In the beginning of January I signed up for an 8 week challenge called Whole Life Challenge. The 8 weeks ended this past weekend and I wanted to capture my experience while encouraging all of my readers to sign up for the next Challenge in May.
The overall mission of the Whole Life Challenge is simple in text: To create lives of unbound possibility where health and fitness are limitless resources and the right of every human to design and share. You know when you sign up that you are making a lot of changes in your daily life but I didn’t realize what type of healthy habits I would be developing over the 8 weeks (or how hard some of them would be!)
My Biggest Challenges of the Whole Life Challenge
It is easy to look back and think “I owned that challenge”, but really, the challenge owned me.
Food Prep and Planning
I signed up for the advanced eating challenge which equates to paleo eating with no grains, diary or soy. This meant that we cooked 98% of our meals for 8 weeks. Besides the last week when we were on vacation I can count on one hand how many times we ate out. The process proved that meal planning and proper food prep is necessary even when you live in a moderately progressive area like Boulder/Denver.
Working out and Stretching Daily
During this challenge I really drank the CrossFit kool-aid but as a true beginner I am only going 3-4x a week. If I missed a workout it was never due to being lazy but due to time constraints of work and commuting to/from. To the same tune getting in 10 minutes of stretching after a 12 hour day at work wasn’t always top of mind when I stumbled in the door. These two pieces of the challenge are something I still carry with me as I don’t feel like I overcame them 100% or have nailed down a great balance.
My Biggest Wins of the Whole Life Challenge
The great thing about this challenge is it truly challenged every piece of my life in a healthy and exciting way. The wins outweigh the challenges greatly and picking out the biggest is difficult.
Most importantly my biggest win was completing (and dominating) this challenge with my new wife. We signed up together and created many healthy habits together like cooking and working out together more.
The stats: 5″ lost around my hips and waist, 10% improvement on my baseline test (11 mins: 800m run, 75 airsquats, 50 situps, 25 pushups and then as many burpees as possible in time left)
My Overall Review
Cliche as it is, this challenge was life changing and I would recommend it even to a die hard athlete.
I plan on continuing to eat mostly paleo, with proper food planning and prep on the weekends. CrossFit is very much part of my workout habits and will only make me a more balanced cyclist during the season. I’m not sure if I will do the challenge again anytime soon but that is mainly due to wanting to implement the “rules” of the challenge in my everyday life!
The Whole Life Challenge has changed my life, maybe it will change yours too?
Photo credit: Jonathan Cohen
The first step in buying a new bike is to figure out what your goals are for biking. As a new cyclist this can be difficult since you might not know all the possibilities! You may be looking to bikes because a friend of yours is getting you hooked, or maybe you want to get your family riding and your trying to figure out where to start. Regardless of the reason, I’m excited to be apart of your journey of cycling!
Now, let’s take a step back and ask a very important question.
Where do you want to go on your bike?
Some ideas to prime your pump:
Do you want to go on long road rides with 5 of your best buddies?
Do you want to get to work easier?
Do you want to keep up with your 11 year old?
Do you want to explore the backwoods?
What are the pieces you can measure?
Most humans need to have the ability to measure and compare to rate success. It is why most Americans have scales in their bathrooms, because their jeans don’t have hash marks for measurement! Let’s now figure out something you can strive for that is measurable to define success of your biking goals.
Riding x days per month with your spouse or child
Miles or days ridden a week
Improving your average MPH
Wearing out your first chain/tires (under normal wear!)
Learning to bunny hop
Not getting dropped
Now, put it all together – what are your goals for biking?
“I want to go mountain biking and learn how to bunny hop.”
“I want to ride to work 2 times a week.”
Put in the comments!
Now, get ready to answer the next question in your bike buying research “What type of riding will you be doing?“
Originally posted on People for Bikes
Last week, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition published a brief exploration of what it called the “myth” that “there’s no way we can keep spending so much on bike lanes with so many other pressing needs in San Francisco.”
To make their point that dramatically improving biking and walking in a city costs almost nothing compared to many other transportation projects — in San Francisco, one of the bike-friendliest cities in the country, bike projects take up less than 1 percent of the municipal transportation budget — they listed some typical cost figures.
We decided to further explore this question by creating a simple bar chart, based on the same data. We’ll let you draw whatever conclusions you see fit.
I couldn’t make it to Washington this year for the National Bike Summit but there are great things happening today with the Women’s Summit. Follow along on Twitter with hashtag #womenbike
Details: 100% poly mesh that is wicked breathable, fast drying, and non-conforming. 2 pocket design, 1 with a zipper to hold your smartphone
This jersey looks great and feels even better. The poly mesh was warm enough with a wind vest on a 50′ day. Personally, I would classify this as a long sleeve light weight “spring” jersey. It also wears well with a pair of jeans. Continue reading →
Fartlek, which means “speed play” in Swedish, is a training method that blends continuous training with interval training. The variable intensity and continuous nature of the exercise places stress on both the aerobic and anaerobic systems. It differs from traditional interval training in that it is unstructured; intensity and/or speed varies, as the athlete wishes. (Source: Wikipedia)
The art of exploring is why I fell in love with biking some 18 years ago. The ability to just go find new places and adventures on my bike without the demands of school, sports practice or home life. It was a great escape and something I think we all forget as we grow up.
This past Monday when Emily and I got back from our weekend in the mountains I hopped on my bike and went for a fartlek, or Fartlick as my iPhone calls it. The goal was to blend in different speeds, try new routes and see how my knee felt on the single speed. The result was great, I enjoyed myself and found new trails near my house. An elevated my heart rate also showed me that my knee isn’t ready for the single speed just yet.
Do you implement fartleks in your training or weekly rides? What do you find?
I find new places to take photos, time to beat up on the pedals and needed bike time without a Garmin or HRM. During big training blocks I often find my best power over time results as I’m just getting in a groove with out focusing on the Garmin.
Now, go fartlek. Take a friend if you can!
Photo Disclaimer: I lost my bar ends on the ride, they will be replaced ASAP!
This guest post is by Lindsay Piper of QBP.
Man, my boyfriend is the coolest. Me: doot doot doot, working away. BF: Guess what? I got tickets to Polica tonight. Me: Whaat? OMGAWESOMEYAY
Here’s the thing, this conversation took place in early December in Minneapolis. The concert was to take place at a concert venue called Mill City Nights, which is in downtown Minneapolis. Well on a weekend, parking is a pain, and there’s the whole problem of not wanting to drink & drive, but well YEAH I’m going to have a cider while I watch Polica.
So what’s a gal to do? Ride her dang bike, that’s what a girl’s to do.
That’s a bit easier in summer of course, but that night was expected to be in the range of 20-30 degrees, and the roads & paths were covered with a bit of snow/ice slop. So this brought up the obvious question – what on earth do I wear to stay warm & dry on my bike, but still look concert-worthy? I set to work a-wardrobing.
It is Crucial to Layer
Layer 1 – The concert layer
Key #1: Toasty legs- I accomplished this by layering Patagonia midweight Capeline pants under my Outlier Women’s Daily Riding Pants. The Outlier pants are super stretchy, so it’s easy to add the layer under them without becoming immobile. And they look like jeans, so style.
Key #2: Warm & dry tootsies- Nobody likes cold soggy feet while trying to take in awesome music. To fix myself up here, I layered some DeFeet Wooleator socks (Minneapolis Bike Love Edition) under my Stella McCartney for Adidas high tops. They’re made entirely of shiny synthetic leather and cover my ankles; both factors keep my feet dry & stylish at the same time, in a slightly Marty McFly kind of way. Where’s my hoverboard?!
Key #3: Warm but not sweaty core- I snagged a delightful tee shirt, complete with printed sassy phrase, and layered it under my numero uno, all-time favorite piece – my Surly long sleeve merino jersey. It’s comfortable, keeps me warm & sweat wicked, and looks feminine but not girly. Disclaimer: I manage Surly and a few other brands’ clothing offering- this is one of my babies, so I might be biased, but it really and truly is awesome & indispensable.
Layer 2 – The outer layer (as watched over by my late dog Baxter, who was not thrilled that I was about to leave him home alone)
Key #1: Dry & Windproof torso – My handy OR Mithrill softshell- another indispensable piece, does the job with panache.
Key #2: Warm, safe extremities – On the paws, my 9,000 year old Swix lobster mitts. They’re a little sad looking at this point, but they work. I’ve yet to find a bike-specific pair of gloves that I like as well. My 45NRTH Greazy merino cap. It’s warm, fits nicely under a helmet, and has plenty of ear coverage. Same disclaimer as above, and also in this case the Brand Manager is also the aforementioned boyfriend, so there you go. Anyhoo popped on top of that is my Lazer 02 helmet. The high-vis yellow is nice for night riding, and the one-size-fits-all adjustment means it’s easy to fit it over a hat. The finishing touch is a pair of photosensitive Optic Nerve glasses to keep the crap & wind out of my eyes.
Key #3: ID & money required- The tiniest of Timbuk2 messenger bags, the Catapult, is so handy. Plenty of room to stuff my gloves & hat once I arrive at the venue, without excess bulk. And it rides high & tight to the body, which is really nice for riding.
Striking a pose in my concert getup at home
About to roll out. Note the front & rear lights. Safety, people! I’m riding my All-City Macho Man with 45 NRTH Xerxes studded tires to cut through slop & ice. You can tell this is still early winter, because my neighbors & I had still been taking snow removal much more seriously & thoroughly. We’ve since given up on the prospect of seeing actual pavement.
Success! Opening act Marijuana Death Squads, and headliner Polica. Love her pants!
Grab a delicious cup of coffee as it is time for the week-end round up. These are stories and links that caught my interest this past week! Have something to add? Put a link in the comments below.
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This past Monday I had the opportunity to attend most of the 2014 Colorado Bicycle Summit. Unfortunately, I missed the morning speakers which included CO Governor, John Hickenlooper, and an old friend from DC, Andy Clark of the Bike League. I’m hoping that 303 Cycling will do a recap of these speeches so I can pass them along to you!
Key Highlights at the Colorado Bicycle Summit:
Safe Routes to School Act for Continued Funding
Getting More Women Riding Breakout Session
The amount of amazing women doing extraordinary things for cycling in Colorado is overwhelming. The next step is for all of us to come together to make a deeper impact. Look for a survey and more action around this soon!
Putting many faces with names from email and Twitter was pretty important for me. As a pretty new resident of Colorado I still don’t have my footing in the cycling scene so socializing and getting to know more people was key.
The biggest change and challenge from moving to the Paleo style of eating is being prepared and having foods ready to eat.
There is some food preparation required and forethought when you go to the grocery store, but it all became much easier for our household once we nailed down the staple foods that make 65% of our diet. Grocery trips are faster (and cheaper) and sticking to the Paleo plan is pretty thoughtless once you find your groove.
Below are the Paleo food staples in our house, these are things that we always have available and make in large batches on the weekends. Find your staples and you will find success in daily healthy eating!
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