“Cycling for me is freedom,”
says Mr Dapo Akintola, a 50-year-old, South London based cycling aficionado who also happens to be a consultant in the Oral Surgery Department at the Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. He tells his story about how Totum Sport helped him beat debilitating cramps to be the best cyclist he can be.
I started cycling some 18 years ago. Not for any other reason except to commute through London in a way that wasn’t so restricted. I wanted freedom from the schedules of the London Underground and its push, shoves and shuffles during peak hour traffic. Little did I know at the time what an expensive pastime it would become and one for which I am happy to pay. Before I knew it, I had joined a cycling club and really pushed to become a better cyclist.
I’ve taken part in several cycling challenges to raise monies for various charities and my most memorable challenge was in 2006 when I cycled 400km in 4 days from Beijing to the Yellow Sea. We were cycling for six to eight hours each day, over hilly and difficult terrain, following the Great Wall as it climbs steep mountains and drops back down to sea level.
Although I had done a few races, it so turned out that racing and clubbing wasn’t at the core of my passion for my bicycle, and I soon started riding solo. Over and above my daily commute to work and daytime freedom to weave between the madness of the London traffic, I started to smash 60 to 80 miles a weekend too. I look forward to my weekend rides as way to keep fit and stay healthy.
Several years ago, while I was still a member of the cycling club, I started to experience debilitating muscle cramps in my legs whilst doing long rides at the weekend. It was then that a fellow enthusiast recommended Totum Sport. I was sceptical at first but willing to try to it to become the best me that I could be on my cycle.
The results were impressive, and I noticed the benefits almost immediately. Cramps? What cramps? They became a thing of the past.
I started researching the product and its list of ingredients and realised that hydration is not only about water but also about the minerals and elements so elegantly packaged in a neat little sachet that made consumption effortless. Hydration starts with balanced and hydrated cells and because blood pumps to the muscles where oxygen is most needed during cycling, I now understand that my body needs these elements to prevent the build-up of lactic acid and removal of carbon-dioxide. And this is what Totum Sport provides. Cellular hydration through optimum cellular homeostasis. It also represents a further freedom, freedom from cramps. Today, I take Totum Sport three times a week in the mornings, and at weekends before, during and after my long-distance rides.
My best time to cycle is early mornings - my bicycle and I on the road at 5am is the ultimate in self-isolation. It represents freedom from my daily grind, allows me to focus my mind by being present and rid my mind of self-doubt. Most recently I was redeployed to critical care at work, a hospital with the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in the UK. I take solace in the freedom that cycling provides. Especially those early morning energising rides to work where I put peddle to grindstone to help patients in my own small way.
When Totum Sport made contact offering all COVID-19 Frontline Heroes including the staff at our hospital with its award-winning product as part of its nationwide give-back drive, we couldn’t resist. In essence, we are running marathons every day to keep our patients healthy and we come back the next day to do it all over again. I rest assured knowing that we are properly hydrated at a cellular level especially because it’s so easy to forget about proper self-care when other people’s lives are at risk. My current role involves me wearing PPE for extended periods whilst treating patients, and myself and my colleagues sweat considerably whilst wearing PPE and we can now look forward to replenishing and hydrating with Totum Sport.
For anyone looking for freedom and wanting to experience the magic of cycling, start, just start. You don’t need the most expensive bicycle or riding gear. You don’t need to look the part to be the part. Start slow and make your goals realistic. 30 minutes a day for the first month is realistic. I do recommend that you invest in a good quality helmet, reflective clothing and bicycle lights (especially in Winter), a good chain or lock system, a pump, mini-puncture-repair patch kit and a comfortable saddle.
It’s also a wise idea to plan your route so that you can track how many miles you’ve done and what you want to improve on. I personally prefer using the mobile app Strava as it allows me to compete with other cyclists on the same route whilst tracking my miles. Like any sport, it’s about consistency. And remember that the space for your water bottle carrier is there for a reason and also that hydration is about more than drinking sweet juices and water. Make sure you hydrate the proper way. Lesson taken Totum Sport!
Cycling has taken to me to places that I never thought I’d go. I’ve been on guided cycle tours through Spain and Italy, and plan to do one in the Netherlands soon. Enjoying life above ground on a bicycle opens the world up to so many new experiences that I might have otherwise missed. The smiles from passers-by, the smells in the air, the kindness of a gentle breeze on a hot day and most of all knowing that I am also giving back to my body.