Guest Post 1 with Gaz: Q&A With the Former Super Morbidly-Obese Cyclist

02.20.2012 | 11:10 am

A Note from Fatty: This week, Gaz, who blogs as “The FORMER Super Morbidly Obese Cyclist” will be taking over my blog, answering your questions about how it’s possible to lose a lot of weight (in Gaz’s case, hundreds of pounds) by riding.

Good Morning America (and the wider world)!

Fatty, first off, thanks for warm welcome, speaking of warm, it seems the chair you have given me is quite warm too.

And finally, before I start, I was told Lance & Johan would be here, waiting for me …..thats a lie, but worth a try.

So, I am Gary Brennan, I used to weigh a MAMMOTH 560 pounds! Until one day, something mentally “snapped” and I set out on a journey of a (saving my) Life(Time) that was 3 years ago, today I weigh in at under 200 pounds and for someone the height of George Hincapie (and with around 10-14 pounds of excess skin) that’s none too shabby.

It took me 2 years to lose the weight and I have had 1 year at “maintaining” my current weight.


Well it was actually pretty simple, I rode my bike to and from work each day, and did 2 x 100km charity rides per year and along with cutting down from 12,000 calories to 2000: that’s about it.

I was lucky because I knew within the first half mile just how much I was going to enjoy cycling. Sure that first half mile, that first year and a half was a dark, difficult, painful place to be in but I knew, that it would all be worth it, every ride got quicker and more enjoyable and after 10 years of being “Super Super Morbidly Obese” it took be less than 18 months to no longer be classed as obese, an investment that was more than worth it.

201202200955.jpgOver the last 3 years I have thrown myself headlong into cycling. I have all the kit (Radioshack, Livestrong, the old Astana stuff, Discovery Channel, USPS, HTC).

I make no bones about the fact I feel that Lance Armstrong was the inspiration that started all this and more than that, when I was suffering on the bike, in the frozen UK winters with howling wind, snow and ice, the thought of being able to pull on the same jerseyss as Lance kept me going.

With that inspiration I managed to do it, too:


So, that’s me done for now, let’s take some questions from the floor.

The Flyin’ Ute

Q. Can you post about your level of energy now vs. before as well as confidence now vs. then. Has your self view changed? or do you still “see” yourself as the big guy in the skinny body? Also, how do you view other fit people? other large people? What do you think of the marketing hype to be fit?

A. Energy and confidence used to be through the floor , now they are through the ROOF.

I do still have self-image issues, but that’s mainly down to the fact that I have so much excess skin, something I am in negotiations regarding.

I view other people, large or small, as people, with individual needs.

Hype shouldn’t inspire people to get fit but sometimes people need that push, so if it works for them then it’s cool by me, if I can be part of that, then so much the better.

Next up we have:


Q. OK Gaz, I am down about 40 lbs from my top, but I yoyo around 205 – 215. My ideal weight would be 188 lbs. (I got there once when I re-started riding in 2003). How do you lose that last 15-20 lbs? You obviously have – great job BTW.

A: Well, the theory behind it is simple, eat less and move more, be it cycling, running, walking, swimming. Good luck , the theory is easy, the practical aspect isn’t as easy.


Q. What is a “stone” in American measurement?

A: 14 Pounds.


Q. Yes, I agree! Keeping your motivation up and also prioritizing your self-care? Need strategies for both. have lost 125+ pounds and working on the next 15, then 15 more.

A: That’s a good point, keep your goals SMALL, with other goals on the bigger picture.

Ok that’s all I can get to right now. I am here all week and would love to answer more of your weight loss / cycling questions so feel free to add them to comments section here & I will get through as many as I can.



  1. Comment by Amy | 02.20.2012 | 11:30 am

    Love, love, love stories like this! I set out to lose some weight a few years back, just got sick of being the fat girl. I didn’t plan to become a cyclist, but I was probably doomed since my husband is a huge cycling advocate. Cycling (biking to work and training for some long rides) was a huge part of how I lost around 60 pounds. Bicycle commuting is such a great way to save money, stay fit and put yourself in a great mood. Wish I could find an easy way to convince other people that you don’t have to be fit/fast/super cyclist to ride your bike to work.

  2. Comment by Al | 02.20.2012 | 11:44 am

    Hey Gaz – nice to see you on here. I’m based in the UK and came across your story last year and was inspired then (as now) by it. I saw you’ve got a Madone now – cool, cool choice!

  3. Comment by Shep | 02.20.2012 | 1:39 pm

    Gaz, I was reading some more about you online, and I see that you had a pretty bad accident with a van back in 2010. Can you talk about that briefly and how it effected you emotionally? I’ve ridden a motorycle for the last 35 years, and right where I turn onto my street I was almost rear-ended a few years ago by a driver not paying attention to the fact that I was turning. To this day I always check my rear view mirror when turning onto my street and I’m always reminded of that near miss. You actually got hit, so I don’t know how I’d do with that. Also, how is your back and hips feeling these days? Any long-term effects? Congrats on the change of life (no pun intended) and keep it up!

  4. Comment by Nurse Betsy | 02.20.2012 | 1:55 pm

    Great story. My question is the setting of the goals. I always seem to set them too high and when I can’t keep up, just quit and think I’m a failure. Any suggestions?

  5. Comment by daddyo | 02.20.2012 | 2:01 pm

    how far is your daily commute by bike?

  6. Comment by Shep | 02.20.2012 | 2:24 pm

    @Nurse Betsy

    I know you weren’t asking me, but I’ve lost quite a bit myself and have a similar story to Gaz (although my weight loss pales in comparison…100 pounds thus far). I set my biking goals and weight loss goals in increments of 10. So when I went from 300 to 290 it was awesome, then 290 to 280 etc… Same thing with biking. I did my first 50 mile ride about a month ago, and am now going for 60 this coming weekend. My long term goal is my first century ride, but I have to keep smaller goals in the forefront of my mind or I get overwhelmed. Hope that helps.

  7. Comment by snotrocketeer | 02.20.2012 | 3:24 pm


    I have a close friend who weighs close to 400lbs and I want to help him loose a lot of that weight by embracing cycling like you did. He has expressed interest in it and I want to get him started by buying him a bike and helping him with his training.

    My question is, what kind of bike did you start riding at your heaviest? It seems like one would need something specialized for such a high weight, as well as someting easy to handle with the limited mobility of someone that size. Any tips on an entry-bike for someone trying to do this for the first time at 300-400lbs?


  8. Comment by BikeMechNo3 | 02.20.2012 | 3:51 pm

    Guys read his blog! A lot of these questions are answered there.

  9. Comment by tee | 02.20.2012 | 4:05 pm

    Gaz, great job. I was wondering what your first ride was like when you decided enough was enough. If you can remember what were your thoughts from when you took the bike out and put your leg over it to when you brought it home from the first ride. And, if you had to do it all over again would you have done anything differently? Thank you.

  10. Comment by MellowJonny | 02.20.2012 | 4:14 pm

    I am a new rider trying to lose weight. How much should I ride daily? Should I start off with fast rides or distant rides?

  11. Comment by CGradeCyclist | 02.20.2012 | 7:04 pm

    What a brilliant blog!! Great story that has been told in great style – inspirational!! Thanks Gaz – I really enjoyed reading through some of your blog posts.

    My only question is this – did you ever “fall off the wagon” or regress to old habits? If you did, how did you kick yourself back into regular riding again?

    Cheers mate!

  12. Comment by spinecho | 02.20.2012 | 7:12 pm

    What is “selective eating disorder”? Is that what initially led to the weight gain?

  13. Comment by Bryce | 02.20.2012 | 11:49 pm


    Did you ever figure out why you gained all the weight in the first place? What made it stick with the trade of the bike instead of the food?

  14. Comment by Robin | 02.21.2012 | 8:25 am

    This blog is so inspiring!!!!!!!!! I randomly came across it after a google search for “bike blogs.” I just started training for a triathlon and am a little overwhelmed. What a great source of inspiration. :)

  15. Comment by Papa Bear | 02.21.2012 | 8:56 am

    Gaz, I have lost a NET 40 lbs with cycling over the last year and a half, although I was almost 15 lbs lighter a few months ago.

    My biggest problem is I AM HUNGRY. I am logging my food and following a 2000 calorie restriction, but I am just HUNGRY all of the time! Do you have any suggestions to get past the hunger until your body gets used to the lower intake?

    Papa Bear

  16. Comment by Dan.weise | 02.21.2012 | 9:11 am

    First off, congratulations on the loss and maintenance!

    The questions I have are regarding the temptations and “falling off the wagon”. What was your biggest temptation? How did you fight it? IF you did go overboard, what got you back on track?

    Also, this is for th ewoder audience as well. I’d love to bike to work, but its 12+ miles and some climbing which means I wouldn’t exactly be “fresh” when I got to work, if you know what I mean. I work in an office with no shower facilities. Any suggestions or strategies that would allow me to bike and to be presentable at work?


    Keep up the great work!

  17. Comment by Fat Monte | 02.21.2012 | 9:33 am

    Gaz, you are a different person now, in appearance, in attitude, in lifestyle. How have your relationships changed over the course of your weight loss? At work? With friends and family? With your significant other or romantic partner(s)?

  18. Comment by Lisa | 02.21.2012 | 11:17 am

    That’s fantastic! You should be incredibly proud of yourself. I’m glad you did it through calorie counting and exercise. It works! And it’s a good lifestyle change that can be maintained.

  19. Comment by Shep | 02.21.2012 | 12:52 pm

    Sorry to be off topic here for a second, but none of my close friends ride, so I’m coming to my two-wheeled people to say that I just bought my first road bike last night. I’m the proud papa of a 2009 Scott Speedster s20. Have to stop after work and buy shoes and cleats (it came with Look clipless pedals) and then it’s off for my first ride tomorrow morning. I haven’t been this excited since I bought my first motorcycle 31 years ago!

  20. Comment by Kent | 02.21.2012 | 1:01 pm


    I recently had a life change which resulted in limited biking time, I’m a single dad of a 10 & 7 year old. Every day I bring full gear and go for a 10-15 mile ride depending on the weather and my mood. I apply plenty of deodorant in the AM. When I return I change to a clean t-shirt (i’ve done a few rides and 5K’s, I have plenty) and cool down about 10 minutes before I stop by the bathroom use a wash cloth, towel and change back to office attire. I’ve been doing this for a year and the only complaint I had was when I rode in the rain and hung all my wet cycling clothes all over my office, Yea they didn’t like that at all. I leave the bike at the office and take home only for repairs. My mountain bike is very lonely.

  21. Comment by Brandon | 02.21.2012 | 10:03 pm

    I have been working out since Jan 1 on the trainer and eating well. I’m getting burned out on the eating. You can only eat so much at subway. Plus I want to make sure my body is getting the right nutrients. I have dropped 13.5lbs since jan 1 and have never felt better n the bike.

    Any suggestions on eating would be awesome


  22. Comment by Al | 02.22.2012 | 12:35 am

    Hi Gaz
    Thanks for the inspiration. I started on a similar journey last January. I was pushing 300. My wife finally nagged me into getting my yearly health maintenance done. I ordered some labs (I’m a doctor), and they put the fear of god into me. My sugar was too high. I joined a program, and lost 80 pounds. Just a fairly intense diet program with weekly meetings and a support group. Not even much exercise. The biking come later. Now I’m stable on my weight. I feel great. I’m commuting to work a few days a week 16+ miles each way.

    @Dan – I leave a change of clothes at work, and some deoderant. Towel off, change clothes, and I’m good to go. Sweaty is ok, stale is not. Much better than a Starbucks in the morning at kicking off your day.

    Trying to maintain, based on height and built my fighting weight would be about 200. I’d love to make it there some day. Also have a problem with a little loose skin.


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