When He Found Cycling, He Loved It So Much He Became an Instructor

Age: 40
Hometown: Pensacola, Florida
Occupation: Active Duty Military, Cycling Instructor and Studio Manager at Cyclebar Pensacola
Time Cycling: 2.5 Years in Pensacola, and on and off cycling in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Start Weight: 294 pounds
End Weight: 234 pounds
Reason for Cycling: I hate running but need cardio in my life. This has always been my go-to exercise.

My weight has always been up and down throughout my life. I have always been active, but I around 2018, my workout habits lapsed, and—in my own terms—I blew up. I tried to get my weight under control, but nothing I did seemed to really affect it in any way.

There were a lot of contributing factors to my weight gain. I was taking a new medicine, and my testosterone was low. Overall, I was unhappy with my body. I had a Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) test done, which included a body scan. That body scan showed that I had the body of a 44-year-old man, but I was only 38. I had to do something, so I started working out again, but it just wasn’t the “right” thing.

One day when I was grocery shopping, I saw a sign that said ‘coming soon’ in the window of a CycleBar in Pensacola, Florida. I immediately looked it up and learned they were having an event that weekend. So, I signed up as a founding member for the new studio. I had cycled before, but nothing like this. I started cycling at Cyclebar in February 2019 when I was at my biggest—294 pounds.

Prior to this, I couldn’t even walk up the stairs without breathing heavily. So when I started cycling, I couldn’t even make it through the first song without stopping to gasp for air. I felt like I was going to pass out. It was hard, but I knew I needed to keep going back, because I loved the workout.

I pushed myself so much that I actually ended up overtraining. I was riding five to six days a week, and I wasn’t fueling my body the way I should have been for that amount of training. Plus, I was very overweight and really needed to let my body recover properly, which I didn’t allow myself to do.

But eventually, my body adjusted, and I became stronger. I had no idea the number of doors this place would open for me. Now, I’m an instructor, teaching regularly about three to four days a week, sometimes more if I need to sub in for someone or sometimes less if I need a break.

Rusty’s Must-Have Gear

Lululemon License to Train shorts — I think quality is important when it comes to cycling, and I love their shorts with the built-in liners. It’s like killing two birds with one stone.

Lumen — Welcome to your new best friend for hacking your own body. Interfaces with MyFitnessPal and my Apple Watch.

Specialized cycling shoes — If you are a cyclist and ride often, you must own your own pair of cycling shoes. These are my favorite.

Leorever compression gear — The best compression gear I own.

My diet also changed. I started tracking what I was putting into my body using MyFitnessPal, and my husband bought me something called Lumen, which hacked my metabolism and helped me get on track. It has been a game changer, and I love it.

Before I started cycling, I literally felt like a nobody; now, I feel like I became a somebody. To go from 294 pounds to 234 pounds was just profound. I was a size 45” waist, and now I am a 35/36”. I have changed mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. There was plenty of frustration, tears, and anger as I asked myself, “WHY did I let this happen to myself? Why didn’t I do more when I could?” And you want to know what I learned? All that matters is doing something about it when I could, making a goal and sticking to it.

I feel like I encourage people to do more and to be more. Every one of us has our own journey to self-discovery. Many people think, I can’t do this. I have learned to despise the phrase, ‘I can’t.’ I have heard every excuse—I don’t have time, I don’t have the motivation, I don’t have my ‘why.’ Finding the why is the hardest part. Once you find that, you are locked and loaded, and ready to change.

In total, I have lost 60 and gained a few pounds back, but I seem to find that I stay around 245 pounds comfortably with no extra effort. It took me just shy of two years to get to this weight, my way and the healthy way. I didn’t do any quick or specific diet—just lots of hard work. Find the thing you like and just do it. I never imagined the day I stepped foot in CycleBar that I would become a manager and an instructor for this amazing brand.

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