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Have you ever been forced to sit in front of the TV and watch what seems like the same show, over and over again, on HGTV?

It’s actually not a bad thing. You can learn a thing or two from the people and hosts. Yes, even though the participants never seem to learn from others’ mistakes, you can actually apply some of the lessons to your training and racing in order to become a better, faster cyclist!

Here’s what you’ll discover if you tune in:

1. Nice House, Nice Area, Nice Price – Pick Two!

If you catch just a single episode of Love It Or List It, Property Virgins, House Hunters, or… probably any show to ever premiere on HGTV, you’re going to witness this.

Buyer expectations are way overboard! If there’s a nice house in a nice location, it’s going to be expensive. If you find a nice home that’s well within your budget, it might be far, far away from where you wanted to live. That’s reality. You only get two of the three.

It’s the same when shopping for bikes and components: durability, weight, price – pick two! The sooner you understand this, the sooner you can make informed decisions quickly and then spend more time training, rather than debating.

(The second half of this lesson is that being a real estate agent is a pain!)

2. Always Talk to the Home Owner’s Association.

I was watching a Flip or Flop marathon one day and noticed a common theme. In each episode, they always went to the Home Owner’s Association after doing something. And it just so happened that there was always some regulation that was not adhered to, meaning the work had to be redone. Such a shame!

So, before you before you paint the exterior of your house, or bank on the landscaping being covered by the HOA, you might want to actually check with the HOA, rather than someone trying to sell the house for a nice profit.

Similarly, talk to the officials and read the rulebook before competing in an event. Especially one sanctioned by USA Cycling. It’s your responsibility to understand the rules. Spectators and course marshals may mean well, but they are not the officials that might disqualify you!

3. Care About the Earth.

On one episode of Property Brothers, I saw them use a fairly new type of non-toxic pressure-treated lumber. I didn’t actually know this stuff existed, but it’s supposed to be so safe you could eat off of it.

The HGTV website even suggests that you clean with natural cleaning products, saying “just about anything can be cleaned with white vinegar, baking soda, and a few drops of lemon.”

That’s always my first choice when I’m cleaning something at home! If I must buy a specific cleaner, I look for the most natural one possible. There are also professional cleaners out there that specialize in cleaning using non-toxic, green cleaning agents (you’ll have to see if there is one in your area).

Think you need harmful, toxic cleaners to degrease your bike? Nope. Choose Liquifix – it’s eco-friendly, biodegradable, and it melts away grease and grime.

The same lesson applies when you’re buying groceries. Try to buy from a local farmer’s market, rather than purchasing produce shipped in from overseas. The earth will thank you, and you’ll get more nutrients, too!

This might not speed you up right away, but it should help retain your ability to ride fast for years to come!

4. Just Because it’s Trendy, Doesn’t Mean it’s Smart.

If you watch House Hunters, nearly every couple is looking for this list:

  • Open floor plan
  • Original hardwood floors
  • Stainless steel appliances
  • Granite counter tops
  • Crown molding

Some of those features are great. You might like them no matter what anyone else thinks. But on these shows, it seems like everyone is looking for these traits because that’s the current style. The problem is, when there is some new fad, they have to re-do their home each time, and waste time and money along the way.

But some things always work, no matter the latest trend. I’m talking basic training principles, such as putting in your base miles. That works, even if the latest trend is to do nothing but high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for 20 minutes per day.

5. You Always Have Limited Resources.

A common problem seen on Flip or Flop is when a home does not sell quickly. If the home doesn’t sell, they’re going to have trouble funding their next purchase. You don’t want all your cash tied up, because there are opportunity costs. In other words, you’re going to miss out on something since you don’t have your resources (cash) available.

The same risks come with training and racing. You have limited resources over the course of the season, and on any given day. If you enjoy cycling, you might be doing too much training volume, which doesn’t save room for the important workouts. Your training capacity is tied up in volume, so you are not able to train at the intensity level you need to.

[Consider Sweet Spot Training to get the most bang for your buck.]

6. No, You Don’t Need Extra Guest Rooms.

On these shows, all the home buyers say they need extra guest rooms, big dining rooms, and space for entertaining. Except that, in reality, they don’t.

Just like that fancy wheelset you need for this upcoming race in another country that you’ll probably never enter, let alone compete for the podium. The next time you’re tempted by a fancy new bike or wheels, just pretend someone is watching you shopping on TV, and you’ll realize how silly you look.

“Yes, I absolutely do need these fancy new wheels because I want everyone watching this show to know that I am serious about racing and I’m likely to win a big race this year. If they get the impression that I’m a hot shot, they are correct.”

7. Sometimes It’s All a Lie.

Sometimes it’s all a lie. Everyone says that House Hunters is staged. Your home buying process was never that fast. How are they that fast?

Well, a lot happens behind the scenes. It happens in pro cycling, too. Case in point – The Armstrong Lie. How was Lance that fast and you’re not? Well, on top of his superior genetics and training regimen (compared to normal guys like us,) there was a lot going on behind the scenes that we were never privy to.

The lesson? Realize that things aren’t always what they appear to be on the surface.

8. Entertainment is Key.

The funny thing is, no one even cares that the shows are staged. These days, entertainment is more important than actually doing anything. Remember the days when you actually learned something on HGTV? Those are long gone.

Likewise, how do you get famous as a cyclist now? Through Twitter and Instagram. Post neat pictures and funny sayings on social media, and you’ll get the most press coverage, no matter who won the race!


What lessons have you learned from watching HGTV? (Or other popular TV networks?) I’d love to hear them in the comments section!

This article was originally published on August 21, 2014. It was revised and updated on September 23, 2018.

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1 Comment
  1. Congrats on making the HGTV home page haha

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