Cycling to lose weight is considered as one of the best and oldest forms of staying fit and active. A lot of people prefer to cycle than any other form of exercise as they think that this is the best way to lose weight fast. Admit it, you would have started cycling mainly to shed those extra pounds. We knew it, in fact there are studies that state the main reasons for cycling is fitness. So if you are looking for the fast way to lose weight then cycling is the answer. Cycling is a low impact, cardiovascular exercise that burns those stubborn fats like a pro. Compared to other workouts, when you cycle you are lesser prone to injuries. In fact, the best thing about cycling is that it makes your muscle stronger. So, if you are wondering how to lose weight by cycling then patience and commitment are the first things you should build on. But don’t you worry, we have come up with some surefire ways to achieve your dream body only by cycling. Don’t be surprised, just read further.
Cycling to Lose Weight: Your Ultimate Guide
1. Set a Goal that is Realistic
Great that you have chosen cycling to lose weight. Now, the first thing you should do is set a goal. A goal which is achievable yet challenging. So, find out your goal weight and start working on it. Now how to find your ideal goal weight? Well, Body Mass Index or BMI is the most popular way to target on losing weight.
The BMI is based on a person’s height to weight ratio and is the best way to understand the correct weight of an individual. There are many online tools which are available to calculate this which will help you identify the perfect weight for you.
You can also aim at targeting the body fat percentage. The healthy male body fat percentage ranges between 15 – 18 percent and a woman’s body fat percentage ranges between 25 – 32 percent. This percentage can be reduced marginally if you are training properly and regularly.
2. Target Losing 1 kg Weight per Week
Andy Wadsworth, a famous personal trainer and coach says, “For most people, if they have an hour a day, and they are happy doing an hour a day of exercise, then they can expect to lose a kilo a week.” While this may sound to be slightly difficult or to some it may be that you want to lose more weight, studies show that if you lose a lot of weight suddenly and rapidly it is very difficult to maintain it. In fact, this will gain you more weight! A gradual process of losing weight is way better.
3. Cycle to Lose Weight, But at a Moderate Pace
When you are looking for weight loss your heart rate should be between 68 – 79 percent max. You can keep a track of this by using many devices which can calculate the perfect rate. Garmin makes one of the best devices to calculate and give you accurate results. However, if you don’t want to invest in one of these you can also test your heart rate level by checking how well can you have a conversation with someone while you are exercising! If you are able to speak well without losing your breath, then your heart rate is in control. You should try and work out for around 30 – 45 minutes every day. So, get on a bike ride for weight loss and say goodbye to fat.
4. Choose Cycle to Commute
Be it commuting to work or running errands, choose to cycle when you get out from your home. Often people ask is cycling good for weight loss on stomach? Yes, it is if you do it properly and regularly! Cycling to lose weight is not only fun but also makes you fitter and is considered as an efficient form of transportation! When you choose this mode of transport, you are on your way of getting fit and train yourself faster.
A recent study by the University of East Anglia and the Centre for Diet and Activity Research showed that people who switched to cycling from driving or public transport lost on average 7kg/1stone over the course of a year when riding 30 minutes each way. The other reasons why one should choose cycling to lose weight are an increase in creativity, reduction of stress and high level of concentration.
5. Add High-Intensity Workout Sessions in a Week
When you add high-intensity sessions on a daily basis, your body becomes stronger, rather it becomes a calorie burning machine. You will see the difference when you start to cycle and add a work out session in your fitness regime. The cycling weight loss before and after results are fascinating and will make you want to do more! Thus, bike ride for weight loss is the best way to melt those fats.
Renowned personal trainer Wadsworth recommends adding this on top of your regular workouts. "Your body starts to work in an anaerobic mode, so your body has to repair itself after the exertion and burn fat that way, as well as increasing your aerobic capacity and muscle mass." If for some reason you cannot go out and cycle, then indoor cycling to lose weight is also a good idea. You can join a local spin class or get a stationary cycle to lose weight.
6. Sleep Properly and for the Correct Duration
Sleeping is the easiest solution for how to lose weight! This is a lesser known fact that if you get enough sleep you will be able to lose weight faster. As per many studies, if you sleep for a minimum of 6 – 8 hours, you can lose weight easily and can help yourself stay fit. This also helps you be less stressed.
A good night sleep also helps in repairing the body and building muscles. It sounds very simple but it is important to get good quality sleep for a minimum of 7 hours so that you can help your body in reducing weight.
7. Track your Progress
This is the best way to keep yourself motivated. When you chose to cycle and lose weight it is important for you to record your progress which will help you keep moving forward. Even if you don’t see a change in your body, make sure you keep recording it so that you can understand a pattern. Once you start with this, you can also make a cycling to lose weight plans and set targets. If you are tracking your progress keeping your body fat percentage in mind, then you need to check the results on a weekly basis. You can do this as the first thing in the morning as it is considered as the ideal time.
You can also use a route tracker (Strava is popular) to see your fitness progress. You can also check your progress with the clothes that you wear! If you want to fit into something which you used to in the past and now you don’t, check back every week or fortnight to understand if you are able to get into now! Start cycling to lose weight and track your daily progress.
8. Add Cross Training and Flexibility Enhancing Exercises
While a lot of people prefer biking to lose weight, it is considered to be very stressful as it puts a lot of strain on the body. If you are a beginner and choose cycling as a weight loss process make sure you do it right. Cross training and flexibility enhancing exercises will help you balance out this leg heavy workout. You can add Pilates, Swimming, Yoga, Zumba or weights to your training sessions to get the desired results. Pilates and Yoga help in gaining a good amount of flexibility. All these exercises build muscles, and make your body more efficient in burning calories and helping an individual stay fit and healthy.
9. Eat Often but Little
We all have been there, once we indulge into a workout, we feel good and sometimes get into extra cheat days. Cycling to lose weight is an excellent workout plan, but this doesn’t mean that you can eat and drink whatever you want and stay fit! Cycling is considered as one of the best ways to lose weight fast but you also have to keep your diet in mind for getting good results.
Food is the fuel for the body. You should keep fuelling it at regular intervals with healthy and nutritional meals. Wadsworth recommends eating small amounts of good food every three to four hours, it will help you maintain a stable metabolism, burn fat consistently and ensure your energy levels are stable so you have enough oomph at the end of a day at work to hop on your bike.
After completing your ride make sure you eat a protein-rich or vegetable-rich food item so that your body can get the correct amount of nutrition it requires.
10. Say No to Processed Food and Sugar
Yes, they are tempting, but hey they are fattening!
It is true that sugar and processed food give a lot of energy but lack the nutritional value the body requires. Also, the amount of sugar you keep in your body if it is not burnt in time it will be stored in your body as fat and that is what you want to keep yourself away from! You need to cut off the sweet and chocolate on a daily basis to just one day a week! You can also eat energy gels and bars when you crave sugar. If you are into racing or take parts in long events you can add this to your meals and make it a balanced meal. You can also binge on some nuts and bananas to get the instant boost of energy.
11. Go for Clean Eating
Make green veggies, fruits and lean protein your best friends.
Eating right is as important as not eating wrong! Your body will need everything that will help it build muscles and sustain you when you exercise.
You can read the book Racing Weight: How to get lean for peak performance by Matt Fitzgerald and understand the concept of eating better and which foods will give you good nutrition and what should be avoided to stay fit. You can lean protein from foods like beans, pulses, chicken and fish. You can also include a lot of vegetables and fresh fruits in your diet to get the correct type of balanced food. Choose whole grain carbohydrate foods to get the correct amount of nutrition in your body.
Wadsworth says, "It's a general rule of thumb, but if you can grow it or run after and catch it or fish for it, that's what you should be eating. Stick to that diet and you’ll lose weight." Many people think that juices and smoothies are healthier than the regular liquid items but try to avoid them as much as possible. It is always recommended that you eat a fruit rather than a glass of smoothie or a sugar high juice.
12. Make Sure You Ride before Breakfast
It is always better to train or ride your bike before eating anything! Start your day with this and then feel fresh and active throughout the day. When you choose to cycle for losing weight without eating anything your body is forced to use the stored energy in your system which is very good for the body. This is called fasted training. You should choose to ride for a minimum of 30 minutes.
13. Don’t Under Eat or Overtrain
If you are looking at a fast way to lose weight, make sure you don’t cut down on your meals and over train yourself. It is not healthy and in the long run, you will not even get the desired results. Wadsworth says "If you want to burn fat, that’s like burning logs in a bonfire. If you want the bonfire to keep burning at high temperatures, like your metabolism, then you want to keep feeding it logs every three hours — that's the little and often approach with food. If you stop fuelling it, then the body goes into starvation mode and it will hold on to calories more,"
If you have indulged in the ultimate cycling to lose weight, then it is important for you to train well and regularly. However, don’t go too hard on yourself as you will be left with no energy and it may also be a cause of severe injuries to the body.
14. Cut Down the Consumption of Alcohol
You like it or not, alcohol is one of the most common causes of weight gain. Alcohol fills in the empty pockets of calories in the body. As you drink more alcohol you tend to binge on a lot of food as well which in turn builds onto a lot of calories.
15. Go for Bike Fuelling, Only If it is Needed
When you choose to ride your bike, you are choosing to cut down on your calories. So, when you are on the short rides, it is always recommended that you avoid fuelling your body on regular intervals. If your bike ride is more than an hour, then you should definitely grab some energy drinks, supplements or energy bars.
Cycling for losing weight is one of the most loved and adventurous ways of losing the excess from the body. You can do this at any point of time and you will always love it as it is considered as one of the best outdoor activity.
If you have been cycling since you were young, this becomes a part of your daily routine. Weight loss with the help of biking is a good way to stay fit as it helps you get the best kind of cardio which is required by the body.
Choose the correct bike and path to make the most of the efforts you put in this activity. As you do it outside your home, make a group of people and love this activity even more. That is the reason biking to lose weight is considered as one of the most prominent ways to stay fit and build muscles.