Maintaining my target weight and somewhat managing back pain with a homebrew Peloton bike

I've been holding steady at my target weight for over 5 months, despite numerous back injuries and setbacks. At the heart of my fitness routine is a homebrew Peloton cycle.

More often than not I forget that my Sunny Bike actually relieves back pain. When I'm sore or struggling with my lower back, the go-to impulse is to stop riding. A single ride can help release tension or trick some mildly spasming muscles into stopping. It also burns lots of calories, makes my body look a lot better and rapidly becomes addicting to the point I have to manage how many times a week I ride.

As part of local tradition, I was body shamed during a visit to Los Angeles last July. A friend pointed out that I had gained more weight than they had seen on me. I had gained about 15 lbs above where I had been comfortably sitting, pedaling away on my Sunny Bike and watching Dr. Lupo stream on Twitch 2-3 times a week. Affectionally I referred to those 15 lbs as "the Fortnite 15."

I decided I'd had enough and immediately went on a diet that I know works for me. I started hitting the bike! I gave up on Twitch and started riding along with 45-minute classes led by Dennis via the Peloton app. I also started a pretty serious regimen of abdominal workouts as prescribed during prior physical therapy. I felt great, lost tons of fat and built a lot of muscle! I got addicted to riding the bike and had to force myself to take days off. I was riding 5 days a week.

My body hit a point of exhaustion. I was pushing it hard with diet, exercise, parenting, and work. I couldn't understand why my leg muscles were so big I could not fit into my former skinny guy pants, but my back felt like shit. I decided to lay off the cycling. It was an addiction and I had to dial it down in stages. I took a few weeks completely off all exercise and actually felt a hell of a lot better.

I eased back into 2-3 rides a week with some light weight training and situps/pullups/pushups. This felt great. I then fucked up and slept on a hardwood floor for 3 weeks straight, gave up on exercise and only maintained my weight via stress, anxiety and a failure to eat. I realized I was fucking up and was able to correct my diet but for some reason I kept thinking the bike was too much stress on my back.

Riding the indoor bike does use your abdominals if done right and is a good workout there as well as your legs, rear, and lower back. You can also really wreck yourself if you aren't careful and do not really listen to your body. However, if you are experienced at riding the bike, have decent form and listen to your body it can also relieve a lot of tension. I got sick of waiting to feel perfect and got back on the bike.

I started with a shorter ride and got off the bike with my lower back feeling better than it had in weeks. Instead of 45-minute rides, I adopted 30-minute rides. I still sneak in longer rides or sometimes watch Twitch and that's OK too. The important thing is I slow down if I start to feel my muscles be exhausted the day after a ride.

I've held on to a weight between 1 and 5lbs below my "time to focus more on calories" alarm for over 5 months now. It feels pretty incredible to be able to do that, as I have generally swung a lot more up and less down the last few years. My mood is generally better, which anyone who has to deal with me appreciates even if they do not recognize. My back pain, however, is better but still there.

I think I have achieved a point where, having survived 47 full rotations, I have to admit that wear and tear be real. I will probably never live pain-free. Exercise and carrying around less body fat help a lot, however.

The Sunny Bike, after more than 2 years of heavy use, has shown no wear and tear. It rides perfectly and the only thing I have had to replace during my entire time using it is batteries for the heart rate and cadence sensors.

These posts document what has gone into putting the bike together:

A DIY Peloton at-home stationary cycling solution for introverts

An introverted year of exercise with my DIY-Peloton cycle

This door-frame chin-up bar has really improved my physique

I hear Peloton may have an Android app available, but my Android tablet doesn't see it in the Google Store. I still run it on an old iPad.