Episode Highlights 

00:02:04 Background of the guest
00:13:19 Midlife Crises
00:18:06 Importance of dedication yourself to one thing
00:20:49 What is Cortisol?
00:26:55 Simple things we need to do always
00:29:10 How cycling becomes a scientific sport compared with others
00:35:59 What is habit stacking
00:45:54 Managing your time in training
00:50:51 Importance of quieting your mind from everything
00:54:33 5 Key takeaways using Cycling to be healthy, happy and longevity


Fitness Guide





Welcome to the Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast, where you can learn how to improve your diet, lose fat and get fitter in a sustainable and fun way without spending hours in the gym here is your host Darren Kirby.

Darren: Welcome back to the podcast guys. This is the number one podcast for dads in their 40s who want to improve their health and fitness. This is Episode 76, and today we are going to be talking with Anthony from Roadman cycling on how to become a better cyclist. Anthony, once a professional cyclist, realized that actually being a professional cyclist wasn’t the dream that he thought it would be. He then formed Roadman Cycling after asking himself, how do I use cycling as a tool to achieve health, happiness and longevity? Hi Anthony, thanks very much for joining me on the podcast today. How are you?

Anthony: Good! Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure.

Darren: Yeah. Thanks for taking time out of your day to come on to the show. So how I asked all the guests this question, how’s lockdown life been for you? Because Ireland is slightly different, isn’t it, in terms of how the lockdown is happening?

Anthony: You know what, I try not to watch a lot of news, I find that when I watch a lot of news, I’m very reactive instead of proactive. So, yeah, I’m actually not even sure of how other countries are handling the lockdown around the world. So I can only really speak to Ireland then. Yeah, look, we’re a small island. You would think it’s easier to keep Covid off the island, but I think we made some quite bad policy choices at the start with not grounding flights. We’d have regional lockdowns where flights were still coming into the US and stuff that made no sense. So, yeah, we got a bit of an issue when we’re in a total lockdown almost at the moment. So it’s a 5k restriction on any movement at the moments. But I’m lucky enough I’m the lead athlete exemption at the moment. So I said, I’ve got to go and train and I can’t go across the other side of the country in my car for a holiday like, yeah, I can go ride my bike outside. So life’s not too different for me.

Darren: That’s good. I mean, it’s interesting actually they’ve had that restriction because I mean, we don’t have that in the UK so we can still go out on our bikes, which is fantastic. It just means I can’t go out with the cycling club, which I joined actually this year just after the first lockdown because I got bored of cycling on my own. But yeah, now that’s super interesting. But let’s put that one side, because I think everybody’s getting a little bit bored of the whole situation. We know it’s serious and everything else, but so, yeah, I mean, for people that haven’t come across you before. Anthony, you got a super interesting story. How did you end up where you are today in terms of performance cycling? And yeah, it gives a bit of background on Anthony.

Anthony: Yeah, it definitely hasn’t been a straight line. And I suppose like most of your guests, I think no one wants to hear about a straight line success story. We all love hearing about how many trials and failures along the way. And I’m actually obsessed with storytelling and the structured story. And you actually look at the structure of a story that we don’t like, straight line success. It’s actually built into stories it has to be to set up and there has to be a conflict along the way where the hero encounters some sort of hardship before they get to their end result. Yeah. So I feel like I’ve definitely had that. I’ve made a lot of bad choices. Yeah. And I’ve come out the other side. 

So my background was I was undergraduate in economics, went on studying postgraduate in law, spent more years than any man ever showed, entry level university. So seven years to get my professional qualification in law came out with the fire. So I ended up with a lot of family and social and societal expectations that I would like this as a lawyer. And I was starting to get into cycling that year, and I got offered a contract in France to go and ride my bike for a year. Wow. And being from quite a working to middle class family, you know, we didn’t have things like Gap years that you have in your upper class.

So I was destined to go straight into work to pay back these big, large scale loans until I got this offer to go to France just seemed a bit too good to turn down. So I went to France and earned the princely sum of fifty euro a week over there. You very quickly learned a fifty euro a week is not enough to feed yourself if you have any sort of budget problems or especially interest week sort of ones where like a crash on the bike and I have to choose between bandages and food. So real glamorous stuff over the years. Then I got offered a contract again and the following year, America the following year, and I was kind of doing the pro cycling thing. And I remember vividly the day that it was just I said, OK, enough is enough. I was on a bus trip because I suppose the before that I started the reality of professional sport versus the perception of professional sport is very far apart. The perception of the professional sport is that it’s glamorous. It’s you’re living the dream. It’s you get to do what everybody wants to do that Premier League Soccer, that’s PGA Tour golf, the NBA players at the top level. I was taught division professional cyclists. So I was earning fifteen to twenty thousand euros a year when I made it to that level. But bear in mind, your corporate travel out of that, you’re covering hotel expenses.

And I was paying back loans, so I was basically on a budget of … Zero just enough to pay for food. So I was getting a bus from Toronto to Chicago like a nine hour bus ride. Wow. Public bus with my bike, my bags. And I was sitting between two like really overweight Americans. And I was crammed in there sweating and smelling. And I remember getting a text off a friend saying, oh, you’re living the dream. Oh, I just thought, like, this is not my dream. This. And I asked the bus driver, can you pull over? And he’s like we’re not a stop. I can’t let you out here. And I was borderline panicked and I was like, pull over. So I pulled over on the side. I took my bike out when I sat on the side of the road and I was like, that’s it. More professional cycling, and I called my girlfriend at the time, I said, like picking up on Dawn and so I came back and I looked like I’d set up a cycling coach and company just before I’d made that decision. And that was in 2014. And he is a cycling fan of the 2014 team …. Started so the team … got completely changed to cycling. They completely brought cycling from a niche sport that we kind of engaged in an industrial estate in an evening to get something that’s mainstream.

And everybody does it now instead of golf. So I was looking at the cycling coach company and completely blew off sport and my inexperience as an entrepreneur. I didn’t know anything about being a businessman. I didn’t have a campaign over here. At the moment. I’m not sure if it’s something the UK they can’t see me, can’t be me about the positive role models to look like. So we use Katie Taylor as an example of a female athlete and if she can achieve what she’s achieved, any girl can achieve. I didn’t have a role model in business, so I was very much self-taught and I was reading books and courses. And so I very quickly learned I need to diversify. This coaching thing isn’t going to last forever. And I went down a road over three years of build and probably seven or eight businesses from software companies to apps, bought a cafe, set up an event pre registration software platform. And like I don’t even know the rest of my life, set up a social media marketing agency that went to ten stuff straight away. The coaching company was physically on location with another 10 staff on site in the city center. But I started riding my bike less and less. Right. And this was the big turning point in my story, I suppose, where the conflict is. I was riding my bike less and less.

And looking back, I’m from quite a middle to working class background and we never would use words like depressed or mental health. And it was a sign of weakness. And, you know, macho bravado wouldn’t let you use those words. Yeah, but looking back now, I definitely was down. I just take the time as I’m less happy than normal. Yeah. When I looked at what I was doing, so many things to please older people to give the veneer of success, I wasn’t actually being authentic to myself and seeing what made me happy. And the turning point was I went to a local race. Now, bearing in mind I’m an expert professional rider and I’ve gone to a local race, a quite poor standard local race. There was a four day event. Right. And on the first day I went open, you know, the two tools we have as a cyclist, our power meter for seeing our fitness and our weighing scales for our weight. And I was pretending that I knew batteries in. And so I was delusional. So I went to the race and I performed absolutely terribly. Terrible. And all the guys around here, whoa, I’ve never seen you like this for our race. This is brilliant. I almost feel better. My girlfriend was at the race after it was a four day event. I said, I’m going home. I’m not there on the story for today or the second, third or fourth day.

And I remember the car crying on the way home. Right. And she’s like, well, you know what’s OK? Yeah, I knew at that moment I wasn’t just close to quitting cycling. I was actually close to an open division I had from my own life. Right. Because I was into my 30s. At this stage, I never taught, you know, your image of yourself when you’re sixteen, seventeen, how you take your age. Yeah, I always thought I was going to be fierce. I always thought I was going to be healthy. I was going to be active. I never thought I’d have the dad bod, drifted towards my mid thirties. Yeah. And just coming home with the car, I just got too much for me and I was just crying and going, like, this is the new reality. I have to accept that this is the second part of my life. And I’m not going to be fit anymore. I’m going to be one of those guys. I always look down on top. Yeah. How did you let your life get so shit? I’ve got to be the guy who goes to work every day and not judgment of somebody is doing this. It was never for me. I might horror show the worst case scenario for me was always you go to work all day, you come home, no energy, watch TV, eat shit food, have your own, engage conversations with your girlfriend, go to bed and rinse and repeat, just almost waiting to die.

That was something I just couldn’t take it on. I felt like that’s what I had become. And I was lucky that I had a really good mentor in my life. And I chatted to him and he said, look, if you sold everything, are you in a financial position to just press pause? And I said, yeah, I suppose if I got X amount for each thing, I could press pause for maybe two years on this whole thing and he said, do it really. And he’s like, do it, sell it, I’ll burn it all down. I was like, whoa. So I really trusted him. So I said, I will. So I brought it all down. So the only thing I kept was the coach and company. But I put it up on life support, like cutting all the expenses of a state coach and they were brilliant and they kept the whole thing going. Yeah, but I went away and I went to Canada, America, Europe, Bali, Dubai, China. And I went searching for answers and I really went searching for answers because when I chatted to my mentor, he told me a story and the story was the power of just focusing the mind on one thing. Yeah, this is a great story. I like this one because I know you’re into the business and entrepreneurial as well.

And so he told me a story about a buddy of his. Now he’s moving to these big tech circles. Right. Founder of a company. But he said he met a buddy of his for coffee in San Fran about five years ago, and he was five minutes late meeting his buddy and his buddy was in Starbucks and he had a blank page. One question at the top of the page, how do I make one hundred million dollars in 12 months? And then a blank page on data. And he came in. He asks, but he’s like, What are you doing? And he’s like, I just sit here all day and I try and solve this one question. Right? And I said, What else do we do? And he’s like, no, because if I solve this one question, every other question solves itself. Yeah. He’s like every other problem I have in the world literally goes away if I solve this question. And so he called the big question is big domino, right? He’s like, if you can knock over the big domino, it causes a chain reaction and the rest of your life because every other problem will be insignificant, inconsequential. So as a boy, a boy, your mom built a company and sold it inside 12 months for one hundred million dollars, which was amazing. You know, a car rental company in Australia. 

So he said to me, look, go travel. I find that one question that is going to solve every other question in your life. Yeah, that was what I thought. And for me, the question wasn’t monetary. When I actually found the question, it was, how do I use cycling as a tool for health, happiness and longevity? And that was the question I dedicate my whole life to figuring out the answer to that question. And it took me some crazy places and it was a wild ride.

Darren: Yeah, that is a fascinating story, to be honest. And there’s so many avenues I could go down with that. But, you know, I have obviously from my own personal gain, I think, you know, there’s so many questions on Austria around that. But I think one of the a couple of key points you made in that, and that is we do definitely get to a stage in our lives.

And I think I would argue that many guys, dads get to this point and actually don’t realize it. So there’s a lot of talk around the female menopause and stuff like that. But no one really talks about a midlife crisis. And it sounds to me that people go through and you absolutely do go through it. And I realize that actually that’s what I’ve been through and I’ve not realized it. And so it’s almost like you. It depends on how introspective you are with yourself as to whether or not you actually realize it. And I only realize it now. But I would argue that a lot of people listening to this actually don’t realize it.

Anthony: Because I think the labeling of it’s hard as well, because to label it like, you know, we all have those friends that any time they buy something, we ask them, how is it? They were like, oh, it’s brilliant. It’s just they don’t want to lose status. And a lot of our decisions are motivated by status. Yeah. So uneven decisions not to buy something. They’re motivated by status. Like if I could afford a Ferrari. I would still choose not to buy a Ferrari because I feel like it’d be a decrease in my status if I bought a Ferrari. I go back home to my mom and dad and they’d look at me and go, You bought a Ferrari like … Yourself on like, you know, just people living on the streets and you’re driving a car and it’s worth two hundred and fifty thousand and I’d have a decrease in status. So I feel like when we show our vulnerability more afraid we’re going to have a decrease in status to our friends, to our family.

Darren: Yeah. I agree. I agree with that. And I think it’s you know, I’ve definitely come from the era that men didn’t necessarily talk about their feelings, talk about their struggles. You’re a man. You’re a head of the household. Man up, get on with it type scenario. And thankfully, this is now starting to be questioned. It’s being challenged. And there’s some pretty big media stars coming out and talking about this, you know, people from the SAS and all that kind of stuff, which I think is fantastic. But, you know, obviously you took that pause, which I think is so valuable, taking that pause, reflecting because it’s so few people to actually do that in life. You realize you are entering like a second stage of your life now. Now we are going a little bit off topic from cycling, but I think it’s an important point to make. 

You know, if you were able to have or not able if you were to actually take that conscious decision to stop, to pause, just imagine for a second how different, you know, the second part could be of your life. And I think that’s so valuable to kind of point out really, it’s a massive, massive kind of, I guess, risk because you’re going to be stepping outside, like you say, the social norm because of you said, you know, you go you go and get a degree, you go to work, you work until you retire and that kind of stuff to step outside of that almost like that social framework is very challenging, I think. And both here and I obviously done that in doing what we’re doing. So once you obviously reflected on that and you determined that cycling was so passionate and so key to you, how did you then? Kind of structure that to make sure that you’re doing you’ve got the health, the happiness, the longevity and that kind of thing.

Anthony: Well, I think, like touch on your point there that was demanding from the pause was figuring out the direction I was going. I was like a ship leaving the harbor now at this point in the right direction. And it’s like I’m not sure if I love books and a certificate of read alone. I love that quote from Alice in Wonderland when I was talking to the cast and she’s like, would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here? The cat says, Well, it depends a good deal on where you want to get to Alice’s. I don’t care much where the cat says, well, it doesn’t matter which way you go. Yeah. And that’s what a lot of us do. We just drift true and we’re not sure which direction we’re going and if we’re not sure what the outcome that we want is from life. Yeah, like any direction those are because we’re confusing movement and motion with that purpose. So for me, once I had that sort of North Star, it focused my mind a lot more. So I was able to figure out then, OK, well, I want to use it. I’ve always loved cycling. It’s always made me happy. So that has to be part of the solution. So cycling and then other parts of our health for happiness and longevity, because none of them are monetary, because I figured if I figured this part out, the monetary would look after itself, because if I’m struggling with this, other people have to.

So the monastery came as a secondary byproduct, but I went on a journey. And I suppose if I look back at any period of my life from school to university and to law school or even when I started cycling, it always worked really well for me and it’s different for everyone. But this has worked really well for me. I’ve put my head down and anything I’ve ever achieved has had a period of really hard work just before. And like people speak about balance all the time on the most balanced person you’ll ever meet, I’m counterbalanced. So I’ll put my head down for an excruciating, unbalanced amount of research until I get to a point where I’m happy with the answer. And then I’ll try and counterbalance the stuff, the relationships, the other stuff that’s about to spiral out of control. And I put the head down and I started to travel and meet my mentor. So I started going to seminars, going to conferences, attended workshops and dived back into academic texts. And it was nearly over for me. I was kind of running out of cash on this whole thing. And I flew to America and I met a friend who was a mountain runner and he spoke to me about because the assumption that I’d been operating under for a long time was, well, you can only have sport plus one other facets of your life, because it’s so time consuming, are running so time consuming, that if you dedicate yourself to one thing, you can only have like a functioning relationship.

And then a mediocre career, it’s not possible to have an amazing relationship, an amazing work life on an amazing sport, life to treat things are just too much. So I sat down and I spoke to him and he was an international mountain runner. And I was like, OK. But then he was startled and it sold like huge work, effort and energy to get a startup off the ground to the point where he’s bringing in VC capital and then selling it. Yeah, totally. He had an amazing relationship and kids and needed a thriving social circle. And I was like, like what? How does this happen? I’ve never met anyone like this that’s performing at such a high level in so many areas of our life. Everyone I knew was like an Olympic athlete, but then they were a degenerate or an Olympic athlete that had a lot. It’s ah, yeah, this guy had everything. And I was like, how is this possible to have everything? So he spoke to me about something. I didn’t know anything about cortisol at the time. It was the first time I’d heard the word for anyone listening. Cortisol is just a stress hormone. Yeah, but he spoke to me about how when we train, we create stress cortisol. When we work, we create stress cortisol. When we have any sort of relationship with friends or family, there’s a certain amount of cortisol required to maintain those relationships.

So he explained to me, like, cortisol is like an empty bottle here. It’s cortisol. You only have a certain capacity to take on so much cortisol. And that’s why I typically don’t even have the bones to tanks, because I got to the capacity of my cortisol. But he spoke to me about the importance of having strategies to minimize cortisol. This was the first time I’d ever heard about this. And that’s really where the switch flipped for me and I went down the rabbit hole. Then in my research, my conference is focused on this hormone cortisol. How do you reduce it? It’s things like building morning routines like Therapy ground and cold therapy, meditation, gratitude that when you get into this stuff, it’s not easy for me to do stuff. And it was a lot of reluctance getting into it because it’s stuff I would have very, you know, in a cavalier sense labeled as wishy washy or hippie dippy when I was young. Yeah, yeah. When you see the output on the results of it for normal guys, you’re like, oh my God, I can’t argue with this. And when you see the science for it. But the problem is the science is hidden because there’s no big lobby groups pushing this. There’s no big agenda pushing this because honestly, cold water is a more powerful stimulant than caffeine. Yeah, nobody’s going to tell you that because it’s free.

Darren: Yeah, but but yeah. Just to interject that nobody wants to hear it because it’s too simple.

Anthony: It’s I’m working on a virtual performance so that at the moment that I’m bringing together experts from around the world to speak about how we optimize human performance. Yeah, and one of the experts of how to win one half disciple disciple, I made it sound like a religious cult leader. So he’s a member of the city, but he’s the Judas of the Wimborne disciples. But he spoke about exactly that. He said that the trouble he has when he goes in, he works with big corporates and executives and he’s helping them to increase their productivity. And when he talks about breeding practices and cold therapy. It seems too simple, he said he almost feels like you need to do this, Heinstein, you need to hold your nose to make it complicated, to make it believable. If you think back like we are, if you look at the industrial revolution, it was probably the worst thing to ever happen as a species in the whole history of human life on Earth. What we’re doing right now is a very small part of our evolution, and it’s not a very healthy part of being indoors, trapped in cubicles, trapped in cars, under artificial lights. We’re solar powered beings. We need to be outside. We need to be in the elements. We need to be in the zone. We need to be chasing animals. We need to be climbing trees. That’s what we’re designed to do. It’s like trying to drive a Ferrari around all day. And Four-Square, the clock is going to be forked after a while.

Darren: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s yet to touch on the point. You said there about how profound gratitude is, grounding breath work. And I’ve said this on a podcast that I recorded yesterday, and I use the term woohoo! Because whenever you like. So I’m forty seven. If I was to mention this to people that are the same age as me, they would look at me and think, this guy’s nuts. He’s going to go and hug trees and all the rest of it. And if you’d have asked me that same question five years ago, I would have been one of those guys that would have gone, this guy’s an idiot. Why is he on about he’s going to go and hug trees and the rest of it. But it is you’re so right. It is so profound. It is so basic. But it is so I mean, I cannot tell you how we kind of are not inspired by how kind of woken up. I get in the morning by going out, standing with no shoes and socks on, on the grass, doing breastwork for five minutes at half, five in the morning.

Now, if any of the neighbors were to look out, so they probably think, what is this guy doing? But it has such a profound impact. And so the reason I mention that is because, you know, like you said, it just does have and if you add all of those little things together, it has such a dramatic kind of impact on how you deal with things on a day to day basis. You know, and some of the stuff that I talk about in my community, people don’t want to hear it because it’s not this magic pill. You know, everybody at the moment is focusing, in my opinion, on this magical vaccine. Right. That’s going to solve Covid and everything else is not, you know, … It’s not going to solve it, you know, but everyone’s focusing on that because it’s this new thing. We want new, different and kinds of stuff like that. And like I said, I’m getting a bit of attention, but I think we’re listening to this, you know, do the basic stuff first and you will get results. So, yeah, I think it’s so valuable what you said there.

Anthony: Like, I think because I would have been very similar to you to label it like you label it with who I might label as hippie dippy. But I think with maturity and with being, you know, I don’t know if it’s a little bit of wisdom or better travel. And better yet, you realize that you can take any doctrine that’s even you know, maybe it labels quite a poor doctrine or an evil philosophy. You can take anything like you can take, you know, socialism, you can take stoicism. And you don’t have to accept the whole thing. You realize that you can call what got out of the used up for ourselves without, like, considering dispersion on the whole goiter. Because what you do when we label something that hippie dippy, we turn our back on the court that’s up for it could be five percent bottom. We’re turning our back on the ninety five percent good. Yeah, but also don’t touch on the Covid on the vaccine. I think what the little news that I have seen and the conversations I’ll try and catch up at 4:00 in the morning and watch the news when I try and they’ll say to the guys on the news at the moment, got by twenty seconds.

But what you never hear in the news and I have never heard, is it’s all vaccines, it’s all social distancing and masks. And yet we know they’re working, they’re great tools. And I’m definitely not here to say don’t do the responsible stuff. But also responsibility starts at home, like look at the hard statistics on your chances of being in intensive care as a first person versus someone with underlying health conditions. We can take control of that with deep sleep, make sure you sleep. But the great example is a buddy of mine. I was talking to him last week trying them and saying, like, how are you getting on? And he’s like really struggling mental health related bodies. He’s like, what can I do when it’s like, this is an easy fix? It’s like, let’s talk again in six weeks between now and then. Make sure you drink three liters of water every day. Make sure you exercise at least six times a week. Make sure you sleep eight hours every night, and then let’s talk again. If most people just don’t do the simple things that we absolutely need to do. You need to be. We need to sleep, we need to have water.

Darren: Yeah, definitely. And I think, you know, again, sleep is such a fascinating topic and that could be a whole podcast on its own. We dramatically underestimate not just sleep, but the quality of sleep, and yet, like, you know, we kind of got a little bit off topic on the cycling side of things, but, yeah, I completely agree. We do underestimate how important it is and how profound it can be on the kind of domino effect on our daily lives, really. So coming back to cycling and Anthony, in terms of your approach to coaching. So in my 90/10 system I’ve created, cycling is a core pillar of what I believe to be a kind of all around holistic kind of fitness approach, really. And for me, I don’t believe you need to kind of just go out kind of like running just do miles and miles and miles and cycling. And so you’ve got a bit of a three dimensional coaching approach. So how did you come up with that, with that approach?

Anthony: Yes, I suppose cycling is a very scientific sport compared to athletics, swimming, stuff like that. We’re very data driven and we have had that benefit from team scoring coming in with an insane budget for almost a decade. Because of that sport, science evolved at a rate that it probably never would have otherwise because it just wasn’t it didn’t make financial sense. So the trickle down effect from the top riders in the world was super interesting what that is. And it was actually a turning point in the business because in the previous iteration, before I had my semi breakdown there, crying on the way home for a bike race, my previous iteration of the coaching company, we were focused on coaching guys who are aspiring pros, young kids who were on the way or who wanted to make a career. Well, there’s obviously one major problem with that. These kids don’t have any money from a business point of view. So they’re trying to sell things to broke people. But secondly, you’re not making a very big impact on them, because even if you do a great job, you’re making like a one percent gain. It’s a huge turning point. As I was traveling, a buddy of mine said to me, look, I’m getting into cycling. I want to get off the air. I want to pack in all the bad lifestyle habits I have and I want to start cycling. Would you mind taking some of that sports and stuff you’re using on the guys here, your mentor, and to try to be pro toward outlands, focus it on me? And I said, now go away.

And he rang me back again a week later and a week later. And eventually I caved in because he said he was just going to keep ringing until I actually caved. And so I caved in early and we turned to sports science and we started using metrics for our children, his fitness, his fatigue and his form. And bearing in mind we expect like a one percent gain, maybe annually from some of our pro runners, maybe a two percent gain if someone went really well. We had in a period of eight weeks. Twenty five percent gain, one rider. These are objective data metrics, not subjective, not him. Don’t I feel 20 percent better and like their time’s up, climbs power, readings her to power, cardiac drifts, technical terms so we could concrete. And I thought maybe he’s just an ultra responder to this. I’m trying and it’s not representative for the general public. So I’ve got another friend of mine. Forty seven years old, just getting into. So he’d been a … For probably ten to fifteen kilograms overweight ex-smoker drinks as he’d say. I drink socially, but what that meant for him was like four to five nights a week, eight takeaways basically every week. 

And I said, look, give me twelve weeks and let’s see what we got. A forty percent increase. But then what was more interesting than the object of measurements was his subjective measurements of his happiness levels. How are you feeling? And then it was I remember chatting on the bike we were riding along and then he said to me like, it’s why I didn’t name them, because I’m breaking his confidence here. He said to me, back at having sex. My wife had sex, my wife. And about four years. We’re at it like teenagers again. Yeah, I just thought, holy shit, this stuff that I’ve been using on the pros, it’s so powerful for your normal middle age guys who are trying to balance cycling with family, with work. So it’s like cycling itself isn’t what we’re after here. I’m not trying to get somebody to finish the race faster. Now, I want to use cycles as a tool for other areas. Yeah. So I extended this and I built out a data group and I started bringing in guys who weren’t overweight, but they had order problems there. Their life is like productivity and work. Yeah. And so again, they increased and improved and the objective measurements of performance of the bike. But again, they’re subjective measurements of. How are you feeling and work, what’s your productivity levels like? They were all through the roof. I get more done in a day. And I used to get down in a week. Yeah. When you start working with guys at a certain level in business, five percent to 10 percent increase in productivity, it can be a bottom line, a lot of extra cash these guys are making. Yeah. So that’s when it really just took on a life of its own.

Darren: Yeah. I mean that is so profound and I can relate to that from an Iron Man triathlon perspective because I always talk about the unexpected outcomes and it and it is that for me which is much more profound. Right. So I absolutely love triathlon, I love Ironman, but the actual benefits he’s had to my life and my relationships and stuff like that, he’s just been unbelievably profound. You know, you talked about sexual relationships and stuff like that. You know, testosterone starts to fly off, you know, and they start their mitochondrial health.The and the little power units in their cells will start to get revved up, you know, all that kind of stuff that nobody talks about, which is so profound. When I talk to guys I’m coaching and things like that, they just come at it from a perspective of, you know, I want to lose fat or want to get fit. And then when I try and when I explain to them what actually is going to happen, they don’t quite believe it until they actually experience it. So, yeah, I think cycling, as you say, is a tool, isn’t it?

Anthony: So I always speak about the hero’s two journeys to clients, so I get them to pick a target. So you say welcome a new client chat with him this morning and he’s looking to compete in New York. Want to say so? It’s three hundred and twelve kilometers, which is a big physical challenge to get him there. So that’s his external journey. We’ll call it what’s actually more powerful here in New York … You want to it’s the internal journey of, you know, we’ll call him the hero in this case. The hero goes on the internal journey and that’s who he becomes in the process. And it’s his mental frameworks change, his quality of his relationships, change the quality of the information. His concealment changes because everything becomes more mindful, everything becomes more dangerous.

Darren: Yeah, well, it becomes that way because I believe that from cycling, the mental clarity you get by dialing in your nutrition, having more energy is a result of moving or is just so profound. And I don’t think that many people, particularly kind of middle aged people, actually experience what that is, because you kind of get sucked into this or, you know, I’m middle age. That’s why I constantly feel foggy. And actually, they probably don’t even realize it is their fault. But, you know, this is kind of dull, underlying lack of energy, lack of motivation. And once that is lifted, you know, it’s profound because you realize just how capable you are.

Anthony: And you also create better habits in the rest of your life. Like if you’re going to ride the bike for two hours on a Saturday morning, you’re unlikely to come home from two hours on the bike and grab a quart of ice cream and six cans of beer and sit on the couch. Yeah, it’s because it creates this conflict because on one hand, how we see ourselves as super important and now we’re starting to see ourselves as an athlete. So an athlete has a certain set of habits. But if we see ourselves as this sort of over the hill, middle age guy approaching 50 and out of energy, you’ve given yourself passive permission to grab those beers, grab that ice cream. That’s a set of behaviors associated with somebody who’s approaching 50 is pretty unhappy in their life. Yeah, but if you start to see yourself as an athlete, … A very different set of behaviors, because maybe even if they start thinking about recovery and hydration for the next day, they start thinking about washing their kit for the next morning, cleaning their bike for the next morning, and something I love to do. 

And this is something your listeners love to give, something tangible that you can take away in action. It’s habit stacking, which is what I’ve heard. No, I haven’t. So if there’s something we know is good for us. So we’ll take a basic example like hydration. So we wake up in the morning after hopefully eight hours of sleep, our body crying out for water. But water, most of us do. We have a coffee so we know we should be drinking water first thing in the morning. So we want to start a habit with something that’s already out there. This is the idea that we have to decision making pathways. So we’ve type one decision and type two. One takes willpower and one is automatic. So we want to pair something that takes willpower that’s automatic. So we make them both automatic. So you take something that you habitually do like you wake up every morning, no matter how late you are, you always brush your teeth. So now you your habits stuck. So every time you brush your teeth, you’re going to have a point of water. Yeah. And it just forms that habit sort of hydration takes care of itself and you can gain. Freud, and you can build it into little routines where you have a kettlebell at your door, so every time you go in and you put the kettle on to make a cup of tea, the toll for that capitate is 10 kettlebell swings. Yeah, and you could build these little habitats all around your life because ultimately, that’s what we should be. We should be hocking our environment. So remove and stretch and bend and swing and push our way through the entire day, not like slobbering from the zoom see to the Netflix couch and back to the kitchen.

Darren: Yeah, I think that’s fantastic, those little habits. And I have this thing called micro workouts. So, you know, a lot of people listen to this. We say I haven’t got time to work out. So you tell me that you haven’t got time to go out from your desk and do 10 bodyweight squats. You know, if you were to do that and how many times a day you get from your desk, you might get five, six, seven times. If you were to do that every single time you got up from your desk, which would take less than a minute, you amount to like 60 to 70 body weight squats, like you say, the compound in effect of that, you know, these little tiny habits have a profound impact, you know. So I think yeah, I think that’s a great, great approach to take.

Anthony: I look at the crunched one, because it always reminds me of a tweet I saw from the Dalai Lama. And he tweeted said, today was the busiest day of my year. I’ll have to meditate for twice as long. Because you make things for what’s important or you make time for what’s important.

Darren: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. No, I totally agree with that. And then I have this little phrase in the morning you mentioned around hydration is it’s hydrate before you caffeinate. I think if you have that you just hydrate before you have a cup of coffee. It’s quite simple.  It just takes pain to yourself. And then just using that and I’m sure there’s a lot of other little phrases you could use, you know, having put the kettle on the ten Kabo swings and all that kind of stuff. So I think it’s that kind of thing that’s really, really important. We put too much emphasis, I believe, on such a big massive task or work or things that we need to do. And it doesn’t need to be like that. And like you say, these habits stacking and the compounding effect of doing that is profound. But I was going to ask Anthony, do you think that you know something you mentioned earlier on in the interview around twenty fourteen when teams guy came to the forefront and everyone’s going into cycling, do you think that this whole David Brouse fit these marginal gains, had a significant impact on, you know, the kind of evolution of cycling?

Anthony: Yeah, look, on a pro level, it definitely has. But what you’ll find when you wash down to the target market and the customer to listen to my podcast and listen to your podcast, you can get caught up in this idea of marginal gains, because if you look at what the word is, it’s marginal. It’s small, it’s a miniscule gain. So we wash over the huge chunk of gains that we can make by doing the basic things right in search of this marginal gain in cycling. You know, the marketing powerhouses, they push pretty hard because there’s huge monetary incentive on these marginal gains. You’re looking at a client spending 3000 euro on wheels for their bike because they’re five seconds faster because they’re 10 grams lighter. Yeah, but you’re looking at the same rider and you’re like, well, you’re 15 kilograms overweight. You know, you have to spend that much money for 10 grams, you 15 kilograms.

So I think although marginal gains are important, we definitely shouldn’t lose sight of what not just cycling is, but health is not a magic pill. It’s consistency, ATF building habits that last like one of the ways I do it to make it sustainable for me is every morning I have because my day is someone that’s self-employed. And I spoke about the summit that I put together at the moment. So I’ve interviewed 230 speakers, obviously time consuming, getting people’s schedules on. And yeah, it’s hectic and it’s responsive a lot of the day. And also my podcast goes out every day. Again, it’s responsive in your research and topics. So a lot of the day is not on your schedule, but what you can do is control the start of your day. So the first 30 minutes of your day, you can control that, that it’s identical every day and it creates momentum because you get a small win first thing in the morning. And that’s small. When we’ve all had those days where we go north went right for me today. Yeah, but that’s often because it started, but then everything just escalated. 

But if you can start a positive momentum first thing in the morning that escalates to the rest of that, it becomes like pushing a piano up the hill. At some point it’s just runaway momentum and you’re just knocking tasks off. Yeah, productivity is saying so in the morning, every morning, no matter how rushed I am, I get up and I do the same thing.

I jump out of bed. And I stand in front of red lights, it’s because I use a machine called … yeah, it’s near and far infrared light, so that kind of mimics the sun. Coming up first thing in the morning, I’m recording here at Arlin’s, typically quite overcast, not getting access to enough vitamin D, which is super powerful for autoimmune response around Covid and stuff like that. So I want to get that vitamin D work, but I also want to get my wake up on my serotonin and my feel good hormone. So that’s vitamin D straight away on serotonin and it wakes me up like straight away, ten minutes up front of that. Then I jump into the cold shower. Not one morning if I ever wanted a cold shower. You’re leaving your girlfriend in the warm bed. Cold showers get slapped with a fish across the face like it’s horrible. Yeah, I do it because there’s a willpower and the discipline with doing uncomfortable things that I brew myself a coffee in quite a deliberate way. It’s not just press go on an espresso machine. It takes some time to appreciate the coffee. Where’s the coffee come from? Hell, I got a little lucky to be inside and not sleeping out. There’s a bit of gratitude around making the coffee. And then I sit down and I have a journal that I use that I’d actually love to get something like this made, but I just had to start with blank pages and I realized the main thing that I’m trying to do for today in the journal, what’s my main quest? My main goal for today? Then I write a poetry tree supporting tasks to achieve that quest.

Yeah. Then I list three things that I’m grateful for. My list of treats for me today, so a treat for me might be scrolling too much on social media, getting distracted and projects that are going to take me towards my goal list. My two best friends list my ally for today. What stuff have I got that’s going to support me? It hit my task. Yeah. So I’ve got all my meals prepared to be an example of it, so I’m not going to get takeaway and get into negative growth. And that’s basically. Yes. And I’ll write down any sort of random thoughts I have in the journal. Well, I’ll do what I want to drink my coffee and the … those things typically take me twenty minutes. Twenty five minutes max at that point. Then I’ll pull out the phone and I’ll pull a calendar and see what’s on today. But if you do it your way round, you pull out the phone even as an alarm clock. You look over and you’re like shit. There’s a lot of shit. There’s an email from a customer who wants a refund and it’s a horrible way to start your day.

Darren: Absolutely. Yeah, I completely agree with you. Morning routine is fairly, fairly similar to mine in all honesty. But in terms of training, though, because obviously you mentioned at the beginning of the interview that is almost like your sanctuary when you own the bike and you’re training, you know, lots of people listen to this have the perception that in order to to get into cycling, you have to spend hours and hours on the bike. So I’ve got two questions, really is, one, how do you scheduling your time on the bike during the day? And two, what does that look like in terms of a time frame and a kind of a session type?

Anthony: So I use a Google calendar. What I do today before I would look at my schedule and I’ll actually make an appointment at a meeting with myself in it. So I’ll schedule the time that I’m trying and that’s boxed off. So obviously there has been a bit of back and forth schedule in a time that’s mutually convenient for the podcast. At some point in that negotiation, there was probably up to time I looked at the calendar and now I have an appointment right there. I can’t believe that appointments with myself and that’s the most important appointments in the day for me. Everything else is movable. That appointment is fixed. So I know what time and go try and make it so that I can plan through it so that I can get my kit ready and then cycle. It really depends on what your goal is. Look, are you looking to cycle just to get some fresh air and feel a little bit better? Are you looking to do a marquetry one to a half on or you look at the race, your bike, and that just depends. 

Then you reverse engineer because we figure out what the demands of that event are and we build our training plan back around that. But somebody just used that cycle as a tool to increase their happiness, get a bit of sunshine and sunlight. Yeah, you don’t need a four … You need something. Just get out and start getting started with tools you have at your disposal right now. If you enjoy it, you can always upgrade along the way, often getting it, even if you don’t feel motivated to get out. If you’re worried about the weather, get out, defer judgment and then decide when you get back if this was a good idea or not. Yeah, no matter how bad the weather or how much of a hangover I’ve had or how shitty I feel about myself, I go like that and I come home and I always feel better about myself.

Darren: Yeah, 100 percent. I completely agree with that. And I did a Facebook live a few weeks ago, maybe a month ago, where it was six a.m. on a Sunday morning and Sundays, generally my long run days. And it was hammering down and raining. It was cold and dark, and so I thought, you know, I’m going to Facebook because everybody’s talking about motivation and I open the door and I did the line and I was like, well, this is the prime example of when there is no motivation, you are not motivated in any way, shape or form to put your stuff on and go running in that cold. Right. However, if you play that forward in your mind as to how you’re going to feel when you come back, that will make you get your stuff on and go and do it. Because I have yet to meet anybody who says that they feel crap when they come back from any kind of exercise, any kind of walk. You always, always feel better. And that’s basic science that detects that really. 

Anthony: Good little tip is if you have like a friend here or super close which is also a trainer, which are you can even record for yourself next time you’re procrastinating about going to the gym, getting on the bike, going for your own press record on your phone and record the reasons for you’re procrastinate. Yeah. So you’ll say things like, oh, the weather is pretty bad. I didn’t sleep great last night. And then listen back to that recording and I’ve got news for you. Like you’re a straight up bitch, like your excuses are the worst excuses. You have no legitimate excuse for not going on that road there. Something is like it’s a little bit cold. Like maybe I could do it later on. I didn’t sleep. I’m a little bit stressed at work and you’re just like, oh, my God, keep yourself on.

Darren: Yeah. absolutely. Absolutely. So, you know, talking about cycling, there’s obviously the physical element of cycling and physical fitness. But I believe that a large majority of any type of fitness is a huge kind of mind challenge, if you like. So what types of things? Oh, do you agree in the first instance? And secondly, what type of things do you use to kind of I mean, we’ve spoken a little bit about it just now, but to kind of have these conversations, these mind games yourself,

Anthony: Look, I think I try to meditate and I find that meditation is a funny area because it’s almost like, you know, I’ve spoken to so much with a girl who was a brilliant yogi and spoke about this snobbery around Yogi, where you’ve you know, you’ve got all these different forms of yoga, fifty tales and different forms. It’s almost like my form is better than yours. Disgorgement around it. It’s almost exclusionary. Yeah, I think like meditation is like that, that if you talk about meditation, everyone’s like, well, you’re not doing it right. Or, you know, I have a better way to do that. I have a better opportunity. This is a better way to do it or you don’t do it enough. And it shouldn’t be really about any of that. It’s just it’s quieting the minds. And however you do it right, you don’t need to be in a dark room to do it. You don’t need to light scented candles and be in a beanbag to do it. You can quit your mind to what you’re out for a walk while you’re driving, while you’re cycling.

And for me, I try to meditate when I’m at home. But often I just I’m busy and I don’t have the time. Maybe I should build it into my morning routine, but I don’t, because for me, when I go on the bike and I’m riding up the side of a mountain, that’s the time I get to quiet my mind. I won’t really focus on sustainable speed like below threshold. And at that moment I’m fully focused on the present. I’m not worried about the job interview I have later on. I’m not worried about that meeting I had yesterday. I’m just totally focused on pressing the heart pedal stroke present in that moment. And for me that’s enough to quiet my mind. And like we rest our muscles, we rest everything else, but we often don’t rest our mind, and especially in social media age, where we’re constantly tricked into coming back to the phone to get dopamine hits from notifications on social media. It’s especially important to quiet her mind and just say, OK, relax, this is the off time.

Darren: Yeah, and there is something quiet. I find it quite calming when you are out on the bike, particularly in the spring, in the summer, in the early morning, as the sun is coming up, and it is fairly quiet. You don’t get any aggravated car drivers trying to run you over, run you off the bike. And like you say, you know, if you can. Be reflective and actually appreciate where you are and that moment and there is something really special like, it can put you in such a different place, different frame of mind. I’m really calm. You know, it’s not all about going out and just trying to smash the pedals and just trying to really ruin yourself. There is a lot of benefit, as I’ve learned actually through failures to just kind of back in that pace off and just take in the surroundings of where you’re at.

Anthony: Yeah, I think that you could definitely go out in a number of ways. You can use a lot of the data and analytics tools we have for you. You can use your Garmin or your … And you’re sinking in with heart rate and power and you plug in with a professional coach and service like this for a monitor and all this. But you can also just go out and ride without any of the stuff if you’re not looking for performance gains, if you’re just looking for it as a tool. But the biggest tip I say to that latter grouping of people is just trying to be more dialed with your body and listen to your body more. If you feel like riding slow, make sure you ride slow. If you feel like going fast, make sure it’s fast and don’t fall into the trap of just riding in the middle zone. Yeah, I think that happens. We kind of feel like if you’re only for 60 Minutes, we need to push the pace. But we fall into just training a very narrow band, which is probably like a zone tree.

And there’s no problem with training in one specific zone, but only gives one specific set of adaptations where if we learn to go slow, we can learn to build mitochondria, burn faster. And a lot of specific stuff going on about the endurance building zone. And then if we ride fast, like 10 second bursts, one minute for gas, we’ll get a lot of neuromuscular developments and our specific set of adaptations there. So whatever you set out to do, try and stick with that, whether it’s slow or fast, don’t fall into the trap of one speed commuter racing, everyone.

Darren: Yeah, absolutely nothing. That’s very valuable. So before we finish up today, Anthony, what would you say the five key points that Main does listening to this could take a while to implement in their lives to around site feed, around using cycling to be healthy, happier and for longevity?

Anthony: Five points. I think the first one starts with the end in mind. So look at what your goal is. I think a modeling model, someone’s outcomes, look to somebody, appear as a friend, a celebrity, and say, OK, I want what he’s got. Is it a two hour turkey marathon or is it completing a one hundred mile bike ride? So look what the finish line is and then start backwards from there because success leaves clues. So you can start looking at how he got to that place on that reverse engineer that it’s your own life. I think that’s the first one that I’d say is super important. I think personally, there’s a big for someone whose time crunched. There’s a huge gain for training with a little bit of purpose rather than just going out and aimlessly swinging punches in dark. I’m a big advocate for training with purpose training with. So it’s so cheap. When I got started, I like to forge a bank application as a student sales, buying a car to buy some of these, parameterize the heart rate monitors and they are super affordable for one hundred and fifty euro. You’re going to get started with a heart rate monitor and the ability to plug into somebody’s professional coaching services. And it’s going to progress your fitness so fast compared to just going out on your own and swinging in the dark.

I think Turley’s the baseline test, so we want to know if you’re doing the right stuff. So let’s go out and set it, draw a line in the sand and say, yeah, this is where my fitness is now. And I’ve got a retest six to eight weeks from now. Yeah, and that’s number three, number four, don’t get caught in the merry go round of thinking. You need six thousand for a bike. And it’s something we spoke about after not being afraid to invest in the education part because they on tangibles like a mentor or a coaching service, you don’t have the physical that you can grab from this, but it’s way more valuable than by the expensive bike buying the expensive wheels, because it’s got to be a skill that you’re invested in your body, rather, and invested in a machine. And it’s not glamorous and you can’t say it. No, and that’s what’s fifth is prioritized recovery, recovery training gives us the possibility of getting stronger and then that possibility gets realized through recovery. So I think recovery is super important and that can come in the form of and it’s actually a nice segue to something I’m working on at the moment.

Right now, I’m working on what I mentioned that earlier and I was going to be there, this virtual performance, so much that’s going on because everyone is a little bit down on Covid. So I wanted to pull a lot of positivity together. So my podcast, the Roadman Cycle podcast, has got a big, big audience lately and I’ve been lucky enough to use the leverage from that to attract some turkey the best minds in the business. And so we’re trying to bring Turkey the best minds from across the world and fitness together to tackle this idea of how we optimize human performance. Yeah, true cycling. So we’re going to do it from 30 different angles. So if sports psychologists, yogis, weight loss experts, nutrition experts, ergonomics experts, mechanics, chefs, everything we’re all coming together for from the 29th to December four to day, a virtual syllabus. And I think for anyone looking to optimize their fitness or get started, this it’s going to be pitched to us on so many different levels. So if you’re a pro athlete or you’re an absolute beginner, you’re still going to get an awful lot out of it. Yeah, so the link for if anyone wants to jump onto it, it’s just roadmansummitcom. That’s a free ticket. There’s no charge for.

Darren: Perfect. Yeah, that’s amazing. And I think that to come back to what you said earlier around, you know, coaching and the accountability is wildly underestimated. And I think that if you draw parallels from professional sport, nobody in professional sport has ever got to a gold medal level or that kind of level on their own. They have massive things behind them. And I’m not saying you should hire a massive team, but what the point I’m trying to make is that it is more about you than it is about the equipment. And let’s be honest, we’re, guys, we like new shiny bikes and new gadgets and stuff like that.

But as you said before, the guy that’s carrying 15 kilos more than what he needs to all of those things that you’re spending your money on is going to amount to nothing vs. what you can actually do for yourself. And the benefits of actually working on yourself and having someone look from the outside in is not just for that moment in time or that, you know, event. You’re going to be training towards that forever, you know, and that has come back to the impact it has in your life has such a profound impact. So why cannot stress enough how important accountability, coaching and things like that? You know, even if it’s just for cycling, like we said, it has a profound impact on other areas of your life. So, yeah, I think that’s a great five points for Anthony and definitely. So what’s that? What’s the link for the summit again?

Anthony: It’s just roadmansummit.com

Darren: So goes that sign up for it. And I really appreciate your time is fascinating talking to Anthony and you got some. Yeah. Some great stories and I’d love to. Yeah. To talk to you again in some great depth. But how else can people connect with you obviously got roadmansummit.com and what other places can people connect with.

Anthony: Yeah, we’re on the website is roadman cycling. So a roadmancycling.com checking the Instagram handle there. I think it’s @roadman.cycling on Instagram. And so someone obviously talked about my and I had to put a dot in the middle there.

Darren: Yeah. Perfect. All right. Well I really appreciate your time on the podcast today. And yeah, I’d love to get you back on again to talk around specifics. Maybe I’ll get you back on to talk about sleep and definitely amazing.

Anthony: Yeah, definitely. Matt Walker, while you’re Sleep is a great book for people to check out in the meantime.

Darren: Yeah, absolutely. Alright Anthony. Well Thanks very much for your time today and I’ll catch up with you soon.

Anthony: Thanks. I appreciate it.

Darren: Thanks for listening to the Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please hit subscribe and I would really appreciate it if you could leave a review on iTunes. All the things mentioned in the episode will be in the show notes, and a full transcription is over at fitterhealthierdad.com