Losing to Win
Ben's 6 WEEK CHALLENGE Story
What do you do for a living? I'm a Product Lead at Microsoft for Wunderlist.
When did you begin the 6 week challenge? In August of 2016.
How did you find out about BECYCLE? From two friends. I learned about it first from my friend Izzy, of My Goodness, as I knew she was preparing to open a cafe next-door to a fitness studio. And the other friend of mine ended up seeing the 6 week challenge flyer, took a picture of it and sent it to me. I came in for one class to test it out and signed up for the challenge directly afterwards.
So it must have been quite the class, if you jumped into the challenge straight away? It was. I was in Angel’s ride sitting in the very back. But the energy of the room was still so exhilarating, I had to come back. And since that first class, I prefer the front row.
What was your motivation to take the challenge? To lose weight and be more healthy. I had been going to Holmes Place for 10 years or so, doing cycling there. But there was always a moment where something would come up, I’d drop off my workout routine and stop going so regularly. I would gain weight again. This challenge allowed me to kickstart a healthy routine to lose the necessary weight.
Did you have a specific weight-loss goal? I needed to lose 25 kilos for health reasons primarily, but to also feel better looking on the outside to have more self esteem on the inside. Looking back now and going forward that doesn’t really matter. It’s for good health.
What was the impact of the challenge? Quite big. I have to see results pretty fast or I get bored. That’s what I like about cycle classes. You can see results quick. If you come to three or four classes, you see your first kilo loss, then the second, third and so on. When all said and done with the challenge, I lost about 12-13 kilos. Six months after that I was down about 22 kilos. Around this same time I took an endurance test to see what my numbers were. For instance, my optimal performance level. Now when I ride, I’m more focused on the WATTS. I’m regularly around 220-230. At the BEathlon I was riding at 280. That was tough!
What did you find challenging about the 6 weeks? Beating my personal bests on distance, RPMs and WATTS. Then I would extend the challenge by doing multiple classes back to back. On Saturdays, I tried my best to take three rides. I also knew I only had five weeks to complete the challenge, with a prior planned trip to Ibiza. This was a motivator to get in more classes in a shorter period of time, and yet another challenge.
Did you take any Refine classes on the challenge? No because it was purely about calorie burning and muscle building for me. I thought, “Well, I know spinning. I know it’s fun, so I’ll keep that up.” Back then, I hadn’t done much yoga before and I didn’t want to disrupt the routine I had already going. I like numbers, so to see how I improved from class to class with distance and total average WATS and RPMs, was cool. Since, I’ve gotten into Refine classes. I love the HIIT and power yoga.
Did anything surprise you about the challenge? Just the sheer amount of classes I took. I was obviously proud of myself, which is a nice feeling. You don’t get that too often in life where there’s a number that pretty much shows you’ve done something great. What also happened was that BECYCLE became a pretty important part of my life. Spending so much time here, I noticed my friend circle shifted a little bit. At my Thanksgiving dinner, half were old friends, the other new BECYCLE buds.
Did you do anything differently with your diet? When you start working out, the body immediately demands the right stuff. That’s how it works for me.
Did you ever feel like giving up? No. Six weeks is doable. Maybe if it was three months, because it’s too long to get there.
What would you tell someone considering taking the challenge? I would say, if you do it, it will get you hooked in a way that you’ll come weeks and weeks and months quite regularly. It’s like a gateway drug to a better workout routine. For me, if there wasn’t a 6 week challenge, I would not have come daily or ever thought about multiple classes a day. I also probably wouldn’t have seen results so fast. It gets you hooked. That’s the main point.
What keeps you coming back besides the classes at BECYCLE? It’s a center of living here. I found great friends and likeminded people. The community helps push me further. I am trying out new workouts and even new sports like Crossfit.
Interview by Megan Lillick