I’ve been recently bit by the gym bug. I have, for the last 25 years of my miserable existence, been that skinny guy. I can eat anything and everything, any time of the day, and I never get fat. Maybe it’s that metabolism, maybe I’ve got millions of parasites in my belly, but whatever it may have been, I was tired of weighing less than 55 kgs since forever.
As soon as I got into my new office, where gym facility was available, I ran for it like a rabid Bugs Bunny would run for a fat and juicy carrot. It’s been 4 months now since I’ve been at it, and there’s an interesting “side-effect” to this habit that I want to discuss today.
When I started exercising, I never thought it would affect my riding, not the slightest bit. But during my latest 4000 km ride from Mumbai to Himachal and back, I sensed something had changed. My ride was much more comfy, the distances seemed smaller, and overall it was even more fun that it used to be. Allow me to share the secrets with you, through 6 reasons how gym will immensely help the biker in you.
I don’t know about you, but for me the hardest-hit body part after a long ride is always my ass. Since I was a skinny guy, I barely had any ass to talk about, it was just a collection of bones covered by some skin, and lots of hair. As expected on long rides, the bone kept grinding against the seat and I would keep moaning like a goat.
Since I have started going to the gym, I’ve got a nice ass! I would’ve posted a photo here, but that will instantly convert all my blog readers gay, and I don’t want that. Instead here is a random photo of some girl’s massive behind, probably implants. Anyway, to put in words, I’ve got a whole lotta skin, muscle and fat over there now, so it’s like a I’ve got a nice little cushion between the saddle and the bone. I can’t tell you enough how much that impacts during those 16 hour rides.
Oh, I forgot to mention, there is no shortcut, no easy way to get a nice ass, you got to do the one thing almost everyone hates: Squat. I’ve heard plenty of excuses against it, like it will damage my back, it will burst open my balls, it will turn my asshole inside out, all nonsense. Front squat and rear squat are THE best exercises for the biker in you, so don’t skip leg day!
I have gained 10 kgs in the last 4 months. My shoulders have become broader, a few inches of biceps and triceps have spouted, and my face no more looks like Walder Frey’s, on a diet. I don’t have to tell you that biking is inherently dangerous, add to that the fact that we ride in India, the land of rape and robbery, and you have a deadly combination like no other place.
You are completely exposed on the bike, anyone can stop you with a baseball bat and a few meters of rope. It has never happened with me, but riding is all about luck, and sooner or later it is going to run out. It is always good to be prepared for the worst. So grow a big beard, get big and muscular, and watch everyone get the fuck out of your way. Will you ever pick a bone with the guy in the photo? Yes he has a nuclear-meltdown-radiation-poisoning junk.
3. Gym will help you stay disease free
Gym plays a very big role in strengthening up your immune system. Before I started working out, I had a constantly running nose, allergy to everything from dog poo to new car smell, and high proclivity to catch every bad thing from everyone. That isn’t good for a rider, someone whose life is as unplanned as the Indian Government’s welfare schemes. A headache and flowing nostrils aren’t the best thing to wake up to at 3 in the morning, with your dream ride planned for 4.
If you exercise, not only will you be shielded against most infections, but even if you do catch something, you will get well sooner than a normal dude. You will need to take lesser medicines, get lesser side-effects, be happier, ride happier, and then thank me for this article.
Like I said before, riding in India is nothing but a race against luck, sooner or later it will overtake you from the wrong side, send you smashing into the curb, and rip your guts out. OK, maybe not that horrible, but yes, everyone falls. And when you do kiss the asphalt, it will be much easier for you to get up, pick your bike, and ride away, if you are in good health.
This goes especially to Bull riders, because when their quarter-of-a-ton beast falls, you better be a fucking Olympic weightlifter to pick that shit up. So get those dead lifts right, keep’em heavy, and be prepared! Also, if you do have a nasty one, a gym rat will most likely have bones strong enough not to break under pressure. Even if they do, they will heal quicker. Think of gym as a whole new level of health insurance, one that won’t cost too much, but will give awesome dividends.
If you’ve been to Ladakh, you know how hard it is to breathe there. I got so fucked up taking a bath, that 15 minutes rest was required before trying to towel myself dry. Imagine you get a flat at the top of Khardungla, and you need to push air using that shitty foot-pump. That’s a horror story right there.
If you work out, run, exercise, your lung capacity increases over time. This means that when you go to an area with lack of oxygen, your body is still able to handle the load better than a fat couch potato. You will not feel breathless after every little baby step, chances of getting AMS will be reduced, and your ride shall be so much more fun.
6. Gym will make you a track God
OK I may have exaggerated here a bit. Just gym will not make you a race track God, you also need skill, big balls, and lots of money. But gym will surely give you the strength to wrestle the bike into submission around the corners.
Riding a bike is a very physical thing, completely unlike sitting in a chair and rotating a wheel. Racing a bike is a whole other level, where you are constantly moving, climbing against the bike like a monkey, and generally exhausting yourself to death. I had heard somewhere that world-champion Dani Pedrosa does 800 sit-ups every day during race season. So start doing 400 a day at least, and you can be half as good as him.
So here are my 2 cents why gym should be in every biker’s daily routine. Of course I don’t think you are dumb enough to be need to told the importance of good food and good sleep with gym, if you are, God save you. Let me know what you think!