Can Cycling Help You Lose Weight?

Hi everyone! Hope you’re going well. It’s almost the end of the year and thus, almost New Year Resolution season. While half of you live in the northern hemisphere where it might be a little chilly for a bike ride, others living in the southern hemisphere are just getting started. Today, our special guest Samantha Olivier from Ripped.Me has produced an article for all of us! Enjoy cycling and don’t forget your sunscreen! Here goes:

Out of so many tools that promise effective (and healthy) weight loss, did it ever cross your mind that a fun activity such as cycling can in fact be one of your best lean-goals allies? The short answer to the abovementioned questions is now obvious, but if you want to understand how this demanding activity can serve your fitness purpose, read on to delve deeper into the matter and learn how to introduce cycling into your training routine.

Mix HIIT and light rides

Scientific research has shown that in addition to lifting weights and a calorie-restricted diet, high-intensity interval training is the go-to fat-burning strategy even for professional athletes. Short bursts of highly intense activity will push your body into a fat-burning mode and preserve your muscle mass more efficiently than simple, moderate cardio training.

And cycling provides you with the best possible way to incorporate HIIT into your routine without having to use other equipment. Paddle away as fast as you can for up to 20 seconds to increase your heart-rate, then slow down and go slow for twice as much time to rest and recover, then repeat the process up to eight times. You can slowly increase the duration of these intervals as you improve your stamina and endurance, but the point is to still keep them reasonably short.

Make it your daily ride

Unless you are recovering from an injury, in which case a medical professional needs to give you the all-clear for riding a bicycle, you can transition from your bus, train or car rides to two-wheeled fat-burning fun every day. If we take into consideration that you’d burn approximately 40 calories per mile of cycling, then your weekly to and from work rides can accumulate up to a staggering 6000 calories!

With that level of physical activity, and an accompanying training and nutrition regime, you can easily reach your weight loss goals while gaining stronger legs. Before you commit to a long, exhausting ride, find an online bike store in Australia you can trust, to get the right clothes and protective equipment so that you ensure safe and comfortable rides. Keep in mind that cycling is also very gentle on your joints, making it a win-win for those who are tired of their pavement jogs.

Create a recovery plan

Even if you don’t plan to cycle every day, especially if the weather prevents it, you still need to make sure that your post-cycling meals, hydration and other habits reinforce your weight-loss goals. That means that no amount of cycling can help you shed unwanted fat if you keep binge-eating on sweets and don’t keep track of your macronutrient intake.

Make sure that you always have plenty of fresh water, and don’t reach for the sugar-rich sodas when your energy plummets. You can go for a protein-rich shake, but not for the highly-processed chocolate bars. If your ride lasts less than an hour, chances are you don’t need anything other than water before your next regular meal, during which you still don’t have the excuse to load up on carbs, but keep your food intake under control.

Mind your upper body

While cycling is the ideal strength and stamina activity for your lower body, you need to create balance in your training routine in order to avoid neglecting your upper body. Bodyweight work, proper nutrition and training with resistance bands can make up for the gaps in your cycling efforts, but make sure you get proper guidance so as to get the best results from this complex blend.

Increasing your upper-body muscle mass will aid your weight loss goals simply because more muscle means more potential to burn fat, improved metabolism and added exercise hours to your daily schedule.

Don’t forget to hydrate

Remember – sugar-packed drinks and alcohol don’t count as decent hydration. And if you fail to provide your body with plenty of water, you will risk injury, diminished athletic performance, lack of energy and metabolism issues that will hinder your weight loss efforts.

During the summer months, and especially during your longer, slower rides that can last for hours, you need to plan for your hydration ahead, bring enough water with you and schedule refill stops along the way. And when you drink enough water outside of your cycling sessions, you’ll feel fuller for longer, eat less and your body will become more efficient at fat breakdown over time.

Thanks once again Samantha for another useful article. Don’t forget to check out Ripped.Me as well as the other resources below. Cheers!

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Also published on Medium.

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