Cycling is killing my fitness!

The other day, I tried on my new Cobra Kai Halloween costume and noticed something disturbing — my arms have gotten noticably smaller!  Not that I ever had huge “guns”, but I at least used to be able to go sleeveless without being self-conscious.

Before I started cycling 2 years ago, I’d run and lift weights 2-3 times a week and climb a couple times a week.  Since then, I’ve replaced running with cycling and have stopped weight training.  I just don’t have the energy or time to lift weights after 2 or 3 (or more) hours on the bike.  As a result, I’ve lost probably 6 or 8 pounds of upper body muscle.

On a related note, a friend (who is a dedicated Crossfitter) and I were recently discussing something I’ve blogged on before — What is fitness?  In September, Outside magazine profiled 5 of “The Fittest (Real) Men in America“.  Their list comprised 2 cyclists, 2 ultrarunners, and a triathlete.  Like most people, Outside Magazine equates fitness with endurance.  But my Crossfitter friend would argue that endurance is only one of 10 skills that comprise fitness (the others being stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, accuracy).  By this measure, most endurance athletes — especially cyclists — probably wouldn’t be considered very fit. 

If you took a top pro cyclist and pitted them against athletes from other sports in a test of athletic skills (as in the classic 70’s & 80’s show The Superstars), I doubt they’d do well.  Pro cyclists are phenomenal athletes, but their skills are extremely specialized.

Which brings me back to my arms.  I went to the gym tonight to climb and the wall was closed.  So I decided to lift weights.  It was really frustrating to feel out of shape with all the hours I spend exercising.  But I think it’s too late to do anything about it — I’m hooked on cycling…

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4 thoughts on “Cycling is killing my fitness!

  1. This is sooo timely a post; I too have been venturing back to the weights and feel like a wet-noodle as I stroll into Gold’s Gym. Here are a few tips to help you out (these are free):

    1. Always wear an event t-shirt (preferably size S or M) to the gym with an Under Armour tank underneath it.

    2. When speaking with anyone at the gym, always work in a reference or two about your last event and mention mileage ridden (round up number of miles). Feel free to mention the carbon fiber make-up of your whip as well…

    3. When speaking with anyone at the gym, always reference what you are training for…remember – ALWAYS be “in training”.

    4. Do legs.

    5. Do crazy high reps with the lower weight, explaining to any observers that this is done purposefully in order to build endurance. Therefore, what is not stated but understood is that you could in fact bench 300+ lbs. if you felt like it…

    6. Find some equipment that some former offensive lineman forgot to unload the weights from and stand around it while you sip water from your event waterbottle (see LIVESTRONG Challenge)…

    7. Bring your cycling shoes and go into the spinning class studio to “warm up”; when the sweat starts going spray water on your face like you were riding outside in August. Slowly meander back into the weight room and watch everyone stare in amazement at your unique, gifted, athletic prowess.

    8. Do crazy plyometric exercises like jumping on boxes, running around the parking lot with a 45 lb. plate dragging behind you, etc. in order to remind “weight-room guy” of his ordinary neanderthalistic existence.

    9. Check your body weight several times during the course of your workout and make sure everyone knows that you “Lost some more–yesss!” This will again ensure that everyone knows you intended to become a weakling…

    10. Finally, consider investing in a Gold’s Gym cycling jersey (they do exist–ask me if you need help) to pimp into the gym with…that just screams “tru-playa from Day 1”.

  2. I saw it coming. You’ve moved to the dark side, and you’re there to stay. Good thing is: a few more years, and I will actually outclimb you while you’re away riding 200 miles on your bike !

  3. Lawman’s tips are not to be taken lightly. But he missed one: You have to drop names in a loud tone of voice while having a fake cell phone conversation. For example:

    “So Lance and I were doing intervals yesterday, and I said to Lance, ‘Lance, if you want to win the Tour, here’s what you need to do.'”

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