With Dr. Rankin
The holidays are great for so many reasons. If there is one drawback it is usually that dreaded battle with weight gain. I was speaking to Dr. Josh Rankin awhile back on a bike ride about his weight loss and finding that balanced healthy lifestyle. I was stunned to find out how much weight he has lost.
Josh showed up on group rides a couple years ago. At first he struggled to keep the pace. I can remember him saying “if I get dropped, don’t wait up”. Saturday after Saturday he continued to throw himself into it. Eventually he started to hold on to the group and mixing in the rotation. Next thing you know, he’s showing up for Tuesday Night World Championships. It’s been great to track Dr. Rankin’s progress on the bike the last couple years. I hope you find a little inspiration to ride from his story.
OCA: How did you discover cycling?
JR: My first experience in the world of cycling was actually with the purchase of a mountain bike when I was in medical school. Some buddies & I rode infrequently then, and it was largely unused until I picked it back up again in 2008. As I got back into riding, and the pounds came off, I got to know the guys at my LBS (local bike shop), which was in Little Rock at the time. I moved up to a hybrid for a year and then took the plunge & bought a road bike in 2010.
OCA: Tell us about your weight loss?
JR: I have always been a big person. I was an offensive/defensive lineman in high school. Through college and med school, I really packed on the pounds due to poor diet and no exercise. In 2007, I got up to 280 pounds and was miserable. I was tired all the time. My wife and I had our first child that year, and it was then I decided that I should probably lose weight if I wanted to be around to see him grow up. But then, my father had a heart attack in 2008 & actually “coded” right in front of me (like you see on TV with all the shouts of “clear” and chest compressions). I’ve seen that many times, but it’s different when it’s your father. We got him back, but that was THE major wake –up call for me. I got that old mountain bike out, started riding, and reduced my calorie intake and began to make healthier diet choices. As I shed the weight, I became more and more addicted to riding my bike and then eventually running (which I couldn’t do beforehand as the excess weight killed my knees). It took time, but by 2011 (when we moved back to NWA) I was weighing in at just under 190. The lightest I’ve seen myself was 182, so I’ve lost almost 100 pounds.
OCA: Any tips for those looking to shed a few pounds?
JR: Well most of your readers are already doing this, but I tell my patients that you’ve got to find an ACTIVITY that challenges you but that you ENJOY doing. Plus I tell them not to approach weight loss as a “diet” for short term benefit. Rather, you must decide that you are making a lifestyle change that includes regular activity to BECOME a healthy person.
OCA: What inspires you to ride?
JR: Riding is my “me” time. I find that if I don’t ride regularly and get that “fix”, I just don’t feel good. But the camaraderie of our group rides inspires me as well. Even though I’m not much of a talker, I really enjoy riding with the groups on the weekends. The guys in these groups have helped me become a better cyclist more than they’ll ever know. In fact, I’d have to give kudos to Jason Vickery for introducing me to triathlons and to riding with your group as well. I probably would not have pushed myself as much as I have if not for his encouragement.
OCA: What’s your favorite route?
JR: Any route with a tail wind! But the route I enjoy every time I ride it is what we call “the airport loop” that takes us up to XNA/Highfill and back down. It’s not terribly hilly (which is always a plus for the triathlete side of me) and I enjoy the scenery.
OCA: What’s your favorite race?
JR: I’m more of a triathlete than road racer and it’s hard to say which has been my favorite race. But I’d say the biggest race I’ve done and the one I’m most proud of was IronMan Chattanooga in September – my first full distance IronMan.
OCA: What’s your favorite post race meal?
JR: Hmmmm. That’s a tough one. I usually find that I can’t eat much right after a hard race. But sipping on chocolate milk makes me feel better. Then I usually try to find some small portion of pasta. Not trying to re-carbload or anything.
OCA: A big thanks to Dr. Rankin for his willingness to share his story. Cycling is a great low impact activity that will get you outside and keep you healthy. For those of you who ride you know what I am talking about. Share the love! Thanks for following.
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Dr. Joshua Rankin
FirstCare Family Doctors – Tontitown, a MANA Clinic
171 N. Maestri Rd.
Springdale, AR 72762