This Couple Started Indoor Cycling Post-Pandemic and Gained Confidence and Better Health

how cycling changed me, lei and mika burgs
Indoor Cycling Got This Couple Moving AgainCourtesy Lei and Mika Burgs

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Names: Lei and Mika Burgs
42, 38
Houston, Texas
Barber/Business Owner, Hairstylist
Time Cycling:
1 year
Reason for Cycling:
To improve overall health and wellness and to get back in shape.

Lei: In 2019, I was in good shape as I was preparing for my wedding. I was exercising regularly, and eating well—that is, until 2020. That’s when everything changed during the COVID pandemic and we were home and quarantined. I was doing a lot of sitting, eating and drinking. As a barber, we were shut down and couldn’t work for a good portion of the year. Needless to say, with such a sedentary lifestyle, I was packing on the pounds.

Mika: Before COVID in 2019, I first was introduced to cycling by my sister. I was trying to lose weight for our upcoming wedding.

I cycled two to three times a day with my previous cycle studio, but it closed due to COVID. Once COVID took over, my wife and I were a part of the shut down and were not able to work, because we are salon owners. (She’s a barber and I’m a hairstylist.) So the pounds packed on.

Food and alcohol became my comfort. A year after our wedding, in 2020, I lost my mom to a heart attack. My sister also suffered a heart attack and survived a triple bypass surgery. Those events scared me and also motivated me to make a huge change for my own health.

Exactly one year to the day my mom passed, I decided to make a change. That day was September 30, 2021. I was 37 years old.

Lei: I tried to get active. I got on the treadmill at home and that’s where it all went wrong. One day as I attempted to run, I felt a prick followed by a sharp pain in my knee. Days later, I felt the same pain in my other knee as I bent down to feed my dog. I went to the doctor to check it out and it turns out I had torn my meniscus in both knees! Not to mention I weighed in at 257 pounds. That was my heaviest.

My doctor advised me that I would need surgery and that my weight was possibly contributing to the injuries. The down time for recovery for each knee would be extensive, and the length of time off of work was not something I was comfortable doing—especially since we had already been out of work for the pandemic. So I asked the doctor if I could do a more holistic/rehabilitative approach, and he agreed. He told me biking and swimming would be good. So I tried indoor cycling.

Lei: On September 30, 2021, my wife and I joined CycleBar in Pearland, Texas, and we became founding members. Truthfully I had tried indoor cycling before (in 2019) and I didn’t like it. The pain in my butt from the seat was not something I thought I could get past. But seeing as this was, in my mind, my last resort and alternative to surgery, I had to give it another valiant effort.

I tried to be proactive this time, and decided to buy not only a bicycle seat cushion, but also padded cycling shorts, which I used together. One might think this would be a good idea, however, I did more harm than good. The tremendous amount of padding caused me to displace all of my weight to my tailbone and led to me bruising it! This took six weeks to heal. But I fought through, kept riding, and made it work.

Lei: When we first started cycling we rode about four times per week. Now my wife and I ride five days per week and sometimes twice a day, and maybe when we are feeling good, three times in a day. We will often do little challenges between each other and sometimes include friends. For example, we would tally up our miles to equal that of a trip to Austin, New Orleans, and San Antonio. CycleBar has also held many challenges and races that have helped keep us motivated.

Currently we ride Sunday, Monday, Tuesday with a break on Wednesday and we resume on Thursday and Friday, with another break on Saturday. We have come to understand that breaking up our ride week with a day off in between works best for our legs. Long-term goals for me would be to one day become an indoor cycling instructor and maybe seek upward growth within the company.

Mika: My goal is to become a cycle instructor.

Lei: We also adjusted our diets, focusing on lean meats and vegetables. We were eating horribly and drinking sugary cocktails before.

Lei: Cycling is amazing. It’s very low-impact on your joints and is suitable for any age and/or fitness level. I have zero pain in my knees. I have lost weight due to diet and exercise and I feel absolutely great!

Mika: Cycling at CycleBar has literally saved my life! It has given me my confidence back! I feel like myself again! I can wear my heels, and I no longer suffer with my knees or ankles. I would tell other cyclists to just do it. Get started. And keep going. Give yourself 30 days—you will see results that soon. Don’t think about it, just do it, and stick with it!

These tips have made our cycling journey a success:

1. Set small goals (Lei)

I remember starting indoor cycling and saying I wanted to be able to just stay out of the saddle for an entire song. Then, my next goal was to ride at the instructed rpm/tempo and gear for an entire song. These goals have helped along the way and offer successes to celebrate.

2. Stay hydrated (Lei)

Cycling has shown me that if I’m not drinking enough water, I don’t have a good ride. My legs will cramp and my energy level will decrease. The water I drink today, I will leave under the bike tomorrow.

3. Find an accountability partner (Mika)

Ride with someone who can push you and you can push them. It’s easy to give up when it gets hard, but if you have someone to motivate you, you won’t quit.

Lei’s and Mika’s Must-Have Gear

MyZone MZ-3 Activity Belt: This thing is a go-to for tracking accurate calories and heart rate.

Celsius Heat Energy Drink: This drink gets us energized and ready for the class. A must-have for those 5:15 a.m. classes.

Nike Pro 365 Leggings: If you’re not really a full-length tights/leggings type of person, these 3/4-length tights feel great, because they aren’t hanging near the ankles.

Junk Headband: This is a lifesaver! It keeps the sweat and hair from falling into your eyes.

Apple Watch Series 8: You can track your progress and motivate your friends and family to work out, as well.

We want to hear how cycling changed you! Send your story and submit your photos to us via this web form. We’ll pick one each week to highlight on the site.

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