Cycling for Weight-Loss
It’s mid-year, and that extensive list of new year resolutions is still on the fridge, gathering seven months’ worth of dust. The thought of a Zumba class makes you want to throw-up, and your half-marathon running freak of a friend suggests you join her for morning runs, which immediately brings on severe heart-palpitations!
Yes, we have all heard that running is considered one of the top ways to obliterate calories, however, the problem with running is that it is a high-impact sport, which can easily result in regular feet, ankles, calves and knee injuries (especially as a novice runner and or a person struggling with weight issues).
Cycling, however, is a low-impact activity, so it is perfect for anyone with joint or knee issues. Also, as well as being a cardiovascular exercise that burns calories, it also strengthens muscles such as hamstrings, quads (back and front of leg muscles), glutes (butts) and calves, with minor risk of injury.
So, where do you start? We have answered five frequently asked questions about cycling for weight loss for you below:
Can you lose weight by cycling?
In two words: Hell Yeah!
Whether cycling for weight loss on a static bike or going into the great outdoors, you are in control of how hard you ride. As a beginner, start off with easy to medium trails that have flat/slight incline roads so that you can gradually increase your stamina and strength. Couple outdoor riding with a regular spin class in the gym, and you will notice how quickly your muscles adapt and begin to strengthen.
Once you become more confident on the bike, you can start to challenge yourself more by finding trails that have hills you need to climb. Nothing smashes calories like some good quality intervals (Trails that start off easy to difficult back down to easy).
Is cycling good for losing belly fat?
Cycling assists with losing that muffin-top, however, in order to lose body fat overall, the work starts in the kitchen. Exercise assists in the process, but how you fuel your body at home, determines how much body fat you lose.
It is therefore vitally important that you find an excellent weekly eating plan that works for you (and compliments the sort of exercising you are doing daily).
The ideal plan would be to have 5-6 smaller meals a day (rather than 3 big meals a day). Eating smaller meals more regularly will assist with speeding up your metabolism and regulating your blood sugar levels, which will stop you craving sugary snacks around that late afternoon slump mark. Make sure too that you drink enough water during the day! Dehydration can sometimes be misinterpreted for hunger, so if you start to feel a hunger pang, grab a glass of water before diving into a meal.
Carbs should be avoided in the evenings. We suggest you have a carb curfew 3 hours before bed-time. Most people make the mistake of eating their evening meals far too late in the evening and then crashing into bed. When this happens, our poor bodies spend hours of that much-needed R&R working to digest food, and in turn, this means weight-gain too.
Ever woken up feeling groggy and exhausted even though you had your “eight” hours? Eating earlier in the evening could be the very trick to lose stubborn fat and get you more motivated and ready to hit the road the next day!
How frequently do you have to ride a bike to lose weight?
For beginners, riding your bike 3x a week will definitely see you shifting weight. You can complement your bike rides with 1-2 visits to the gym over and above your rides. For the more serious riders out there, a ride almost every day would be a regular occurrence, with a long ride done over the weekend.
If your commute to work is close enough, you could use that everyday routine to get onto your bike and ride into work instead! That way you then have time to hit the gym more regularly too, you save on petrol, and you are effectively saving the planet…well, not quite but every little bit helps!
How long do you have to ride a bike to lose weight?
Gone are the days where we were told to spend hours and hours exercising to see results! These days, you can spend as little as 30mins on your bike and smash 600-900 calories, but this depends on how much you put into it! If you can find a quick but challenging trail with lots of hills, you can burn hundreds of calories in a short space of time.
Long rides are great too if you are looking to increase your stamina and endurance levels, but this is probably more appropriate for people who want to take cycling more seriously or compete.
Either way get creative! Mix it up so that you avoid plateauing.
Cycling can be a lot of fun, whilst losing weight! so join a cycling club if none of your friends want to get involved. There are so many trails out there specifically for cyclists so never a shortage of new sites to explore! On rainy days, you can sweat it out at the gym in a high-intensity spin class, so really there isn’t any excuse to start shedding the fat today!