Over the last several years, Scott Baumer has melted off the pounds with a disciplined exercise regimen that includes competitive cycling. Pilates has helped him take his fitness to the next level.
Blog by Scott [Competitive cyclist, Pilates newcomer, native Hoosier]
In Spring 2004, the end of my first year at the University of Southern Indiana, I weighed 190 pounds at 5’10.” I hardly made an effort to exercise and ate without regard for calories or fat.
When I returned home to Indianapolis that summer, I was frustrated by the way I looked and completely lacked self-confidence. So I decided to lose weight the old-fashioned way: by changing my diet and exercising daily. I had a summer job at a golf course, which helped me to stay active. I also avoided fried foods, focused on portion control and went to the gym for an hour of cardio seven days a week. By the end of the summer, I was down to 165 pounds.
Four summers later — at the urging of my then-girlfriend and her dad — I decided to start cycling. I started riding by myself or with my girlfriend and eventually joined a local cycling group. I ended up riding nearly 2,800 miles in 2009. By 2010, I was riding 5,000 miles per year. Along the way, my weight kept falling, and I settled in around 155 pounds.
By mid-summer 2011, I entered my first race (a criterium in Eagle Creek Park) and was instantly hooked. The following year, I decided to give racing my all. I hired a coach in and began training to improve my fitness and power. By the end of 2012, I had raced 65 times and covered 8,000 miles, upgrading my cycling competitiveness level by several degrees.
While my training regimen was intense, I was focused solely on logging miles on the bicycle and neglected all other aspects of my body. To further improve, I knew I would have to put more effort into strengthening the rest of my body, especially my core and flexibility. This would help to improve my position on the bike and give me additional power. With this plan, I decided to try Pilates at Invoke.
My first trip to Pilates was eye-opening — or perhaps demoralizing is a better way to put it. I considered myself to be in great shape, but that perception changed in my first hour of Pilates. I could barely do half of the exercises. Who would have thought lifting 3 pound weights would be so challenging?
But after getting over the initial shock of how tough this workout was, I embraced it as part of my routine. Adding Pilates to my weekly training has strengthened my entire body, and I’m confident it will improve my results this race season. I welcome and hope to learn from the physical challenge.
It’s good for all of us to push beyond our limits and try new things to stay healthy. After almost a decade-long fitness journey, I’m glad to have discovered Pilates to give me the extra push I need to take my cycling — and overall wellness — to the next level.
Baumer is an accountant and new homeowner in Indianapolis.