Humour: How to get rid of unwanted fitness

A three-step plan to pile the pounds back on

After several years on the Nelson Plan, Eddy Merckx was able to shield son Axel from a tailwind.

Like me, I’m sure you’ve worked hard through the Winter, Spring, and Summer getting yourself in peak physical condition. Whether you’ve been working toward excelling at racing, touring, or just want to be able to ride as much as you like, you’ve been true to your goals. You’ve dieted right, trained smart, and now you’re in great condition.


Which leads up to a very important question: now that it’s mid-Autumn, how can you lose this fitness as quickly as possible? After all, you can’t claim drastic gains at the beginning of the year if you don’t start working on your stunning fitness reversal right this instant.

Obviously, you’ve got important questions on your mind. Questions like, how can you gain back that weight? How can you lose the definition in your legs? How can you completely reverse the gains you’ve made in your aerobic capacity? And how can you do all this in the shortest time possible?

I’m here to help. Just follow these three simple techniques.

Technique 1: Coast

The first thing you want to do is tell yourself how important it is not to overtrain and burn yourself out. Your important races for the season are over. so now’s maybe a good time to cut back on your ride intensity, duration, and frequency.

Start avoiding hills, too.

As you ride less, you’ll find that before too long, your body adapts. It’s really quite surprising how quickly it adapts to not going on those hard rides. You’ll notice within just a few weeks that you’re just as tired from a one-hour cruise as you used to be after a two-hour interval workout.

Isn’t it great how efficient your body is?

You’ll find that the weather and daylight patterns are more than happy to oblige as you work on this technique. As the days get lighter later and darker sooner, ask yourself this question: “Is it really necessary for me to go riding when it’s cold and dark outside?”

The answer, just in case you’re not sure, is: “No, it’s not a great idea to go riding when it’s dark and cold. You’d better go for a ride during lunchtime.”

Of course, you know that you won’t go riding during lunchtime, because you’ll be eating lunch — for some strange reason your appetite has increased even as your riding time has decreased. But that’s neither here nor there.

Technique 2: Keep eating like you’re actually training for something

Even though you are riding less, you should by no means start eating less. That would be foolish. Instead, continue to inhale pasta at the same desperate rate as when you were burning 6,000 calories per day. The reasoning goes like this: “Well, when I was eating 2100 calories per day and exercising three hours per day, I was losing about two pounds per week. So if I eat 4000 calories per day and exercise each Saturday for an hour, my weight should about hold steady.”

My math is correct. Trust me.

As long as you’re still eating all that pasta, you ought to mix it up a little. You know, start adding a little cheese. Just enough for flavor. And maybe a little more, for texture.

Why not? It’s not like you don’t have months until the next riding season begins. You should live a little.

Oh, and you know what else goes with pasta? Alfredo sauce. That stuff is delicious.

Humans have a hibernating instinct, just like bears. It’s a scientific fact. Or at least it seems like it should be a scientific fact, because as days get shorter and cooler, all I want to do — and I assume you are the same, or I hate you — is eat and sleep.

It is very important that you do not fight this instinct. Those instincts are put there for a reason. And that reason is: you’ll soon be either sleeping through the Winter or walking across a glacial expanse with occasional penguin meat as your sole source of nutrition.

Okay, maybe not. Still, you never know. Better safe than sorry.

Eat up.

Technique 3: Do it for your family

You know what’s going to happen if you keep eating and training like that? Friends and family are going to stop wanting to hang out with you altogether. They’ve been patient, they’ve been supportive. So, you should tell yourself, it’s time you reward them by going out to eat with them from time to time.

And by “from time to time,” I of course mean “two meals per day, and perhaps making an occasional run for ice cream or beer.”

And by “occasional run,” I of course mean “nightly run.”

Follow these simple techniques, and I guarantee you will lose that unsightly fitness in a surprisingly short time. Less than a third of the time it took you to gain it, usually (at least, that’s how it always goes for me).

Before you know it, you’ll be back in your Winter pants — the ones that are two sizes larger than what you’ve been wearing during the Summer.

You know, the ones you swore you’d never need again.


Elden Nelson blogs as the Fat Cyclist, where he gives practical, helpful advice like this on a daily basis.