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…