Exercise

This is a part of the course and probably the hardest part to do.

In my case it was 30minutes walking a day whilst at work (which was hard to fit in) and 30 minutes cycling when I was off work.

Cycling wasnt a problem, even it was only half an hour it would be a local loop a couple of times with a bit of climbing in it. Rides out were never less than 30 miles of the Wirral loop on this site. By the end of the course I was doing over 100 miles a week and I’d joined the gym.

I wish I’d joined the gym earlier as although the weight was coming off and my legs were fine from all the cycling I found I had no upper body strength. It also proved to be a more efficient way improving my overall fitness. Initial results are encouraging and I’m hooked now. Another case where I would admit to getting it wrong by just concentrating on the cycling.

I tried a spinning class at the Oval, this has proved to be the hardest thing I have EVER done, 40 minutes of the most intense exercise I have ever done. The story that “Men sweat and Women perspire” proved to true I was soaking, the hand towel was soaking, the water bottle was dry and I was chewing the plastic trying to get some more water out of it.  It’s something I want to do at least once a week.

If you’ve been on the course but saw the exercise as optional or not for you it’s time to think again, I feel I’ve got as much  from the exercise as from the diet perhaps more so.

Update: 7 Aug 06 Looking to do 3 spinning classes a week if I’m off work. Wednesday is now a ride day from the Eureka cafe and I haven’t found a hill yet that has given me a serious problem. I’m no longer afraid of getting out breath on a climb as I know a certain  pace will get me to the top.
I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t enjoying it.

If you opt for walking it should be at a faster pace than what you are currently doing, if you haven’t broken into a sweat at the end of it your probably not doing enough. I’d go out with a heartrate monitor with a calorie counter on it if I was starting again as then you’ll know how much effort you are putting into your exercise. The Crane Sports one I started off with even shows your BMI and wasn’t expensive.
Half an hour on the CrossTrainer on Hillclimb has me burning 350 to 375 calories. So don’t kid yourself that a half hour stroll is going to burn 500 calories. I now count calories burnt in Mars Bars. 250 calories equals 1 Mars Bar, it takes a lot of effort to burn 250 calories, you see Mars Bars in a totally different light after you’ve sweated one off.

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33 thoughts on “Exercise”

  1. Frank, looking at your weight loss stats you lost a lot of weight before you started logging your exercise (On here at least) What exercise were you doing in Feb / March / April / May 2006?

  2. Frank,
    Before you achieved this current level of fitness how did you guard against overtraining? Or did you ever do too much and think “I need to leave the gyym a couple of days to recouperate

  3. Phil, I was doing at least half an hour of walking or cycling EVERY day, this was after work. If I was off work I’d go out on my bike for my “Easy Wirral Ride”. About 30 odd miles according to the route, This time alone will give you plenty of time to sort your head out.
    I didn’t go the gym until May as I thought it wasn’t for me. Most of what I started on was cardio. I don’t lift big weights so don’t tear muscle.
    I asked ron (responce 1)about the weights and thats what I have done since. Ron is the course tutor/mentor and an amazing guy.
    Somewhere I have posted about the exercise as being a Virtuos Circle, the more you do the more you can do. It is like as supercharger on your life.

    By the time you need to worry about overtraining you’ll know the signs as you will be reading fitness articles or following a plan. Learn to walk before you run and it’s not going to be a problem.
    Thanks for the posts by the way, glad to have been of some help.

  4. Frank, Some nights i feel really tired & apathetic, when you felt like that did you go the gym regardless or listen to your body? My problem is if i have one or two nights off i write the week off, then the week becomes two etc…What was your motivation to keep going to the gym?

  5. Phil,I signed up for half an hour day of exercise, at the beginning it was walking and cycling for me because thats all I wanted to do and didn’t think the gym was for me.
    The motivation was I was loosing weight at the rate in the weightloss diary, it was working right from day one.

    Sort your diet out first, you’ll be loosing weight but at a slower rate. On the BHF plan they are only looking at about 1 kg a week. Some weeks I was loosing more but I was doing more.

    Once I had got my metabolic rate up tiredness and apathy are a thing of the past. You’ll get hooked on the natural high of a goodworkout.

  6. Before you were exercising Frank, when you were at your heaviest, was your sleep affected. I am not sleeping well at all, i wonder if that’s contributing to feeling tired & lethargic. How are you sleeping now you have lost the weight compared to before?

    Thanks

  7. Phil, I had problems sleeping (sleep apnea)and snoring. I was drinking to send myself to sleep too. Which contributed to the snoring. I’d even tried Natracalm herbal tablets at one stage.

    The problem now is that I feel full of beans if I wake up as I want to do something.

    Sounds like your in a bad way, like I was. Have you been checked to make sure your not Diabetic?. I was heading that way for sure, I consider myself extremly lucky to have been caught by the system in time.

  8. frank,
    I have been cycling for about 5 months on and off, also I have been doing leg weights as in squats, I have a sort of mountain bike ( cheap ) changed the tyres to semi slicks do about 10 miles a night, some days I feel tired and do less, should i change the bike to a road bike and get more miles in or cut out the weights, how many miles where you doing when you started ?

    great site keep up the good work and keep faith

  9. Paul,
    one and a half miles at the start. Once around the block with a climb.Then twice then three laps. I don’t do any squats as I didn’t want to damage my knees. I was already taking Glucoasamine tablets for the knees but not I don’t. I didn’t go the gym at the start as I was just doing my half an hour of walking or cycling a day. I work 4 on 4 off so fitting in rides isn’t a problem.
    If your doing your rides after a day at work your going to have the problem of the nights closing in. You’ll need lights and some winter cycling clothing.
    The stuff I’m doing is mainly aerobic once I realised I wasn’t going to have a heart attack by getting near the limit it allowed me to start pushing myself.
    Lidl are doing a heart rate monitor on Monday for £10. It is similar to the one I use. You should be able to ride in the fat burning zone 100-120 BPM all day.

    I wouldn’t opt for a road bike just yet. You’ll then be stuck on the roads. I hadn’t been outside the Wirral much on mine before I joined the CTC. I was up to one 30 mile ride a week before I started on the Lifestyle and Weight Management Course. It wasn’t enough and too infrequent. I wasn’t eating properly too. Eating junk on the ride meant I wasn’t burning it off.

    Weights these days are upper body for me as there was a time when I couldn’t have done a chinup or more than a pressup or two.

    Hope this helps,
    Frank.

  10. WooOOOAAAAAAGH! Goo’on Frank!!

    Nice one mate, Ive just hit 42 and let myself go abit (working from home on the pc) with my sedentary job.

    Ive been threatening to get back into training for ages (used to train/cycle in my 20s & early 30s) I recognise everything you say, in particular the ‘Virtuos Cycle’ phenonmenon of the more you do the more your body accepts and steps up to the task.

    Just bought a second hand Scott Mountain Bike (rigid) off eBay and am clearing my shed for my weights/bench etc.

    This site is SPOT ON and a very honest and detailed breath of fresh air, Im sure you are offering lots and lots of encouragement & inspiration to many people (me included) and you should be praised for that, Well Done Frank!

    Keep up the good work.

    ‘Aint no better feeling than when those endorphins are pumping’

    All the Best Regards Sime.

  11. Thanks, Simmon for picking up on the Virtuous Circle.
    It does exist for those that know what the bottom of the cycle is. Brian at one of the classes I attened found it but there are very few.
    It,s a great feeling that spurs you on. For the cynics take a look at the site and see what keeps me going. The benefits are beyond comprehension to most people.
    regards
    Frank

  12. Hi frank,
    well done on what yu have achieved I too have lost weight,my problems started in January this year with pains down my arms and in the chest unable to catch my breath,I could not walk to the garden gate, after hospital tests I have been told I have angina and have to take betablockers and asprin daily. I have changed my diet[ low fat] only drink red wine now and again . I started to do daily walks of 8 miles a day. then I buoght a road bike in march and started going out daily ,I now do 10 miles a day 6 days a week and love it im really hooked on cycling.i have returned to work so cycle to work and started the gym.I have gone from 17 and half stone to just under 14 but seem to be stuck at this weight but I feel alive and its my 46th birthday soon without the bike I dont think i would have seen my birthday .keep up the good work and inspiration to us all
    what a good site you have here

  13. Mark, thanks for the comment. I do think the level of exercise is the key. I didn’t see much of a life past 50. The betablockers kept me on the planet but once my brain said do something about it and stop relying on the medication things changed.
    I’ve never felt better than this last year. Regarding being stuck at a weight I’m stuck at mine now, if I want to get it lower something has got to change. It’s good to see that others can turn themselves around and it’s not only me. I get the impression that there are a lot of us out there who have averted an early demise but have little or no contact with others in the same boat. By the same token there are a lot more that need that motivation that the like of you and me are not superhuman and it can be turned around by normal men and women.
    Regards,
    Frank.

  14. Frank,
    Do you think I should now be working harder to loose more weight ? Also
    what do you drink or eat after a ride which is not fattening?
    I know i only do 10 miles [well I done 15 today ]but I feel shatterd for the rest of the day do you think I should be doing more or ease off a bit?
    I am in awe f you now I have visited this site and you will now give me inspiration to carry on and improve my life style.
    my workmates think I have aids and my son laughes when I come home from my early morning ride in my tights but im sure hes proud of me for loosing so much weight, as in his 18 years hes only seen an obese dad
    I hope you do not mind if i contact you for advise now and again

  15. Mark, I don’ know what diet you’re on. I’m still following the BHF plan. I’m not looking to loose weight as it has leveled off at 82 Kg. I’d work on increasing you’re aerobic capacity as it affects everything you do. I’ve mentioned the virtuous circle in other posts. It worked for me and once you’ve felt the effects you’ll want to that bit more the next time. By all means keep popping back, that’s what,s the site is for. If your going out on your own you’ve got the mindset to do it. My workmates thought I had cancer, you’ll get a lot of comments like that but who is going to have the last laugh when your lighter and fitter than them.
    Regards,
    Frank.

  16. Frank,
    yes your right about getting my head around it [I think i have] I do cycle alone most days, got up today 7.30 and did fifteen miles.
    I am on a low fat eating plan with no red meat only chicken I was wondering what I should eat or drink in the hr after my ride
    I have read cycle forums where they have peanut butter sanwhich but surely this is very fattening?
    on my ride today I was thinking how well you have done and told myself that I need to slowly work my ride up from 15 miles then in time my fitness will improve At the moment I am pushing myself hard I know that 15 miles is not far and it takes me an hr but my cycling clothes are soaking wet when I get home so I know I am doing something right.
    If i think back to January I could not walk 10 yrds so I know I have improved

  17. Mark, don’t over do it in what you eat in the magic hour. I was making the same mistake at the start thinking I’d burnt off loads.
    The peanut butter is a safe fat but your trying to get your weight down and not replenish what youve just burnt off. I was eating mars bars on the ride with a coke as well, no wonder I was stuck at 122 Kg I wasn’t doing enough on the ride to burn off what I ate. They may be doing intense exercise too which would govern what they would eat.
    I only take water out on rides I reserve the drinks gels and energy bars for the events. I take it you havent had the “bonk” or knock yet?

  18. Frank, not sure if I have had the bonk but after some rides I feel totaly exhausted but put that down to having angina and on beta blockers
    what does it feel like
    Thanks for the advise on eating after a ride i have been having a toasted bagel with low sugar jam will only have water from now on
    did 15 miles today then inthe afternoon took the dog for 6 mile walk
    Felt tired after though

  19. Mark,
    don’t take everything I say as gospel and verse. Have the bagel by all means. I only take water on local rides and if I was riding to the Eureka for breakfast I wouldn’t have anything but water before. I’ve felt the bonk coming on twice, both after about 60 odd miles. It’s when all your glycogen is used up. You have to stop to get some energy back inside you. Hence the need for Cafe stops.

  20. Thanks frank,
    I think i will leave the bagel out and just drink water after a ride I still need to loose weight
    Been out this afternoon did 11 miles, dont think I will get the bonk doing the amount of miles I do.
    I am made up do do this amount after all back in january I could not walk 20 yards so im made up how well I have done
    The only thing that worries me is the winter comming and the cycling dropping off a bit

  21. Mark, 21 miles is good going. The encouraging thing is that you know you could do more if you wanted to. Start logging what you do (I’ve been called obsessive) as you can at least how your improving.
    If you haven’t got a cycle computer with average speed on, get one as you will need this figure to plan your rides.
    Example Average speed 13 mph: 26 miles would take you 2 hours.
    I went out after work last night to try the lights out and it was about 6 deg C its definitely time to wear the winter clothing now.

  22. Thanks Frank will do that as I do have a computer
    Went out this morning and did 21 miles again it was cold though
    my fitness has improved just seems to have kicked in all of a sudden
    not getting out of breath as much

  23. This is all very inspiring. I’m a 20 stone ex rugby playing guy who goes to the gym 4 days a week. I’m mostly muscle, but am battling a litltle stomach. I was doing 25 miles 4 times a week on my mtb. It was unncomfortable, and I just wanted to go faster and further. I sold it, imagining I could easily get a road bike. Us big guys sometimes don’t know how big we are!

    My budget isn’t massive (£800 for bike and accessories) and I’ve been scouring websites looking for good advice. I’ve been to some LBSs to look at some bikes. The consensus seems to be that I’ll need some very solid wheels and should try to get them custom built. Trying to do that will surely cost a bomb won’t it?

    I’m also 6 ft 3 and a bit, so I need a big old bike. MTBs are no problem, but road bikes are proving an altogether different kettle of fish. Today I felt myself giving up and looking at hardtails again, even though I just sold mine out of frustration at not being able to go far enough as fast as I’d like.

    Help needed as I consider my options.

  24. Reading all your comments has made me chuckle with familarity and a sense of warmth as I have been through all the same comments/jokes from family members etc. I was 29 and had a blood test for a family condition which picked up my blood sugar was high and I was running the risk of being diabetic. At the age of 29 and at 18 and half stone this worried me somewhat. I had young kids and a very lazy fat intaking lifestyle. I started January last year and by July had lost 5 stone, by following a popular point scheme diet and GYM sessions of 5/1 and half hour sessions of Cardio. I have now changed this to a mixture of Cardio and Weights. As like many of you my weight has levelled out which I am happy with. All my blood tests etc are in the normal range now. My Godsends of snacks to maintain hunger is simple/ fruit fruit and more fruit especially Pink Grapefull which keeps you full !! plus high in vit c. and then be naughty all weekend to keep your sanity… It never has any effect on my weight due to increased metabolism except Monday GYM sesh’s are painful!!!! I think it is particulary important to attend the gym sessions even if your body is saying no, as after the workout you will feel on top of the world!!! and as for sleeping I suffered terribly with night panic attacks, but now like a baby every single night!!!! Head hits the pillow and bing bong its morning!!!! I will follow your site now as its nice to read people who have travelled down the same path….cheers Paul

  25. Thanks for the comment Paul as I’ve said elswhere all are welcome. There was a section on Metabolism in the Course. Basically dieting slows it down to a point where you go into starvation mode and plateau with the weightloss. Then when you come off the diet because it’s not working you pile it on faster than you lost it. Classic yo-yo dieting.
    You’ve realised at at early enough age that you needed to do something. I was in denial and didn’t have a very good future to look forward too.
    Regards,
    Frank.

  26. Hi Frank
    Have been browsing your site for several months and, like many others, find it inspirational.
    I retired last year (65) and returned to cycling after a layoff of 35+ years (knee trouble forced the demise). Have done much sport in meantime but finally hung up my football boots, running shoes, squash raquet etc at age of 60. Result was weight ballooned from 12.5 stone to 18+ stone.
    With physio and much careful TLC on my knees I Have managed 5000+ miles since retirement and lost over 3 stone. I have re-discovered cycling!
    I am now looking at how to get the final 2 stone or so off my weight so that I can seriuosly tackle Hilly Audax rides etc (inspired by trips out with the local CTC group, and you). Weight loss is now down to less than a pound/week (nothing some weeks). It is clear that I need to think more about diet.
    I have the BHF booklet and it makes sense, until you read all the diet related stuff on cycling. At this point I become totally confused since I am trying to reconcile the straightforward, no nonsense BHF advice with compex information on diet pre-ride, ride and post-ride; on glycogen levels; on carb, protein, fat, sugar etc etc.
    You seem to have found a way to successfully put all this together into a coherent strategy, but I seem to be missing something when I explore your web site looking for guidence on this. So reluctantly, and hoping that I aren’t wasting your time, in a word, help.

  27. Hi Norman,
    part of the problem is the likes of Cycling Weekly etc are catering for the club rider who is probably down to his race weight. I read the articles too and after a while they get repetitive. I generally ride on water for anything less than 90 mins between a stop.
    Energy drinks are for events.
    A pound a week is a 500 calorie deficit a day which is what the BHF scheme is all about.

    One of the problems with the likes of carb loading is your likely to over do it and put weight on before the ride.

    I haven’t ridden for about 2 weeks now and the weight is starting to creep back on. I need to get back on the bike and hit the gym a few times to get back on track.
    If your still loosing you can’t be doing much wrong, don’t get sidetracked by other peoples regimes, they are in a different league to the likes of you and I.

    Regards,
    Frank.

  28. with regard to weight training…I cant lift heavy weights but can you give me a basic outline of a workout I could do at the gym or at home ( I have light dumbells ) to improve my overall strength ?

    I am enjoying my cycling but cannot do a lot of hill work as I have achilles tendons problems so I am also swimming as an additional form of aerobic

    I have cut out tea and coffee whoch I used to load with sugar, I have stopped eating takeaways and now when I feel like a snack, I have fruit ( blackberries , raspberries , apples, melons, banana) or a milkshake smoothie

  29. Frank

    I’ve been reading your site with great interest as I’ve recently crept up from being overweight to being pretty damn fat, and probably obese. I’m 36 and have cycled on and off all my life, but am now finding that I really need to start to take it seriously as a way to lose weight and alter my lifestyle – I’ve never liked gyms (although I recognise their importance in my lifestyle change)- but my question is about HRMs and their zones really.

    As I say I’ve always cycled – either just A-B commuting and often just jumping on the bike for a bit of air and some exercise for a few hours, but I know I’ve got to start taking notice of the HRM zones. Unfortunately, the zones in my HRM dont really reflect my actual capacity. I’ve noticed somewhere on yur site that you seem to know what your BPM actually is for at least one of your zones – can I ask if you did any tests or had it measured professionaly somewhere? I think that might be my next step as my HRM seems to be way out.

    Also, I’d appreciate a bit of a chat about the cycling clubs that oyu get out and about with as I think the Wirral/Chester clubs would be closest to me.

    Keep up the good work

    Col

  30. Hi Colin,
    anything but the most basic HRM will tell you what zone you are in.
    The Garmin FR50 that I did use until it broke downloaded a full datalogged session.(£50 now)
    You need to judge where you are in the grand scheme of things. The CTC is based on a 13 mph average, they will stop if you fall behind (within reason).
    Club riding is a different beast, it can be geared towards racing but a big club will have multiple rides. If your carrying a bit of weight it’s best to avoid hilly rides as you will suffer and may get dropped.
    If it’s a training ride expect it to be tough, sprinting for signs and maybe no cafe stop. Ask about social riding (15-17 mph)as training can be tough.
    It all depends on the group, just don’t go in at the deep end.
    The CTC have great rides and will teach you about riding in a group. They are well organised and as a member you can ride with any group. I’ve made my mind up to ride the Spring 50 from Kinerton again as my first event this year. Reasonably flat with a good stop. Been first back for the last couple of years but it can’t continue.
    Work out your average speed on a flat ride and get back to me.
    Regards,
    Frank.

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A weblog offering firsthand advice to the overweight looking to improve their health and lifestyle through cycling. A link to a pdf of the diet I am following is on the Diet under the About menu.

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