Cycling is an amazing sport. It comes with a sense of freedom and countless benefits. And cycling for weight loss is always a great idea.
In fact, physical activity, associated with a balanced diet, is the only way to lose weight. But riding a bike comes with collateral benefits. First, it has a milder effect on your joints than other aerobic activities. And it burns fat at a rate similar to running.
Yet, riding a bike might not be enough to burn calories and boost your metabolism. If you have specific objectives, here are 13 tips that will show you when, how, and for how long to cycle for weight loss.
1. Choose The Right Bike
Bikes are like dresses, and the size matters. The vehicle must have an appropriate height for your body and the frame should also be adequate for your body type. Gender also matters and a men’s bike is not suitable for a woman and vice versa.
Before buying a bike, it’s also recommended to evaluate the frequency of your training. If your goal is to cycle only during weekends, it might be useless to invest in a performing model. But if you want to ride as often as possible, a touring or racing bike might be more appropriate. These bikes ensure an aerodynamic position, helping you improve your performance in time.
2. Wear Cycling Shorts
At first, it might seem fine to wear your old pair of jeans or regular gym shorts. But it’s not. If you’re aiming to cycle for weight loss, staying comfortable in the saddle is essential.
Cycling shorts are designed specifically to protect your privates and come with anatomic padding in the crotch area. Again, it matters what model you wear. Due to an evident difference between male and female anatomy, it’s essential to wear gender-specific garments. And in case you were wondering, cycling shorts have to be worn without underwear.
Talking about garments, we can also mention cycling shirts or jerseys, which also improve your cycling experience. Gloves are essential when pedaling off-road, and you could also need a helmet and cycling shoes.
3. Drink Water
Whether you’re cycling to the neighbor down the street or to the next state, having water at hand at all times is crucial. Water and weight loss go hand in hand, and on the saddle, you’ll need a lot of vital liquid. Wondering how to carry water on the bike? There are dozens of sports water bottles or backpacks to choose from.
How much water you need during the training session is difficult to assess. It depends on the training intensity and environmental conditions. However, remember that muscular fatigue is often associated with the lack of water and mineral salts.
In other words, drinking plenty of water during your workout reduces fatigue, boosts your energy, and speeds up your metabolism.
4. Do Regular Bike Check-Ups
If you’ve committed to an intense cycling workout, a thing to consider is the regular check-up of your vehicle. Before hopping on the saddle check the brake system, the tires, and the valves. Besides avoiding nasty surprises during training, this simple check-up can even save your life.
5. Adjust Saddle Height
A mistake many beginners make is to adjust the saddle at a wrong height. This reduces mobility, it makes you sit in an awkward position, and it can even be dangerous, as it reduces your balance.
To stay safe and comfortable, check the height of the saddle while pedaling. With the pedal in the lower position, your foot should form an angle of about 170°. You should also be able to touch the ground with either foot if needed.
And as a side safety measure, avoid riding without holding the handlebar properly, especially if you’re overweight, because it’s easy to lose balance and fall.
6. Find The Rhythm
After getting confident on the bike, the first thought is to engage in a lively ride. But stop! When cycling for weight loss, it’s important to take things one step at a time. Start with a mild pace and adapt your rhythm to cycling.
The length of the cycling session also matters. Start with 20 minutes rides and increase the time by 10 minutes each time, up to one and a half hours.
After the first 20 minutes ride expect to experience muscular pain and fatigue, but these feelings will slowly vanish and energy will replace tiredness.
7. Take Daily Trips
One of the simplest ways to lose weight cycling is by using a bike daily, even when you don’t intend to work out. Commuting by bike makes you healthier and helps you lose weight. Moreover, riding a bike regularly makes you happier.
According to several studies, riding a bike to work has several health benefits which include losing up to 10lbs a year when no other habits are changed, including food intake.
8. Cycle Before Breakfast
In general, terms, training early in the morning immediately after waking up is the best way to cut off hunger and lose weight. This doesn’t mean you should skip breakfast, which is one of the most important meals in a day. But think that even the pros train for at least 20 minutes first thing in the morning before sitting at the table.
And there is a reason why you should do it. According to a research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, activity on an empty stomach burns more fat than activity performed after eating. If you’re working a full-time job and commute by bike, try having breakfast right after you got to work instead of at home.
9. Push Yourself Further
Once you’ve got used to cycling, forget about a moderate pace and push yourself to the maximum speed. Studies have shown that a prolonged activity at low intensity burns lesser calories than short activity at high intensity and regular intervals.
In other words, it’s more efficient to cycle at maximum speed for 10 minutes than enjoying a relaxed ride of an hour. Even if both riding styles burn the same amount of calories, what’s different is the way your body continues to burn calories after training.
10. Practice Off-Road Cycling
Can’t decide between road or mountain biking? Choose the latter. This is the logical consequence of the point above. A varied intensity workout is more effective than a monotonous ride on an even terrain, at least as far as weight loss is concerned.
Of course, road riding is ideal if you live in a hilly area. Otherwise, ditch the road for the dirt trails. This type of cycling is an excellent substitute for cardio and interval training. Besides, it helps you develop muscle strength while burning calories.
11. Eat While Cycling
Now, this may seem a sort of contradiction. But before wondering if I lost my mind, you should know that I’m not talking about eating during a 10 minutes ride from home to the grocery store. If you love bike touring or engaged in a long weekend trip, eating while cycling can help you feel less hungry when you finally reach the destination.
After all, eating many small portions a day is more indicated than eating one large meal right before bedtime.
12. Mind Your Upper Body
Cycling is primarily a leg sport. In fact, while cycling, your upper body doesn’t benefit from any kind of activity. This results in a muscular mass growth in your lower body but it can lead to muscular loss in your upper body, and this means less burnt calories.
There are many ways to increase your upper body muscular mass. From hitting the gym once or twice per week to training on an assault bike in the comfort of your home, it takes as little as an hour a week to build up arm and chest muscle strength.
13. Engage In An Overall Workout
While cycling mainly trains your legs and buttocks, the whole body can benefit from this sport. Trying different riding styles, such as riding without sitting in the saddle, involves you abdominal and lumbar muscles too. But the benefits don’t end here.
Cycling for weight loss is also good for your heart. Riding a bike increases your blood flow and cellular oxygenation, making your arteries more elastic. This, together with the burnt calories, will certainly boost your health and motivation!