Your cycle or bike proves that a fitness tool doesn’t have to be complicated. Besides being a recreational activity, cycling is another way of optimising calorie and fat burning on the days when you’re not hitting the gym.
Cycling is one of the many skills we learn as a kid. When we were small, most of us were proud to be good at cycling, and we should be. But it is not just a fun activity. Cycling is an excellent low-impact aerobic exercise and a decent workout session that helps you shed weight and lose belly fat.
It’s natural to wonder how cycling helps with weight loss. Fret not; continue reading to find the answer.
Why Choose Cycling for Weight Loss?
When it comes to weight loss, we’ve all pondered a question: how can we burn more calories? A great activity to choose from is cycling. Around one hour of cycling can help you burn up to 500 calories. Of course, depending on intensity and rider weight, the number of calories burned can also range between 400 and 1000 an hour. Research claims early morning cycling, preferably on an empty stomach, burns fat 20% faster and more effectively.
If you are trying to achieve your target by cycling, then the time spent pedalling is essential. Longer rides and riding uphill help you burn more calories and lose belly fat. Cycling at a leisurely pace burns around 520 calories per hour. Riding for a longer stretch at a high intensity can burn about 782 calories per hour. There are gym bikes that track the calories for you. And generally, you may have a more challenging time burning calories on stationary bikes than on real bikes.
Cycling at low to moderate resistance for more extended periods keeps your heart rate elevated at a fat-burning level. It helps you burn an adequate number of calories without giving you bulky muscles. Plus, as long as you are creating a calorie deficit with your diet and riding your bike consistently, you will be able to lose 500 grams in a week.
The HealthifyMe Note
Whether you have a little or a lot to lose, a well-planned approach to cycling can help you burn more calories. Weight loss is a simple formula: eat right and move more. The right food choices and cycling can help you burn up to 500 calories per hour. But remember that the metabolism of every person is different. So the calorie burning rate also varies.
Tips to Lose Weight by Cycling
Ride Before Breakfast
This tip is a big one. There is no more satisfying way to kickstart your weight loss than with a pre-dawn bike ride. Now, you probably think it’s crazy to go cycling first thing in the morning with no fuel in the belly. Well, hear us out first. The logic is that you’ll be entering fasting training, where your body uses its stored fat for energy. However, don’t get carried away by starving yourself. And if you are someone who does not want to begin the morning ride on an empty stomach, eat an hour or so before you ride.
Push Your Pace
It might sound bizarre, but you excrete lost fat through your lungs. Perhaps, that’s why aerobic exercise is fat-burning. Though there’s an extreme scientific explanation behind this complicated process, you just need to push the pace enough to breathe hard, which will help you lose fat. To boost your fat burn, try cycling for 30 to 60 minutes at a moderate intensity.
Add Two or Three High-intensity Intervals a Week
The best weight-loss plans will include high-intensity sessions. They help increase your post-exercise oxygen consumption, lasting up to 24-36 hours post-workout. In addition, it pushes your body to reduce body temperature, metabolise lactate, and replenish fuel stores, all of which boost your overall metabolism. Either swap two or three of your regular rides with a high-intensity interval training session or combine them at the end of a moderate ride. To make your body a calorie-burning machine, you’ll need to cycle at 70% to 90% of your maximum heart rate. Just be careful not to overdo it.
Focus on Lean Protein
It’s a general rule of thumb, stick to eating quality food rich in lean protein while exercising, and you’ll lose weight. Smoothies and juices with protein-rich add-ons can be tempting and convenient, but you should also include foods such as chicken, fish, beans, pulses, tuna or tofu. In addition, opt for many fresh fruit and vegetables alongside them, and add ones with a low glycemic index.
Keep Track of Your Progress
Don’t hang up your wheels within a couple of days of trying cycling. Weight loss takes time. Don’t be disheartened; instead, monitor your progress as you go. First, do not live and die by what the scale says. An average scale doesn’t tell you that those extra pounds are likely extra muscle you got while cycling regularly. Second, go for a weight or body fat percentage to track your progress.
What to Eat After a Long Ride?
Your body needs hydration, protein, and carbohydrates after an intense cycling session. Protein is necessary to repair muscle tissue, carbs start replenishing energy stores, and drink a couple of glasses of water to replace lost ﬂuid.
Below are some great foods to eat after an intense ride.
Smoothies are a tremendous post-ride recovery drink. You can make smoothies ahead of time and customise them by adding whey protein powder, fruits, and coconut or low-fat milk. Alternatively, you can drink coconut water to replenish the electrolyte content.
Grilled or baked chicken offers sufficient lean protein. In addition, it is a good source of phosphorus and selenium, an essential trace element.
Eggs are the golden standard when it comes to dietary protein. In addition, boiled eggs are excellent post-ride snack food.
Your body requires carbohydrates in the first 30 to 60 minutes after a ride. The carbs in sweet potato help renew your glycogen stores and offer potassium, which the body loses through sweat.
Nuts and Nut Butter
Nuts and nut butter are high in calcium and protein, strengthening bones and maintaining muscle functions. You can mix nuts with some dried fruit for the perfect carb-to-protein ratio. Or spread nut butter on a slice of whole wheat bread and top with a banana.
The HealthifyMe Note
Your ﬁrst priority after cycling is to replace the lost ﬂuid. First, have a smoothie with a scoop of whey protein, and drink enough water. After rehydration, the next 30 minutes should focus on carbs and protein like nuts, seeds, and fruits. Once you’ve showered and dressed, eat a square meal with some more complex carbs and lean protein.
Cycling is an efficient way to get fitter and healthier. Best of all, cycling is enjoyable and easy to slot into a busy day. However, the solution to losing weight isn’t just being a faster cyclist. The answer is hardly rocket science because we know that cycling helps you lose weight when combined with a healthy diet. Of course, you would lose a bit of weight when you ride more. But you won’t be losing the amount of weight you want until there is a significant change in the food you’re eating. Lastly, keep your cycling and weight loss journey enjoyable.