Cycling–like most cardio workouts–is a fun and efficient way to lose weight. The average person will burn about 500 – 800 calories per hour if riding at a moderate pace. That is equivalent to 2 or 3 Big Mac’s!
Benefits of Bike Riding
Biking is all about the legs, and your leg muscles are some of the largest muscles in your entire body. When you build up these muscle groups, not only will you have some of the most toned legs and glutes of all your friends, but you’ll also be building up oxygen delivering capillaries. With oxygen running through your body at a faster rate, your metabolism will speed up and start to eat away at fat cells, resulting in even greater cycling weight loss.
It’s harder to get bored when you are on a bike because things are moving at such a fast pace. You can also integrate cycling into your daily routine as form of transportation, getting you places a lot faster while burning a lot more calories in the process.
Starting a Cycling Weight Loss Routine
If you are ready to get started on your cycling weight loss routine, follow these tips to get the most of your results.
Cycling To Lose Weight Tips:
- Make a Plan – Make a training plan and a meal plan and stick to it. A training plan can be as simple as commuting to work 3 days a week or as difficult as riding 200 miles a week. Whatever the plan is make it reasonably attainable. In other words, do not make the plan too hard or too easy. If the plan is too difficult you will give up right away and if you make it too easy then you will not see the benefits you may be expecting. Also making a meal plan will significantly increase your chances of losing weight while cycling.
- Eat Properly Pre-ride – Don’t try to starve yourself before going out for a ride because you need to drop 20 pounds by next week. Long-term fasting can actually slow down your metabolism to conserve valuable energy and eventually start to eat away at your muscles as well as fat. Instead, eat small snacks while you ride to quench your appetite and keep your metabolism running at full speed.
- Eat Natural Foods – When you are out there training, commuting or just riding for fun try and eat natural foods as often as possible and save the high carb energy bars and Gu’s for the race.
- Hills Are Your Friends – Going up a hill takes a lot more energy than riding on a flat surface. This will cause you to use up extra calories and will help you reach your cycling weight loss goals quickly.
- Get Comfortable – Get yourself as comfortable as possible. Enjoying the ride means that you’ll be more likely to keep up with a routine and less likely to take one too many cheat days.
- Eat Properly While Riding – If you do not eat properly while riding you will come back starving and will be more likely to overeat cancelling all the calories lost during the ride.
- Eat Properly After a Ride – A 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein is a general guideline for efficient post-ride recovery. When putting together a meal or snack to help you refuel, aim for this 4:1 ratio by combining different food options.
- Select Electrolyte Drinks – Gatorade or energy drinks are not always the best choice. Instead if you are going for a ride under two hours select an electrolyte based drink like nuun as it does not carry all of the additional carbs and calories.
- Cut Back On Drinks – Whether it be beer, mixed drinks or a starbucks coffee try and reduce your consumption by 1 unnecessary drink a day or replace it with a lower calorie drink. Tea without sugar anyone?
- Go Harder, Faster or Longer – Want to lose more weight while cycling, easy! Increase any and all factors. By increasing volume, duration or intensity of your normal ride you will be expending additional calories.
You may have noticed a theme in the above tips to losing weight while cycling. It basically states you should eat well and bike hard! If you were to boil it down… that is really what it takes. Eating properly (not necessarily less) is key as well as actually getting the rides in.
Cycling is a great sport if you want to lose weight. Remember that it does take approximately 3,500 calories for every pound of fat shed, but if you keep up with it and try your best to put in an hour of cycling most every day, you’ll reach your weight loss goals in no time.