If you’re looking to get lighter on your feet through exercise, cycling is a great option to consider. Cycling has a bunch of health benefits but in this article, we’re going to focus solely on how you can cut down on excessive fat. Remember, losing weight isn’t just losing fat. Weight could also include muscle mass that you may not necessarily want to lose too much of.
Before we get started, it’s important to understand that this process will only truly work out if you enjoy what you’re doing. You won’t see results unless you’re fully committed to the sport of cycling.
Losing weight can be fun too, cycling is efficient, enjoyable, easy to find the time for, and best of all, has emotional and mental benefits as well as physical ones. Sounds like the perfect weight-loss activity, doesn’t it?
1. SET A GOAL
This is the most important step to your road to weight loss. Set a few goals with regard to this domain:
- Target body fat %
- Target body weight
- Set a timeframe
Using your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a good way to start off. You don’t need to get a professional BMI check-up. Simply have an approximate idea of the percentage of fat in your body (you can use online BMI calculators). Now set a target BMI% that you’d like to reach.
The goals must be realistically achievable and at the same time not too easy to achieve.
The average man who rides regularly can reach a body fat percentage of 8–10 percent and a woman riding regularly of 24–28 percent. Try and set a weight loss target of at least 1kg per week. It’s something that’s healthy and completely achievable.
2. BIKE TO WORK
This is probably one of the most productive ways to bring about some weight loss and an overall healthier self. Cycling to work is quite fun and besides losing weight, you will end up saving a bunch of time commuting.
Commuting by bike lets you integrate your daily workout into your commute. There’s no need to spend any additional time at the gym. Cycling to and fro work can bring about a weight loss of around 10-25 kgs over the course of a year (depending on distances and intensity).
3. CONSTANT/BRISK PACE
Keep this point as a super high priority – the distances doesn’t matter unless you’re actually working hard. You should find yourself huffing and puffing even after a simple 5k ride. It’s all about the pace and effort put in.
In order to burn fat, you need to ride at a pace that gives you a heart-rate of between 68 and 79% of your max heart rate. This is something you can set up using a heart rate monitor and a bike computer.
it’s the small things you do that make a big difference. Instead of casually spinning up a gradient, why not shift up a cog or two and get an off-the-saddle sprint going? Even commuting to work can be fun this way and you will save a ton of wanted time you would rather be spending in traffic.
Doing this will provide you with super quick results. You may see more than 1 kg of lost weight in a week. That’s good progress that you must strive to sustain. Your metabolism will also improve drastically meaning that you will be burning more calories and fat as you sit in your office doing nothing.
You’re not going to be losing much weight if you only take your bike out for a spin once in a blue moon. Consistency is key if you want to see some results. Set at least 3-4 days in a week for some good, intense cycling. This may include your commutes to work if the distance is substantial enough (8-30 km).
If you’ve got the time at hand, try cycling every day or every other day. Soon you will find yourself enjoying every ride and it will become an addiction. The more you ride the more you will build muscle and burn calories. The more muscle you have, the more fuel you’ll need to keep it going, the more calories you’ll burn.
You’ve probably heard of the saying “abs are made in the kitchen”, that applies true. It doesn’t mean that you need to aspire to get abs. All it means is that your diet is super important if you want to lose fat.
You might find it tempting to beast yourself on the bike or cut your food intake right down. Neither of these is healthy, and ultimately they don’t work in the long term.
Eat a little but eat more often. Focus on lean protein and plenty of fruits and veggies – it goes without saying that you must avoid all kinds of sugary, processed foods if you seriously want to lose weight. Sugar and processed foods may give you plenty of energy, but they often have low nutritional value.
Think of burning fat, like burning wood in a bonfire. If you want the bonfire to keep burning, like your metabolism, then you want to keep feeding it logs every few hours, not too much, just a little – that’s the same approach to follow with food. If you stop fuelling it, then the body goes into starvation mode and it will hold on to calories for a longer time.
HEAR IT FIRST FROM: NIKHIL PRAKASH
We spoke to one of our regular customers, Nikil Praksh and his weight loss transformation through cycling.
How long have you been riding Nikhil?
“I just started about eight weeks back, I’m actually getting back into cycling after more than a year.”
How often do you ride now?
“Everyday. yup I ride around 30-40 km everyday.”
What changes have you noticed so far?
“Two weeks of riding and I’ve already lost a ton of weight, it’s made a huge impact in my life. I was around 95 kgs before this and right now I’m about 75 kgs. This happened in about eight weeks of cycling.”
What’s your diet like?
“I used to eat a lot of carbs before, but ever since cycling I’ve been kind of forced to change my diet because otherwise you just cannot cycle as efficiently. Change you diet, eat healthy, get up early in the morning and go for a ride. I think everybody should cycle.”
If you want to lose weight just like Nikhil has, implement and incorporate a few of these simple lifestyle change and see the results. We hope we’ve inspired you to get your bums on the saddle!
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WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CYCLING
I’m an avid mountain biker and I like riding fast and flowy singletrack. As I keep riding, I continuously work on honing my riding skills. I like to ride whenever possible, especially with friends. I also like to influence folk into getting to ride more often.
Working on bicycles has also been a keen interest of mine for quite some time.
DISCIPLINE: Mountain biking and Road biking
CURRENT BIKE: RockRider 5.3 & Specialized Allez Elite DSW
DREAM BIKE: Santa Cruz 5010