Sep 122016

It’s only been like 13 months!

The last time I was on my bike was at the beginning of August last year. I think I was like two months pregnant by that time and even though I wasn’t really showing yet, it was definitely getting harder to bike to work like I had been doing. Morning sickness sucked. Then on the ride home my heart rate was getting too high and I just had to take too many breaks. Then my back went out…so biking was pretty much over for the season.

I thought about getting on the bike this summer but I never did. Honestly I don’t know that my core/back was strong enough postpartum until now. I’ve been doing a lot of PT exercises and core exercises to strengthen my back and things have gotten a lot better.

Anyways, Sunday instead of swimming I went for a bike ride. We had plans to go to Michael’s mom’s house for brunch and I (thankfully) got a chance to sleep in a little bit so I didn’t have time to swim.

I got my bike down in the garage and dusted off the cobwebs (seriously, a lot of them) and both tires were flat. I pumped them up and let it sit for a bit while I got dressed and ready to go to make sure that they held air ok before I went out.

Another plus side to wearing a cycling bib instead of shorts? They fit even if you are 20 pounds over your ideal weight!


It was a little chilly but once I got moving and out of the shade it was the perfect temperature. I biked the route I take into work.


I got stopped by the train for a few minutes but other than that I didn’t need to make many stops. I was surprised at how easy it felt being back on the bike (other than the saddle, of course). Perhaps the walking/jogging I’ve been doing lately has gotten me back into shape for cycling.

I didn’t go as far as I had wanted to go before I had to turn around. It was getting late and I still needed to go home and clean up and get Logan ready for brunch. So I turned around and went back the same way. And I was surprised, again, at how easy it was going up the killer hill home.


It doesn’t look like it but this hill is really long, slow and at a constant incline. It’s not incredibly steep but it’s steep enough to get your heart pounding and it’s a constant uphill climb so you never get to coast or really take a break. But this time it was incredibly easy for me to do.


It was a fantastic little ride. I went pretty hard for my first ride back because I was so short on time. I wanted to get my calorie bang for my buck.


I was glad I got in a good workout in the nice summer weather. We aren’t going to have many more of these kinds of days!


After that we went to brunch. There was a lot of tasty food for brunch. Michael’s mom made a cheesy potato casserole, an egg and meat breakfast casserole, fresh fruit, deviled eggs and blueberry scones.


And I had my first Bloody Mary in like a year and a half. 🙂 Yay for brunch!

Logan did great for his first brunch outing. And we got to show him off to some friends and family that haven’t met him yet.


It was a really good day and a good distraction for me. Monday is the first day of daycare for my little man! So the bike ride and brunch were good distractions … at least until the afternoon.

I’m hoping I can go for a few more bike rides before the weather turns poor. I don’t see myself biking to work this year, though. There’s just too much stuff I have to take to work in order to pump. But by spring next year maybe I can get back into it!

May 232016

My Weight Loss Story – Part 1

by Michael


Every year, I set personal fitness related goals for myself. In the past, my goals have been around cycling a certain amount of miles. I have a back injury that rears its ugly head from time to time and this has lead me to conclude that if I keep doing the same things, I’ll keep getting the same results. As a result, I’ve decided not to ride my bike everyday or do any of the same exercises on consecutive days.

Last year, I pedaled 2,100 miles over several commutes from my home to work and back. For all of my efforts, I lost zero pounds last year. Losing weight wasn’t the focus of riding all those miles but you’d think that I’d be able to shed weight without thinking about it due to the biking but that just wasn’t the case. I concluded that while I enjoyed exercising, the reason I hadn’t lost any weight was because of my diet.


My goals this year are to be able to do 100 push-ups in one set and do 10 pull-ups in one set. When I say things like, “I’m going to do more push-ups this year” it holds no water because there’s nothing holding me accountable. I need an amount and a time frame in order to be successful. At the start of this year, I was able to do 15 push-ups and zero pull-ups. My goals seemed lofty for sure but I’m a numbers guy and measurables like this are what drive me to success. I just needed to figure out how I was going to be able to accomplish it.

My first goal was to work my way up to being able to do 100 push-ups in a day. On the day of the Super Bowl, I was able to do 100 push-ups in a single day for the first time in my life. I did them in 5 sets of 20 over about a half hour period. This was a major achievement for me and it was the first time I believed that I would be able to accomplish the push-up goal this year.

Then I was able to do them in 4 sets of 25 push-ups. Shortly after that, 30, 30, 30, 10. Last month, I was able to do them in just 3 sets – 35, 35, 30. The next step from this point is challenging and I’ve concluded that in order to be able to do 100 push-ups in just 2 sets, I will need to do 2 things. 1 – I will have to do more than 100 push-ups in a day and 2 – I will have to lose weight. For every 10 lbs I lose, that’s 1000 fewer pounds that I will have to push-up over the set of 100. Tipping the power to weight ratio in my favor was obviously going to be necessary in order to be successful.

Just like I said earlier about exercising, I need a weight loss goal. I cannot just say to myself that I want to lose weight and have it stick. I just don’t operate like that. At the start of every month, I assess my progress and set a new monthly goal for myself and I get on a scale weekly to monitor my progress. I don’t know how much weight in total I want to lose, I just assume that I’ll know it when I get there. I know that I’m looking for an optimal power-to-weight ratio that allows me to accomplish my push-up and pull-up goals.

What I don’t do is count my calories. I don’t do this because it constantly makes me feel bad. It makes me feel oppressed, like I’m doing something bad that needs constant monitoring when in reality, I’m eating food and I don’t want to beat myself up for doing that. I know what’s good for me to eat and what isn’t. I don’t need to quantify all of the calories I’m consuming.

The other piece to this is that I exercise. A lot. But this isn’t the reason why I’ve lost weight. I’ve lost weight because of the diet. My exercise looks like this – M/W/F, I bike about 21 miles to/from work. T/Th/Sa, I run in my neighborhood. I created a running goal for myself this year of being able to run 6 miles in under an hour. I’m currently up to 4.7 miles in about 45 minutes. All of this is in addition to my push-up and pull-up goals, which I’m working on each twice a week. I wear a heart rate monitor to track this data and on average, I’m burning 6000 calories a week while exercising. Unlike tracking the calories that I consume, tracking the calories that I burn is empowering. It’s proof that I’m working hard and that I’m getting better as I’m able to run further and my per-mile pace drops. This also allows me to not feel any guilt when I want to drink a glass of wine with dinner because I’ve earned it.

So where am I at now with my push-up goal? I’m up to doing 160 (8 x 20) or 150 (6 x 25) twice a week. For the pull-up goal, I’m just doing as many as I can with the assistance of resistance bands over a few sets. The best part about these goals is that I’m not concerned about failure at all. If I do fail, I will have done thousands of push-ups and pull-ups this year and that itself is a huge personal victory for me. I’ll post an update in January and will let you know if I was successful or not in achieving my goals.

Part 2 will be posted tomorrow and will detail the food part of how I lost the weight.