Cycling For Weight Loss: 18 Helpful Tips To Shed Pounds By Cycling
In addition to being a wonderful leisure activity, cycling offers a variety of health benefits. It can help improve your flexibility, fitness, and muscular strength, boost your metabolism, reduce your stress levels, and improve your circulation as well as lung and health heart.
Besides this, cycling can also help you burn body fat and shed pounds. However, losing weight by cycling requires a different approach from the one you would have if you’re only going for a bike ride with a friend.
So, in this article, we’re going to explain what techniques on and off your bicycle you should use so as to shed some pounds.
18 Handy Tips To Lose Weight By Cycling
1. Often Cycle At A Moderate Pace
Riding a bicycle at a steady pace helps you burn approximately 300 calories per hour. If you’re a beginner, start with cycling for half an hour to an hour a day and gradually pick up speed. You may find it tiring at first, but you won’t feel utterly exhausted at the end of every ride.
2. Establish A Realistic And Attainable Goal
In order to determine how much weight you need to lose, calculate your body mass index (BMI). The BMI is a screening method which measures your body mass based on your weight and height. Once you know your body mass index, you’ll be able to determine what a healthy body weight for you is.
In addition to this, you can measure your percentage of body fat so as to identify what number should appear on the scales every time you step on it. A healthy woman normally has a body fat percentage of 25-32 percent, and a man of 15-18 percent.
A woman that regularly exercises and cycles can have a body fat percentage of 24-28 percent, and a man regularly exercising and cycling can have a body fat percentage of 8-10 percent.
3. Eat Small Amounts Of Food Often
To make sure that your levels of energy don’t drop, that you maintain a healthy metabolism, and that you lose body fat continually, many qualified nutritionists recommend that you consume small amounts of food regularly, i.e. six times a day. Eating this way will help you feel satiated throughout the day and curb your craving for sugary foods and snacks.
Additionally, serving food in smaller plates gives you the impression that you have eaten more food.
You can succeed in eating small amounts of food regularly by making a weekly meal plan. Not only can this help you stay more organized, it can also prevent you from overindulging on anything you find in your kitchen or pantry.
4. Aim To Lose Up To 1 Kilogram A Week
Although you may be tempted to shed more than 1 kilogram a week, know that losing weight rapidly makes it harder for you to maintain that weight and you’re likely to regain weight.
So, instead of losing 4-5 kilograms a week, lose weight gradually. This will help you keep the weight off and maintain your physical and mental health.
5. Often Commute By Bike To Work
Switch from using public transport or driving to riding a bike to work. In addition to being a cheap and easy form of transportation, cycling enables you to get in a good amount of exercise.
In addition, one study which included 23 732 Swedish women and men associated bicycling to work with a decreased risk of obesity, impaired glucose tolerance, hypertriglyceridemia, and high blood pressure.
The study also reported that commuting to work by bike plays an essential role in preventing risk factors in the development of cardiovascular diseases in middle-aged women and men (1).
And one more thing – since cycling is known to help improve your memory, creativity, and concentration as well as reduce your stress levels, chances are that you’re going to be more focused, productive and relaxed when you arrive at work.
6. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is the most overlooked factor in weight loss. People that get 6-8 hours of sleep a night feel less stressed and are more effective in shedding pounds and keeping weight off.
On the other hand, people that sleep for less than 6 hours every night tend to feel hungry and have trouble feeling full when they eat.
Not only does getting enough sleep help you shed weight more easily, it also helps your body build muscle and stay energized after each day, thereby helping you be ready for the next day.
7. Avoid Consuming Sugary Foods And Drinks While Cycling
One of the most satisfying things about cycling is consuming sugary foods and drinks, such as chocolate bars, sodas, and energy drinks. But, if you’re planning to lose weight, it’s essential that you don’t over indulge on such foods if you don’t really need them.
When you go riding a bike for an hour, the only drink you need is actually a bottle of water. Longer rides, on the other hand, require you to consume foods and drinks high in carbohydrates and fiber so as to boost your energy levels.
8. Up The Intensity
Cycling at a slow pace won’t help you greatly shed pounds. But, if you increase the intensity, you’ll be able to achieve your goal of losing weight more quickly.
When you cycle at a fast pace, your body uses more energy and as a result of this you end up burning more calories.
9. Avoid Consuming Processed Foods And Sugar
Processed foods and foods containing refined sugars are low in minerals, vitamins, and other important nutrients that your body needs in order to function properly. Moreover, any sugar which is not burned off right away stores in your body as fat, which is exactly the thing that you’re actually trying to prevent.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should stop consuming cakes, chocolate bars, cookies, ice cream, or sodas altogether. The goal is to reduce your intake of such foods to once a week.
10. Combine Cycling With High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High-intensity interval training is a great way to improve your fitness, boost your stamina, and, yes, burn body fat.
You can either replace two or three of your rides with two or three HIIT sessions or combine the two.
With cycling, a HIIT session may appear as this:
- Cycle fast enough that you’re left out of breath for around half a minute.
- Then, ride at a leisurely pace for 2-3 minutes.
- Repeat the two above-mentioned steps for the next half an hour.
HIIT is highly effective as it enables you to burn many calories for a short period of time. And this, in turn, helps you shed weight faster (2).
11. Incorporate Cross-Training In Your Routine
Undoubtedly, cycling is good for weight loss, but it puts stress on your muscles, especially if you’re a beginner. Cross-training exercises, such as swimming, lifting weights, Zumba, Pilates, rollerblading, boxing, dancing, and yoga, can help stretch out your tendons and muscles, thereby preventing pains and injury, and they can help you build muscle as well.(3)
12. Include More Fresh Fruits And Vegetables In Your Diet
When it comes to losing weight, consuming healthy foods is as essential as avoiding processed foods and foods that are high in unhealthy fats and refined sugars.
In order to build muscle, have enough energy for exercising, and enable your body to function properly and efficiently, you need to consume foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy fats and that are low in calories.
Replace fast food and other processed foods with fresh fruits, whole-grain foods, fatty fish, leafy greens, beans, lentils, and other vegetables.
In addition, while juices and smoothies are super delicious, you should avoid consuming them too often and you should eat the whole fruit instead as in this way, you’ll get fiber, minerals, and vitamins rather than only the high-sugar juice.
13. Avoid Overtraining
You may be tempted to spend many hours cycling a day so as to shed more pounds in a short period of time. But, even if this helps you lose weight, you also run the risk of diminishing all your energy levels, injuring yourself, and preventing yourself from being physically active in whatever way, which is something that you’re trying to avoid. (4)
14. Avoid Under-Eating Too
As we already said, you should aim to eat small amounts of food regularly, not starve yourself. Going on a strict diet and reducing your calorie intake will leave your body without nutrition and energy, which it needs to function properly as well as support the physical exercise you’re doing or planning to do.
To shed weight in a healthy and successful way, women should consume 1,4oo calories and men 1,900 calories a day (5).
15. Go For A Short Ride Before You Have Breakfast
Cycling before breakfast can greatly benefit your weight loss because when there isn’t any food in your system, your body is compelled to use its fat stores.
So, try going for a ride prior to having breakfast for half an hour. This is a great way to begin your day feeling energized and refreshed.
16. Enjoy The Ride
If you don’t enjoy cycling, what’s the point of doing it?
Cycling should offer you a lot of pleasure and fun. And the good thing about cycling is that whether you prefer riding fast along mountain bike trails or going for long rides at a leisurely pace with friends, when you enjoy cycling, you won’t feel like you are exercising.
17. Monitor Your Progress
Track your progress by measuring your weight once a week when you wake up in the morning. Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t see the number that you want the scales to show. Some weeks you will be able to shed 1-2 kilograms and other weeks you might not see any progress. But, the important thing is to improve your fitness and cycling efficiency every day. If you achieve this, you’re bound to see results.
Another way to monitor your progress is to check how your favorite items of clothes fit on you once a week.
18. Avoid Drinking Alcohol
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having a glass of wine a few times a week, but being high in sugar and calories, alcoholic beverages are one of the major factors that contribute to weight gain.
So, if you’re looking to shed weight and keep it off, try to reduce your intake of alcohol.
Stationary Cycling For Weight Loss
If you’re not a fan of riding a bike outside or when it’s raining and cold, indoor cycling is a great exercise option for shedding pounds.
Riding a stationary exercise bicycle can be quite effective in weight loss. It is a cardiovascular workout during which you can burn more than 600 calories per hour. Moreover, by burning calories and building muscle, you’ll burn body fat as well.
And let’s not forget that it’s way safer than cycling on the road. With road cycling, you worry about careless drivers, weather conditions, and whether the road surface might be bumpy or slick. You don’t have such worries when it comes to riding a stationary exercise bike.
Carb Cycling For Weight Loss
Carb cycling requires you to limit your intake of carbs during specific periods. For example, when you are doing intense exercises, you need to increase your carbohydrate intake in order to build muscle and get the necessary amount of energy to exercise. And on days, when you’re doing low-intensity exercise, you should decrease your carbohydrate intake in order to encourage the use of your body of fat for energy.
So, it can be concluded that you should restrict your carbohydrate intake when your muscles don’t need carbs and increase it during long or intense workout sessions.
And when it comes to losing weight, carb cycling may be effective in helping you burn body fat and shed pounds. However, more research is needed to establish whether this method is more effective for weight loss than diets which restrict protein or fat intake.
How Much Cycling You Should Do For Weight Loss
It is recommended that you cycle for approximately 20-30 kilometers a day. And when it comes to the duration of the ride, to shed pounds, your ride should last for an hour or more. The reason for this is that when riding a bike, you normally start to burn body fat after the first 15 minutes.
So, if you’re looking to shed weight, now you know for how long you should cycle.
Cycling Or Running For Weight Loss: Which Is More Effective In Losing Weight?
Both exercises are forms of cardiovascular exercise that can help you burn body fat and lose weight. Generally speaking, when you run, you burn off more calories than when you ride a bike since more muscles are activated in this exercise. However, running also puts more stress on your joints and muscles.
And one more difference between cycling and running is that while riding a bike helps you build muscle, running helps strengthen and tone your muscles.
So, to determine which exercise is better for you, it’s best to see what your goals are and how you want to reach them.
- Cycling offers various health benefits, from improving your muscular strength and fitness to improving your circulation, heart health, and metabolism.
- Cycling can also help you burn calories and lose weight.
- To shed weight by cycling, you should use certain techniques on and off the bicycle. These techniques include:
- Ride a bicycle at a moderate pace, particularly if you’re a beginner.
- Establish a realistic and attainable goal
- Eat small amounts of food but regularly
- Try to lose up to 1 kg a week
- Commute to work by bike
- Get enough sleep
- Cut down on sugary foods and drinks while cycling
- Increase the intensity
- Combine cycling with HIIT session
- Include cross-training in your routine
- Consume more fresh fruits and vegetables
- Avoid overtraining
- Avoid under-eating
- Go cycling before breakfast
- Enjoy when cycling
- Monitor your progress
- Restrict your intake of alcohol
- Stationary and carb cycling as well as running are all cardiovascular exercises that can help you burn body fat and lose weight.
- To burn calories and shed weight, you should ride a bicycle for an hour or more.