I write this as we tip our toe into the second month of 2014. January was brutal here in Dallas, TX and made it hard to find time to get out and ride. Because of that, I’ve had to find new routines in order to keep up the pace. It’s not even that it has been cold (I have the right gear for that), but it has been ICY! Several times in January roads out here were covered with ice, making driving treacherous, let alone riding.
Not to say there hasn’t been any riding. Honestly, at this point I feel under the gun to get myself into good enough shape where I won’t just DIE while doing the D2R2 later this year. We had a warm couple days mid-January where I was able to put in a sum total of about 78 miles over 3 days, which resulted in my legs feeling like Jell-O and left me thinking, “Holy crap, that’s only 70% of the ride I’ll be trying to do in ONE DAY in August!”. I know my weak point right now is hill climbs as we just don’t have them here in Dallas, but the trainer my wife got me for Christmas seems to be just what the doctor ordered.
The trainer allows me to ride inside, which during these conditions is optimal. Second, and most important, the trainer applies consistent resistance which simulates riding up an incline. I mentioned previously how demoralizing the trainer is because of the constant resistance. Where as on the road, I can ride 2+ hours and do ~40 miles no problem. The trainer on the other hand, 30-45 minutes at moderate resistance is a complete beat down! I’ll put in the equivalent of 10 miles and feel like I’m about to pass out! I complain, but this isn’t a bad thing. This is the kind of training I need, so although I’ll whine about it, I’m honestly very thankful I have it 🙂
Diet wise, I’ve been doing well in 2014. I continue to stick to one of my core principals (Don’t have a fucked up relationship with food!), so there were several times during January where I enjoyed a Bacon Cheeseburger and some Fries, Chicken Wings or even Mongolian Grill 🙂 That being said, I did still keep track of my carbs/protein/fat ratios and try to at least keep those in check. I’ve found two new food choices I’ve thrown into my rotation. First is a new lunch combination of Jolly Green Giant Health Blends, which are a fantastic little microwavable pouch of vegetables that are in a very light butter sauce. I was honestly shocked to see that these were anywhere between 100 and 190 calories per container. Second is the Nature Valley Protein Bars, which only weigh in at 190 calories but back 10g of Protein (mostly Soy) and very few carbs.
I’ve also been working in a regiment of nuts into my diet. Our pantry is usually stocked with Almonds (raw, no salt) or Pistachios. Both of which are a great source of good fats as well as protein. A favorite post-workout snack of mine has also been a fantastic product called PB2. Basically, PB2 is Peanut Butter with the peanut oil extracted, leaving a dry peanut powder. When you mix a couple tablespoons with water, BAM! Peanut Butter with 1/3 the Fat and all the Protein of “fully leaded” Peanut Butter! 🙂
My workouts have shifted to a more equal amount of weight training and cardio with the bike. Jenn and I purchased Bowflex Selecttech 552 Dumbbells last year for our home gym and I’ve been using them regularly. What I really love about them is the adjustable weight settings. My goal is every month, go up 1 setting. Currently I’m working out with the 30 pound weight setting for 30 minutes during my workout. By no means the Incredible Hulk, but my goal is to increase the weight setting every 2 months or so, following another core principal that slow and steady will win the race. I already notice a difference between starting with them last year, and gradually going from 15, 20, 22.5, 25 and now 30 pounds. Same workouts, same reps, just able to lift more weight. Obviously because of this I’ve been trying to work a lot more protein into my diet to help my body build more muscle mass.
The non-cardio workout routine is pretty simple. I rotate between the following exercises:
- Set of 20 sit-ups holding 10 pound medicine ball over my head
- Set of 10 Pushups
- Set of 20 Alternate Hammer Curls
- Set of 20 Dumbbell Bench Press
- Set of 20 One Arm Dumbbell Row (10 each arm)
- Set of 20 Alternate Seated Bicep Curls (10 each arm)
I’ll go through this routine about three times before my arms feel like they’re about to fall off. It’s not going to get me ready for the olympics, but it has been good for building general strength 🙂
Finally, I weighed myself this morning and I came in at 247.9, down two pounds since the beginning of the year. I’m not sure if my strength training has at all hindered my overall weight loss, but honestly just being healthier is the ultimate goal. My hope is to keep the pace up around 1-2 pounds per month, because that would put me in a very healthy range come D2R2. The goal there being less meat to haul around on the bike 😉