January 2021 was a challenging month for the USA. After the worst attack on democracy since the war of 1812, we finally got rid of the old neo-fascist, proto-racist, fake billionaire POTUS #45. And the social media companies finally grew a pair and de-platformed him. At least that part of our long national nightmare is over. POTUS #46 was inaugurated — a new (and real) president who actually cares about other people and wants to and knows how to govern. Whether the crazies on the red team will let him do so is unlikely, but many of them are going to prison for the attempted insurrection on the Capitol on January 6th. Also in the win column is people have been getting vaccinated for the coronavirus, though not nearly as many that could or should be by now. As for lil’ ol’ A Dude Abikes, I did what I could to keep my health and sanity to the extent possible by biking and doing some new or different things. Not resolutions exactly, because who needs that pressure? Let’s go to the stats, stat!
Bicycling: I decided I was going to limit myself to 10 miles a day. Biking takes a lot of time, especially for a slow-poke fat athlete (fathlete) like me. I wanted to take back some time for other things. But old habits die hard. After those first 10 days I found myself getting my legs back and adding a bit more. For the last three weeks of January, I racked up two 100-mile weeks and finished with almost 120, for 423 miles for the month. If I keep that up, it will keep me in the running for another 5,000-mile year. But my goal is only 3,334, so we shall see if I can limit myself to that 10 miles or an hour a day. Any ride could be anyone’s last, so I just try to enjoy each one.
Calore Tracking: I wrote about MyFitnessPal last month. Somehow, I miraculously managed to log-in every day multiple times and recorded probably 99.5% of what I ate. I didn’t change my diet as to WHAT I ate, but I did measure the hell out of everything so I could get a handle on HOW MUCH I ate. News flash: FAT DUDE EATS TOO MUCH! What happens is that I burn about 1,000 calories a day, and because exercise makes me hungry, I eat about that much extra over my calorie goal. Which explains why my weight has stayed the same for a while.
I was able to weight myself on 12/31 and again 2/1 on medical scales, but different ones. I did manage to lose two pounds, but that’s statistically irrelevant, because you can gain or lose five pounds in a day. Also, I took my shoes off for the second weigh-in. My pants have felt looser but I haven’t measured that. So really I should be adding in a reasonable eating plan, but you know, I like food and it’s a pandemic. I don’t drink, don’t smoke (what do I do?). Maybe harder drugs would help with the weight loss? Really the issue isn’t being over weight. I’m just undertall.
Reading: One of the things I’ve been doing with the time saved from biking less is reading books for half an hour a day or more. I finished a Stephen King 4-novella collection, a Lee Pace thriller, Mike Magnuson’s bicycling memoir (see my review of Heft on Wheels here), and am well into a yoga book by Stephen Cope. I think alternating between easier fictional page-turners and slower non-fiction thinkers is a good plan. I don’t know why I got out of the habit of reading books (well, there’s that whole streaming thing), but I’m glad I’m back into it.
Strength Training: This is new to me (again). Despite some pain, I did very light resistance training 10 times in January. To avoid injury, I only do about 15 minutes. The last two weeks I did have two strains that made continuing a bad idea, but not from this. It was from having to ride my back-up bike, which has different geometry and doesn’t fit me as well. The days I did it were good, though. I used some YouTube videos or just did my own thing. Hopefully I’ll step this up again as I feel better and will see benefits including weight loss.
Walking: I actually reduced my walking a little from doing 1.5 miles in 36-40 minutes down to 30 minutes. As it turns out, a study from a couple of years ago shows that anything more than 7,500 steps a day doesn’t add any health benefits. I should just speed up, but I haven’t. A walking partner could be helpful in that regard, but it’s too much of a hassle to arrange. I need new shoes so maybe I’ll feel like walking faster with the warming weather and it being lighter later as spring approaches. Or not. Just getting myself out the door for 30 minutes a day or more every day rain or shine for the last three years (save for a day or two, which I more than made up for on other days) is a major victory. Hopefully it’s a habit for life.
Yoga: I completed Yoga With Adriene’s 30-day program BREATH. She does one every year for the New Year’s Resolution crowd. If you’ve read this blog before you know I really appreciate her down-to-earth authenticity. Plus, I have all the feels for her (along with her now 9.3 other million followers on YouTube). If you’ve not given her a try, do so and you’ll get the idea. That I got to meet her and take a live class, plus the fact that she lives here in Austin, Texas makes me feel a bit of a connection and pride. You go, sistah! If only I could get 1% of the number of followers she has. Imagine, 93,000 readers of ADudeAbikes.com…
That’s it for now. How was your January? Did you make any resolutions? And are you sticking with them? Nothing says you can’t start again, or at any time!
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