A lakefront trail is a terrible thing to waste. And Harold Mays wouldn’t dream of it. Give the acting director of the Illinois Lottery a bike and some decent weather, and he’s off, racking up miles along Lake Michigan.
Having run for a decade, he was looking for a lower-impact exercise that was easier to recover from. He tried a spin class, and the instructor introduced him to a cycling club. “That was all she wrote,” says Mays, 53.
From spring through fall, he takes to the lakefront on a Cannondale road bike from his Hyde Park home, averaging 50 to 100 miles a week. When it’s too cold to brave the elements, he relies on a bike trainer, plus the early-morning indoor workouts that are part of his year-round routine.
How do you start your day?
“I begin with an hourlong routine: 20 minutes of cardio, 20 minutes of weight training, 10 minutes of core exercises and stretching, and 10 minutes of meditation. Whenever I can’t fit in an hour, I’ll do something called the Scientific 7-Minute Workout. It’s a high-intensity routine that I swear by for getting my heart rate up and hitting the major muscle groups — no equipment necessary.”
Do you have a favorite daily exercise?
“If I’m active, that’s my favorite. The payoff is in completing the exercise. But mindfulness is important to me. The stress release of meditation was key to tying this fitness routine together.”
What else do you do for fun?
“I love salsa. I used to dance regularly prepandemic. Latin Street Music and Dancing [latinstreetdancing.com] is my go-to resource for finding out about local dance parties and events.”