was getting more serious. He was losing the circulation to his legs, and his doctors were talking about gastric bypass surgery.

Then, some sort of a switch flipped in his head and Gagnon decided he was going to race bikes, something he’d wanted to do since he was a kid.

Gagnon contacted Cosmo Catalano, a cyclist from Hartford, Conn., on Facebook, and asked if he wanted to go for a bike ride.

“He’s like … ‘by the way, I ride kind of slow … I’m 500 whatever pounds,’ ” Catalano says. “I [said] … ‘OK, I can deal with that.’ ”

This is how hundreds of New England cyclocross racers met Gagnon.

The First Race

Now, just two years after making that decision, Gagnon met up with his bike racer buddies in Lancaster, Mass., to do his very first race, called the Midnight Ride of Cyclocross.

These days, at age 33, Gagnon is 240 pounds slimmer. He is still very big by any standard, but a lot less so. Seeing him, surrounded by svelte, Lycra-clad athletes, squeezed into some spandex of his own, is a little bit jarring at first.

Ernest Gagnon competes in his first cyclocross race, the Midnight Ride of Cyclocross, on Sept. 26, in Lancaster, Mass.

Sam Evans-Brown/New Hampshire Public Radio

As you watch him, however, you start to get used to the big guy in bike shorts, especially when you realize that Gagnon himself is way past being self-conscious.

“You know, I’m riding in spandex in Boston with these guys. Never thought I could do that [and] it’s liberating in a way,” Gagnon says. “It really [forces] you to be honest with yourself, accept who you are; because if you can’t accept who you are, you can’t do anything.”

Before the race, Gagnon goes for a ride around the course with his lieutenant, Catalano, who gives him tips about how to ride it. Gagnon rides along on a custom-built titanium bike that is reinforced to hold his weight.

After checking out the course, he lines up in at the start in a crowd of 60 other racers, and after a few nervous, final moments the race is off.

The racers hurtle along dirt paths, and through soccer fields on bikes designed for racing on pavement. There are obstacles in the course like barriers that they have to jump over, or steep hills they run up with the bikes on their shoulders.

The slender, athletic racers are panting and working hard. For Gagnon, however, it’s actually physically dangerous. He has angina, and his doctor told him not to let his heart rate get too high during the race, or he could end up in the hospital; something that has happened before.

Everybody at the race knows about Gagnon, and throughout the race the announcer gives little updates on his progress.

“Two laps to go for Ernest Gagnon,” the announcer says, “nicely done Ernest — hang in there!”

After 40 minutes, Gagnon finishes dead last. Catalano and friend Steve Lachance quickly join him near the finish line.

“I told you you could do it, I told you you could do it!” Lachance says.

A steady stream of folks Gagnon barely knows, some of the 5,500 Facebook friends who have sought him out after hearing about his story, come by to congratulate him.

Gagnon says there isn’t a weight goal he’s aiming for; he just wants to be healthy. He’s already eying a couple more cyclocross races to do later this year.

Oi Fatty …. yes you


from huffington post

This is the average American male in his 30s.

usa bodyHe doesn’t look too bad, right? Well, here’s how he stacks up against his international peers from Japan, the Netherlands, and France.

country measurements

America’s expanding waistline may not be new news, but throwing the average American male’s body into a line-up spotlights America’s obesity epidemic, which is exactly what Pittsburgh-based artist Nickolay Lamm did when he created these visualizations (which obviously deal only with body size and not ethnicity or skin color).

“I wanted to put a mirror in front of us,” Lamm told The Huffington Post in an email. “Americans like to pride ourselves on being the best country in the world. However, it’s clear that other countries have lifestyles and healthcare better than our own.”

Here’s a look from the front.

country measurements

And a side angle — Oof, not the most flattering comparison for the American. He’s second on the left.

country measurements

Lamm constructed the 3D models based on body measurements collected from thousands of men by universities and government agencies — including the CDC, the Netherlands’ RIVM, and France’s ENNS. The average American male has a body mass index (BMI) of 29 — significantly higher than Japanese men (who have a BMI of 23), men in the Netherlands (who have a 25.2 BMI), and French men (who have a 25.55 BMI.)

Lamm said he used BMI charts and photos for visual reference, and ran the models by Dr. Matthew Reed, an expert on body shape measurement, for accuracy.

“I chose the Netherlands because they are the tallest country and are clearly doing something right there,” Lamm said. He chose Japan because it is well-known for its longevity, and France because, he said, “a lot of Americans like to compare themselves to that country.”

So what are the Dutch and Japanese doing right?

Experts suggest it has to do with a complex combination of genetic, environmental and social factors. A good healthcare system, better nutrition, and more active lifestyles have been cited as reasons for the towering Dutchmen and long-lived Japanese.

 

FAT BIKE – a video to make you think about one …


Ride-Shot-Edit: Martín Campoy

Music: Josh Garrels
joshgarrels.bandcamp.com/track/all-creatures

Shot with Lumix Fz 38 and Go Pro2.
Some Images: Patty Trespando.

A fat bike – what is that ….They are designed with adventure in mind, wide-tire frames with monster rubber are your ticket to backcountry bliss. Load ’em up, air ’em down, and ride ’em into the sunset.  The flotation and traction afforded by large-volume, low-pressure tires can get you over and through otherwise unrideable terrain…sand, mud, wet rocks and roots, ice, many kinds of snow and even naughty potholes …..

sean salach’s definition .. Fat Bike is a bicycle created for cycling on soft, unstable surfaces. They are used primarily on sand, snow, gravel and bogs, but can be and often are used just about anywhere a mountain bike or road bike can go. They are built around much wider tires than a mountain bike, which can be run at very low pressures to increase the size of the tire’s contact patch. This gives the bikes increased stability on loose surfaces, and lessens the likelihood of the wheels sinking into softer or more fragile surfaces. The current standard tires are marked as 3.7″ or greater in width, though the actual measured width will vary from 3.5″ – 4″+ depending upon the rim used. Rims are available for these tires in widths up to 100mm, which is 4 times the width of a standard mountain bike rim. 

Men: it’s time to lose the moobs … More body aware / insecure than ever


From the guardian newspaper.

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Physical appearance is more of a concern among men than women, according to recent research.

More men worry about their body shape and appearance – beer bellies, “man boobs” or going bald – than women do about how they look, according to research.

More than four in five men (80.7%) talk in ways that promote anxiety about their body image by referring to perceived flaws and imperfections, compared with 75% of women. Similarly, 38% of men would sacrifice at least a year of their life in exchange for a perfect body – again, a higher proportion than women.

“These findings tell us that men are concerned about body image, just like women. We knew that ‘body talk’ affected women and young people and now we know that it affects men too,” said Dr Phillippa Diedrichs, from the centre of appearance research at the University of the West of England. She conducted the study, of 394 British men, which was commissioned by Central YMCA and the Succeed Foundation, an eating disorders charity.

The survey revealed that men have high levels of anxiety about their bodies and that some resort to compulsive exercise, strict diets, laxatives or making themselves sick in an attempt to lose weight or achieve a more toned physique.

• 80.7% talked about their own or others’ appearance in ways that draw attention to weight, lack of hair or slim frame.

• 30% have heard someone refer to their “beer belly”, 19% have been described as “chubby” and 19% have overheard talk about their “man boobs (moobs)”.

• 23% said concerns about their appearance had deterred them from going to the gym.

• 63% thought their arms or chests were not muscular enough.

• 29% thought about their appearance at least five times a day.

• 18% were on a high-protein diet to increase muscle mass, and 16% on a calorie-controlled diet to slim down.

Rosi Prescott, Central YMCA’s chief executive, said: “Historically, conversation about your body has been perceived as something women do, but it is clear from this research that men are also guilty of commenting on one another’s bodies, and in many cases this is having a damaging effect.” Men’s high levels of body talk were symptomatic of a growing obsession with appearance, she added.

Some three in five men (58.6%) said body talk affected them, usually negatively. Some 12% said they would trade a year of life if they could have their ideal body weight and shape, 15.2% would give up two to five years, 5.3% would forego six to 10 years and 5.3% would sacrifice a decade or more.

Some 4% said they had made themselves sick to control their weight, while 3.4% reported using laxatives for the same purpose. Almost a third (31.9%) had “exercised in a driven or compulsive way” in pursuit of that goal, although that might have been partly due to 52% of the respondents being gym members, when the average is 12%.

Respondents, of whom about a quarter were gay men, blamed the media and celebrities for unhelpfully reinforcing unrealistic ideals of physical perfection. “Girls want to be slim and males want to be big and lean, and while it isn’t a bad thing for people to want to look better, it has become more like a competition, which has a bad effect on most people’s mental health”, said one respondent.

Alan White, a professor of men’s health at Leeds Metropolitan University, said: “These findings are worrying but not surprising. There’s been a big increase in the numbers of British men having cosmetic procedures such as a nose job or removal of breast tissue; that’s gone from almost nothing to quite a significant industry over the last 10 years. All this fuels the idea of the body beautiful and encourages a quick fix rather than appropriate diet and physical fitness levels.”

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