Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fitness Lost and Fitness Regained

How long does it take for a total loss of fitness? Judging from experience, I'd say about 8 months.

It's been almost eight months since I gave up on my road racing goals, and, consequently, any sort of physical activity.

How did it start? Well, it's a slippery slope. For me, it all started with an increase in my responsibilities at work. This amounted to an additional 12-15 hours a week spent on my day job and those additional hours had to come from some where. Something had to give, and cycling, or even more broadly, working out, was the victim. Priorities...

What happens next? For a few weeks, I tried my damnedest to squeeze in my planned workouts where I could. This amounted to one hour trainer rides at the less than ideal times of 5 AM or 9-10 PM. In my opinion, this was not enough volume to establish the necessary fitness for racing. I got discouraged. Very, very discouraged. So I decided I wouldn't do any road races for the spring or summer and instead, turn my focus to cyclocross racing. After all, my workload would probably lighten up by then.

It didn't. In fact, it got worse. So, I stopped doing anything. And I mean anything. In fact, for the last seven months the only real exercise I've had is walking up the two flights of stairs to my cubicle. I gave up on my goal to race cyclocross, because I had already lost so much fitness - in my mind, trying to regain what I had lost in a short period of time was unrealistic.

All this inactivity had it's consequences (other than the obvious fitness loss). I put on weight. I started drinking a lot of beer, and eating a lot of really crappy food. I put on more weight. That didn't feel so good.

That's when the depression set in. It was a real nasty funk, the basic ingredients being exhaustion, lethargy and a heaping helping of hopelessness. I couldn't even imaging racing, I didn't want to train, I didn't even want to ride my bike. In fact, I didn't want to do a damn thing. Except eat more shitty food and drink more beer. Dark days indeed. This lasted from July to October. Yeah, it was quite a ride.

Don't call it a comeback.
Then, slowly, my workload started lightening up and I could actually breathe again. I just got back from a nice family vacation at Disney World. I feel like I'm getting a bit of the fight back in my soul, or, at least, I'm starting to feel like I have some control over my situation.

I actually rode my trainer a few times, for 30 minutes a pop and it felt kinda good. Thinking about riding my bike actually makes me happy and doesn't feel like a huge chore as it did in the past.

So here I am, roughly 30 lbs overweight, with the only miles in my legs being walking to and from the office. I've got a really long way to go, I know, but I'm putting a stake in the ground to get into shape so I can race cyclocross next year. And I'm starting now.

Starting off slow, with 30 minutes of activity (running, cycling, swimming, cross country skiing, etc), an improved diet, and I'm going to document it all for posterity sake on this here blog. If you've been here before, you may have noticed the new look. I added some "Belgian" cobbley flair because I've always gotten a tremendous amount of inspiration from the Spring Classics. The flahute or hardmen of the cobbles always motivated me when the going gets tough and given the state I'm in, I've got a pretty rough stretch ahead of me.


  1. keep going, any fitness that is lost can be regained

  2. If you've ever been fit it's easier to get back there, if only because you're working through a process you've done before. Courage!

  3. Yep. Fitness regains are always something to remain positive about. After all, you know you can do it - you have before. Forza!

  4. Thanks for the encouraging words - for the first time in a long time, I'm actually looking forward to getting back on the bike. It will be nice to just get some miles in and clear the head.

  5. you can do it Gary. nice entry. I can relate to much of what you have posted here... i think the trick is for our fitness to help dictate our lives... thereby not allowing our lives to dictate our fitness.

    don't give up the fight.


  6. I'm sure you can do this. Your fellow FRCC members missed you this season - I get asked about you all the time.

    I'm looking forward to having a ride/training partner close by again.


  7. You'll be back 'in the saddle' so to speak soon. You've already taken the necessary steps to kick it off! Good luck and I'm hoping to see you out there.

  8. Jan/Jason - thanks for the encouragement. It's been a bit of a rough patch, but I'm looking forward to getting out this fall/winter!

    Jan - Definitely looking forward to some nice winter rides!

  9. Oooh, you’re such an inspiration. I love this blog!