Archive for the ‘home life’ Category
Strangely enough, I realized the other day that I haven’t eaten any meat in… weeks? I can’t remember the last time and honestly, I don’t miss it. I’ve been consciously passing it up lately just because I want to focus my efforts on eating as many plants as possible. By no means am I against eating meat, nor have I suddenly become a vegetarian, I’m just enjoying my plant experimentation. I feel like I’ve managed to get some variety in my lunches and dinners lately that I would have missed out on had I fallen back on the easy out – eating chicken or something.
I realized after posting my eating tips that I left out one of the biggest and best tips I have! To avoid eating junk relatively easily, DON’T BUY IT.
Duh right? What I’m referring to is buying junk for your house. It’s pretty easy to avoid buying that Snickers bar while out and about. It seems to be more difficult for people not to buy cookies and ice cream while they do their grocery shopping. And once you’ve made those bad purchases and the cookies are sitting there in your pantry, how in the world are you NOT going to eat them???
Brika and I do not buy any junk whatsoever for our house. When we “splurge” while grocery shopping we buy Triscuits. You’re probably wondering what I do to satisfy my sweet tooth after eating dinner. Here’s my secret: I eat raisins! Which I’ve come to learn is not the greatest idea in the world. Why? Well, I got my blood test results back from the doctor and my iron score was higher than average. I know that raisins aren’t the only food I’m eating that has iron, but it’s my most consistent source of iron that I can think of.
I can tell you that on many occasions I’ve wished that we had some junk food in the house, but after getting past my moment of weakness I’m always grateful that we don’t.
The bottom line is this: finding junk food is EASY. You’ll inevitably go out for dinner and drinks with friends where you’ll eat poorly. You’ll go to work only to find chocolate chip muffins in the break room. Our lives are filled with endless opportunities to eat poorly. Give yourself an out while you’re home. Do yourself a favor and make your house a refuge for good eating habits. In other words, leave your cheating for outside the house. You’ll be thankful you did.
I know, I know. Why am I beating the “get lean” and stay lean dead horse? Well, because I wanted to share some tips that have worked for me. You may have already read my health and wellness transformation post from a year ago, and if not, please go ahead and read that first. I’ve come along way, thanks to my nutritionist wife and cycling. Along the way, there have been things that have worked and things that have not. I’m going to share what I’m doing right now to stay healthy and lean while maintaining “good legs” for cycling (aka – not starving myself).
1. This goes without saying and is largely beaten to death, but I’ll go ahead and say it anyway: eat whole foods for God’s sakes. Eat 3 or 4 pieces of fruit and several helpings of vegetables every single day. How do you do this? Rather, how do I do it? Simple. I bring fruit with me to work and snack on it throughout the day. An apple here and there. An orange. A banana right before I leave for the day. Whatever it takes. Have a piece of fruit whenever you start thinking about food between meals. Vegetables are a bit different for me. I generally eat my plants for dinner. Lately I’ve been making huge spinach and fresh greens salads. I’ve been throwing whatever greens I can find around the house in them, plus nuts, raisins, and some kind of cheese. For example, the other night I came home to find that we had some leftover asparagus in the fridge. Perfect! I threw a big pile of spinach in my bowl, added the asparagus and some leftover broccoli in there. Then dumped half an avocado, a handful of raisins, shredded almonds, feta cheese, and some peas. It was delicious. My rule of thumb with big hearty salads is – there are no rules. Throw whatever plants you can find in that bad boy and go to town. It’s allll good. Got some kale lying around? Throw it in. What about that sweet potato sitting over there? Hells yes. Throw that bad boy in. Nothing won’t work.
The bottom line is this: if it has a label, be wary. Read the label. If it has more than a few simple ingrediants, it’s probably not food. It’s more likely a food-like product (thanks Michael Pollan). Eat real, whole foods. Don’t accept the substitutes.
2. A tip that goes along with my first point is to experiment. Like I said in my previous nutrition blog post, there is a cornucopia of vegetables out there that are far from your typical peas and carrots. Even in your standard King Soopers fruit and vegetable aisle, you’ll find a half dozen vegetables that look strange and may have names that are difficult to pronounce. Try them out! What’s the worst that can happen? The wonderful thing is, when you do find something random you like, you now have one extra bullet in your chamber. The more foods in your repertoire, the less likely you’ll become bored and wander off into Hamburger Helper-ville.
3. Eat breakfast. I don’t give a shit what time you wake up and how quickly you have to get to work. Do yourself a favor and eat breakfast. I also don’t care about “kick-starting your metabolism” or any other faux-scientific reason to eat breakfast. The reason breakfast is important (at least to me) is that it’s another opportunity to put good, nutrient-rich food in your system. Look at it like an opportunity, not a good time to avoid calories. And when you get to work and start getting some craving, you won’t have the excuse, “well, I haven’t eaten anything yet…. so why not indulge in a couple donuts?” Don’t give yourself that out. Start the day off right and continue to build on it.
4. Drink water all day. I know you’ve probably heard this one before, but I stand by it. I drink water all day long. I have a big cup sitting on my desk that I’ll take swigs from while working. I fill it up a few times a day on average. I think water is great because I think hydration is great. Plus, it kills the boredom hunger strikes that are sometimes unavoidable at certain points throughout the day. Kill that tiny speck of hunger growing in your stomach with some water. It doesn’t stand a chance.
5. I don’t try to eat all day long, but I kinda do. I know it’s an old wives’ tale to eat 5 or 6 small meals throughout the day. Or maybe that’s just good science. I don’t know, but I do know that I inadvertently adhere to the eating throughout the day principle. Why? Because I’m constantly snacking on fruit all day. I’ll generally have a stock of apples and bananas at my desk at all times. Sometimes I’ll have a bag of nuts and raisins. Typically, every couple of hours I’ll grab something and put it down the hatch. Maybe this is good, maybe it’s bogus. But I do it and it seems to work pretty well.
6. This is one that I kinda just picked up and is geared towards endurance athletes. On the days you do a big ride, I’ve found that eating good carbs (sweet potatoes, rice, squash, whole grains) as your recovery meal is preferable to having them all in a “big dinner.” I used to just have a protein fruit smoothie after I got home from a 5 hour ride and then have a huge dinner. I think my mind is changed about that. Now when I get home from a big ride, I’ll have some good sources of carbs and protein IN REAL FOOD! Then later on I’ll have as much greens as I can for dinner. I’m not sure why this seems to be working, but it is.
Let me give you an example. After I got home from a hard 4 hour ride today, I had some pre-cooked rice and eggs all fried up in a delicious mixture. Pre-cooked meaning I cooked a few cups of rice last night. Now for dinner I’m going to have a big spinach salad with a bunch of green fixins. Again, this tip is the least tested, but it seems to be working well for me.
7. Just because I slightly disparaged protein fruit smoothies a second ago doesn’t mean they don’t have their place. Remember the eat breakfast tip? Well, a fruit smoothie is a great breakfast item. Get yourself a decent blender and start experimenting with different frozen fruits and protein mixes. Lately I’ve been using half of my whey protein mix and adding a scoop of Sunbutter. That combo is especially delicious for strawberry/banana smoothies. (Side note: Peanut butter is bullshit. Sunbutter is where it’s at).
8. Final tip: Give yourself one cheat day every week. Mine is on Fridays. And I don’t mean “cheat within reason.” I mean go ahead and go buckwild. See those donuts in the breakroom? Ravage them! I think Fridays are optimal for cheating because it’s a good set-up for a weekend of long rides. But pick whatever day of the week works best for you. The cheat day is also important because it gives you that ace up your sleeve to resist sweets throughout the week. No need to indulge on Wednesday if you’ve got Friday to look forward to.
That’s about all I can think of at the moment. Many of them you’ve heard a million times before, but unlike some of the other standard nutrition advice out there, I can vouch for these tips.
In case you hadn’t heard yet, I married my best friend and soulmate this past Sunday the 9th on top of beautiful Lookout Mountain. We are now in Breck celebrating on our honeymoon. Things couldn’t be better!
Here are some pics from the best day of our lives.
PS: Yeah, I rode for a bit on our honeymoon. Here’s what you missed yesterday morning…
Right now I’m in a daze and my stomach is still queasy. I am attempting to recover from a fun-filled weekend with my parents and the soon to be in-laws. It’s like I just survived an initiation or something.
My parents live in Savannah, GA and Brika’s parents live in Fort Worth, TX. They had never met until this weekend due to the vast swath of land between them. Fast forward to this past Thursday and both sets of parents were due to finally meet. I took Thursday morning off of work to entertain my parents before the big meet up later that evening. We went to brunch at Cafe 13 in downtown Golden after they arrived from DIA and settled into their hotel. They stayed at the Marriott in Golden – same hotel as Brika’s parents. (This piece of information will come in handy later on). Anyhow, we enjoyed some fantastic fresh baked quiche at Cafe 13 and then drove to my place so they could see where Brika and I live. I also walked them up to “historic” Olde Town Arvada and showed them all the little shops and stuff. As is the case with all Moms on the planet, my Mom wanted to buy some things from Penzeys Spices. After getting their Olde Town fill, they headed back to the hotel to rest up before our dinner reservations at Bella Bistro in Olde Town that night. Bella Bistro is a fancy-dancy little place that serves a very limited menu. The few items they have are all fresh, local, and constantly changing. Brika and I have had our eye on that place for awhile but never got a chance to eat there. The $25 entree prices were a little too rich for our blood. So scoping the joint out as a possible location for the rehearsal dinner was the perfect opportunity to finally get some Bella Bistro.
At around 6:30 Thursday night, the grand meet and greet finally happened. My parents walked in just minutes after Brika’s parents and they introduced themselves to each other. From that moment on, it was on. They were like long-lost friends reuniting. Incidentally, it was discovered that our parents were staying literally right next to each other at the Marriott in Golden. Coincidence? Maybe.
I wish I could describe the scene at Bella Bistro that night but words can’t do it justice. We shook that place with loud voices and laughter. Not only that, we closed the place down. The food was great, the company was great, but the waitstaff stunk and reserving the entire place on a Saturday night was questionable. Regardless, we were able to bond with each other and rule out Bella Bistro from the short list of possible rehearsal dinner locations. All in all, a tremendous first night.
I made reservations at Vita in Lo-Hi (Highlands) for Friday night. Brika and I both worked Friday so our parents were left on their own to figure out some entertainment. My parents decided to go to Black Hawk and Central City. I think they enjoyed the ride out there on Route 6 more than the destination. I arrived at Vita after everyone due to a chiropractic appointment. Was I surprised that they were already drinking? Nope. I’ll cut to the chase and just say Vita is freaking awesome! The waitstaff was extremely helpful. The food was fantastic. The views up on top of the roof are breathtaking and they can accommodate a large rehearsal dinner. We were hooked! I cannot recommend the Vita experience enough. We left that place knowing that Vita was it. I’ll mention again that our parents bro’d down hard. It was almost scary how well they were getting along. Briks and I knew they’d dig each other, but we were not expecting the whole BFF thing.
On Saturday the plan was to grab some brunch at the Eggshell up the street and then play it by ear until we toured the Boettcher Mansion that night. So I was able to get a little ride in that morning before meeting up with everyone at the Eggshell. Yum. After getting a good breakfast, we decided to take everyone to see Bridesmaids. I would be seeing it a second time and Brika a FOURTH. Yes, it’s that great. Our parents also loved it. It’s good wholesome, raunchy, family fun for all. After the movie we caught a free wine tasting in Olde Town. By this point it was time to head up Lookout and scope the place where we’d get hitched – The Boettcher Mansion. It would be the first time either of my parents saw it and the first time Brika’s Dad saw it. We toured the whole place with a guide and our parents were mighty impressed. It became obvious to them that the Boettcher is “us.” We wouldn’t want to get married at any other location.
I met up with everyone at Cafe 13 on Sunday for some brunch. Again I was fortunate enough to get a little ride in before we ate (and I ate in beautifully crafted Primal spandex). After brunch we headed downtown to Swanky’s. Brika mentioned that Swanky’s has frozen beverages much like Wet Willies in Savannah. That’s all my Mom had to hear, she was excited! So we got some drinks there and watched the Rockies get crushed by the Dodgers again. Afterwards, we headed to LoDo to hit up a vodka bar called the Red Square. But they were not open until 5 that night. However, right across the street was the Rio Grande – home of the “world’s greatest margaritas.” At this point, I just wanted some good chips and salsa. After getting their margarita fill, everyone was feeling quite “happy.” The walk back to the car was hilarious. Again, words can’t describe the scene between our parents. From there we headed to the grocery store to fill up on snacks to take to Jazz in the Park. It’s funny. I was on the phone with my Mom while walking through hordes of people at Jazz at the Park last week and this week there we all were. Anyway, we settled down in nearly the same place as last week with some camping chairs, good eats, and good company. I think the amount of dogs and bikes around was a little overwhelming to our folks. We had a good time relaxing, eating, and drinking. When the music stopped – music that we believe was far too funky to be jazz by the way – the night was certainly not over. My Dad had been bellyaching the whole day about not getting to go to the vodka bar. So after we left City Park, we all headed back to Red Square to get a quick vodka fix. It was a late night. I was kinda sick to my stomach having eaten treats all day and everyone was dead tired. Upon arriving home, we printed some boarding passes and tried to stay awake long enough to say our goodbyes. I hate to see my (our) parents go, but damn if I could take another day eating my way through Denver!
I’ll end the post by saying this: Brika and I could not be luckier or happier with how great our parents get along. It was great to sit back and watch them interact like they’ve known each other for years. And the funny thing is, they genuinely liked each other – a lot. And it wasn’t the alcohol talking. Every family get together from now on is going to be stress free for the most part. We know we’ll all have a good time together. Not many soon to be married couples can say that can they? Almost certainly not many can say with a straight face, “I like spending time with my in-laws.”
Justin – 1. All other married men with crappy in-laws – 0.
I am so grateful right now. I just signed up for my first race back from injury, the Dead Dog Classic up in Wyoming. After taking 6 weeks off to rest and rehab my knee, I will be back racing in the wind up north at the end of this month.
I need to give a big thank you to Dr. D at Alpine Wellness Chiropractic in Arvada, Lee Carmen at Pain Solutions in Denver, bike fit master George Mullen, Jon Heidemann at Peak to Peak Training, and my Primal First Bank teammates for advice and encouragement. I also want to thank my coach Michael Hanna for his support and encouragement. He whipped me into the best form of my life before I got hurt and I have no doubts he’ll have me firing on all cylinders come August and September.
And most of all, I need to give a special thank you for the caring and understanding my fiance gave me this whole time, even when I did not deserve it. She probably suffered more than myself through all this.
Please don’t hesitate to ask me about Alpine Wellness, Peak to Peak Training, and Pain Solutions Inc. for dealing with injuries. They are highly knowledgeable, professional, and fairly priced. I cannot recommend them enough!
It’s been a long time hasn’t it? I’m going to try my best to give a little update on everything that’s happened in the last month, so expect this post to be more rambling and incoherent than usual.
In terms of music, I’ve been digging into my old CD cases and uncovering some lost gems. CDs (yes, CDs) that I rocked on the regular in high school have been getting fresh spins in my car. In other words, I’m partying like it’s 1999. So what have I been rocking? Here’s a small list: Blink 182′s Cheshire Cat, both Bigwig records, Good Riddance, Operation Ivy, Poison the Well’s Opposite of December (which does NOT hold up over time), Past Mistakes, Strung Out’s Twisted by Design, DeLaHoya, The Break, No Use for a Name’s Making Friends, Digger’s Powerbait, and some other punk rock classics that escape me at the moment.
As far as TV goes, Briks and I have been suffering through AMC’s The Killing each Sunday night. God what an awful show. The only reason we keep watching is the fact that we’ve invested so much time in the show already and it’s a murder mystery, which we’re suckers for no matter how poorly executed. In case you haven’t been watching, I’ll give you a quick run down of what the show’s all about. Think of all the cop cliche’s you have ever heard. Add to that cliche’s about Seattle’s weather (it’s constantly pouring down rain). And finish it off with a god awful storyline about a mayor’s race we could give a shit less about. Oh, and a local high school girl was killed and we still don’t know who did it.
Ok, books time. I just made an Amazon order because I broke my cell phone case the other day. I’m unaware of any other venue that sells HTC Android cases as cheap as Amazon does. $5 cell phone case? Yeah, I’ll take it. So in addition to a couple really cheap cases, I ordered a couple books I’ve had my eye on. I will be receiving Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure by economist Tim Harford. Tim is known in economics circles as one of the few economists who can write really well. Another economist who knows a thing or two about writing is the great Walter Williams. Walter recently came out with two books. One was an autobiography that eventually I’ll read and the other is a economics book on race and discrimination. I ordered Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination? There are few economists better than Walter Williams, and there are no economists better than Walter on issues of race.
What about libertarianism? Well, is there a better time in history to be a libertarian than right now? Obama has solidified George W. Bush’s third term with more undeclared, unconstitutional (and hardly covert) wars, more civil rights busting surveillance state controls, an official American citizen assassination list, and more executive branch secrecy. Don’t believe me? Just read the news. Or Glenn Greenwald. You’d have to be the most hardcore partisan loyalist to refuse to admit that the two parties are actually one party. And yes, there are many of you out there.
Let’s get to a little home life. I’ve had the smartest friend I’ve ever had and literally the first friend I ever had Mike visit me at the beginning and the end of his trip to Colorado. He flew in for a friend’s wedding held coincidentally at the Boettcher mansion on top of Lookout, and ended up hanging out and staying with us a couple of days. What a great surprise! There is no one on earth I can more nerdy with than Mike. I’ll miss that when he’s gone.
Economics? I guess I sort of covered that in my books section. But I’ll say this as well. Go read Mises.org and learn something.
And now to granddaddy of them all: cycling. I don’t want to get into all the gory details on this post but I will give the Cliff’s Notes version. After taking 6 full weeks off the bike to rest and rehab my knee, I started testing my knee out early this month with a few short, easy rides. After a couple of weeks of testing and increasing my volume, we decided to start getting me training again. So last week I met with my coach and outlined my comeback plan for the end of the season. I officially started training 2 weeks ago and will race again at the end of June up in Wyoming at the Dead Dog stage race. I obviously won’t be fit by then but it will be great to get back in the ol’ saddle and race a bit. By the time August rolls around, I should be fit again and ready to do well at the AFA state road race championship, Rist Canyon race, and finally the Steamboat Springs stage race. Definitely looking forward to those.
In other bike news, thanks to all my stretching, PT, and chiropractic care, I am tons more flexible now with miles of new range of motion. Therefore, I feel extremely comfortable and loose on my bike. So George and I decided to stretch me out a cm and drop me down 1.5 cm’s. It feels soooo good. But I’m still slow at the moment, which is frustrating. I feel like a million bucks, but I can’t push 200 watts without huffing and puffing.
I’d like to end with a public mid-year resolution to get back into regular blogging again. I’ve been so distracted with trying to get my cycling back in order that I’ve neglected this outlet. I had to put it on hold while I was mentally broken because of my knee. I’m back now though. And I’m ready to start training and writing regularly again. Wish me luck.
Grab a seat, take a load off, and make yourself comfortable ladies and gentlemen. I’m about to tell the tale of the craziest love story you’ve never heard. Before I begin, I’d like to warn some of you: this tale is especially frightening if you’re one of those risk-averse types.
It all started at my best friend Ben’s wedding in December 2007. Having nearly identical mutual friends for years, Brika and I both went to Ben and Rikki’s wedding in Richmond, VA. Good times ensued. We ended up sleeping in the same hotel room down in Richmond with some mutual friends of ours. Having drawn the shortest straw, Brika had to share the bed with someone she didn’t know very well: me. But the story doesn’t start there. When I say “shared the bed,” I mean she was a good 2 feet away from me, trying to sleep while fighting with an encroaching sickness. She eventually got up at like 6am and went down into the lobby because she couldn’t sleep through all the sniffling, sneezing, headaches, etc. So no, the story really doesn’t start with the bed incident you sick perverts. Fate had other things in mind.
The next day Brika was feeling a bit better and the wedding parties and friends had to make it back up to Fairfax from Richmond. This should take an hour and a half. But this is I-95 in Virginia, so it rarely does. Anyways, Brika’s soon to be ex-boyfriend never showed up to the wedding like he was supposed to, so she had an empty car. I just so happened to need an empty car to take me back. Hellllooooo fate.
I weaseled my way into her car for the trip up to Fairfax. THIS was where it all began. We finally started talking to one another after years of sharing mutual friends. One obvious topic of conversation was: why in the hell weren’t we already friends when we shared identical friends all these years? Part of it was probably that she thought I was some cocky asshole who wasn’t worth talking to. We had interacted before this fateful car ride, but always in a snarky, standoffish sort of way. I even moved into the house of friends in Fairfax when she moved out, yet somehow always managed to avoid having any meaningful conversations with her. Anyhow, this car ride forced us to finally interact on normal terms. We talked the entire way up, catching up on all the things we ought to have talked about before. We loved the same music, shared lots of similar interests, and had the same goals for the upcoming years. At this point she was already considering leaving VA for her parents house in Texas. It seemed the only logical way of breaking ties with the Northern VA area and not going broke doing so. I talked about my recent move to Colorado and how it changed my life. I talked about the beautiful mountains, the outdoor life, the great city, Boulder, Lookout, Breckenridge, my cool job. I really talked it up. She must have been impressed.
Fast forward to Spring 2008. Brika finally left VA for her parents home in Texas. She needed the home base in TX in order to save money and start visiting places she might like to live. Enter Denver, stage right. I believe we were talking on the phone sort of regularly since she moved out of VA. She asked me if she could come visit me and Denver in July on her birthday weekend. I obliged. In July 2008 Brika flew up here for a long weekend. If the car ride sparked the fire, the visit in July threw gasoline on it. We had so much fun together. I showed her downtown Denver and Boulder, we hiked Chautauqua park, went up Lookout, visited Breckenridge for a couple days. It was amazing how well we got along. Why in the world we weren’t good friends back in Fairfax was mind-boggling to us. I later learned that the Breckenridge trip really solidified it for her. She admits that’s when she started digging me as more than a new friend.
September 2008: Zach and Crystal’s wedding, Northern VA. Brika and I both flew back to VA for the wedding and anticipated getting together again. We had the best time ever. We danced like there was no tomorrow… and for us, there kind of wasn’t. Despite shaking many legs, we really didn’t get to talk a lot during the reception. It was a lost opportunity to talk about how great our July trip was and how we ought to do it again.
Press fast forward again to November 2008. After suffering through a job in Texas she hated, she quit her job and again flew up here to visit. We did most of the same thing we did together in the July visit, but this time we had our first kiss on the last day. Not only that, Brika had to confess her feelings for me. But I thought it was obvious before the confession she made the last night. (ummm… we kissed already, duh). It was a tough goodbye that time. The pandora’s box had been opened and there was no turning back. A tough decision was in our future.
After the November trip we both wanted to, no needed to, take a chance with each other. Our options were pretty dim though. She lived in Texas and I lived in Colorado. She didn’t have enough money saved up at the time to just move up here and live on her own or with another roommate. Paying rent was really no option. And if you’ve ever tried getting a job without living in the place you’re applying, you realize that is also impossible. We were kind of stuck. I was living in a tiny 580 sq. foot studio style apartment in Olde Town Arvada. My rent was cheap enough for me to get by, but just barely. I could definitely use some help each month… hmmmm… this is where the story takes a turn towards Risk-ville. Could it be possible for two people who were not yet officially dating to START dating by moving in with each other? Has that ever happened in the history of mankind? Ever? We doubted it. It would definitely be a very risky way to start a relationship. It’d be like throwing a promising young pitcher into the bottom of the 9th in game 7 of the World Series just to see if he was going to be good in the majors. But at this point, did we have any other option?
“Do you want to take a chance with me,” I asked while on the phone. She agreed. It was the only way to make it work. Now I know this sounds absolutely crazy, and nearly every person that heard about the plan beforehand agreed – we were nuts and doomed to failure. After all, making a relationship successful is hard. Why make it even harder by moving in together right off the bat? True enough, but we had no choice. My logic was simple: there was no risk at all that she would move in and we’d start fighting or hate each other. We got along too well for that. The only risk I perceived was that she would move in and then we’d discover we really didn’t click on the next level. That we were just friends. Ah well. At that point we could act civilly until she found a job and another apartment. No big deal. So in my mind, there was a risk, but it wasn’t as bad as everyone was making it out to be. Yes, it was crazy, but we’d never know otherwise. It was worth the risk.
January 9th, 2009: She moved in exactly 2 years ago today. Now at this point I could just end it by saying, “and the rest is history.” But not only is that too cheesy, but it’s not enough to end on that note. I will say however that after moving in 2 years ago, we discovered that we did indeed get along super well – like best friends reunited – but also that our relationship did work on that next level. We could be best friends who were a couple too. The true testament to the strength of our relationship was that we lived together in basically a glorified dorm room for a year and a half. That kind of thing usually tears 2 people apart. But it didn’t harm us one bit. It only made our bond stronger.
July 2010: “Do you want to take another chance with me,” I asked on the 2 year anniversary of her visiting me in Denver. It was on the same jungle gym, at the same playground in Breckenridge that we watched the sunset 2 years earlier. It could be no other way. In other words, she saw it coming. She said yes and I put the ring on her finger while choking back tears. A guy walked by with his son and said to us, “Are you kidding me? Congratulations…” Was it so impossible to think that two people would get engaged on a jungle gym in Breck?
To sum it all up: we started dating by moving into a small dorm room together. Crazy right? Most guys avoid moving in together after years of dating. I must be weird.
Today marks our official 2 year anniversary. Our wedding is planned for the top of Lookout mountain at the Boettcher mansion, October 9th this year. Take that doubters.
There was an article today on CyclingNews that made me recall just how far I’ve come in my eating habits. It was basically an overview of Matt Fitzgerald’s book Racing Weight. I read the book last year and it reinforced everything I knew was right, and most everything I was currently doing. But it wasn’t always like this for me.
Believe it or not, for as long as I can remember I was around 155 pounds. Sure, at 5’11″, 155 isn’t fat by any stretch of the imagination, in fact, most people would kill to be 155 pounds at nearly 6 feet tall. But for me and my body size, it was never a lean weight. I always had a little squish around the edges. This just seemed normal to me. What did I care? The squish didn’t prohibit me from pitching as well as I did, and it certainly didn’t stop me from shooting the lights out in basketball games. Without any adverse effects, I had no incentive to change my eating habits or my body.
As I went from living in a college dorm, to living with college friends in Fairfax, VA, my eating habits did not change one bit. I’d eat cereal morning, noon, and night and indulge in treats whenever I felt like it. For variety I would eat PB&J’s with different types of breads. No matter what I did or what I ate, I stayed basically the same weight. I was playing basketball regularly, running 5K’s, and playing soccer at this point. This is how normal people live. What I came to realize after leaving Virginia to come to Denver was that it was how non-Coloradans live.
Upon moving to Colorado and picking up cycling, my diet got a little better. I was living with a buddy I’ve known since I was like 10 years old and luckily for me, he was an outstanding cook. At this point I was still indulging in cereal, PB&J’s, and treats whenever I felt like it, but I was also getting some pretty decent home cooked meals. We’d have all sorts of meat and fish, and even some vegetables now and again. Denver was definitely a step up for my nutrition and health. It wasn’t until my finacee Brika moved in 2 years ago that I made a complete transformation.
Brika was fortunate enough to land a job at a doctors office where health, nutrition, and wellness are a lifestyle. The amount of knowledge she has accumulated since starting work there 2 years ago is astounding. I have been free-riding off her knowledge ever since. She not only learned the ins and outs of proper nutrition, but also how to cook really well. I have the luxury of eating whole, nutrient rich foods that are delicious each and everyday thanks to her. What sorts of food you ask? I’m talking about spinach, kale, collards, brussels sprouts, quinoa, chick peas, squash, millet, wraps, miso, smoothies, nuts, seeds, soups, and the list goes on and on. We eat more vegetables in a week that most people eat in a year. And man does it taste good. She’s brilliant because she’ll make these meals that have Indian, Thai, or Mediterranean influences. And she’s constantly expanding her menu with new foods and recipes. We don’t just sit around eating carrots all day. (although baby carrots are the shiznit!)
Because of the complete transformation in my diet, my weight has come down a lot. Like something near 20 pounds. I’m no longer squishy thanks to cycling and my diet. Now instead of being 155 lbs. no matter what, I tend to hang around the 135 to 140 pound range. Just the other day I weighed in at 136.8. It’s winter, I shouldn’t be that light now. I can’t say I’m surprised though. I’m still training a lot and eating super well. My goal was always to go into my first ever Tour of the Gila at 135. Umm, check.
I can’t stress the importance of expanding your diet to include a whole host of fresh fruits and vegetables that you may not know even exist. Don’t be boring and eat lettuce and tomatoes. Walk the aisles of your local natural grocer and witness the sheer amount of fresh fruits and vegetables that you might not be able to pronounce. Don’t overlook them! There is a ton of literature and cookbooks that divulge the secrets of preparing delicious meals with natural, whole foods, just ask Brika and she’ll point you in the right direction. It truly is a life-changing experience. But if you’re going to do just one thing, listen to Fitzgerald when he says,
If you only focus on one of the five steps to reaching your optimal weight, eating quality foods is the one. The right foods will have the highest nutrient value, but will often also have the lowest calorie density too.
Cut out the processed faux-food. Read labels. Eat small amounts of quality food throughout the day. Eat fresh green things. And most importantly: get off your ass. If you live in Colorado, you really have no excuse do you?