Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The New Business Casual - Bike Shorts with Style!

He just wasn’t a spandex kind of guy.

A former cyclist in his trimmer, fitter days, Don never fancied himself to be a spandex-wearing guy. There was just no way could he bring himself to wear those shiny, tight-fitting shorts that bind above the knee. Now that he had over 160 Lbs. of excess weight to lose, it was absolutely out of the question for him to even consider. If wearing those shorts was a requirement, he would surely have to pass on the bicycling altogether. 

Style made the difference.
During the initial interview regarding his upcoming 30-day commitment at my fitness residence, I quickly realized that Don needed to get started with his first pair of BigMan Outlaw Bullet Mountain Bike Shorts by Aerotech Design Cyclewear. These shorts are a loose-fitting cargo style with roomy pockets and longer length.  The elastic waist with adjustable buckles and side waist stretch gusset guaranteed a good fit even after he lost over 25 Lbs. during his stay at my live-in weight loss residence. Over the 30 days of fitness, cycling remained a daily activity along with weight lifting and interval training.

Compare the ride.
His first day in residence started with a break-in ride without padded shorts. Of course, this strategy is a sure way to see the difference in cycling comfort once the shorts are introduced. The next ride was a longer one so I encouraged him to try out the cargo style padded shorts. He was impressed with the style and comfort even before the ride.

Over 200 miles in his first 30 days.
Don logged his 200th mile during the final ride before weigh in.  Mountain biking became his favorite recreational fitness activity. Getting saddle sore was no longer a challenge as his riding progressed and his weight dropped.

Style that he now calls “business casual.”
From the very first ride, Don had an entirely different impression about wearing padded bike shorts. The new style suited him so well that he could wear them on and off the bike. He says he sometimes wears them to work now and even felt comfortable wearing them in a business meeting.

Of course, that always opens the possibility of getting in a good ride. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Big Bike Shorts- Bigger Benefits for Men

Cycling is a linear movement pattern, i.e. the same repetitious action done without variation. This can cause friction between the legs and against the cycle seat if proper bike shorts aren't worn. 

For men, the big bonus is that cycle shorts also serve as an athletic supporter.

Return Venous Circulation Improved

Similar to compression stockings, the effect of bike shorts reduces muscle fatigue and soft tissue inflammation. Additionally, there is a special effect of aiding in the return venous blood flow from the lower extremities to improve overall circulation.

Extreme Morbidly Obese Cyclist
Benefits Weigh Heavily

Nowadays, moisture-wicking fabric keeps the cyclist cool and dry by enabling evaporation. Padded cycle shorts cushion delicate areas against pressure and body weight to provide comfort during cycling activity. All of these benefits weigh heavily in favor of cycling with proper shorts, particularly padded bike shorts.

Big Reasons for Big Shorts

The heavier the cyclist, the more imperative bike shorts become as standard apparel. Excess size means excess friction, perspiration, and seat pressure. Overweight people need cycling in any fitness program for weight loss whether indoor or outdoor cycling.

Reluctant Men Swear By Cycling Shorts

Men who are new to cycling can be reluctant to wear tight bike shorts. However, the snug fit and flexible fabric is what makes bike shorts effective for all the reasons stated. After trying a pair for just one big ride, even the most reluctant man can easily opt in for padded bike shorts.

Author’s Note: At my fitness and weight loss residence, I routinely deal with the most reluctant newcomers to cycling—the overweight. Once worn, Big Man’s Padded Bike Shorts resolve all arguments! 

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Number One Reason for Big Man’s Bike Shorts

Big Man's Bike Shorts and Plus Size Women's Cyclewear Prove Essential

Never mind that these top of the line bike shorts contain moisture-wicking antibacterial material, and that fabric compression improves blood flow, increases circulation and reduces muscle soreness.

 The number one reason that cyclists choose to ride with padded shorts is to prevent chafing.  If you have ever gotten “saddle sore” then you can relate. Once those delicate areas become raw and tender they are further irritated by your every move.  Compound that with the additional problem of inner thigh friction from being overweight.

Without compression fabric for anti-friction or padding for easing pressure, cycling would be intolerable for bigger people.

For most of us this makes perfect sense while some may still consider padded bike shorts optional. However, for an obese or morbidly obese person wearing protective padding is essential to the quality of bicycling enjoyment.  As a weight loss camp operator, my success hinges on enabling a positive experience for the fitness and weight loss client during each and every activity session.  That is why I insist on providing the best padded cycling shorts for big men and womenhttp://www.debrastefan.com/product/big-man-classic-padded-5x-bike-shorts/ seeking weight loss through fitness. Success begins with being properly attired.

At Debra Stefan Fitness and Weight Loss Residence, clients stay for one to four months at a time. During this time they undergo a full schedule of daily activities in pursuit of fitness and weight loss goals. Cycling is at the top of the agenda. Single speed cruisers, mountain bikes, even industrial tricycles are used for a variety of conditioning progressions in a number of outdoor locations. Classified as a non-weight bearing fitness activity, cycling can be done even when you think you are too tired or too sore to do anything else. Low intensity riding or high intensity, continuity is the key to optimal results. Cycling lays the cornerstone of our daily schedule.

Cross-training with a variety of non-weight bearing exercise is essential for continued fitness and weight loss progress and exercise adherence. Weight-bearing activities such as walking, running, and hiking can cause joint stress, inflammation and setbacks in training. When weight-bearing or impact exercise is simply not an option, cycling becomes the most effective approach. Being properly attired before either indoor or outdoor cycling is preliminary.

All it takes is one incident of negligence to render rawness that makes mere walking a painful endeavor. This presents a two-fold concern. One is that of friction and the other is that of pressure.Compression fabric protects the inner thighs from rubbing or abrading the skin during movement.  Body weight pressure onto the small area of the bike seat takes time to build enough tissue density to withstand long bouts of pressure. Allow enough time for your body to become accustomed to this pressure.  Especially in the beginning, it will be vital to avoid too much too soon. 

The best advice for anyone involved in cycling activity is to wear padded bike shorts at all times.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

DIY: How to Give Your Frame a New Paint Job

Many of us have inherited, found, or otherwise come across a used frame that could use an upgrade or, at the very least, a minor touch up. Refinishing a frame may seem like a daunting and involved task that eats up more time than you'd like it to, but depending on the project it may not be as taxing as you'd think and the steps are pretty basic so don't sweat it.

The steps below will outline the steps needed to prep your frame and then you can choose one of two options: while finishing the paint job yourself is rewarding, getting the bike professionally powder coated is never a bad idea for a truly professional look.

Here's what our bike looks like before...

...and after...

What You'll Need
Protective gloves
Drop cloths
Paint stripper
"Throw away" grade paint brush to apply the paint stripper
Steel wool and/or wire brush and/or sandpaper and spray bottle (for wet sanding)
Clean shop rags or towels
Rope and/or coat hanger
Masking tape
Paint (automotive lacquer or professional powder coating)
Clear, protective top coat (or have this step done professionally)

#1: Start Fresh
To begin, you need to strip down your bike to the bare essentials, which basically means just the frame. No cables, brakes, etc. Things like the bottom bracket and cranks can be left on if you don't have the tools to remove them but you just want to be very careful later so they don't get in the way. Also, you can remove any head badges at this step if you plan on replacing them or swapping them out during the rebuild.

After using masking tape to cover up things like the bottom bracket cavity, applying a strong, high quality paint stripper from your local home improvement store will usually take the majority of the paint off pretty easily. Be sure to create a clean, ventilated work area with enough space to move around. A drop cloth is never a bad idea either. Neither are gloves.

Follow the instructions on the paint stripper, but usually it will start working within a few minutes and you can start to see the paint bubbling up. Feel free to go at it with some steel wool or a wire brush to get the tough spots because you want to get it absolutely clean; no paint and primer left anywhere, especially around any welded joints, etc.

After some quality elbow grease it should start to look like this:

And then after the scrubbing:

Eventually you'll start to see something like this:

Old frames may require some additional work like using some naval jelly to work out any pitted or surface rust spots:

#2: Prep For Paint
At this point, you can either take your bike to get it professionally powder coated at an auto shop or you can go it alone. To continue working on it yourself, you'll need to prep the frame for primer and then paint.

A good degreaser (not the same kind used on your drivetrain) will go a long way to clean and prep the frame for primer. This step is important because if the primer doesn't adhere properly then every paint layer after that will suffer.

Follow the instructions on the degreaser and be sure to use clean towels and don't touch the frame with your bare hands afterwards so that the oils from your hands don't contaminate it. Again, gloves are your friend.

#3: Apply the Primer
The can will instruct you how to best apply the primer. You will want to be sure to apply in light even coats to get the best results. Rather than using a bike stand which requires you to clamp part of the frame to the stand, rigging up a coat hanger or rope looped through the head tube can allow you to suspend the frame. This way, the whole frame is accessible at once and you can easily move around it as you apply the primer.

Be sure to use masking tape again to cover up any metal lugs or components that are still exposed. You only want to get primer on the frame.

#4: Paint Time
Now comes the fun part. Paint and top coat. I used automotive lacquer from Advance Auto Parts and it comes in a rattle can very similar to spray paint. It's a little more serious than spray paint, but it operates in much the same way.

If you're feeling creative you can use some more masking tape and stencils to section off the frame into different colored areas. If you're working with big sections of the frame at once, you can use masking tape and newspaper to cover up the part of the frame that you don't want errant paint spray to reach.

Get creative with it. After all, one of the perks (and one of the reasons why you're probably doing this) is that you get the chance to create a fully custom frame unlike anything that's available in your local bike shop, online, or...anywhere.

Keeping with the "original" theme, why not throw in some special design features that only you know about? Things like your signature or a defining logo in hidden spots on the frame will make it that much more of a truly custom job. I hid a little design on the top portion of the fork, for example. Once this is greased up and the bike is assembled, no one will ever see this again unless it's taken apart so this little feature is just between you and the bike.

Once all of your paint coats are finished, it is time to add a clear protective top coat in the same way. There's different ones out there so try to find the most durable one that you can. When you buy the automotive-grade lacquer you will most likely see cans of clear top coat nearby. You can apply this in a few coats, according to the manufacturer's instructions. I ended up applying about 3 coats of this stuff just to be safe, but keep in mind that a bike with no scratches has no character and isn't really any fun. After all, who wants to be worried all of the time about leaning his bike against a bike rack, riding in the rain, or beating the frame up a bit over the years?

#5: Put the Frame Together and Hit the Road!
Whether you do this step yourself or take it to a shop, make sure that it's done right by a mechanic that you trust. An improperly built bike doesn't do any favors for you as well as fellow riders, drivers, and pedestrians who share the road with you. Do it right the first time because, after all, you already spent so much time to work on the frame.

A few little tips include using a product like Frame Saver for steel frames before you begin assembly (tip courtesy of Evan, Aero Tech Designs' Creative Director). They say products like this go a long way to preserve your frame and what's the risk in spending a couple bucks now to save yourself a lot more in the future? That is, assuming that you plan on riding this setup for a while.

Another little trick to keep water, crud, and other undesirables away from the moving parts of your bottom bracket involves a small piece of cut plastic from your recycle bin. Once you get the sizing down to allow enough horizontal room between the fixed and removable cups of your bottom bracket, you can roll the plastic piece into a tube a place it inside before assembling the bottom bracket. This will help to keep unwanted elements from finding their way into the seat tube, down tube, chainstays, etc. and making their way down to the bottom bracket, bearings, and lubrication.

Also, simple organizational things like this box that I use help you to store spare parts that you plan on reusing during assembly. This especially comes in handy if the timeline from dismantling to rebuilding is longer than a week or so. Cell phone pictures of the process doesn't hurt either.

Thanks for reading and drop us a line if you have any questions.

Ride safe and often.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What's in Your Gym Bag?

With a busy schedule packed full of family and work responsibilities, just getting to the gym can seem like a workout.  Use this checklist to organize your gym bag, and take the hassle out of the workout. 
1. Develop a Routine:  Packing your gym bag should become part of your daily routine. When you pick out your clothes for the following day, take a moment to grab your workout gear too!  If pack your gym bag before you go to bed, you have to worry about it in the morning. 

2. The Essentials:  Be sure to include the basics: shorts or pants, a comfortable top (synthetics are best, as cotton absorbs the sweat), socks, undergarments, and athletic shoes. 

3. Toiletries:  Consider purchasing a travel bag to organize your personal hygiene products in your gym bag.  Travel size shampoo, body wash, face wash, deodorant and other toiletries should all be present in your gym bag.  Add a towel, shower sandals, and a change of clothes and you are can hit the showers before the ride home.  

4.  Water Bottle: This item could easily be number one.  Hydrating while working out is essential to your health and performance. Consider purchasing a BPA free plastic or stainless steel water bottle to cut down on the number of plastic bottles that get tossed into the trash each day. 

5.  Workout Journal: You should be keeping track of your workouts as you advance towards your fitness and health goals.  Record the exercise you perform, the sets, reps, and weights used so you can evaluate your progress and change your workouts up to avoid reaching a plateau.  

6. Mp3 Player: Studies have shown that listening to upbeat music can boost your performance when exercising.  If you need a little motivation or are just looking to zone, a playlist of your favorite songs is just what the trainer ordered. 
6a. Headphones: If you do not have an Mp3 player or prefer not to download music, come ready with your headphones.  Nowadays, most gyms feature cardiovascular equipment with televisions and audio input.  You can plug your headphones in and watch your favorite show while you workout.  

7. Healthy Snack (or two):  Don’t let low energy levels keep you from getting a workout in.  Stocking your gym bag with healthy snacks like fruit or trail mix can provide you with the nourishment you need before or after a workout.  

By: Joe Vennare 
Aero Tech Designs Sponsored Triathlete

Joe Vennare is a successful entrepreneur and accomplished fitness professional. As the co-founder of www.thehybridathlete.com, Joe spends each day doing what he loves; working with highly ambitious, goal oriented individuals as they define and achieve their fitness goals. As co-creator of Kettlebell Cardio, www.kettlebellcardio.org, Joe presents instructional workshops for this nationally recognized fitness program and instructor certification.
In addition to his professional pursuits, Joe is also a sponsored endurance athlete competing in triathlon, ultra-marathon, and adventure racing. Joe's motivation to train and compete in endurance sports is fueled by a desire to test his physical abilities and mental toughness.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Healthy Eating for Everyone

The first step towards improving your nutrition is to start eating real food.  By real food I mean food that is fresh, local when possible, comes out of the ground, off of a tree, or from an animal.  Real food is perishable; it does not come out of a box or bag. The fewer ingredients listed on the label, the better. 

What should I eat?
Simply put, your diet should be based on lean animal protein, fresh vegetables, (green/leafy and colorful) some fruit, nuts and seeds, limited starch, and no added sugar.  

When and how much?
You have probably heard that you have to eat 6 meals spread throughout the day.  While smaller meals and snacks are best, there is no scientific evidence that shows eating more than 3 meals per day has an impact on the metabolism or fat burning.  With that said, there are studies that show a negative impact on the metabolism if you are not eating at least 3 meals per day. 
I suggest 3 meals during the day, with 1-2 snacks depending on hunger and activity level.  Try not to go more than 4 hours without eating to keep your insulin from spiking and crashing.  Your meals should feature a protein source, healthy fat, and vegetable or fruit.  Snacks can be vegetables, fruit, nut/seeds, or a combination of your choosing.  

What to avoid?
Stay away from added sugars, artificial flavors and sweetener, and processed carbohydrates.  The most obvious examples include candy, soda, chips, rice, bread, and pasta.  These high glycemic carbohydrates cause the blood sugar to rise rapidly during digestion resulting in the storage of fat and insulin sensitivity.  

Do not drink your calories.  Drink water, brewed tea, and black coffee.  Hold the mayo, be weary of the salad dressing, and don’t add salt. 
Truthfully, it is that simple.  Follow these basic guidelines and you will see a change in your body composition, energy levels, and overall well-being. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Burst Training. What you need to know

Make a Breakthrough with Burst Training
If your current fitness routine is not producing results, it may be time to change up your workout.  Your slow, long distance runs and hour long weight training program may be a waste of your time.   

The Problem:
If your typical workout takes you from machine to machine performing 8-15 repetitions of any given exercise, you might be working up a sweat, but you are not challenging your body enough to burn fat and build lean muscle. 

The Fix:
Apply burst training to any weight training and cardiovascular workout.  You can even combine weight training and cardiovascular exercises together into one burst training circuit. 

What is Burst Training?
Burst training uses short duration, high intensity efforts, followed by brief periods of recovery to maximize fat burning potential and significantly shorten the length of your workout.  Similar to interval training, burst training involves exercising at 90-100% of your maximum effort for 30-60 seconds, then briefly allowing your body to recover.   
To design your own burst training workout, pair basic movements together with minimal rest for a high intensity burst followed by a brief recovery period (typically 30-90 seconds), then repeat. 
Cardiovascular exercises can include fast jogging or sprinting on a treadmill, stepper, or recumbent bike.  You can also perform jumping jacks, jump rope, or execute squat thrusts. 

Weight training movements might include chest press, shoulder press, kettlebell swings, dumbbell curl and press, push-ups, weighted or un-weighted squats, pull-downs, or leg press.

Try this basic burst training workout, and then use it as a template for future workouts.

Jumping Jacks 60 seconds  
Rest 30 seconds
Dumbbell Biceps Curl and Press 60 seconds
Rest 30 seconds
Treadmill Run 60 seconds
Rest 30 seconds
Jump Squats 60 seconds
Rest 30 seconds
Lateral Pull Downs 60 seconds
Rest 30 seconds
Pushups 60 seconds
Rest 30 seconds
Weighted Squats 60 seconds
Rest 30 seconds
Mountain Climbers 60 seconds
Rest 30 seconds

Repeat 3-5 times