Since I’ve been about 14 years old, I’ve been an entrepreneur. I started mowing lawn, shoveling driveways and painting houses. I bought a freaking office desk with my own money when I was 16 – ok I admit it that’s a bit weird. I started writing software, in Pascal, on an Apple II+ in 1978. I earned every penny to put myself through UMass/Amherst. I became that legendary startup guy that worked 80+ hours.
Along the way, I lost track of the importance of eating right and exercising. I was very aware of all the advice about taking care of yourself for all the right reasons. I just never spent the time. Until I was about 30, I completely got away with it – 5’9″ and 145 lbs – no matter what. Then, 155 as soon as I turned 30, like it came in my birthday present – no big deal, 10 lbs. As they say, onward and upward – working the long hours and on my way to 205 lbs by 50. I wasn’t sleeping well, I spent several 3 to 4 days stints nursing a horrible back problem and my productivity was lower than years gone by. I got really tired of feeling terrible and dragging ass all the time.
Starting in March, 2014 – no particular event or occasion – I started eating more reasonably, no crazy diet just smaller portions and better choices. I also started going to the gym for an hour a day. It was a big struggle to find an hour a day – how pathetic is that. It was super boring too – headphones on an elliptical machine for a half hour and a half hour on some Nautilus equipment. There were some strange mental wrestling matches about an hour a day, but in general, I stayed on track. I lost the easy 15 lbs in the first 3 or four months and I started riding my bicycle in July of 2014. The bicycle was far more interesting than the gym, so the rest of last summer was bit easier. I still wasn’t convinced that I was committed, so I stuck with my 1985 Centurion LeMans RS 12 speed bicycle – that’s right, the 30 year old bike. I used MapMyRide on my cellphone and my dashboard tells me that I rode about 600 miles that summer. I went back to the boring gym over this past year’s record setting New England winter and weighted in at 170 lbs in March of 2015.
Being the geeky, data guy – I got a Garmin 810 GPS for my biking this summer. It is awesome – it measures my heart rate, cycle cadence, power and mashes it up into a map overlay giving me all kinds of information about how I’m riding compared to previous rides and other cyclist in the area. It also can track my ride live, so my wife can find out where I am along the ride. I started riding in March, it was routinely 35 degrees and there wasn’t much daylight to squeeze in the rides. My goal is to ride the same crappy bike 3000 miles before the cycling season ends – which is probably mid-November. I’ve ridden approximately 2800 miles so far and here is some more data – 120 rides, 170 hours, 160,000 Calories burned with an average heart rate of 85% of the max. Still 5′,9″ but now 155 lbs which is a loss of 50 lbs in the past 18 months.
So 170 hours was the hardest part, I’m still the crazy busy startup guy with a family and several other obligations and activities. During these rides, I get to think about many things – a huge benefit to get away, uninterrupted. I’ve thought about making this investment, not only for myself but for family, friend and my business. I’ve done the math on the time against my typical work week and I believe I’ve cut my hours by approximately 10% over this past cycle season. I’m certain that I’m in a totally better situation – I sleep far better, I have zero back issues, I enjoyed snowboarding all last winter, I’m awake and alert all day and far more productive throughout the entire day. I’m certain that I’ve got far more than a 10% return on this time, not to mention the other benefits. I’m not looking forward to going back to gym, I might try compu-cycling and use my rowing machine.
In any case, I’m thrilled that something happened and I changed my situation – it was worth it.