Biking Weight Loss – Megan S. Barto

Age: 42
Hometown: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Occupation: Performance manager for Cox Automotive
Time cycling: I got my first adult racing bike in 2013
Takeoff weight: 180 pounds
Final weight: 151 pounds
Reason for cycling: I’ve been an athlete all my life. usually participate in team sports. My dad and I used to ride bikes together, but when the team sports ended, I remembered his love for cycling. The rest is that adventure!

I ate out a lot almost every night. I had a hectic job with long hours and no time to cook. But when you eat out you don’t know what ingredients are being used. Oil? Lots of it. Processed Food? The whole time.

At the time, I owned a 2014 Trek Lexa SL (a 10-speed with Tiagra components). It was black and pink and I thought it was the coolest. I loved the feeling of sitting on two wheels on my own. I would take a long drive of about 30 miles on a Saturday morning and eat and drink the rest of the day. I wasn’t fast on my bike, but I dreamed about it – I wanted to get back in shape.

My turning point came in October 2019 when I was 39 years old. I was going to a work conference and when I looked in the mirror I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I then looked at the pictures of myself on my bike. I didn’t like who I saw and I realized I had to change something. I was almost 40 years old and wanted to live a healthier life for my daughter. Most people say they will give up their lives for their children, but how many are willing to live healthier lives for their children?

First, I switched my diet to mainly plant-based foods. I still eat salmon (omega-3s for victory!) And still use butter and cheese sparingly. But for the most part, I eat plants in their natural form. There are so many different ways to make a potato interesting, and it’s that simple. I wish I had known how to cook like this when I was busy and eating out all the time. I always thought that cooking had to be a big production that I never had time for. Most nights my dinners are ready in 15 minutes. Or I stop cooking the rice, do a workout, and come back an hour later when it’s done.

When I started racing in 2019, I improved my training even further. I have a Garmin Edge 520 to track my journeys. To train, I used some plans from Training Peaks. And now my History YouTube watch is filled with Dylan Johnson, Global Cycling Network, and Cam Nicholls. As for my bikes, I currently love my Chapter 2 Sky + Blue.

Megan’s must-have bike gear

JUNK Brands headband

As well as being one of my favorite items, this headband is also one of the most important ones. Difficult to see the road with your hair flying!

Bar Fly 4 Prime 7075 aluminum bracket

Bar Fly 4 Prime 7075 aluminum bracket

I love the various mounting options that come with this mount and it keeps my Garmin secure. I have one on each of my bikes!

Hammer Nutrition HEED Sport Energy Drink

Hammer Nutrition HEED Sport Energy Drink

Heed is high in electrolytes and carbohydrates to get me through more than 60 miles of road trip. I’ve tried several other brands and nothing works for me as well as Heed.

Garmin Varia RTL515

Garmin Varia RTL515

The Varia is a rear radar that doubles as a taillight and can be seen from over a mile away. If you are on the road and don’t have one, I highly recommend picking one up.

In January 2020 I joined a local cycling club, Blue Mountain Velo. I made friends who were focused on the same goals as me – having fun on my bike and leading the healthiest possible life. We have several trips a week for all speed levels. Saturdays are typically more than 50 miles at more than 17 mph. Tuesdays are a fun 35 mile outing around town, and Thursdays are dedicated to new driver development and helping members learn to drive in a group.

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Cycling turned from a hobby into a passion. Over the past two years it has given me some of the most significant and important relationships of my life. I have a few races on my calendar for 2021 – my goal is to do my best.

I lost nearly 30 pounds in a year and four months. I have more muscle definition and energy than ever before. Most of all, I’m happier than ever. Losing weight and getting healthier with cycling was a stepping stone into the best time of my life so far. Cycling for weight loss is not about looking better (although that sure helps). It’s about being a healthier person. Join a local organization or club and make new friends. Just ride a bike.

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