My Journey into a new and Healthier lifestyle

The little engine that could…

From the Desk of the Big Boned Biker:

Still going strong here! I haven’t posted in awhile, life has gotten in the way, and maybe a touch of laziness. I have been doing great with my workouts; consistently on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. I have found my time lifting at the gym almost as relaxing as well as fulfilling as riding my bike. It helps me focus and really centers my mind. Here are a few pictures from the gym, though they might not be the most “flattering” I am still proud of them.

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I have also been training for my up coming ride with Le Tour De Shore! Day one will be the toughest day as it will be a bit over 60 miles, though I was able to do 60 last month it was still a struggle to complete it. I really need to work on my food intake, as I think I bonked at the end(ran out of “fuel”).

The ride started out well, it was a cooler day and I wore some gym pants and a light jacket. I wish it had been a touch warmer as I felt a bit overheated wearing the coat. I did try taking it off a few times but the wind from riding made it a bit to cold still. I had originally planned to ride to Michiana MI. but decided the night before to ride to La Porte instead. It looked like a nice easy ride, mainly on calm country roads, in other words some of my favorite riding.

I took off around mid morning and quickly made my way down the Prairie Duneland trail that runs near my house. That took me to Chesterton, and even though a couple people have shown me a route around the downtown, I couldn’t remember it for the life of me. I HATE riding through the busy intersection that is there, and I am pretty sure the cars behind me hate it too. I continued along the roads, I knew them pretty well as it is the same route I take to get to the campground. When I reached the point where I normally turn left, I continued straight. This was my first break, and about 20 miles in!

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I was feeling strong and had only about another 10 miles to go before I turned around. Piece of cake! I take off and am riding along with a big grin on my face. There is something about being on a bike to make you feel alive! Wait, what was that up ahead? Ahh @#$@ a hill. Yeah, I didn’t know about the hills on this route! I ended up having to walk up one of them and this was waiting for me at the top.
032016 frown

So apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt this way! Despite the hills though I enjoyed the country scenery. I even stopped for a couple of pictures, or at least that is what I told myself the reason for stopping was.

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Now my wife and I have a deal of sorts, when I go riding she wont come get me. If I got myself somewhere, I can get myself back. Now this isn’t serious, and it is more of a joke than anything, but it is a mentality that helps me push through some tough spots. This ride though, she had said that if I needed a ride she would come and get me. As I pulled into La Porte, I stopped for another couple of photos.

032016laporte

I was half way, I was tired, I was drained, I was feeling like quitting. I called her up, and told her how I felt. Those hills had wiped me out, and there wasn’t even that many of them. I also was getting over a bad cold and would go into minute long coughing fits, which didn’t help the matter. I told her though that I wasn’t 100% sure I was ready to give up, and decided to rest for about a half hour before heading home.

One, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four. I counted a cadence in my head as I cycled slowly along the road. Through a bit of luck I took a wrong turn and ended up missing a couple of the hills, but I still was feeling like I was running on fumes. When I made it back to where the campground turn was though, I knew I could make it home. I called my wife and said to cancel the red alert, I would be biking home today! 4 miles later I was on the side of the road coughing, sore, tired, and wishing I hadn’t made that call. One positive note though, I did figure out the alternative way to go, so i was able to skip the busy area!Still, all the way home, about every couple of miles I was having to stop to rest my legs. I was finished. I couldn’t go one bit more. I stopped on the side of the trail, sat down and felt like crying. How could I have let myself get this far our of shape! I had done harder rides with ease in the past, even at heavier weights! The ride to Dodgeville was a tougher ride and I don’t think I could do that right now. However, I gathered my strength and pushed on. I just kept pushing myself, on pedal stroke at a time. I eventually made it home and I remember saying out loud “I f’ing made it”. It was a hair over 60 miles, but it felt like I had ridden a century.
capture032016

I learned for my June ride that, I can make it if I push myself(at least I won’t be riding alone hopefully) and that I really need to get my food intake figured out. The power bars I brought just weren’t enough fuel for my body. I further learned that, when you do a big ride on Tuesday, make sure Wednesday isn’t leg day! Ouch!

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Keep on Rolling,

Big Boned Biker

Body Fortress: Super Advanced Whey Protein Chocolate

This is my review for the Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein powder! As always, this is a product I purchased on my own, and not a sponsored post. The opinions are my own, and represent how I feel about the product.

whey

 

Cost: The cost was reasonable from what I have seen of other similar products, and it was an influence in picking this brand. I paid about $18 for it at my local grocery store. Using just one scoop it comes out to about $1 a serving, so about the same as a bottle of soda.

Taste: I bought the chocolate thinking it would be the safest, and it wasn’t bad. It made me think of carob though more than chocolate, having a sweet but slightly tangy flavor. I think I will try a different flavor next time, maybe the strawberry? My wife also had the thought of adding PB2 (a peanut butter powder mix) to it, and I think I will give that a try also. Another plus, it wasn’t chalky! It was very smooth and didn’t leave a powdery taste in my mouth after drinking. I tried it both warm and iced down, I recommend it served cold.

Feeling: It left me feeling very satisfied and full. It has about 30g of protein per scoop! Wish it had a bit more fiber, it only has about 1g, but that is OK. About 2 hours later and I am still feeling fine, not overly hungry(I ate a late breakfast today so this was my lunch/snack).

Thoughts: I am happy with it, though the flavor isn’t exactly what I had hoped for. My biggest fear was that it would taste chalky and I was happy with how smooth it actually was! My main reason for buying this is for an afternoon snack, as it tends to be when I struggle the most. I think this will work very well for that!

Would i buy again: Yes I would, and if you are thinking of buying it via amazon here is a link

 

Gym

Really proud of myself today! Not only did I go to the gym, despite my having to reschedule with my trainer, but I also stepped outside my personal comfort zone.

When I first started working out at the gym, my biggest fear was being noticed by people. The first time I had to do squats and lunges on my own, I was so scared I was shaking! I pushed past that however, and have finally gotten to the point where I feel comfortable doing my workout. I realized that everyone was to busy looking at themselves in the mirror to notice my reflection. I could workout in peace, and now don’t even need to headphones when I lift(I used them to drown out the room as opposed to listening to music). I saw my fear, faced it and moved on.

So here I am, mid workout, just finishing my sets of lunges, when a man walks up to me. Not only does he walk up to me, but he asks me to come spot him. Inside I am freaking out, my mind races and thinks about all the times I have been the butt of jokes, but I reply “no problem happy to help”. As I am walking over I remember that he had briefly introduced himself a week or so ago when I was working with the dumbbells. This made me feel slightly better but inside I was still feeling very self-conscious, my belling showing slightly due to the cut of my workout shirt(it is made for biking so it is shorter in the front and longer in the back). It sorta came to me at this time that I really didn’t know how to “spot” someone actually. I knew the idea behind it, but having never done it, I wasn’t sure the etiquette of doing it. Would I help him lift to soon? To Late? Was I about to get someone killed because the weight was higher than I could handle? Anxiety makes you think of these types of things.

“I’ve never spotted anyone before, what would you like me to do?” I asked, because despite not wanting to look like an idiot, I didn’t want to do this wrong.

He explained what he wanted me to do, but my thoughts were still galloping around in my head. Filling me with doubt. Would I be able to handle this weight? No, because you are just a fat weakling. Is this some cruel joke that someone is playing on me? YES, because why else would they ask for your help! Are you going to just mess this up and look like an idiot? Of course you will. These were the type of thoughts that were going on in my brain.

He didn’t get hurt, he didn’t laugh at me, he didn’t do anything besides lift weights and say thank you. Afterwords we talked for a few a couple of minutes and I came to the realization that he probably was having the same self-conscious feelings that I was. Turns out, we are both humans, both new to this, and both just trying to get our “burn” on. As I went back to my workout I felt a sense of pride in myself, a few weeks ago I would have just said no, and just the fact that someone noticed me, I may never have wanted to step foot in the gym again. I did it though, I proved that I was stronger than I believed. Physically, but even more so emotionally.

I read somewhere that the best thing to do with anxiety, is to do the thing you are anxious about. Every time you don’t, you are reinforcing that negativity behavior, making it more difficult next time to push through it. I know next time, I won’t feel like I did, or I should say, I won’t feel AS bad as I did. I am a stronger person, I am a healthier person, and I am learning to enjoy to workout physically and emotionally.

Finally starting to see some progress again(and time for a haircut again I think)!

Starting to see some progress

Starting to see some progress

Mid workout

Mid workout

Keep On Rolling,

Big Boned Biker

It was a rather blustery day…

It was a wonderful day out, and I had plans to go bike riding! I love days like this, feels like spring has come(though in 2 days we are suppose to get a snow storm), birds are chirping and the pedals are moving. At drop off for LB 1’s preschool, I saw my friend Brian, and he made the mistake of mentioning that he didn’t have any plans this morning. Instantly I pounced on the chance, and invited him for a short bike ride. I promised to take it easy and we would just do a short little ride, and he believed me. Muwhahahaha.

I rushed home, got my youngest ready and went out to the stable(some might call it a garage). I started the process of getting everything ready. Brakes, check! Tire pressure, check! No weird rattling noises, check! All systems go and prepare for launch.

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After hooking up the trailer, and making sure I had everything ready to go, Brian arrived. He seemed both excited and apprehensive. I knew though, deep down inside, that once we got going he would love it. I know in the past he had joked he could only bike a mile or so, I figured we would go out and be back real quick. That’s ok, we all have to start somewhere and I didn’t want him to over do it, never wanting to go out again.

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We started out and I could quickly see that he wasn’t enjoying it. Did I mention this was a windy day? Like 50 mph gust type windy day? We went about a half mile and he asked to pull over, and I figured we would be turning around. I took that moment though to mention a few “pointers” for riding, sitting on the pelvic bone not the tail bone, don’t ride using your heel as you want to use the ball of your foot, I think I also mentioned posture and keep the shoulders relaxed. As we started back up again I also realized I had forgotten to tell him something important, how to switch gears! He was in a high gear as the bike was last used on my trainer, and with this head wind it must be killing his legs. He switched gears, sat right, moved his foot, and instantly I could tell he was enjoying himself more. We rode past the park and finally made it to the bike trail. What was nice is that with all the trees and the position of the trail, it really cut out the wind! I saw a smile on his face and was pretty sure I had him hooked.

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As we went along I told him when we hit mile marks, and how fast he was going. I could tell that he found that encouraging and that he was surprising himself with what he could do. There was even a few times I had to catch up with him as we hit some decent speeds(I think at one point 15mph). We reached a shelter area and decided to take a quick rest, we had ridden over 3 miles and had to get back in time to pick up the kids. The way home was very smooth and when we did get hit by the wind, it was luckily at our backs. As we got back I could tell, I could see the look in his eyes, he was hooked. If we hadn’t been on such a time crunch, I think he could have done the full ride to Chesterton and back. I also look forward to having a new riding buddy, because you can never have to many of those!

Keep On Rolling,

Big Boned Biker

Just an update

Going a bit stir crazy today! So sick of this snow and cold!! The ride I took this last Sunday was more of a tease than anything. Can’t remember if I shared about it or not, but did 14 miles that felt like 100. Why? Because my phone died half way through the ride(literally, right where I was turning around!) and had to do half of the ride sans music, speed info, mileage (to gauge where I am at) and had a strong headwind making me question if it was perhaps just a touch to cold to be out. Ventilated shoes seem like a great idea, but not so much in winter. This post will just be more of an update on what I am doing lately.

tallulahbridge

Green Bean Heatbot Troll

Tallulah and Green Bean Heatbot Troll

My son is loving his new bike (picture above)! I was very impressed with how well he did on his inaugural ride! He even named it “Green Bean Heatbot Troll”, but surprisingly he won’t eat green beans(unless they are from Grandma’s garden). We did a short ride, around the block, did a few corners and I must say it handles very nicely. Eventually, I will be hooking up the trailer to his bike and will have a long train. I may even have to pull out my sons wooden train whistle. If you are looking for a good tag-along option, I highly recommend this one. Great price and solid, also comes with mud flaps(very important).

We-Ride

I have been doing well going to the gym, and love working with my new trainer. I am doing a 10 week “bootcamp” of sorts. Right now we are learning the basics, and there was only a couple of times I may have mumbled a few obscenity along with his name. Working out 3 days a week, with some light cardio thrown in on some days off. I must say, I am really liking weight lifting way more than I ever thought I would! While I am still a bit wobbly, but I like that I only need to focus on a couple of things, it really helps me clear my mind.

Big Boned Biker midway through a workout

Me middle of my workout!

Really excited about signing up for Le Tour De Shore , doing the camping version(very few spots left, I think 10). Will be the closest thing to a bike tour that I have done, 100 miles over 2 days. If you live in the Chicago/NWI area, sign on up! Considering signing up for the Tri-State bike ride  again too, but going to see how the LTDS goes first. Though thinking about this, LTDS is technically a tri-state ride! It starts in Illinois and ends in Michigan.

Overall things are going very good, getting use to the new program and my new medication is really working well. If you are going stir crazy like me, I hope we both can find something to do till the weather gets nice again!

Keep On Rolling,

Big Boned Biker

PS you can now follow me on InstaGram!

What is that smell?

“What is that horrible smell?” I said out loud. It was the pork chops I just opened for dinner! Time for a plan B! Normally in the past this would mean pizza or a dinner out, but now i’ve started to learn to keep a few extra meals on hand. I looked through my cabinets and figured out 2 meals I could make.

Stuffed pepper soup and Spinach lasagna rolls.

I was still craving pizza, and my resolve was starting to wain as the kids started to whine/cry about some toy they both wanted. I thought about it and the rolls I figured were pretty close to pizza, they should hopefully “hit the spot”.

Here is the recipe for those that are interested, it is from Skinny Taste!

Skinnytaste.com

Recipe

Servings: 9 • Serving Size: 1 roll    • Points+: 6 pts • Smart Points: 6
Calories: 224.9 • Fat: 5.1 g • Fiber: 3.4 g • Protein: 13.0 g • Carbs: 31.5

Ingredients:

  • 9 lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely drained
  • 15 oz fat free ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 2 cups Pompadour sauce
  • 9 tbsp part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Pour about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of the 9 x 12 baking dish, enough to cover it.

Place some wax paper and lay out lasagna noodles on it. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly using the back side of a spoon. Roll carefully and place seam side down, Repeat  until done.

Pour some of the sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over each one(just a pinch should do it). Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts.

My way of making it is a little different though, I get 8 rolls(use about 1/4 cup per roll), and use prego light smart sauce. I also cook it in my oven at 400 for about 30 mins. Sometimes I add fresh garlic and scallions, finely chopped to the mixture! Another variation I have made, and it was very yummy, was to add fresh diced eggplant(remember to let it sweat out before using).

Dinner was a bit later than we would normally eat it, but I must say it really hit the spot! Better still, I made a better food choice!

So to close off this short post, a little “pro-tip” is to always have a few extra meals available for those times that Murphy hits you.

Keep On Rolling,

Big Boned Biker

Determination

Today was a day where I woke up feeling defeated. No energy, not even 2 cups of DeathWish coffee could wake me up! Despite this, I really wanted to get in a workout this morning, and the best time was after dropping my oldest off at pre-k. One of the most awesome things about my gym is the free daycare! I love the fact that it allows me to work out during the day time, and not having to wait till the kids go to bed. My youngest loves it so much, he practically runs the entire way once we get inside.

After getting him settled in I went to the locker room to get changed. While in the locker room I felt like I could lay down on the bench and sleep right there. I honestly wasn’t sure how I would make it through a workout, let alone off the damn bench. Yet, I managed to get dressed and found that the gym was happily dead. I picked a treadmill, with a buffer on each side because my heart rate monitor will get picked up by the machines next to me as well. While loading up my Couch to 5k app, I really wondered if I could actually get through the entire 30 mins. I had no get up and go, no energy to speak of, and I was pretty sure I would start walking and quit 5 min. into it. Ever felt this way? What did you do? Here’s how it went for me.

I did the warm up and realized this was crazy and quit. I went next door to the pizza place and ate an entire large pizza, with 4 full calorie sodas. Not really though, after the warm up I decided I would just walk the entire thing, but when the “ding, start running!” sounded, I found myself turning it up and running. When it finished I swore that I was going to walk the next one, because I am beat. “Ding, start running” and again I turned it up to run. This went on for awhile and each time I would finish running I would tell myself “next time we walk”. I was defeated but I refused to give up, I ended up running all of them and finished out the full 30 mins! I ended up earning a badge, and I must say it was highly appropriate.

Determination

Determination? Even though I swore I was quitting at every chance, when it came time to make a choice, I picked pushing through it. It wasn’t an easy choice, and I instantly regretted it as I gasped for air like a fish out of water. But the regret I would have felt by giving up would have been even worse. Remember, when the road gets rough up ahead, just take it one step at a time. When you do, you will find yourself getting through the rough patch before you know it! YOU ARE WORTH IT!

Keep on Rolling,

Big Boned Biker


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