After starting a new job at a car dealership, Chris Legarreta went from being an active store manager to a deskbound consultant.
“I was commuting 70 miles a day and spending 9 hours behind a desk, eating snacks from the vending machine,” he says—and packed on about 100 pounds in a year and a half.
He didn’t realize just how large he had gotten until the fall of 2017, when a friend tagged him in an Instagram photo.
“I was absolutely ashamed,” he says. He’d hit 305 pounds. And it wasn’t just his weight that was suffering—he had also recently ended a relationship and his finances were a mess. “I looked around and realized that had completely given up on myself,” he says.
In January of 2018. with the miles from his commute adding up, Legarreta began searching for a new car that he could drive to the train station. That’s when a work buddy suggested he buy a bike instead. Legarreta wavered at first, but eventually gave in and decided to ride the train partway and bike the rest. Along the way, he developed a love of mountain biking.
What he discovered on the road:
Invest in your goals.
Legarreta first bought a cheap bike that couldn’t support his weight. When that bike broke, Legarreta bought another cheap one, which also broke. Finally, his friend convinced him to invest in a more expensive, durable model—and after doing that, Legarreta was hooked.
Find some friendly competition.
Soon after he started cycling, Legarreta signed up for a weight loss competition at work—and came in second place. In the past, he’d tried a number of different diets. “I tried to go from zero to keto in a week. Every time I tried something, it didn’t work out,” he says. This time, I began taking a more active role in taking care of myself. “I started to look at food kind of like money. It became like budgeting. If football was at night, I knew I had to eat lighter that day since I was going to eat like crap that night. If I knew I had a riding trip coming up, that week was more light, and I tried to drink more water, since riding all weekend would definitely dehydrate me.” Once he saw that the weight was coming off, he had even more motivation to keep at it. Today, he weighs 205 pounds.
Recruit some workout buddies.
On weekends, Legarreta goes out with a local riding group. “The guys at work were noticing that I was riding to work every day. They kept telling me I should come out with them but I was embarrassed and didn’t think I could keep up,” he says. It wasn’t until a friend convinced him to go on a ride (“no judgement, just ride!”) that he took the plunge. “I just about died and had to walk up most of the hills,” he says, but thanks him now “After that, I was hooked.” He looked up cycling Facebook pages and reddit groups. “When I start a hobby, I like to talk to like-minded people, so I always look for forums or groups to join. That also keeps him training hard. “I want to be able to keep up with my friends on gnarly climbs and bomb down mountains with speed and agility.”