Gary Brennan the 39 Stone Cyclist on his massive weight loss journey and how it is now

  • Country : United Kingdom

    Currently riding : Specialized Tarmac Comp 2012, Cannondale CAADX 2013 and a Specialized Langster 2010
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    Bio :

    Im 32 years old, a Trainer for Manchester City Council, I cycle road and CX, 4 years ago I weighed 39 stone and 13 pounds, Today I am under 13 stone, because I chose to cycle to work and eat less crap.

    Think back to when you were a kid; tell me about your earliest memories of cycling

    HAHA, You dont want to know, I was around 4, on a trike, in the park, I was nailing myself on a downhill path.....I ended up meeting a tree :0)...Then when I was 16 I had just finished a hilly training ride around the hills of Todmoren, it was a nice summers evening, warm, light, I was half a mile from home, and the next thing I wake up beng taken to hospital, I’d been in a hit and run, it really affected me, so much so, I didnt touch a bicycle again until I was almost 40 stone !!!!!....

    You go by the name of the “amazing 39 stone cyclist”, tell us the story behind that?

    4 years ago, I was 39 stone and 13 pounds, I had high blood pressure, sleep apnia, I was a type 2 diabetic, with 2 kids, I knew something HAD to be done, so I got myself a bike and set about cycling to work, my blog ( was initally a way of me keeping check on myself, it only had photos, because I couldnt weigh myself at that weight, but once I started REALLY losing the weight, I started blogging, I enjoyed writing, I found it helped, now my mission is to help people who are in the situation I used to be. The Amazing tag was added by someone else and has been dropped by me, I'm not amazing, just a normal bloke.

    How hard was it to address you eating disorder, control your feelings and how have you overcome it?

    It was more difficult than losing 26 stone TBH, I knew I couldnt fight an eating disorder and the weight all at once, so I did put beating it on the back burner until I had grown my self-confidence. As soon as I had the confidence, I found the support and went for it, head long, just like the weight loss, once I started, an eating disorder that had gripped me for almost 30 years, was eradicated within just 2 weeks, The mantra on the bike was always “Attack like HELL” and it worked, so I simple applied the same focuse and mantra to the food side of things.

    Why did you keep the disorder quiet for so long?

    I was in absolute SHAME, it wasnt just online, on my blog, etc that I kept it quiet, there was less than a handful of people who knew me, that actually knew about it. The shame of it just encompassed me.

    Along with cycling have you changed your diet and can you give us a typical meal before you ride?

    Pasta, Rice, the cycling foods from god...

    My diet was nothing more than sweets, crips and chocolate, now I have a full range of food that I eat, barring sea food, there really isnt anything I dont like know, it’s actually a little scary, so many different things to eat, all that I LOVE, with one eye on my weight. I dont worry too much, but I do keep an eye on the number of calories, less of a diet, more of a being sensible approach.

    You have been in the media last year, what were your best bits?

    Last year I did a lot of TV work, both for here in the UK and also in Japan, "The cycle show" was great as its a new show that hopefully will redress the balance with the “Them and us” argument, I'm a driver and a cyclist, we all need to agree to get along on the roads. The stuff in Japan was simple stunning, the Japanese people are so amazingly warm and friendly, I’ve not seen the show in full yet, but it’s already aired and the response has been really good.

    How was your recent experience with the ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ program on Channel 4?

    Really good, they really do put you at ease, there is also a lot of work to do to get onto the show too, to ensure that you are mentally ready to get your kit off on national tv. There will be a revision of the surgery and further filming in the future, of course, I would have Rather the NHS do the work I so desperately needed, but that didnt happen and you simply have to play with the hard of cards that you get dealt.

    What single piece of advice would you give someone who is in the position you were in and wants to change his or her life?

    Small steps to get to a big goal Never give up chose something that you ENJOY I attempted to lose weight in the gym a few years ago, as you have seen from my record, I am not lazy and I can fight like a warrior, but in the gym, I was bored to death !!!!! and as such, I failed to lose any weight, go fed up and gained !!!!

    As a single dad, how do you balance bringing your children up with working, campaigning and cycle training it must be exhausting?

    :0) Exhausting isnt quite the word tbh, but rewarding, it’s the single most rewarding thing ever, I can still ride to work thanks to the location of the school, home and office, my brother like to say a few nights a week too, so when he’s here, I get the chance to get some hard miles in. I also use a game called “the biggest loser” on my xbox with the kinect sensor. I also have a turbo trainer. It's hard work yes, but I wouldnt change it for the world!!

    Talk us through a typical day…



    Ride to work

    Work Ride Home/School Run


    Quality time


    and somewhere in there is a little bit of sleep :0)

    What are your thoughts on the recent boost to road cycling through Bradley Wiggins raising the profile of the sport?

    Any boost cycling receives is great, sadly, the man whom I was inspired by, inspired to fight through the pain, the suffering etc..Lance Armstong has now undone most of Brad’s work. We have a great 2013 to look forward to though, Cav looks like a shoe horn for Green, Brad for Pink on Italy and Froome for Yellow in Paris, that doesn't even consider our track teams, who have already picked up some gold this week. The future is bright, we just need to move on from all the doping years....

    Finally, if the world were completely cycle friendly, where would you go?

    Egypt - I suffer with the cold after all the weight I have lost, so I’d want to go somewhere REALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLY hot with nice hotels and beaches I can relax on after a hard days training. Thanks for allowing me this time Adam, good luck to anyone reading this who has their own challenge to undertake, just remember, if I, a normal northern bloke can do it, ANYONE can !!!!

    1. Blue moulder-Hurdsfield says:

      I am 56 this year and had a heart attack in 2002. I used to be really fit playing hockey and rowing for the RAF, since my heart attack my weight has gradually increased to 18 stone. I joined MY Cycling Buddy to try to get someone to ride with, I have just bought a 2yr old Boardman Pro Team Carbon and had it set up properly by AW Cycles in Reading, unfortunately no one seems to want to come out riding. After the heart attack I lost most of my confidence so I guess the question is;
      How can I get inspired to go out on my own?
      (I also looked up to Lance Armstrong but I have removed him from my ‘Heros’ list now).

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      • Adam Samuel says:

        Thanks for the comment, I can’t believe that no-one wants to come out riding with you. I would make sure your profile looks appealing, so make sure you have a photo on there and plenty of information. If you have done so then I guess its about patience. Have you tried joining some of the cycling forums like Cyclechat or, there are plenty of riders on there and if you introduce yourself you may find likeminded people in your area. You may also want to try joining a cycling club, some are more aggressive than others but see if you can find a friendly club in your local area who accept beginners and don’t go at race pace.

        In regards to getting inspired to go out on your own it is a mindset. I find that just going out gives me headspace to think about things, but in a clear way. If you don’t like the weather and thats stopping you try getting a second hand turbo trainer to put in your garage or lounge if you can fit it and watch telly whilst riding your bike ;)

        Gary any thoughts on this?

        VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
    2. Gary says:

      Great inspirational effort there.

      My best cycling buddys have been made, on the road, either me trying to drop them, or vice versa, you get to find someone who is at your ability who shares your passion.

      The sun is out, grab your bike (a great bike BTW) and get out there !


      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    3. Gary says:

      ohhh, as for getting inspired, i’ll probs get shot down, but get some inspirational music on your ipod, using only one earphone and job done for now :0)

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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