“Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”
I always loved that line from Animal House. And when it comes to being an athlete, fat and slow is no way to go through life, either. But the truth is, fat happens.
I know very few people who have stayed consistently lean and in shape from their teens all the way into the 40s and 50s. At some point priorities shift and life gets in the way and you pile on some serious pounds. Hopefully those pounds are a tradeoff for something positive, like taking a big step forward in your career or spending more time raising wonderful children or taking care of your parents. I refuse to chastise or shame people for being out of shape or gaining weight, because you never know the decision making behind their current scenario. Instead, my goal is to help people get back into shape once they decide to recommit to training. So, when inGamba founder Joao Correia explained his situation to me and his plan to make turn his comeback into the #fitbyspring campaign anyone can participate in, I was all in.
Joao’s history in cycling reads like a fairy tale. He was a high-level amateur in the 1990s in Portugal but largely gave up cycling to come to the US and go to college. He ended up in the publishing industry and rose through the ranks to be the associate publisher of Bicycling Magazine. He decided to return to racing, 25 kilograms heavier than before college, and progressed all the way to the European professional ranks with Cervelo Test Team in 2010.
Not unlike CTS, inGamba started by leveraging Joao’s knowledge and network within the cycling community, and not unlike me Joao spent a lot less time on the bike as the business started to grow. Fast forward 4 years and Joao has gained about 20 kilograms. Now it’s time to get him back into fighting shape! We’re not aiming for his pro race weight, but a more sustainable and reasonable full-time weight of about 75 kilograms. Taking off about 10 kilograms and regaining some fitness will go a long way to reconnecting Joao with his identity as a cyclist.
Here are the biggest changes we’re going to make in Joao’s life, and if you have gained some weight, lost some fitness, and spent some time focused on other priorities these are the same changes you can make to get back in the game.