Dan Lloyd: why I've decided to change my lifestyle
8 mins read

Dan Lloyd: why I've decided to change my lifestyle

There is a strong argument to say that this article should not be here. this is global cycling network, and what I'm about to write is not especially Related to cycling. I'm going to write it anyway, and hope it gets past the editor-in-chief (I'd pick a slow news week).

I'm 43 now, and pretty much sit on my ass. Unfortunately it's on a couch now, rather than where I used to sit on the bike saddle for 20-30 hours a week. So, instead of buying a Porsche for my midlife crisis, I have decided to change a few things in my lifestyle. The objective is to prevent deterioration, to try to slow down the aging process, which I have recently been quite successful in accelerating, and to extend my life expectancy as much as possible. I'm doing this in the hopes that I can inspire, or at least encourage, some of you to do the same with me.

My approach to cycling over the years

Let me at least do some cycling in it. I loved riding my bike and racing – I can't explain how obsessed I was with being the best. In this respect I am like most current or former professionals. This is not a sport in which you can excel unless you have determination and enthusiasm.

Unfortunately for me, I didn't have the genetics to achieve Mathieu van der Poel level success, but fortunately for me, I had enough talent to turn professional and compete in many of the world's major races. This also includes the Tour de France in 2010, which I actually enjoyed the most – I got to enjoy it for a full four hours longer than that year's (eventual) winner, Andy Schleck.

Fast forward two years and I was no longer a full-time cyclist (not my own choice, but probably a wise choice by the team managers at the time). However, I remained in the 'industry'. I have been here since the inception of GCNAnd in the 12 years since, I've also had the privilege of providing plenty of commentary and punditry on the world's biggest races.

In that time, I've learned a lot about myself and my relationship with cycling and exercise in general. I love talking about and watching cycling, but I lost interest in biking soon after I stopped competing. With a goal, I can push myself very hard, without it, I see no point in doing anything.

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It's interesting to see how much former professionals ride into retirement. At least it is for me. This is one of my weird fascinations, along with wanting to see the age of almost every famous person I see on TV (yes, it's weird, and no, I don't know why). There is very little middle ground on this; Frank and Andy Schleck are good examples. While Frank continued to ride over 15,000 km per year after retirement, Andy hung up his wheels and only recently started riding again. Most ex-pros either continue to ride very little or not at all.

After thinking long and deeply about the reasons behind this disparity, my conclusion is that it depends on why you biked in the first place.

For me, I loved the process of becoming the best I could be to compete – I loved making a training plan, and I loved sticking to it, ticking off boxes. There have been very few times in my life when I have gone out for a bike ride just for the sole reason that I wanted to go out and enjoy a bike ride. Everyone had a goal and a plan.

However, it's not the same for everyone – others simply love riding their bikes, but end up being among the most talented cyclists in the world, and eventually make a career out of it. I'm not saying they don't follow training plans and tick boxes, but their love for horse riding remains in them even after not getting paid.

This was a very long-winded way of explaining why I haven't ridden my bike for the last 12 years. My professional career was another box ticked – I didn't reach the heady heights of a major win, but I went further than I ever thought possible.

Once I got back into some serious riding I became obsessed with taking the Strava Kom around a local singletrack trail. It took me about six months to get over this, after which I stopped cycling again. Sad, I know. I also have adept at running, which was great – I had no running history, so I could become the best runner I've ever been. I was back to ticking boxes… until I got injured.

So what will happen next?

Long story short (probably a long story long by this point), I haven't exercised very consistently over the past 12 years. A lot of what I've done is work, sit, drink, burn the candle at both ends, and… smoke. I haven't admitted that last part publicly before. Mainly because it's embarrassing that I did something so stupid for so long, but I smoked for quite a bit between 2012 and 2020 before I finally managed to quit. At least the tobacco part – to this day I'm still using nicotine replacement.

At the end of last year I realized I was on a slippery slope. My Whoop – who are sponsoring this series of videos – especially the sleepy scores during our Grand Tour coverage were enough to inspire me to make the change. Terrible sleep, HRV barely in double digits, and resting HR 10-15 beats higher than it would be without drinking alcohol.

At the same time, I was listening to a lot of podcasts and reading a lot of books on longevity, and all the little things you can do to give yourself the best chance of a very long and healthy life. Now it's time to start implementing some of the things I've learned.

And I'm going to document this in a new series on the GCN YouTube channel and here on our website. The initial episode (which you can watch at the top of this page) goes through some intensive baseline testing, which I had the pleasure of doing at the Nuffield Manchester Institute of Health and Performance. I will repeat those tests later this year by making several small but important changes to my lifestyle. That means more exercise, better sleep, drinking less alcohol (I'm not sure I want to or even can eliminate alcohol from my life completely), and generally focusing on healthy living.

I'm sure there are a lot of people out there, reading this or watching the series, who also have some little things they would like to change in their lifestyle for the better, or maybe you just really want to learn. What You can try to ensure that you live the longest, healthiest life possible. That's what it's all about – not living like a monk, or trying to make the right choices all day every day, but small changes that we can all implement if we really want to.

The ultimate goal? Long life, happy life and healthy life. Yes, all cliché, but I really think I and we can achieve this.

You can keep up to date with Dan's progress on the GCN website here and here gcn youtube channel, Let us know if Dan has inspired you to make some lifestyle changes in the comments below. We'd love to hear your stories too.

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