New Year Weight


This year like last year has seen my weight hit the post xmas not good limit …. early 2015 was a 2 week drinking cocktail with breakfast holiday in Cuba and this year has been Xmas at home with kids – how much beer and food can I enjoy

So 3kg up on what I want …. 73kg in 175cm so BMI still says healthy – but the mind says no … BMI calculator

Screenshot 2016-01-18 16.30.16

 

Then read this in the Radavist and my mind is opening up to possibilities …. WATCH THIS SPACE

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Over the past few years – since moving to Austin in 2010 – I’ve been struggling with weight loss. Look, we’re all cyclists. We probably all ride with skinny, fit dudes and as a bigger guy, it’s frustrating. Even now, at the peak of my fitness, I still get dropped by “climbers”. What I found was to take these experiences and use them as part of my motivation. There was one defining moment however. A majority of it came from a ride I did in Australia a few years back…


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Granted, this ride was really tough. Two, 100-120 mile days with over 15,000′ elevation a day in the Australian summer. I didn’t bonk, but it took me forever to climb, then I laid down and rested for 3-5 minutes. No big deal. It did however lend itself as an opportunity for Andy to make some sort of comment along the lines of “you’ve got big lungs and long legs, if you got in shape, you’d be a strong rider.”

From there, something burned inside me and I’m not talking about a hot pizza slice. I wanted to be able to enjoy tough rides and be fit enough to carry camera gear with me, or sprint up ahead to set up a photo. I wanted to up my game.

I began thinking about what I was eating. Instead of getting BBQ after a ride, I ate lean protein and salads. Instead of drinking beer, I switched solely to bourbon and instead of riding at a comfortable pace solo, I began pushing myself.

It took over two years before people began to see a noticeable difference in my fitness.

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Here I am in 2012, racing cross. I probably weighed around 215 here, down from 225.

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2013, around 210.

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2013, opening weekend of cross season, right at 190lbs.

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Now, in 2014 I fluctuate between 175 and 185, depending on what I’m riding, how often and hydration levels. “Race weight” is 175, sitting on my ass driving a pickup truck down the PCH and traveling to see family for a month weight is 185.

That’s over four years of steady, slow weight loss. Any doctor I’ve talked to has told me that is the key. Weight loss should come from a lifestyle change, from diet, to physical exercise and it should happen over time. If you rush it, you’ll do your body more harm than good.

That said, here are the main changes I made with my lifestyle. Granted, you shouldn’t try to go all in here. Just make small changes. Cutting yourself off from your favorite foods sucks. Instead, treat them as a reward. Really love burgers? Reward yourself after a tough ride with a burger. Just don’t keep eating burgers every single day!

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Here we go. Healthy helps. These are my normal meals:

Breakfast: a 1/2 – 1 cup of oatmeal with blueberries, toasted almonds, cinnamon and water. Simple. Or quinoa with a fried egg. Yolk and all.

Lunch: I have two lunches, the post-ride lunch and busy day lunch.
-Post-ride: fish tacos (grilled) or a salad with fish on top.
-Busy day, no ride: Fresh soup and tortilla chips. Even canned soup is good, just watch the sodium.

Dinner: I love the shit out of greens. Bok Choy, kale, chard spinach. Sauteed, steamed, whatever. I eat a good portion of greens every day. That’s a given. Fresh fish from the market, cooked on a skillet. Sweet potatoes, squash, brown rice, quinoa. Whatever. If you like Whole Foods, look into the “Health Starts Here” food items. Hell, try to go vegetarian.

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Photo by Margus Riga

Ride a lot, often. The shorter, sweeter rides are better than always doing 60+ rides. I’ll go out on the road bike in the morning for 20 miles and then the mountain bike at night sometimes for the same. Mix your riding up. Mountain bikes rule because they wipe out your entire body. Give yourself time to recover. If your legs are sore, do a recovery spin. Don’t go out hammering away.

Don’t overdo it. You can literally ride yourself into trouble.

That said, big rides help in weight loss for sure. I still do one or two big rides a month. Eat on the bike, but avoid mass-produced bars. Instead, go for foods like avocado, almonds, mangos, almond butter, etc. Sweets are ok on the bike, so relish them! Just remember, if you eat foods high in cholesterol, you’re not helping your body.

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Drinking.

Fuck beer. Seriously. It’s the worst. If you’re trying to lose weight, stop drinking beer! It’s tough, but that stuff is like drinking dead calories. You might as well be eating pizza every night.

Bourbon has the least amount of calories than any other liquor. It has no additives, no flavoring, it’s a mash in a charred oak barrel and that’s where it gets its flavoring. Vodka is also good. Drink it on the rocks, or neat. Mixing with ginger ale or ginger beer is horrible for you. Look at how much sugar is in ginger ale!

If you’re going to drink beer, drink shitty, “light” beer.

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Snacking. Buy almonds, salted is fine. They’re great for you. Just don’t eat an entire bag. I usually snack on a handful if I’m hungry. Or eat a banana. If I am craving something sweet, I literally drink a thing of Skratch.

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Finally, recovery! I used to do nothing for recovery, aside from trying to eat in 30 minutes of finishing a ride. Now, when I finish a ride, I take a plant-based protein mix. Doing so has really helped me build lean, healthy muscle.

Normal protein has so much added shit in it, makes you feel bloated, swells your muscles and it always made me gassy. This stuff is amazing. Vanilla is my favorite.

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Photo by Kyle Kelley

I know that didn’t read much as a guide book to losing weight, it’s more of an explanation as to how I lost weight. Look, it’s not easy, don’t be fooled. There’s a lot of times that I want to gorge on pizza, or eat nonstop. You will be hungry, a lot. It’s tough, but you’ve really just got to ‘shrink your stomach’ and your appetite.

Like training on the bike, you’ve got to train yourself to eat well, in order to be well. Yes, I still eat breakfast tacos, or pizza, or burgers, but a lot less than I did. Remember, it’s about a happy medium.

 

NEW Year update – or what a month off the booze does for you


After Cuba I was disappointed to see that my weight was higher than it has ever been.

I did a post about this HERE and then since that time I have laid off the drink (well apart from one sip of a new wine and a whisky on Burns night)

So this morning I weighed my self and have dropped from 73.8kg to 69.9kg this morning. Nearly 4 kilos which is good going and works out at 1kg/week.

BEFORE JAN3
BEFORE JAN3

And I took another photo this morning

AFTER 1 month of being good
AFTER 1 month of being good

Not much difference really to see is there. Anyway it taught me a few things:

  • Will stop drinking in the week through boredom
  • I saved about £100 just on not drinking
  • I enjoy the taste more now
  • Even at 45 years old you can still shift weight if you want to.

New Year – New Drive


After a trip to Cuba in mid December for two weeks I stopped exercise – I thought I might lose weight in Cuba what with the heat and the really crap food everywhere (the exception being fruit which was umnmolested by human hand) but NO – those 4 cocktails a night and the beers took their toll and i returned to Scotland the Heaviest I have ever been in my life.

73.8kg 

I am only 175cm tall and have been 67 – 70 most of my life. I would like to pretend and say it is the muscle i carry (as it weighs more than fat) but sadly it seems to be a spare tyre.

lovehandle tastic
lovehandle tastic
more than an inch to pinch
more than an inch to pinch

So January sees (well from the 5th) No Alcohol / no cakes / no chocolate / no alcohol (had to say it twice) Also lots of cycling / spinning / running planned (despite winters best efforts to derail)

Will update at the end of the month on where I am …. but here is the start

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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.

 

The Giant’s Tooth Fell Race


So, on New Year’s Day, after precious little sleep (thanks to my lovely family) I made my way to Ogden Water, nestling in the Pennine moorland just above Halifax, and lined up alongside 121 others for the Giant’s Tooth Fell Race. This was it, some three months after deciding to take part, I’d lost the best part of two stones in weight and had cajoled my not inconsiderable frame to a level of fitness that would make getting around in a respectable time possible.
I knew the course well as I have been jogging and walking on these hills recreationally for twenty years. I wasn’t entirely confident of achieving the aims that I set myself back in October though: to finish in the top half of the field and to get round in under 25 minutes. The conditions were a concern. Relentless rain over the preceding weeks had rendered the peat either bottomless or very very slippery. Where the surface was too hard for the water to penetrate, it was simply running in newly formed streams.
We were all drenched before the start and the wind whipping off the moors was making the task of staying warm at the start line difficult. This was soon forgotten as the starter released us on our way.

The first quarter of a mile is a gradual incline up to a gate/stile: a muddy track which was intermittently transformed into a stream, several inches deep. I’d committed to go quickly so as not to lose time queuing. This kept me in touch with the leaders but shoved me into oxygen debt earlier than was prudent. The spray generated by this stampede was quite something.

There followed a downhill section of a few hundred yards but I kept pushing until I reached the bottom of the main 280 foot climb up to the Giant’s Tooth itself (a white painted monolith) high on the moor. The climb is deceptively steep but I knew that I could do it as long as I stayed aerobic. I was passed by some fitter fell runners but was encouraged to find myself passing others who were having to resort to hands on knees walking.
The summit area was wetter and boggier than I’ve seen it in two decades which made progress slower than normal. Frankly, it’s never quick as the myriad tussocks make sure-footed running impossible. Matters weren’t helped by a vicious, wet and westerly which blurred the vision and hammered at my fragile resolve.

Then the descent: 250ft of wet peat, pine needles and ankle snapping tree roots. The race organiser, a seriously good fell racer himself, described it as “dangerous”. It had been my plan to hurtle down this slope, picking a line I have rehearsed on many training runs. My legs, made insensible by cold and gallons of lactic acid, refused to co-operate. My brain engaged and started worrying about my fragile medial ligament. Prudence cost me half a dozen places and a little bit of time. Still, I got to the bottom in one piece.

The course followed a stream, Skirden Clough, for a short while. It was possible to run quickly and recover some aerobic equilibrium. I knew I’d need to as the second climb loomed.

It’s only about 150 feet, the second climb, but it’s steep in places and, again, I found myself passing walkers….the very same competitors who had overtaken me on the downhill. Come the following, much faster and safer, descent they passed me again. I became aware that the shoelace had come undone on my right shoe (Inov-8 X Talon 212). This had never happened before and it did niggle me. I lost concentration deciding whether or not it was worth stopping to tie it. I decided against.

I’d also started to become aware of a bad kit choice. I had elected to wear some New Balance running tights to keep my leg muscles warm and, hopefully, mitigate against injury. I was also wearing long socks underneath them to add calf compression. All this had served to do was to add several pounds in weight to my legs AND make them much colder than they would have been had I gone with shorts. This was a lesson that I won’t forget in a hurry.

There’s a long flat section in the race, which takes you around the perimeter of Ogden Water. The temptation is to believe that you are on the home stretch and gun it but I knew there was a sting in the tail to come. 850 metres from the finish, there’s a sharp right turn and climb up through the woods, back up to the bottleneck stile. It’s probably about 100 feet, but it’s steep for 30 metres and, on leaden legs, it can be soul destroying. I took this opportunity to overtake the quick descenders around me for the last time and, in severe oxygen debt, attempted to sprint to the finish. With icy water splashing over waist height, I tried to tell myself that it was fun. It wasn’t fun at all. It was horrible. There, I admit it….and bang go any fell runner machismo points that I might have accumulated.

I crossed the line to see the Halifax Harriers club secretary pointing a camera at me….the resulting photo o is above. He was quick to point out that I had my club colours on back to front….I’d have been quick to swear at him if I’d had any breath left to swear with. I slumped on a wall and announced my retirement from fell running to myself, silently.

Half an hour later, in the Causeway Foot Inn, still sopping wet through, I sank a pint of Taylor’s Golden Best with fellow runners, exchanged a few yarns and found myself talking about my next race. Retirement was short-lived.

How did I get on? I came 48th of the 121 runners and recorded a time of 23 minutes and 34 seconds. Given that it was my first competitive run in 30 years, not too shabby at all. Next year, I’ll be much much faster.