Forbes Columnist Likes Cycling

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Career gurus advise that the best way to succeed is to do what you love.  The rationale is easy to understand.  When you’re doing what you love, you’ll think about more, work on it more, become more proficient and knowledgeable and innovative and over time those gains will compound to a productive and successful activity.

Doing what you love is also the secret to burning calories.  It pains me to hear people dread working out.  That tells me they haven’t found the activity that they love. 

I was pleased to learn that a Forbes columnist and blogger I enjoy reading, Rich Karlgaard, rediscovered cycling.  He’s a pilot that found the Trek Madone bicycle a good substitute for a new plane in the down economy.  He bought a Madone 5.2.  I own a 4.5, the base level Madone.  I love mine. 

I ride with groups, by myself, kid in tow, tandem with my wife with kid behind and I mountain bike.  Plenty of options and all burn calories without any drudgery. 

If you can’t say that about your workouts, I suggest trying new things until you find something you enjoy.  When you do that, then you’ll figure out ways to do it and rather than dreading it, you’ll look forward to it.  Doing it will recharge your psyche, relieve stress, boost your metabolism, burn calories and improve your life.

Another Exercise Tip: Podcasts

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I recently bought an armband and case for my iPod Touch.  Strapping that thing on my arm spices up the jogging and exercycle sessions.  While music is fun, and can help increase your intensity, it can become boring listening to the same songs after awhile. 

Instead of music, I love catching up with my favorite podcasts.  The iTunes store has podcasts for all interests.   I like:

  • EconTalk
  • Manager Tools
  • Midwest Media Now (disclosure: this is my brother’s podcast, but I enjoy listening to him – he does a good job and he’s like an Einstein of media)

Please share any that you like.

I Earned Another Frappucino, Maybe Two

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I rode my bicycle 45 miles yesterday while enjoying the company of the people I rode with.  It’s like having a conversation in a coffee shop, only we’re on wheels under our own power enjoying the countryside. 

We talk about our kids, our vacation plans, good books to read and movies to see, our exercise goals, government, riding and training tips.  We ride together at a leisurely pace, and occassionally someone issues a challenge by riding off the front or talking smack while riding up a hill to get our heart rates up.  It’s all in good fun and makes for a great way to interact with folks on a Saturday morning. 

Finding a good time in your exercise is a good way to stay motivated to burn those calories.

I Earned a Frappucino

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I rode 28 miles last night on the Wednesday night right with some guys in better shape than I.  It was all I could to hang on.  But, the hour and forty-five minute effort earned me a Frappucino.

Cycling is a great exercise.  It’s easy on the body and you can do it for hours and burn a gob of calories. 

Some people dislike being on the road with cars.  I understand that.  It takes some getting use to.  Many places have trails.  Those a good place to start. 

Accidents can always happen and cyclists usually don’t fare well in car-bike collisions.  Here some things you can do to improve your odds:

  • Always wear a helmet – No brainer.
  • Wear colorful clothes –  The loud clothes cyclists wear look silly when we’re standing in line in the coffee shop, but serve and important purpose on the road – they get the attention of drivers.
  • Ride with others – The more cyclists on the road, the more visible you are to drivers and the more cautious drivers are likely to be.  Find group rides and find riding buddies.
  • Ride low traffic roads – Ride with your local cycling groups to learn good, safe, low traffic roads with benign dogs.
  • Ride during low traffic times – Sunday mornings are great.  Saturday early morning is decent.  Stay off the road at rush hour and when high school kids get out of school.  Friday afternoons are sketchy too.  Everyone’s excited for the weekend and in surly moods.
  • Observe traffic laws – It’s unfortunate the number of accidents that could be avoided by the rider obeying the rules.  Learn hand signals for turning.  Ride with traffic.
  • Get a good mirror – In the old days, a good sense of hearing was all you needed to hear vehicles approaching from behind.  These days, with hybrid cars and quieter cars and things to distract drivers like cell phones, text messaging and GPS units,  it’s a good idea to have a mirror so you can see cars approaching to determine if they pose a threat.
  • Carry a cell phone with an “Emergency” number programmed in it.
  • Carry ID.

Maximize Joy, Minimize Guilt

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Early while losing weight I realized I ate a bunch of unhealthy food that didn’t didn’t bring me much joy, but added guilt and pounds.

One day after eating fries, I thought I’d rather feel guilty about eating ice cream than fries.  From there, I discovered that my guilty pleasures fell into one of three categories: I love it; It’s okay;  Take it or leave it.

I thought, why put on pounds and guilt for food I didn’t care much about?  Here’s what I did:

  • I assigned my guilty pleasures to one of the three categories.  For example, ice cream, chocolate and pasta were “I love it” foods.  Fries, hot dogs and hamburgers were “okay”.   Potato chips are “take it or leave it.”
  • I began to focus on how to enjoy my “I love it” foods more often and with reasonable portions.
  • To minimize the guilt and maximize joy and weight loss, I cut back on the foods in the last two categories.  I eat my “okay” foods occasionally, maybe once a month or so, and my “take it or leave it” foods very sparingly.

Categorizing my unhealthy foods helped me maximize the joy I get from eating, while minimizing the guilt.

I use to eat fries because fries are everywhere.  When I ate fries and ice cream I felt lousy.

After realizing that I liked ice cream more than fries, I was willing to trade out fries for a healthier choice, like the vegetable of the day, and still enjoy ice cream.  Cutting out those fries cut out a lot of guilt and bad calories.

I also changed the way I eat the foods I love.  I use to eat these sparingly, but I’d eat a lot of it when I did, which would make me feel lousy and saddle on the guilt. 

Now, I eat these more often, but in smaller sizes that fit well within my daily caloric needs.  Knowing that I will soon get to enjoy my vice again helps me enjoy the smaller portion size without wanting more and without the 10 gallon guilt I’d get from eating a large portion.     

I encountered one additional unintended effect of eating my vices more often.  I lost interest in them.

I love ice cream.  Always have.  I used to order medium or large or scoop the bowl high when I let myself have ice cream.  In my new way of thinking, I allowed myself one ice cream treat of a small size each week.  For a few months I looked forward to getting that treat each week, but after awhile I lost interest.  I’m not sure why, but I think allowing myself to enjoy it more often allowed me to get my fill.

Accountability

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Tool #1: Step on the scale everyday.  Preferably the same time of day.

Tool #2: Keep a food diary to figure out where you are taking in unneeded. 

Tool #3: Honesty.  Sometimes it’s hardest to be honest with yourself.  It takes practice.  You will not be perfect.  Don’t expect to be and don’t beat yourself for it.   Just be honest about when you do slip.  It’ll make it that much easier to get back in the routine.

New Year’s Resolution Failed

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To add more evidence to the theory that New Year’s Resolutions are doomed to failure, mine failed.  I resolved this year to give frequent updates of my daily trials and tribulations through this blog with weight control and my last post on that subject was February 16.  Sorry.

I’m still in my target weight range of 135 – 140 pounds, usually right around 138 and on the same basic eating and exercise plan that I’ve been on for years.  I enjoy the foods I like, just not in large amounts.  I went through a period in spring where I would miss one or two of my exercise sessions a week, mainly due to lack of motivation.  I focused only on one form of excercise, running, which was hurting my motivation.  As the weather improved I’ve been able to bike more which has improved my consistency.

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