I cycled or ran for 365 consecutive days on Peloton - This is what I learned

January 5, 2022

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Update: If you are curious on what rides I took in 2021 and deeper analytics, you can view my year in review here!

Welcome to 2022. Even though the world is not in the best of shape, I certainly have improved in that area of my life. It’s been an incredible journey of cycling or running for 365 straight days, and one that I never thought would be possible to achieve. However, before we get into that journey, it’s important to understand the context on how this journey started.

2021 started out really rough for me. I was burned out mentally and physically out of shape and it didn’t get any better due to my departure from a company that I founded, Untappd, after 10 years. The company was my first baby, I poured my heart into it and didn’t pay attention to my health or my personal happiness. I was overweight, stressed and just out of breath when I even walked up my stairs. It was even hard to play with my kids, and run after them. I knew that I needed to change, but struggled to find motivation to start.

On January 1st, 2021 around 5pm that night, I was laying on a chair in our bonus room when I noticed the Peloton in the corner. My wife had gotten it back in late 2016, and used it quite frequently. I tried it a few times, but it never stuck with me. Lately, I’d seen my friend Chris Betz use it more frequently and other friends, so I decided to hop on and try out a ride. I took a Beginner Ride with Cody Rigsby for 20 minutes.

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After the ride, I decided that I would start a streak, and try to cycle every day for the month of January. I’ve always been a challenge based individual, as previously I challenged myself to take photos for 90 days straight of new locations last summer. I figured this would give me some energy and excitement toward getting fit and taking care of myself. At the end of January, I amassed 192 miles, with over 31 rides (one per day). I felt really accomplished, as this was the most active I had been since I was in my college athletic years.

After completing January’s challenge, I set out to do it again for another month, which turned into 6 months, which turned into the current goal of cycling or running every day for the entire year. With the pandemic, we didn’t go anywhere overnight, so I always had access to the bike. It wasn’t until late July, when I started to pick up running, that I could substitute that with a bike workout when I wasn’t able to have access to the bike (traveling, etc).

Flash forward to the end of the year, I was able to finish up 2021 by taking the same ride that I took back on January first. What a difference! It was quite something seeing all my progress by scoring a total output of 233kj, instead of 76k.

In addition to gaining strength and experience on the bike, when I took up running, something that I literally never did or had any interest in, I worked my way up to running five 5k races and even did a 10k in November.

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When the final tally was in, I rode/ran 6,424 miles in 2021, with close to 900 workouts, spanning over 350 hours (=15 days). I averaged around 600 miles per month, 8 out of the 12 months, which was something I didn’t think was possible to accomplish given my level of fitness.

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All in all, I learned a-lot about myself, how to motivate and keep interested and attain the goals I was looking for in this challenge. To be honest, weight loss was never the primary goal of this exercise. I was looking to revitalize my mind, increase my endurance, and just be healthy. The biggest benefit was on the mental side, where I felt more like myself, more energy and passion to share with my loved ones.

I wanted to share a few things that I learned through this process, to hopefully inspire and educate others in their quest to be healthy in the new year.

Focus on the outcome, not the output

A lot of times people workout to lose weight, and after a short period of time without seeing meaningful results, they quit. For me, the greatest joy of working out was the feeling you got after you stepped off the bike. The mental emotion and endorphins that were generated for me kept with me throughout the day and motivated me to keep getting on the bike. I became addicted to that feeling which was more important to me than actual weight loss. The power of moving your body can lead to incredible things in your life. While you may not drop 50 pounds in one week, you can start to move toward a more healthy lifestyle that will eventually shed those unwanted pounds.

Weight-loss isn’t just about Cardio, it’s about Diet

Many people reading this are probably thinking that I lost a ton of weight, just by biking every day in 2021. That sadly is not true - I did lose about 30 pounds, however, I could have lost a lot more just by changing my diet and eating healthier. The first 10-15 pounds went off pretty easy after about three months of work, but the rest took a lot more time. Don’t go on your fitness journey with the tunnel vision for dropping weight every week, it will make you mad and frustrated at your process. If you start by using exercise as a way to feel good about yourself again, the rest will come.

Working out can be fun, if you apply your passion

For me, I’ve always been into data, analytics and technology, and those things drive my passion. With Peloton, those aspects that I enjoyed gave me the motivation to keep on riding. I got detailed analytics after every ride, I started tracking my metrics deeper and it made me very excited with every ride. Even if you are not into these same themes, find something you are passionate about and apply it in your workouts. Perhaps you enjoy riding to 90s music, or riding while listening to your favorite podcast. Whatever it may be - if you attach a passion to your workouts, it becomes less of a chore and more of something to look forward to.

Set Reasonable Goals, not Year Long Journeys

When I started out, I set a 30 day period to be my goal and didn’t shoot for the moon right at the bat. Give yourself some wins under your belt, it makes sticking to your plan much easier and gives you motivation to continue. Having a large goal that isn’t quite attainable at the start, puts a lot more stress on you to complete your task at hand.

Listen and Learn About Your Body

For the first three months, I felt no exhaustion or pain working out every day. Near the middle of the journey, I started getting really tired by the end of the day as I increased my daily mileage from 9 to 23. I started to throw in low impact rides, which didn’t get me the same mileage, but gave me the ability to continue to work each day at the highest capacity. I’ll admit I was a little OCD about completing this streak, but without taking these “breaks”, I’m not sure I would have made it. Always listen to your body and learn what it needs. Sometimes you may need a break, and that’s OK, your body will respond with an even better workout with proper rest.

Embrace your Support System

With every challenge there are going to highs and lows to your journey. There are going to be days that you feel like you are on the top of the world, and other days that you don’t even want to jump on your bike to workout. Having a great support system to encourage you to keep going, is incredibly helpful to achieving your goals. Don’t push them away when they offer advise or support, embrace them because with people like my family, wife and kids, I’m not sure I would have the energy to keep on moving in my yearly quest.

Get a Professional Bike Fitting!

If you are riding regularly, you will greatly benefit from a virtual bike fitting. I followed the instructions on the bike from day one for my measurements, and I didn’t feel any pain or discomfort. However for the holidays, my wife got me a Virtual Bike Fitting, which changed a lot of my settings. The results were amazing, I crushed 15 personal records in December, including some records that were standing for over 8 months. It’s funny how a small change can really affect your overall results!

As for what’s next for me? I’m going to continue to keep the streak alive, and start training for my first half marathon later this year. Hopefully by the following year, I’ll be ready to try a full marathon, which was my long term goal for getting fit and embracing running. If you got this far, I appreciate you taking the time to read my story, I hope it provided some context and insights for you on how you get can get started controlling your fitness. Onward and upward! 🚀