Don’t you just love it when something goes to plan? After all, it doesn’t happen that often, so celebrate when it does!
On New Year’s Eve, I set out my cycling goals for 2015. I thought they might be quite ambitious, but instead things are going rather well.
First up, and perhaps most importantly, the weighty issue of, er, cycling and weight loss. I had set a target of losing two stone in 2015 (around 13 kilograms), reasoning that my 2014 loss would be accelerated because the base muscle increase from cycling is now in place. Well, already in January I have lost…
… half a stone (or 3.2 kilos).
Goodness! I’m really pleased with that, and it has got me below 18 stone for the first time in many, many years. However, I confess it is not all down to cycling. Instead, I have also been using the MyFitnessPal app on my phone religiously every day. This thing is brilliant – you are essentially eating relatively normally but dieting at the same time without really knowing it. How does it work? You input your weight, age and height and then state your target weight. The app then works out how many calories a day you should consume in order to lose a safe amount of weight each week as you aim for your target. Mine was around 2,300 calories a day.
That’s one thing, but the clever part is that MyFitnessPal has calorie figures for just about every type and brand of food/drink you will ever need, together with portion sizing to be even more accurate. So you add your breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack/drink stats throughout the day and it recalculates what you have left. Furthermore, if you exercise, you input these figures, and it will ADD those burnt calories back in to your daily total, so you can reward yourself while remaining within ‘budget’.
I find that I no longer snack, I watch portions better and even cut back on lattes in the morning because I now realise how much these are costing in terms of calorie gain.
So, thanks to MyFitnessPal, the weight is literally falling off!
My other main 2015 goals were directly cycling related. I vowed to increase my total annual distance to 3,106 miles this year (5,000 km). I’ll be honest and admit January has been pretty ropey, and I have only clocked up about 175 miles so far. That will leave me well short, but of course the amount of riding will increase substantially come the spring.
I did do one lovely long ride of 54 miles last weekend. It was very cold, but the wind was quiet (makes a change after recent weeks), so I enjoyed heading to Framlingham, Saxmundham, Snape for tea (and cake!), towards Orford, Woodbridge and back home to Ipswich. I was not very quick by any stretch, but I was happy just to get some time in the saddle and clock up some miles.
Strava shows the route below, and an examination of the ride stats shows that although I was generally Mr Slow Coach (12.5mph average) I broke some personal records, including the Reverse Sandy Lane climb coming out of Woodbridge on the return. I also hit my third-best time heading up the gruelling Bealings hill from the Martlesham Red Lion. What’s pleasing about both of those is that they came towards the end of the 54 miles, proving I still had plenty left in the tank.
Another goal was to keep up with better riders when out with friends or on group rides/sportives. I have not been able to measure this yet, but the fact that the weight is coming down implies my speed and endurance will be going up. So I look forward to testing it at my first sportive of the year – likely to be the Boxford Tornado on April 12.
There is one goal I am not yet achieving: I promised to blog more, but this is my first entry in January… and it’s January 29th! Apologies.