MNCYCLIST's SparkPeople Blog MNCYCLIST's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Strength Training and Metabolism Today is Day 12 of the "30 Day Plateau-Busting Challenge" and the subject is strength training, and more specifically, adding variety thereto. For me, I'm just getting back into shape and it's important for the long-term that I not do too much too soon, and additionally, at this time of year I mainly focus on cycling and preparing for an annual 5-day, 300-mile bike ride for Multiple Sclerosis. <BR> <BR> Point being, I can't give too much attention to strength training right now, but I can d... Wed, 4 May 2016 23:12:50 EST Fiber- and Water-Rich Foods Suppress Hunger Today is Day 11 of the "30 Day Plateau-Busting Challenge" and the subject of the day is battling the constant feeling of hunger by adding fiber- and water-rich foods to our diets. As I looked at the list of foods that are high in fiber, I'm doing pretty well in that regard although I think I'll add more black beans to the diet in some way or other. <BR> <BR> And as for water-rich foods, I already eat 3-5 servings of fruit per day but plan to work watermelon and cucumbers back into the diet.... Tue, 3 May 2016 07:57:10 EST New Cardio Ideas - What Are Your Favorites? Today is Day 10 of the "30 Day Plateau-Busting Challenge" and the subject is shaking up our cardio habits. My primary cardio exercises are the elliptical machine and treadmill in the gym and cycling and walking out of the gym. I'd love to find five more cardio exercises that I like to work in at least once per month from here on, so I have a question for you...other than what I listed, what are your favorites? <BR> <BR> Thanks and God bless! Mon, 2 May 2016 07:22:18 EST Paying Attention to Nutrients Today is Day 9 of the "30 Day Plateau-Busting Challenge" and the assignment of the day is to ensure that we're taking in the right nutrients in the right ranges. My diet is already pretty well balanced, but I'm going to take this day as a challenge to read my daily nutrition reports more carefully and to notice where my nutritional levels are regularly too high or too low. I look forward to this, and to learning more about particular nutrients and how they work. <BR> <BR> The human body is ... Sun, 1 May 2016 19:58:28 EST Exercise Excuse Busters - What Are Yours? Today is Day 8 of the "30 Day Plateau-Busting Challenge" and the subject of the day is exercise excuse busters. They recommend commiting to and scheduling at least 10 minutes of exercise every day for the rest of the challenge but since I've already worked exercise back into my daily habits (including intentional rest days), I'm choosing to focus this day instead on collecting a list of excuse busters for those days on which I almost go looking for an excuse not to exercise. Here are my top f... Sat, 30 Apr 2016 14:58:09 EST Week One is Done Today is Day 7 of the "30 Day Plateau-Busting Challenge" and the task of the day is to assess how things are going and either to make adjustments or to celebrate. For me, it's definitely time to celebrate because, first and foremost, the challenge has helped me to be more disciplined about several important things and to focus on, and take joy in, pursuing a healthy lifestyle. <BR> <BR> Second, I have begun to lose weight again. This week I've had two days wherein the scale went down two po... Fri, 29 Apr 2016 03:23:34 EST Making Sure the Numbers Are Accurate Today is Day 6 of the "30 Day Plateau-Busting Challenge" and the subject is ensuring that our food, fitness, and weight goals are correct. The point of today is that as our weight shifts, our calorie-range also shifts and one reason people plateau is that they do not properly track their weight in SP or wherever. <BR> <BR> So, I took a few minutes this morning to ensure that all my numbers are correct and indeed they are. The key now will be to remember to adjust them as time goes on and we... Thu, 28 Apr 2016 08:55:17 EST Changing Up the Workout Routine Today is day 5 of the "30 Day Plateau-Busting Challenge" and the subject is changing up our workout routines. As you probably know, the body, amazing creation that it is, adapts to exercise and learns to handle it more efficiently, that is, it burns less calories for the same exercise as it gets used to that exercise. So, one way to ramp up the calorie burn in our exercise time is to mix things in that our body is not used to. <BR> <BR> Since I'm just getting back in the flow of a healthy d... Wed, 27 Apr 2016 09:35:29 EST Portion Distortion Today is Day 4 of the "30-Day Plateau-Busting Challenge" and the subject is portion distortion. The point of the challenge today is to pay very careful attention to the calories I'm taking in because, they say, it's common to measure cals carefully in the beginning but then to slip into "eye-balling" things and unknowingly taking in more than we think. <BR> <BR> I was most taken by this sentence: "Weighing, measuring and tracking your food is your best weapon for weight loss." we... Tue, 26 Apr 2016 09:21:25 EST The 30-Day Plateau-Busting Challenge Having finished the "Realistic Resolutions Challenge" last week, I decided to take the "30-Day Plateau-Busting Challenge." Today is day 3, and the following is my assignment: <BR> <BR> "For something so small, the scale sure can hold a lot of power. In any weight-loss plan, it is important to remember, though, that the scale is not the sole indicator of success. The road to weight loss is lined with many smaller victories, and recognizing and celebrating those victories is key in continuing... Mon, 25 Apr 2016 18:26:19 EST I have a blog I have a blog. This is an entry in my blog. Have a good day! Sun, 24 Apr 2016 20:58:19 EST Two Great Bike Rides in a Row Well, I'm still way overweight and way out of shape, but my body is starting to respond to 31 straight days of eating well and exercising at least a little bit and sometimes a lot a bit. My average speeds have been embarrassingly slow and I'm still a little bummed to be excited about what I'm about to report, but to heck with that...I'm going to celebrate! Previously my fastest average speeds on 10-12 mile rides was a little over 13 mph but yesterday I took a 15-mile ride on a hilly course an... Sat, 23 Apr 2016 20:28:51 EST Finished the "Realistic Resolutions Challenge" I finished the "Realistic Resolutions Challenge" today and I'm feeling good! Now I plan to find another challenge for the next month and I look forward to the process and outcome. Any suggestions? <BR> <BR> Hope you all have a great day. Fri, 22 Apr 2016 08:53:39 EST Today's Agenda Today's agenda: <BR> <BR> 1. Seed the yard <BR> 2. Do some house work <BR> 3. Go shopping <BR> 4. Get some work-work done <BR> 5. Go for an evening bike ride <BR> <BR> All in all, I'm really looking forward to this day! Thu, 21 Apr 2016 09:20:07 EST Never, Ever Quit <img src=""> Wed, 20 Apr 2016 23:41:34 EST Going to Try to Get on the Bike Today It's going to be a rainy day in Minneapolis. I'm hoping to take a bike ride in the late afternoon but I also need to go visit with a family whose elderly mother is dying. The visit is much more important than the bike ride but if the weather cooperates I should be able to do both! I sure hope so, because I love being on my bike. <BR> <BR> <em>332</em> <BR> (they really need to get a "guy on a road bike" emoticon!) <BR> <BR> So, off I go to embrace the day for the glory of Christ! <BR... Tue, 19 Apr 2016 06:38:22 EST Suddenly the Leaves Appear Spring has finally sprung in Minnesota (Minneapolis area). We lived in a wooded neighborhood and yesterday I noticed that leaves have suddenly appeared everywhere. I love this time of year for many reasons, the most of which is the sign of new life it offers. it's springtime in Minnesota and it's a new springtime for healthy living as well. Mon, 18 Apr 2016 08:37:51 EST Daddy-Daughter Time Today Our daughter is 21, close to 22, years old. When she was about three, I asked a friend of mine what turned out to be a life-shaping question. My friend Deborah was an only child of a pastor, and I was training to be a pastor and had only one child. So I asked, "Do you have any advice for me." <BR> <BR> She began to cry. When she was able to speak, she simply said, "I always wished I could capture my dad's attention the way church did." Wow. <BR> <BR> I decided right there on the spot that... Fri, 15 Apr 2016 08:27:15 EST A Small Victory Very hard, long, stressful day today - and I stayed almost perfectly disciplined with regard to food and drink...woo hoo! Fri, 15 Apr 2016 00:11:47 EST Thanksgiving <img src=""> Wed, 13 Apr 2016 05:53:46 EST Trusting the Unknown to God <img src=""> Tue, 12 Apr 2016 07:29:21 EST True Character <img src=""> Mon, 11 Apr 2016 09:27:45 EST Love One Another <img src=""> Sat, 9 Apr 2016 08:28:52 EST Love Them Super-Foods To help get myself back on track, I'm taking the Realistic Resolutions Challenge. Today is Day 16 and it's about super foods. One of the suggested articles is entitled "Over 100 Super Foods for a Super You" and it contains a very helpful chart of foods by category: vegetables, fruits, proteins, calcium-rich foods, grains, and miscellaneous. I highly recommend the article, and I encourage you to join me in trying some new "super-foods" today! Fri, 8 Apr 2016 10:01:52 EST Tired but pressing on I've been changing my habits in recent days for the better and that's a good thing, but the new exercise regimen is leaving me exhausted. I might be doing too much too soon, but one way or the other I feel like a ran into a wall today. I can deal with being tired but the problem is that I want so much to eat a bunch of junk today. Nevertheless, I will make better choices than that today, I will eat well, I will go for a walk later in the day, I will press on! Thu, 7 Apr 2016 08:44:38 EST Great Bike Ride Yesterday; Taking Another Today Yesterday I wrote about the weather and how I was whining about it. Well, I pushed through the whining, put several layers of clothes on top and bottom, and headed out to ride for an hour in 38 degree weather with 15-20 mph SE winds. It's was kind of chilly, but with all of my layers it really wasn't that bac and once I got going I thoroughly enjoyed myself. <BR> <BR> So I'm going for it again today. It's slightly warmer today, around 42 degrees, but the wind is a little stronger and now ou... Wed, 6 Apr 2016 12:56:03 EST Out with Whining, In with Thanksgiving I'm a California boy living in Minnesota. I actually like having four complete and distinct seasons, and I actually enjoy winter. <BR> <BR> That is, until this time of year! <BR> <BR> It's now April and still chilly, stormy, windy, etc. I'm determined to be outside and enjoy being on my bike, but I must admit that I have to play mind games with myself and say that it's not that bad or that I enjoy it. In truth, it's a pain in the neck, it's mildly depressing, and I don't enjoy it at all. ... Tue, 5 Apr 2016 11:03:13 EST Day Off Today I'm tired. Physically and emotionally tired. Nothing big, just life, but I'm tired. But praise God, today is my day off and I get to rest all day long! So I plan to do a bunch of nothing, to eat well, and to plan for the week's meals and exercise. <BR> <BR> I'm grateful for today and hoping you have a good one, too! Mon, 4 Apr 2016 09:02:03 EST Down Seven Pounds I really let myself get heavy again, but today was my official weigh-in day and since deciding to get back on track a few weeks ago I've already lost 7 pounds! Those initial pounds always come off easy and I know that I have some harder days ahead as far as weight loss goes, but no matter, my true focus is living a healthy lifestyle and not weight loss. Weight is one indicator that I'm living in a better way but there are other indicators. <BR> <BR> But having said feels great to ... Sun, 3 Apr 2016 07:26:49 EST We ARE Motivated - Even When We Think We're Not One of the articles I read today was by Coach Dean. The subject was building long-term, healthy habits and he made three major points. The first is the one that really captured my attention today and it was simply this: "Never Tell Yourself, 'I'm not Motivated." Here's part of what he went on to say about it: <BR> <BR> "That’s not the real problem, unless you really don’t want to lose weight or live a healthy lifestyle. As long as you do want these things, you have all the motivation you ne... Sat, 2 Apr 2016 13:22:38 EST Down Four Pounds I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I let myself get heavy again and, unfortunately, reached the highest weight of my life. After losing 40 pounds seven years ago and keeping it off for a number of years, this was depressing. <BR> <BR> But on the other hand, it is what it is and I cannot make yesterday's decisions again. A week or so ago I finally began to turn the boat around and pursue a healthy lifestyle again. I'm working very hard to focus on that rather than weight loss but I must... Fri, 1 Apr 2016 07:56:14 EST Pursuing Health is a Journey of Faith <img src=""> Thu, 31 Mar 2016 08:35:28 EST Rainy Day I've really enjoyed the warmth over the last two days...but it's Minnesota! So today is mid-40s and rainy. It feels pretty chilly to me, but at the same time, I'm actually enjoying this rainy day and hoping the old saying will come true--April (and March) showers brings May flowers. <BR> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 14:25:22 EST Great Bike Ride Yesterday It was finally nice out yesterday, mid-50s with clear skies and slight wind. So I took a 27.5 mile bike ride to a local coffee shop and back. The route is pretty hilly and I'm very out of shape, so I just took it slow and enjoyed the day. And I really enjoyed the day! Surprisingly, I don't feel very tired or sore this morning, and since it's going to be in the mid-60s today I think I'll go out for another ride, albeit on a flatter route. <BR> <BR> Hope you all have a great day! Tue, 29 Mar 2016 08:53:55 EST 27.5 Mile Bike Ride Today By Minnesota standards, it's going to be a very nice day. Clear skies, mid-50s, slight it's off for a 27.5 mile bike ride to a local coffee shop and back. I'm way out of shape so this ride, though it would normally be just another ride, will be challenging. But it's my day off, I have little else to do, so I'll just take my time and enjoy myself. <BR> <BR> Hope you all have a good day! Mon, 28 Mar 2016 08:54:47 EST Pics from our Dog Park It's early in the year in Minnesota and things are looking drab, but for now here are a few pics of our new dog park. I look forward to seeing it transform over the next several months! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img sr... Sun, 27 Mar 2016 20:40:41 EST Quotes on Perseverance - An Indispensable Quality This morning I read an SP article that highlighted the issue of perseverance. It begins with the following quotes which moved me so much that I wanted to preserve them here on my blog. What do you think? Other favorite quotes? <BR> <BR> "Fall seven times, get up eight." - Japanese Proverb <BR> <BR> "Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish." - John Quincy Adams <BR> <BR> "The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man p... Sat, 26 Mar 2016 09:21:34 EST Feeling Yucky; Going to Ride Anyway I've been struggling with a cold for the last few days, and, I feel horrible. But it's slated to be 50 degrees in the Minneapolis area today and there's simply no way I can stay off my bike! So I plan to wait until it warms up and then hit the road around 2 p.m. Hopefully I'll feel better and less dizzy by then. Either way, I'm going! <BR> <BR> Hope you all have a great day today! Fri, 25 Mar 2016 08:21:09 EST Going for a Walk at the Dog Park We recently moved to Saint Michael, MN, not far from where we previously lived. Although we had seen it before, the other day we decided to explore the local off-leash dog park and we absolutely loved it. It's huge. It runs along the Saint Croix River. It's a mixture of open and wooded trails. It's used but never too busy. <BR> <BR> So, after lunch I'm going to head over there with my dog and complete the first workout of the Couch Potato to 5k program. I'm eager to go, and soon enough I'll... Thu, 24 Mar 2016 13:30:03 EST Heading to Chicago this Week <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Besides serving as the Pastor for Preaching and Vision at Glory of Christ Fellowship in Elk River, Minnesota, I'm also a doctoral student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL on the north side of Chicago). The particular degree I'm earning requires me to take three classes per year for which I mainly prepare at home (read 2500 pages of material and write one or more papers)... Sun, 19 Jul 2015 00:39:25 EST 22 Mile Cadence Ride Today As I shared a while back, I've changed my training plan for the year and it's going well. Today I did a 22-mile bike ride focusing on cadence. The workout is straight-forward but, for me, quite a bit of fun. I warm up for 5-10 minutes and then pick up my cadence to 90-95 for one minute followed by one minute of recovery, then two minutes followed by two minutes of recovery, and then three, four, and five minute intervals. <BR> <BR> It takes me about 40 minutes or so to get through a whole s... Fri, 17 Jul 2015 15:23:31 EST The Re-Newed Training Plan As I shared yesterday, I've decided to delay my ride to Duluth and back so that I can increase fitness, speed on the bike, and joy in riding. So here's my simple training plan for the next few months: <BR> <BR> Mondays: OFF <BR> Tuesdays: Gym (upper and core) <BR> Wednesdays: Cadence workout on the bike <BR> Thursdays: Gym (upper and core) <BR> Fridays: Speed Endurance workout on the bike <BR> Saturdays: Gym (upper and core) <BR> Sundays: Recovery ride <BR> <BR> Again, the plan is simpl... Wed, 8 Jul 2015 10:24:28 EST Duluth and Back or Bust - Important Update Over the last few months I have been working toward the goal of riding my bike from the northwest Twin Cities to Duluth in one day (about 150 miles) and then back in one day after a couple days of rest. But as my training has progressed I've decided to delay the trip - not cancel it but delay it - for the following reasons. <BR> <BR> 1. Over the last year or so I've been very undisciplined with exercise and thus I've lost my previous level of fitness. Although I've trained well over the las... Tue, 7 Jul 2015 10:33:39 EST 80.0 Mile Ride Around Stillwater, MN Last week I enjoyed a great ride in the Stillwater MN area from the Wild River State Park down to the city, up to the Gateway Trail, back to Stillwater and then up to a little town called Marine on Saint Croix. I really enjoyed the day but there was a lot more climbing than I've been doing, and so the ride kind of took it out of me. But again, it was such a beautiful day and I really, really enjoyed this ride. At one point, my sweetheart joined me for a 24 mile loop which was a major added bl... Mon, 29 Jun 2015 22:06:03 EST The Cannon Valley Trail - 85.5 Mile Bike Ride Yesterday I had the privilege of taking an 85.5 mile bike ride. It was a bit of a surprise because the weather has been unfavorable and it was supposed to rain all day. But like today, it ended up being beautiful and frankly just shy of perfect for cycling (see more pics at <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I set out from camp just south of Red Wing, Minnesota and took the back cou... Sat, 6 Jun 2015 16:56:22 EST 75.5 Mile Endurance Ride...And then Another 36.1 Mile Ride! It was a perfect day, and a great ride. My aim was to ride the majority of the Root River Trail and thus put in about 85 miles for the day as part of my training for the crazy ride, Duluth and Back or Bust--2 Days, 150 per day, 300 miles total. <BR> <BR> So I set out from La Crescent, MN where I'm camping right now and headed out to Lanesboro. The drive alone was beautiful, stunning at times, and soon enough I reached one of my favorite cities in MN. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.... Thu, 28 May 2015 20:16:51 EST 65.3 Mile Endurance Ride Last week was Week 9 of my training plan for the crazy ride "Duluth and Back or Bust!" The plan is to ride from my house to Duluth in one day (150 miles), rest for 1-2 days, and then ride back in one day for a total of 300 miles in two days on the bike. <BR> <BR> I'm on sabbatical in southeast Minnesota right now, and I so I took a few smaller rides here and there and then went to the gym four times. But my main training ride, which I took on Thursday, was a 65.3 mile loop from Winona and b... Mon, 25 May 2015 16:02:04 EST 63.1 Mile Endurance Ride Today <img src=""> <BR> It was a bit chilly, 55 degrees and cloudy, but it looked to be a nice day for a 60+ mile bike ride. My friends Craig, Kevin and Jim were set to come over at 9:30 a.m. so that we could hit the road by 10:00 but they arrived a bit early, so we left a bit early! <BR> <BR> The wind was out of the NW at 10-15 mph which was perfect since we were traveling to the SE, and from the outset we could tell that it was helping an... Fri, 8 May 2015 23:01:27 EST 50 Mile Endurance Ride Took another step today toward my goal of "Duluth and Back or Bust!" The week of training has been good, including my rest and eating patterns, so I was more ready for the longer ride today than I was last week. I set a nice, steady pace going out, and came into the 23.5 mile rest stop feeling good and ready to finish the second half of the ride. The next rest stop was about 16 miles away, a real nice spot by the Mississippi River, and I felt very good on this section and rode best at this t... Thu, 30 Apr 2015 18:57:11 EST 45 Mile Endurance Ride Today It was a bit chilly today, about 55 degrees, but the wind was fairly still and the sun was shining bright. So I set out for a 45 mile ride on a very lumpy course. The first half or so went pretty well, but I went out way too fast and got somewhat fatigued around the half way point. I was still able to roll along at a decent pace but I couldn't really push, especially on the climbs. This caused my body to cool down and I had a very hard time keeping my muscles warm enough to keep a good cadenc... Thu, 23 Apr 2015 21:59:58 EST