I ticked off a big 5:0 last year. For some, a slow slide into athletic frailty begins some time after 40. I hear people complain about getting old and how they used to be able to do this or that but not anymore because they’re 45 now — time to slow down. I can’t slow down. I don’t want to.
I live in a beautiful Trentino province at the foot of the Dolomites mountains. It would be unthinkable for me not to enjoy the outdoors, the fresh air, the scenery. I ride my bike every opportunity I get, I ski in winter, ride horses, I run and I hike. I have a wife and four children to look after, and a business to manage. How can I do all these things and not burn out? What’s my secret?
Short answer — there’s no secret. A bit of common sense about how I spend my time, simple food, and a will to stay healthy. Not complicated, is it?
I understand that what might seem simple and natural to me might not be so clear to someone else and this is why I’d like to share with you a few tips on this blog about how you too can enjoy healthy, active life no matter where you live or how old you are.
Life After a Pro Life
The end of earning a living in a pro peloton didn’t mean the end of my athletic lifestyle. Eighteen years on, I’m still the same 73kg the day I finished my last race. As I go along with this blog, I’ll give you more insights about my simple approach to health and athletic activities. For now though, let’s start with a short overview.
Sports I Enjoy Doing
Road cycling tops the list of my sports activities. I love riding. I’m fortunate to be involved in design and manufacturing of Fondriest road bikes. It’s a privilege to have thousands of cyclists around the world riding bicycles with my name on them. I feel I have a responsibility to test every model we make to find yet another improvement to our products. This obsession with quality goes back many centuries and is what made our region, Il Nord, famous for its high quality manufacturing.
When we develop a new model, or update an existing one, I’d ride a prototype for a few weeks on different roads and in all kinds of weather. Some rides are as short as one hour, others can last three to four hours when I have time for a longer ride.
Like most cyclists, I prefer riding solo but I never turn down an opportunity to join a bunch ride. Here in Italy, it’s easy to do — one or two phone calls is all it takes to find out where the next big ride is going to be.
I don’t shy away from mountain biking. As you can imagine, Dolomites is a paradise for dirt riding. As with road cycling, I like to go easy on the trails and take in the environment, the views, and the air as I pedal along.
In winter, I head out to the higher mountains for alpine skiing. The sensation of flying down at high speed is similar to descending a col on a road bike, only it’s a bit faster and doesn’t last as long.
Running in the mountains is another thing I do during winter to keep myself in good form. A pair of shoes, a tracksuit, and an hour of my time — it doesn’t get more simple than that. This is why running is such a great exercise.
One other thing I’d like to mention. I injured my back when I was racing. To keep it from getting worse, I do abdominal and back stretching routine for half an hour almost every morning — best back pain medicine I know.
I don’t follow any diets. What I eat is a reflection of how I exercise. A simple, common sense approach to food works well for me and I believe should work for anybody.
I eat raw and baked vegetables, cooked pasta and rice, cereals, and legume soups. Fish is part of my family’s meal at least twice a week. Other days it’s white meats, eggs, dairy, and only on rare occasions red meat.
Fruit is always part of my daily food. If you ever been to Trentino, you know how wonderful our local apples are.
Speaking of apples… Trentino is also famous for its strudel made with Val di Non apples. I have to be careful with those though as well as with my other favorite deserts — my wife’s made tiramisu and local ice creams.
When I travel, I never pass a chance to try foreign foods. German, French, Brazilian — whatever it is or where it came from, I’ll eat it as long as the food is made from natural, unprocessed ingredients.
I guess this is the key to my approach to food: I stay away from packaged, processed food, and stick with fresh produce in whatever shape or form it comes.
What do I drink with my food? I am an Italian. Red wine is part of my heritage and makes it to my family’s dinner table every night. I don’t mind a glass of good beer too but I’m not keen on hard liqueurs. I never let too much alcohol ruin its enjoyment for me — deserts and alcohol are great in moderation.
Until Next Time
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