Monday, December 1, 2014

I Rode My Bicycle 100 Miles! - My First Century Ride

I grew up riding a bicycle. It's probably the one thing that kept my weight somewhat in check before I started high school. Once I became an adult and too heavy to ride a bike anymore, I would hear about these century rides.

"I could never do that," I would tell myself.  "That's for skinny people."

Well, I am here to tell you: I did it. I am now a skinny person. I rode 100 miles on Thanksgiving Day, 2014.  Here was the route:



100 miles, straight up U.S. 52.  For those of you that don't live in South Carolina, that is a 4-lane highway.

For the first 60 miles or so, from Moncks Corner to Lake City, I experienced a strong headwind. At times, I was pedaling uphill, into the wind at about 5 miles an hour. By the time I stopped and took a break, my energy was gone and I thought about quitting.

But then the little voice in my head started talking to me:  There is no giving up.  Quitting is unacceptable. You've ridden 60 miles, You will ride the other 40 today. There will be no disappointment.  You will follow through on this ride.  Nothing stands in the way. 

And with that, I wolfed down another 1,000 calories and got back on the bike and resumed pedaling.  I had not eaten enough on the ride up to that point, so miles 60-80 were absolutely brutal.  But I kept riding and stopped a few times to eat.  I took another break at the 80 mile point, Florence, SC.  Again, I thought about quitting.  But then I thought back to all those times I had struggled.  Like the time I finished a 10K race at over 400 pounds and I thought my knees were going to explode.



This is nothing. You've got this.  Get back on the bike and finish the ride.  

I got back in the saddle and pedaled like my life depended on it.  And I made it.  Here is a picture of me at the finish, at the 100 mile point about 7 miles north of Darlington, SC:


The bike is a custom-made Ritchey Road Logic, generously made available to me by a friend (and follower of this blog,) Dr. Clint Harshaw.



So there it is...my first century ride!  I am not a prideful person, but on this one...I earned it.  I rode 100 miles.  My next challenge?  To do it again and do it faster.  How about a double-century ride? Anybody in the Charleston, SC area up for a ride?  Drop me a line.

Don't ever let anyone tell you that you cannot do something.  They're wrong, you can do it.  Go out there.  Make it happen.  Eliminate all the negativity from your life and chase your dreams.  Go get the life you deserve.  Don't wait another second.  






Sunday, November 23, 2014

Arctic Zero - My Review

In the 4 1/2 years I have spent losing nearly 400 pounds and keeping it off through diet and exercise (no pills, no surgery, no diets,) there are many foods I have stopped eating.  One of those is ice cream.  Oh sure, I could eat ice cream.  Measure the calories and put it in my food journal and so forth.  But what good is 1 serving of ice cream? 1/2 cup? Who eats that? I would just want more and more.  So I gave up and just figured I would never have ice cream again.

My friends, I have discovered the best thing since ice cream.  It is a product called Arctic Zero and if you haven't tried it, you are cheating yourself.  This is the answer to the prayers of those watching their calories everywhere.  The best part?  Go ahead...eat the whole pint! It is only 150 calories for the whole thing.  That's right...only 150 calories.  Really hungry? Eat 2 pints.  My record in one day is 4 pints.  That's right, I have eaten an entire 1/2 gallon of Arctic Zero in a day.

Other benefits of Arctic Zero:

  • Fat Free
  • Lactose Intolerant Friendly
  • Gluten Free
  • Natural flavors do not contain MSG or HVP
  • Low glycemic
  • Sweetened with organic cane sugar and monk fruit
  • 8g of fiber per pint! 
  • Low in calories (150 calories per pint)
  • High in protein (12 grams per pint)
  • GMO free
  • Kosher



There are 10 flavors of Arctic Zero and I have tried them all.  First, before you run out and buy Arctic Zero, you need to know a few things about it.  It is very important to set your expectations about what it is and what it is not.

  • Arctic Zero is not ice creamArctic Zero is only 150 calories per pint, which is about a third of the calories of sugar-free, fat-free frozen yogurt.  Arctic Zero tastes more like a frozen protein shake, or ice milk.  Don't go into this expecting Ben and Jerry's or Haagen Dazs.  Nor should you...it's only 150 FREAKING CALORIES!
  • You can not eat it right out of the freezer.  The name of the game with Arctic Zero is texture, texture, texture.  For it to be right, it needs to sit and soften at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes (depending on how hard it was frozen and the temperature of the room.)  What I do when I buy Arctic Zero at Whole Foods is microwave it for 30 seconds.  This produces the same effect.  It's all about the texture and you want your Arctic Zero to be as creamy as possible. 
Also, when shopping for Arctic Zero, keep in mind these tips for best results:
  • Check the freshness date.  You want the "Enjoy By" date on your Arctic Zero to be more than a year away.  If it isn't, put that Arctic Zero back.  It's too old. 
  • Check for evidence of "temperature abuse."  If the Arctic Zero has been thawed and re-frozen, it is going to not be very good. Squeeze the sides...do you hear a crunching sound?  If so, there is ice inside and you don't want that one.  Is the Arctic Zero covered in ice?  You don't want that either.  And most of all, look under the lip of the lid.  Do you see any melted Arctic Zero seeping out?  If you do, put it back.  It's been temperature abused. 
Now that we have that out of the way, let's get on with the review.  As I said before, there are 10 flavors of Arctic Zero, all available in pints.  (Arctic Zero also makes 85-calorie, chocolate-dipped bars.  Those are not available in my area and are not part of this review.)  By the way, did I mention these pints are 150 calories for THE WHOLE THING?  Just want to get that in there.  My review Arctic Zero arrived the other day, shipped from California to South Carolina packed in dry ice.  The Arctic Zero was frozen hard as a rock when it arrived.




If you are unable to get Arctic Zero where you live, don't have any reservations about ordering it online from either ArcticZero.com or Amazon.  It will arrive safe and sound.

Here's a rundown of the flavors, along with my review:

Cookies and Cream - This contains neither cookies nor cream, but it is my favorite.  It is the creamiest of them all.  Cookies and cream Arctic Zero has a light cocoa and vanilla flavor.  It is delicious and it is my favorite.  It's also widely available at Walmart. 
Vanilla Maple - This one is really good too.  It almost has a slight butter pecan flavor to it.  It's in my top 5. 
Coconut- Sort of a vanilla ice cream with a light coconut flavor with little bits of coconut in it. 
Sea Salt Caramel - A light caramel flavored Arctic Zero. 
Orange Cream - One of my new favorites.  You know what Orange Cream Arctic Zero tastes like?  An orange Push-Up.  Remember those?  Delicious. 
Mint Chocolate - Another one of my favorites.  It tastes like Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies.  Also available at Walmart and easily found. 
Peanut Butter Chocolate - This one is an acquired taste.  Because Arctic Zero is really pushing the limits of reality with the 150 calorie limit, this has somewhat of a peanut butter taste to it. 
Coffee - I do not like coffee, but right now, this is one of my most favorite Arctic Zero flavors.  This tastes completely out of this world to me.  It's like I am cheating when I am eating this.  Like I'm really eating 1,000 calories instead of 150.  A very creamy Arctic Zero with a light coffee flavor. 
Chocolate - This is also in the top 3.  What does it taste like?  A Wendy's Frosty.  But you have to let the chocolate melt before you eat it.  Get it really soft and creamy. 
Strawberry - The Strawberry is good, but keep in mind the 150 calorie limit.  It is not an intense Strawberry flavor. 

So, to recap, here are my top 5:
1.) Cookies and Cream
2.) Coffee
3.) Chocolate
4.) Vanilla Maple
5.) Orange Cream

I also have my own homemade Arctic Zero flavor: Neapolitan.  That's right, you take the Vanilla Maple, Chocolate and Strawberry and combine them.  How about it, Arctic Zero?  Make a neapolitan flavor! 
Me at Whole Foods assembling my "Neapolitan" Arctic Zero

There are dissenting voices on the Internet questioning whether or not the 150 calorie claim on Arctic Zero is actually honest.  I am here to tell you it is.  How do I know?  Because I track my calories carefully and I have eaten so much Arctic Zero that if it was off by very much, I would have gained weight.  Arctic Zero has also had their product tested at independent laboratories and found the Nutrition Facts label to be correct.  I believe them and you should too.


The bottom line:
In the past 3 months, I have eaten probably 100 pints of Arctic Zero in all the flavors.  It is a delicious, almost sinful frozen dessert.  It has allowed me to eat an ice cream-like product without eating hundreds of calories in fat and sugar.  More people need to know about this product. 


Product: Arctic Zero Frozen Dessert
More information: Arctic Zero Online 
Cost: $4 to $5 a pint
Availability: Walmart, Whole Foods, check their online locator for other stores in your area
Rating: 5 stars out of 5!



Bryan Ganey is the author of Impossible: How I lost nearly 400 pounds without surgery, available in print and e-book from Amazon.com.  You can find his blog at BryanGaney.com.  He lives in Charleston, SC.  You can find him on Facebook and Twitter. Watch his videos covering his journey on YouTube

Stop Hating On Bananas

Bananas get a bad rap.
For some reason, it has become popular to criticize the banana as being high in sugar and high in calories. Yes, bananas do have a higher calorie and higher sugar content than some fruits. But let's not lose our minds here. Bananas are delicious and nutritious. I have had people warn me that bananas were going to make me fat. To illustrate how this is pure nonsense, I have made the following graphic to compare the poor banana with common junk food millions of people eat on a daily basis. Enjoy. Feel free to share this with your family and friends!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Training For My Century Ride: Hitting the 72 mile mark

Today I continued to train for my first Century Ride (riding 100 miles on a bicycle.) I was able to achieve 72 miles before I ran out of daylight.

As I was being driven back home after I stopped, It all hit me. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that 5 years ago when I weighed almost 600 pounds that I would one day ride my bicycle 72 miles in a single day.

No matter what anyone tells you, you can do anything you put your mind to.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Powerful Success Story: Scott

























Starting weight: 356 Pounds
Current weight: 232 Pounds
Total weight loss (124 Pounds)
How long it took: 1 Year (365 days)

What I like about your book:


Tons of stuff. The idea that you need to eat and eat a lot to be successful. That helped because I know I have a huge appetite and was scared on how I was going to satisfy it. You said find every fruit and vegetable you like and eat them all and eat a lot of them. That was a big help as I did do that and it worked great. The idea of only weighing yourself once a month. It’s a great idea. I couldn’t imagine weighing myself every day. I would never want too. But I look forward to it once a month. I think everyone should do it that way. The importance of drinking a lot of water every day. This was hard at first as I was just not used to drinking that much water. But, again, it works. It keeps you filled up much more than you realize.

The main thing I took away from your book when I read it was that it was not going to be easy but it IS possible. And, I was going to do it. I was not going to look back. I was just going to stay on the same path. The thing I love the most about the book is there is no bullsh*t in it. It’s facts. The book destroys the "diet" industry and proves what a scam it is. Most people don’t want to hear the truth but that is what this book is. It’s 100% true, whether people like it or not.


What motivated me specifically:
  
These quotes did:
"I had a thought. When my parents brought me home from the hospital a newborn baby. I weighed 6 pounds and 10 ounces. Now they were taking me back to the hospital, 37 years later, and I weighed over 500 pounds. Boy, I really screwed up. What had I done? I have been given a good life and I wasted it."
"Is the food really worth it?"
"If it’s not forever, it’s not worth doing."
"I don’t care what anyone thinks."
"I don’t believe people are really ever "fat and happy," but they can be content."
"Losing weight" is a short-term goal that will not last by itself."
"I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but when it comes to sustained weight loss, there is no secret. It’s long, it’s hard, it’s a lot of work. Sometimes I don’t want to do the exercise.  People, it’s hard."
"The only thing that makes you lose weight is taking in less energy that you put out.  It’s an earth-shattering concept that works every time it is applied."

 All of those quotes struck a chord with me.



 What keeps me going:
  
What keeps me going? I just know I’m not going back to what I was. I know I’m staying on the path I’m on. Every time I think about not exercising or going through the drive-through on my way home from somewhere, I think about being at a crossroads. One sign says "death" and the other says "life." Which road would you take? Simple answer. That helps me. But when people ask what my motivation is, I really don’t know what to tell them. I just tell them I made a decision and I’m not going back. It’s that simple.


Things that people trying to lose weight can learn from me:
  
All I can tell anyone reading this who is overweight and unhappy is you can change your life. Believe me, if I read this 2 years ago, I would have rolled my eyes and eaten another Twinkie. But, it’s the truth. You just have to make a decision. You have to decide that you are changing and not going back.  I think people make the mistake of saying I need to lose a set number of pounds. I don’t agree with that. You need to look at it as I need to change for the rest of my life (and start doing it) and then the pounds will start coming off. I’m living proof of it. I was never on a diet in my life. I never exercised, ever. But, I made a decision one year ago and a year later I am 124 pounds lighter. That’s the proof that cannot be denied.


CONGRATULATIONS, SCOTT! Have a success story? Send me an e-mail, along with a before/after picture. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Review: The CHS Revolution indoor cycling studio in Charleston, SC

Tired of the same boring workout on the treadmill or the elliptical at the gym? Well read on, my friends. 

I had the pleasure today of visiting the CHS Revolution indoor cycling studio in downtown Charleston, SC.  I was contacted by their fantastic PR person Demi Bean and asked to bring my friends to try out their studio and write a review.  This is my review.  



The studio is in a new building, located at 441 Meeting Street. My biggest concern when I got there was where on Earth I was going to park.  This is downtown Charleston, after all.  But my concerns were immediately alleviated when I was told I could park for free at the Bi-Lo grocery store next door.  This is a huge advantage for this studio because parking is always a problem downtown.  It's also a good arrangement for Bi-Lo (more on that later.)

The facility is very clean and new and I was greeted at the desk by the front door by a courteous, welcoming and smiling staff.  It sort of felt like being in an Apple Store. Very fresh interior, very well-designed.  I got signed in and was assigned a bike to work out.  They're numbered.  We had a group of less than 10, but I could imagine this numbering system is crucial in a full class.

You don't need to bring cycling shoes, as they are provided.  The facility also has a very state-of-the-art locker area and you don't need a lock. The lockers all have digital keypads on them.  A very nice touch.

I was introduced to Katie, our instructor for our workout.  Katie was upbeat and positive and an all-around fun person. This is exactly what you want for a spin instructor.

Only this isn't your garden variety spin class. Not by a long shot.

My group was 8 people strong, including my friends, myself, Demi and Katie.  We were all set.  They took us into the workout room where all the spin bikes were.  Katie took her place up on the platform in front of the room with her headset and tablet, which appeared to control the music and lights. It's all very state-of-the-art.  Katie explained how everything worked and Demi helped me set the height on my spin bike. We were off and running.

Once the music started and the workout began, it became clear that I was going to sweat - a lot.  You want a full body workout? This is it.  Katie had us speed up, slow down, increase the resistance using the knob on the bike ("a quarter turn!") Stand up.  Sit down.  Katie worked us hard and I loved it.

Then she had us do push-ups of sorts on the bikes as we were pedaling.  I love this.  Make it harder! The 45 minutes went by in a flash and then, near the end, something I loved: resistance training.  They had 2 small weights (5 pounds maybe?) sitting on the bike to use.  You can get an incredible workout lifting small weights repeatedly and Katie worked us out good.

The whole workout was a real rush. In addition to revving up your metabolism, you're getting an intense cardio workout as well as arms, legs and upper body. I've never sweat so much during a workout in my life.

So what does it cost?
So the big question is this: how much does it cost to join? CHS Revolution has a breakdown of their pricing online.  I was very happy to see all the pricing is without contracts.  You also just sign up online using a Mastercard, Visa or Amex.  A lot of health clubs are very high-pressure and I was glad to see CHS Revolution doesn't operate this way.

They offer two kinds of sessions: The 45-minute "Rev Ride" and the 60-minute "Revival Ride," which is only held on Saturdays.  The Rev Rides are $20 each, with the Revival Ride coming in at $23. You can buy the rides in packs of 5, 10 or 20.  Student pricing is available at a discount.

The real deal I think is the $99 for unlimited rides the first month.  This is a great way to try out the studio with minimal investment and learn how the classes work.

My workout group





The bottom line
If you are looking for an intense, full-body workout, look no further.  If you live in downtown Charleston, look no further.  This is the absolutely perfect solution to a boring workout.  Even if you live further out like I do, perhaps grabbing the once-a-week Saturday ride is an idea.

The pricing is reasonable, the facility is fantastic and the people are great!  I could see them almost holding a beginner class to explain how it all works with the adjustments, the bike and the movements.  I've been to spin classes before, but not one like this. But Katie did a great job explaining everything and keeping us on track.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

How to go: 
CHS Revolution Indoor Cycling Studio
441 Meeting Street Suite A (link opens Google Maps)
Phone 843-737-5330
e-mail info@ride-rev.com
Website for information and to join http://www.ride-rev.com
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But back to Bi-Lo for a minute....
When I got done with the workout at CHS Revolution, I was STARVING.  So I figured you know what? Bi-Lo provided me with parking while I was working out, I will go in there and buy lunch.  And so that I did. Perfect post-workout lunch!







Sunday, August 17, 2014