#pcos, Bicycle Tour

The Real Reason Why The Bicycle Tour Didn’t Happen This Year | PCOS

This blog was supposed to go up way back, before we even started with the renovation but I was always just too lazy to get the book out to get the reference part so well here we are, months late.

So honestly last year I had so many bicycle tour blogs it was basically the only thing I wrote about. When I originally decided on the bicycle tour I had no idea what I was walking myself into. It took us some trial and error before we found a tour which was realistic and a training program that we could stick to. And the training was going really well. Till my body was telling me something else entirely. My periods got out of whack and I was gaining weight from just blinking. It was a crazy time where nothing made sense and I felt unsure about everything. I thought hey maybe I’m over training myself so let’s slow it down and then build strength and stamina and go from there. I decided on my 150km three times per month and then 50km the last week of the month. It sounded like a perfect solution but my body wasn’t responding to the training. After being diagnosed with PCOS and doing my research I learned why. This next part is out of my favourite PCOS book, Natural Solutions to PCOS by Marilyn Glenville. (Here is the link — https://www.marilynglenville.com/books/natural-solutions-to-pcos-book/ —)

*Some forms of exercise work better than others. I see many women in the clinic who spend an hour in the gym three times a week and feel they are doing a vigorous workout,  but still can’t shift the excess weight – particularly that around the middle of the body.*

So I don’t want to quote pages of pages on this topic but it comes down to: there is a certain type of exercise that works with women with PCOS. If we want to lose weight we have to build muscle (so strengthening workouts) and our cardio sessions should never succeed over the 30 minutes time mark. Access cardio (so hours and hours of cardio) will do more harm than good. It will be the opposite effect. Instead of losing weight, we will end up gaining weight. It’s just a lot of stress on the body. The last thing I want is to add more stress to my body as stress flares up the really bad PCOS symptoms. I am however not a quitter. It feels wrong to just completely drop on this big goal. It is still something I want to complete but my health is important to me. So after weeks of pondering on a solution I finally thought of something. What if we still do the tour but really break it up. And by break it up I mean three towns a weekend so 30km a day every few months. This way I can still keep my promise and dream to explore the Netherlands with a bicycle without harming my body. And we take the train/car to whatever town we stopped at and slowly but surely complete the tour. Yes it will take us a long time but in the end of the day the job gets done. Sometimes life throws curveballs your way and things doesn’t work out like you thought. But hey you got to make lemonade with lemons and not try to make orange juice. I have no idea if that even makes sense. I just didn’t want to quit just because it won’t work out like we thought it would.

It does solve quite a bit of our problems though. We don’t have to follow an intense training program (so no more stress on my body) and time wise it’s doable. Onno doesn’t need to take any special time off from work. We don’t have to get special bicycles or any supplies. We can make it a fun weekend away. And we don’t have to worry about figuring what to do with Speculoos and Dankie for a month or so. It works out. Instead of quitting, I worked with the problem and found the middle ground.

We will probably only start the extra mini tour next year as we’re really still recovering from the renovations, heck we still have some work that we do every second weekend and we’re not quite done yet for the year. We also have a puppy in the house now and he needs to be a bit older before we can hand him over to day care and go away for a weekend. We really just need some time to recover. We also really need to build our strength, endurance and stamina again and that’s what we’re doing with our workouts at the moment. I can’t tell you when we will start next year or if anything will happen that will cause us to delay the first weekend away but I can tell you that we will do this in the end. Heck maybe we only finish ten years from now but we will do it. I’m not in a rush. It’s kind of nice to have this exciting thing to do every few months to keep us nice and active.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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Bicycle Tour, Fitness Tips, Plain Old Fitness Content

My Fitness Regime For 2018 | Bicycle Tour Update

You know what is really amazing…? How much can change in a short amount of time. Not all change is always good but you always learn and grow from it. Now before I sound too much like a inspiring quote on a bathroom stall I’m just going to get to the point.

There is another slight change in the bicycle tour. If your making a frustrated sigh and thinking: ‘make up your mind woman!’ – then kindly get in line. I was here first. I shouldn’t be too hard on myself though. I have never done something like this before. Obviously I’m not going to know everything straight of the bat. I’m learning. Now surprisingly enough the latest version of the bicycle tour, the mini tour is still the final draft. That’s how we’re going to do it. I figured that part out. The only part that is now a problem is the time I chose: 18th of May till the 3rd of June. Something came up and we will have to postpone the tour with a few months. I can’t really say when we will finally do the tour as I can’t predict the future. How neat would that be? Predicting the future…if you could predict the future what would you do? Let’s say you can only do it once. You can only choose one thing you want to look into and nothing else what would you choose to look into? Would you check lottery numbers? Would you check how Game of Thrones ends? Would you check when and how you die? So many options. I’m getting slightly of topic but I’m still genuinely curious. I’m not even sure what I would want to predict…It’s a thinker all right.

Okay let me just steer this boat in the right direction before I get too off track like hello what type of super power would you want for the day talk…Whoops nearly did it again! But seriously if you could have any super power that you can possibly think off what would it be?

Back on track in 3…2…1

Because I have no idea when we will finally do the tour I’m just going to plan 2018 as if I’m training or preparing for it. So basically what that means I’m going to continue training on the bicycle every week and when we choose the date we will be ready. However I see an opportunity…because we can’t say when we will do the tour we don’t have to be that drastic about our training, no 250km anytime soon. The new plan and I can say that this will be a constant program for as long as possible; is to bicycle 150km a week for three weeks straight and 50km in the fourth week which is our rest week. So our muscles can recover. It’s easy enough right?

Week 1 – 150km

Week 2 – 150km

Week 3 – 150km

Week 4 – 50km

Week 5 – 150km and etc

Maybe in the later weeks 150km will go up to 200km but again can’t be sure. Oh yeah back to the opportunity I was talking about…because our entire lives won’t revolve around JUST bicycling I can finally incorporate proper strengthening workouts. Finally! For now I’m going to start with one arms and abs workout in the 150km week and two to three strengthening workouts (arms, abs, maybe some legs etc) in the 50km  week. Depends on how our bodies feel and how much time they need to recover. REST DAYS ARE IMPORTANT!

Outside bicycle training and incorporating at least one strengthening workout per week I have two other goals fitness wise for the year 2018. I want to complete a 30day yoga challenge somewhere in the year. It was my goal for 2017 and I never got to it so I definitely want to get it done. Somewhere in the year I’m going to switch over to four weeks of 50km a week with one strengthening workout. It will be my rest and recover month. My 30 day yoga month.

My last fitness related goal for 2018 is to complete 5000km in LISS for the year. In 2017 it was 1000km and I proudly ticked that box and far passed it by August. This year I want to step it up. See how far I can go.

What will count:

  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Bicycling
  • Anything where you move forward and…basically cardio. If I by some reason start playing football (soccer) the km I run in the sport will count.

Yeah that’s about it. 2018 IS GOING TO BE AN AMAZING YEAR!! I want to make new goals, learn new things and push my body in new and exciting ways.

 

Bicycle Tour, Fitness Tips

New Bicycle Training Update| Week 1 – 4

Week 1

The first week following our new bicycle training program couldn’t have gone better. The two of  us nailed the brief and the level of accomplishment after we hit our mark will surely motivate us in the next week. This week our goal was 150km and this is how it went:

Cassandra’s Training Journal                 Onno’s Training Journal

Tuesday: 34km                                             Friday: 30km

Wednesday: 16km                                       Saturday: 60km

Saturday: 50km                                            Sunday: 60km

Sunday: 50km

Cassandra’s thoughts:

The idea of freedom turned out to work really well with me. I loved being able to control when I bicycle and for how long. A quick 20 minute workout went from being bleh to yay that’s 16km I didn’t have 20 minutes ago. On Saturday I sat for 110 minutes and pumped out my 50km but on Sunday I split it up in 30 minute sessions mostly because I was hurting from the day before. Over all I think for the next week I’m going to do smaller sessions more often and pace everything out. Just to see how it goes.

Onno’s thoughts:

I really liked this week of new training, there was little pressure to work every day and instead we got to bike when we want. It did end up biting me in the butt a bit near the weekend, because I hadn’t done anything so far… It was relatively easy to catch up, only some small shouting went on during the Sunday training, just definitely next week I want to do one weekday session to make it easier on the weekends.

Week 2

The second week following the new training program I aced it. Onno not so much. The week got away from him and he basically shot himself in the foot and had bicycle his entire 150km over the weekend. It was hilarious to watch. I would like to say he learned his lesson but give it a few seconds of scrolling.

Cassandra’s Training Journal                    Onno’s Training Journal

Thursday: 45km                                              Saturday: 75km

Friday: 35km                                                    Sunday: 75km

Saturday: 40km

Sunday: 30km

Cassandra’s thoughts:

I did quite well this week. I didn’t leave everything for the weekend which is the main goal if I’m honest. Now let’s keep it up for the next week.

Onno’s thoughts:

I’m surprised I survived this weekend. I promised to do a week training but it proved too much with all the other work I had lying around. It’s no excuse I should be able to find 2 hours during the week to do some simple bicycle training, but it’s what happened. I will have to double down on this promise.

Week 3

We made a little oopsie! The week just got away from us and before we could blink it was Sunday and I had 100km left and Onno had 140km. A distance that just won’t be possible to complete in one day so we accepted our fate and will have to make due. Luckily week 4 was our planned rest week but since we only bicycled on in week 3 the two weeks can take each other’s place.

Cassandra’s Training Journal                    Onno’s Training Journal

Tuesday: 50km                                                Friday: 10km

Week 4

Second try is the charm right? So this week I have 100km to cycle and Onno has 140km. It will be critical to finish it sooner than later as week 5 is 200km and you don’t want to screw yourself over my pushing everything to the weekend.

Cassandra’s Training Journal                    Onno’s Training Journal

Thursday: 30km                                              Saturday: 45km

Saturday: 30km                                               Sunday: 21km

Sunday: 40km                                                  73km left

Cassandra’s thoughts:

Damn now this was a week. It was a lot harder to get it done but willpower is a wonderful thing. That and unlike Onno I don’t have any time to ‘catch’ up as you will. If I don’t complete the goal at end the week with –km left…I shoot myself in the foot. Next week is 200km. 200km is quite a distance on its own. I have to stay strong after all I have three weeks ‘off’ in January while I’m in England.

Onno’s thoughts:

These past 2 weeks my head has not been in the game, however with the new year coming up and Cassandra sharing her new year goals it has reignited my own ambition to strive for more as well. It can’t be too hard and it’s a realistic goal, I just have to commit and make it happen.

***

Oh so Onno has 73km left from this week. He has some time while I’m in England to catch up as you will. So while I enjoy a few days on my lonesome with the dogs, Onno has to bicycle 73km. Insert evil laughter.

 

 

Bicycle Tour, Fitness Tips

New Bicycle Training Program

The time has arrived for another bicycle tour update where I change stuff and explain in great detail why. So as you all might know I’ve been trying to figure the entire bicycle tour out as it wasn’t nearly as simple as it seemed to be at first glance. To sum it up, at first I had a big long tour but reality didn’t quite match up with it so I changed it to a mini tour. The last hitch up was the bicycle training itself. Now back when I started to plan everything out I made a training program that fits with that tour but for some reason it never occurred to me that I should update the training schedule to fit the new mini tour. It was also quite clear the way I planned the first training program which was basically a day by day detailed program didn’t work for us. That and I didn’t take any proper rest into account. So I’ve learned from my mistakes and I can now say the new and improved training program is a lot better. Okay so here is the idea of how the new training program works. Basically it’s three weeks of training and then one week rest. I also worked in our holiday in January so I feel like this time around it’s bulletproof. So week 1 is 150km, week 2 is 150km, week 3 is 150km and week 4 is rest.

Week 1 is from the 20th to 26th November and the nice thing about this training program is I get to choose when and how much I bicycle in the week. As long as I just reach my goal for the week. It’s that simple. I got the idea from my new year’s resolutions LISS goal that I already completed might I add. It was basically to complete 1000km in LISS for the year. The reason why it worked was I got to control when and how much I did on any given day so it gave me the sense of freedom. Although freedom is kind of a bad term to use. I don’t like starting a day and having the big thing hang over my head. I want to be able to decide hey today I want to bicycle. That’s about it. So although the finish line is shorter I know it will work because well I like the idea of being in control but still getting the job done. Clearly I don’t do well with following a day by day training program. It’s like my mind just flips it a finger and I wing it and in the end fail.

I’m thinking of doing something similar with my strengthening workouts once I incorporate them again, but that I still need to figure out. It just goes to show that every person is different and what might work for me might not work for someone else and the best thing you can do is adapt to it and make the necessarily changes. I’m very excited to see how this new training program will work and I will do the usual four weeks update. Oh and when I figured out the new training program I also found the perfect time to complete the mini tour.

bicycle route website18th May to 3rd June 2018 and it’s about 850km give or take. There is 10 active bicycle days and the rest is explore days. I’m so pleased with myself. I finally feel like I figured most of the tour out. We still need to physically plan what we do on what day and where we will sleep and all that jazz but that’s something for another day.

 

Bicycle Tour, Fitness Tips

Bicycle Training: Week 13 – 16

4 months. If you walk 4,5 hours every day you will arrive in Moscow, Russia form Amsterdam in 4 months. What an useless fact but I don’t have anything else to say in this introduction paragraph so yay fact! Here is another one. Your hair will grow 4 to 6 centimeters in this time too.

week 13

Week 13 was still a week of excuses but by the end of the week our stationary bicycle arrived and we no longer had any excuses. It was time to sit down and get it done.

Sunday: 20,26km

week 14

This week I slowly eased back into training. I didn’t want to push it too much but at the same time I kept up my speed and my goal was 15km as you can see. The real week will start next week where I will push my limit with the distance.

Monday: 15,42km

Tuesday: 16km

Thursday: 15km

Saturday: 16km

week 15

I was getting somewhere as in I was doing longer sessions but not quite getting all of my sessions in. Getting back on the training program after falling off track is turning out to be quite a struggle and even more so balancing life, studies with all of my bicycle sessions is quite difficult. I just need to get my shit together and just get it done. Stop the excuses and just find a way where it works.

Monday: 28,33km

Thursday: 27,48km

Saturday: 15km

week 16

This week I didn’t climb on the bicycle once. It didn’t even occur to me to even try one session. I was just trying to keep my shit together while my mental state was in a bad place. I’m never going to beat myself up about it. Sometimes stuff happens in my life that sucks and the way I deal with it is just trying to get through a day without falling apart. I just tried to stay afloat and somehow concentrate on my studies. My bicycle training was the last thing on my mind. It’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay not to be perfect. I don’t see this week as a failure week or another week full of excuses why I couldn’t get my training in like the weeks before. I see this week as a bad week where my responsibilities were somewhere else because in the end of the day my mental health is just as important to me as my physical and nutritional health is. Sometimes I can’t balance all three. Maybe one day I will figure it but for now. I’m just going to move on and attempt to do better in week 17.

 

Bicycle Tour, Fitness Tips

Life Outside Bicycle Training

Balancing bicycle training with life has been one of my main problems since the get go. I encounter a problem, solve it and then encounter another problem. It’s frustrating because I just want to find my groove. The struggle to balance life with bicycle training has been a roller coaster ride. As I’m typing this I’m still not sure if we found balance.

I guess I will start off with explaining a few things mainly the problem we’ve encountered. So the main problem is time. Onno has a long work day and sometimes he ends up working late. So he will get home anytime from 18:00 – 19:30. If I know he is working late I make sure to have dinner ready by the time he arrives so we can still eat relatively early. On average we’re finished with dinner by 21:00 the latest. The gym closes at 22:30 and we can’t go immediately after eating dinner because well I get sick to my stomach when I exercises with a stomach full of food. Now the solution seems obvious right? Go after work and eat dinner afterwards. There is two things wrong with that idea. One we need to time our food throughout the day so we can somehow have the energy to bicycle for a hour straight after Onno gets home from work. The main thing with this is even if we try to eat something small around 5pm half way through the workout we’re starving. I’m not even kidding. My stomach growls like hell. The second problem is attached to the first one. By the time we finish and get home we are absolutely starving and the idea to cook and wait for an easy 45 minutes is anything but pleasant. That and we just bicycled for over a hour. The last thing we want to do is cook. So we tend to get junk food because it’s quick and easy. We basically shoot ourselves in the foot. Now  a solution to the dinner problem is that we can meal prep but alas our fridge is beyond tiny and can barely keep enough ingredients for two different dinners. I guess I can cook before we go to the gym but again we’re hungry halfway through the workout.

Another problem is motivation. Due to life being a bit on the busy side for my husband and myself too if I’m honest and the fact that we genuinely struggle to get to the gym. Every day that goes by that we haven’t been able to get our bicycle training in, the worse I feel. There is this pressure to keep it up and just get it done but yet it’s Thursday and we haven’t been able to get it done and then comes the weekend and by now I feel well the week is basically behind us how are we going to get all the kilometers for the week in the weekend? I know this is the wrong way of thinking. EVERY WORKOUT COUNTS. Let me just repeat that not for you but for me.

EVERY WORKOUT COUNTS.

EVERY BICYCLE SESSION COUNTS.

EVERY KILOMETER COUNTS.

Oh I feel a lot better. I’m always my hardest critic. The thing is when we started this bicycle training we did so well. We got so many sessions in every week. The weather was a dream on most days and it didn’t get dark till 11pm. It was a lot easier but somewhere down the line it started to feel like the only thing we’re doing is cycling. Onno gets home, we eat, we bicycle, shower, talk a bit and go to bed. The next day the same thing happens and the weekends comes around. Wake up, errands, couple time, eat, bicycle, shower, eat, couple time, sleep. One day I just snapped. I don’t want the bicycle training to take over our lives. We need to find balance. I’m not sure how we’re going to balance everything out and as I’m writing this now we’re not even close to balance but I have an idea.

So as our main problem is time I figured why not get a stationary bicycle for the house. Onno can bicycle on his own time when his ready after work and now he even has the option before work and I can cycle whenever it works for me throughout the day. It seems like a perfectly good solution. We just need to find a stationary bicycle that will fit inside our apartment and more importantly budget. After some researching and comparing our options we settled on a Tunturi Cardio Fit Bike E35.

stationary bike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Setting up the machine was easy but difficult at the same time. The instructions could have been better but the job still got done. The machine feels quite comfortable to cycle. The seat is wonderful, so soft and the support is good. What is there to say really? It’s comfortable. It will get the job done and it solves our problems. I’m very excited to have my solution in action. For the future I’m going to follow my own advice. I will just take a deep breath and if we have the time or it works out we will go to the gym and if it doesn’t then well that’s just life. I am going to try to get some strengthening workout in just to still get moving. It will be good for me. Everything will fall in place.

Links to connective blog post:

Bicycle training week 11 – 12 — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/10/09/bicycle-training-week-11-12/

Bicycle tour update | mini-tour — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/09/19/bicycle-tour-update-mini-tour/

Challenge: 3000km bicycle tour — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/08/10/challenge-3000km-bicycle-tour/

Bicycle Tour, Fitness Tips

Bicycle Training: Week 11 – 12

So it’s been three months. My oh my does the time fly. I contemplated even writing this blog much less post it online. I will be honest as I’m writing this with only 44 words in I have no idea how this is going to turn out. Maybe I should start with why I’m hesitant. So life has been crazy and well let me just be up front with it – I have a life outside bicycle training. Life sometimes doesn’t make it easy to get out and get my training in. I’m encountering more and more problems. I plan to make a full post about it so expect it literally five minutes after this one goes online.

week 11

Week 11 started of as a promising week but very quickly the same old problems arose. Time. Onno was working late every day of the week and we just couldn’t balance everything.

Monday: 23km

Friday: 21,01km

Saturday: 23,01km

week 12

Oh what to say here…what to say… Okay I’m just going to rip off the band aid and just get to the point. We didn’t get one single bicycle session in. Monday to Friday it was a shared fault of time and a cold and over the weekend it was the motivation. I explain everything in detail in the life outside bicycle training post. Just go there. At this point this post is just the usual two week bicycle training update.

Here is the post I keep referring to: https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/10/09/life-outside-bicycle-training/

This post is ridiculously short so here is a cute picture of a doggie…

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