Cycling Weight Loss | Jesse Fortson Cycling Weight Loss

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Age: 40
Occupation:
Copywriter
Hometown:
Byron, Georgia
Start Weight:
390
End Weight:
193
Time Cycling:
15 years (Three years more seriously)


In the back of my mind, I was cognizant of the fact that I wasn’t healthy. But it really hit me when I went for a ride with some of the people I used to work with at the local bike shop. They’re pretty fast, but during the ride, I was just dying as we were going 12 miles per hour.

On local group rides, I got dropped. Before, when I was in good enough shape, I could hang on flats, but being overweight I wasn’t able to hang with the fast group.

When I stopped playing football and finished college, my weight ballooned up to 390 pounds. I had always liked riding bikes, but after watching the 2007 Tour de France, I wanted to get a “real bike.” I got a road bike and started riding with some friends, and in the process, I lost about 30 pounds over a month and a half.

However, as it usually does, life seemed to get in the way. Over the next 10 years, my weight fluctuated between 300 and 400 pounds, with occasional rides here and there. Mainly, I was just making horrendous food choices—the standard American diet—eating lots of fast food, hydrating with soft drinks and not doing much as far as being active goes.

I decided it was time to change my eating habits if I wanted to be able to hang with the fast group. I remember July 4, 2018—I had people over for a barbecue and I was like, ‘You know I want to be faster more than I want that barbecue.”

So, I didn’t eat the barbecue. My initial goal was to get under 200 pounds. I hit that by the June of 2019 by making small, systematic changes. First, I cut out soda, then I cut out junk food, then I started to count calories and try to make healthier food choices. Adding vegetables very difficult at first, so with changing my diet I wasn’t going super crazy at first. It really was about making small changes until I had a diet full of nutrient-dense foods. Now, I focus on fueling for performance, eating high fiber foods, carbs, whole grains, beans, salads, and things like that.

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As far as training goes, in the beginning I spent a couple weeks riding a lot outside. Then, I got a trainer and signed up for TrainerRoad; their training plans gave me structure. Soon, between the weight loss and structured training, I was getting faster. Then, I was able to keep riding more and more, and the weight loss and speed snowballed from there.

Now, I stick between 193 to 197 pounds, and while my diet is mostly healthy, I do take a bit of a break and eat a piece of pizza here and there. I still have little bit of weight I’d like to lose. I carry a little bit of fat, so I’d like to lose 15 or so more pounds to get down to racing weight.

Currently, I ride and train about 12 hours a week. Before the global pandemic, I was training on own during the week, and going on rides with the group from the local bike story on Saturdays. It’s a two-hour ride, typically pretty fast-paced, but now I have no problems keeping up with them.

I’m registered for a few local races and supposed to race in the Athens Twilight Criterium, which has been postponed until September. At this point, just riding with another person would be fun.

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