Yesterday was a 180 degree turn-around from my rotten Monday! In fact, it was one of the most amazing days in recent memory.
My original plan for yesterday morning’s cardio was to just ride around the neighborhood and the surrounding areas, but I felt the woods calling. Even though my legs were fatigued from Monday’s leg workout I decided to take my bike over to Wekiwa Forest for some mountain biking. I wasn’t planning to go for a terribly long ride, but I was having so much fun that I wound up riding for several hours and did more than 19 miles, all of it off-road.
I rode very hard for extended periods, but I stopped to shoot photographs whenever I saw something interesting. I maxed my heart rate (193 BPM) more times than I could count, and even when I was riding “easy” I was pushing hard enough to keep my heart rate in the mid-170s most of the time (I always wear my Timex Ironman heart rate monitor when I’m mountain biking).
Even though my legs were a little tired from my leg workout the day prior, it didn’t seem to matter. Once I got warmed up I didn’t even notice the soreness, and my legs felt strong and sure the entire time. I remember when I first started this year’s cut back in January I went for a long mountain biking ride the day after leg day (I talked about that ride in my January 5, 2011 blog); the difference between now and then is like night and day. Five months ago I barely made it out of the forest, yesterday I felt like a machine.
Some people wondered why I decided to cut so much weight, and days like yesterday are the answer. I may be 30 pounds lighter than I was back in January, but I’m also much stronger, my cardio is light years better and my muscle endurance is taking me places I’ve never been before (literally). Even with my fully loaded CamelBak HAWG (100 ounces of water, my Canon 60D camera, the fairly bulky Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM IF lens, my Glock, a first aid kit, various spare bike parts, survival gear and several other items) I still felt light as a feather compared to just 5 months ago. I can’t overstate just how significant the weight difference is, and how much it has improved my overall ability as a mountain biker.
I made pretty good use of the camera while I was out there. I saw all kinds of incredible animals, plants, birds and insects, and I took quite a few photographs. If you’d like to check out the rest of the pictures, I put them in this post in my new photography journal.
Well, that ride yesterday was just what I needed. After I returned home I was in a fantastic mood, and I had a very productive work day. It just goes to show you how important it is not just to exercise, but also to do the things that you enjoy. If you are bored with going to the gym and doing the same thing day after day, then that’s not sustainable. Eventually you’re going to say, “Screw it, I can’t do this anymore!” and stop exercising completely. This is why so many people fall off the wagon, come back for a while, rinse and repeat. The secret is simple: discover physical activities that you enjoy, and then train to get better at those activities. When you do this it really changes your whole perspective about exercise, and it makes being active and healthy a part of your life that you genuinely look forward to instead of dread.