Did you know that you can lose up to 298 calories after a half an hour of cycling?
According to a Harvard study, that’s possible if you do it at a speed of at least 12 miles per hour.
Sadly though, not everyone who cycles for weight loss is successful. Are you wondering why?
It’s either they cycle the wrong way, or they are too ambitious with expectations. For others, it’s about buying the wrong bike.
Well, sometimes, losing weight cycling goes beyond using the bike. Other aspects, such as dieting and rest, are often overlooked yet pivotal.
Also, it requires a lot of self-discipline and patience to cut off tummy fat, which unfortunately most bikers lack.
But before we can look at the five essential tips for losing weight cycling, let’s answer the question below.
Why Should You Cycle for Weight Loss
Cycling is a low-impact activity. But still, it can help you shed a few calories when working out at moderate intensity.
Also, biking allows you to increase the cycling speed, which means you can also increase your intensity, and this improves the rate at which you lose weight.
With cycling, you can decide to go uphill, where you’ll need to put in a little extra effort or downhill where you may need to speed up. All that is pivotal for losing weight.
I also cannot forget to mention other amazing benefits of cycling. For example, cycling builds your muscles. As you know, muscles are leaner than body fat.
Biking also improves your heart health, according to research, and you need a healthy heart to work out as a biker.
5 Essential for Losing Weight Cycling
Speaking from experience as someone who has lost weight cycling, I recommend these five tips:
1. Invest in the Right Biking Gear
The process of losing weight cycling starts right from the time of picking your gear. You need workout gear that can encourage high intensity and long duration cycling sessions.
It starts with buying the right bike. We’ve indoor bikes (stationary bikes), bikes for heavy guys, mountain bikes, electric bikes, and hybrid road bikes that you can buy online to start cycling.
It’s essential, however, that the bike you choose is designed for weight loss. Once you get the bike right, you should also get it right with the following biking gears:
- Cycling shorts – Given that the bike saddle can be hard-pressing and uncomfortable, pick comfortable biking short, preferably with chamois inserts.
- Cycling boots – Protect your feet and improve your cycling efficiency by getting a pair of quality cycling boots.
- Cycling helmet – Avoid injuries on the road by wearing a suitable cycling helmet.
You may also want to invest in a cycling power meter and heart-rate tracker for a more effective weight-loss program. Both gadgets can help you accurately measure how much calories you’ve burned through cycling, as well as give you insight on how fast and how hard you should go to burn more fats.
2. Have a Work Out Plan
Cycling, just like any other workout activity, requires a plan. You can’t expect to start losing weight cycling when it’s not clear how you’ll do it.
So, how should you go about it? Consider the following:
- Short interval sessions
If you are a beginner biker, then it makes sense to ride for short intervals but more regularly. It improves your metabolism while facilitating more fat-burning. In the end, this makes you slimmer and fitter.
Depending on your schedule, you can start with two outdoor sessions per week and get to progress gradually.
- High-intensity session
You can also do high-intensity interval training (HIIT), where you cycle fast in about 30 minutes. It works with indoor bikes because they are safely built, and they allow you to step up your speed comfortably.
To avoid overworking your heart, allocate only 20% of your workout time to HHIT.
- Long, slow sessions
The remaining 80% of your cycling time must be dedicated to cycling at a slow rate and over long durations.
You can do about two hours when beginning as you monitor your heart rate. Once your heart responds well to the impact activity, then you can put in more hours.
3. Eat Healthily
Most cyclists end up disappointed with the weight loss process because they fail to eat healthily. They are either taking in more sugars or fat or eating large quantities.
Since you are trying to lose weight, it doesn’t make sense to consume the same thing that’s behind your weight gain. In that regard, I recommend the following:
- Eat less – It makes sense to reduce your portions when cycling to lose weight. Generally, taking less food lowers the chances of gaining weight.
- Eat often – You shouldn’t deprive yourself of food just because you want to lose weight. On the contrary, take small portions of healthy food to avoid snacking.
- Cut out sugars and fats – Sugars and fats contribute to fast weight gain. Though you may be cycling to trim the fat, you could quickly gain it if you continue eating high sugars (including alcohol) and fats.
4. Hydrate and Rest
Most bikers are not aware of it, but water and proper rest are necessary for losing weight cycling. Starting with water, it improves digestion, and this means fat is eliminated from your body efficiently.
Also, water naturally suppresses your appetite, according to a 2014 study, and that means you get to eat less.
More to it, water improves calorie burning; another study suggests.
How about sleep?
Just like you shouldn’t forget to hydrate, you should also not forget to rest. Sleep is right for your body fat trimming. It reduces stress and promotes weight loss in the long run, according to studies.
Besides, you need to rest so that you can wake up revitalized the next morning to do more cycling sessions.
5. Take Care of Your Bike
Lastly, you don’t expect your bike to work optimally and help you lose weight if you don’t take care of it. If you want to get the most out of this workout gear, then you need to maintain it.
While you may not be able to do some repairs if you are not a technical guy, there are a few other basic maintenance practices that you can do.
I’m suggesting you learn to do the following:
- Changing flat tires
- Oiling the moving parts
- Cleaning your bike after every session
- Replacing your bike seat if it’s no longer comfortable
- Tightening loose parts such as handlebar bolts
In case you cannot do the maintenance yourself, don’t hesitate to take your bike to an expert for proper servicing.
Cycling is, without a doubt, fun, but it can also be a useful tool for losing weight. You just need to master how to cycle for weight loss, and it starts with the above tips.
About The Author:
Alex Mwangi is an expert bike reviewer, fitness advisor, and a skilled cyclist and an outdoor enthusiast. He helps readers find the best bikes online by reviewing them and recommending the best options in his blog outdoorright.com. He also shares cycling tips to help readers like you get the most out of cycling.