In this post with videos we share five quick and easy tips to help you lose weight cycling. Most of these tips require only minor tweaks to what you are already doing. One of them even encourages you to eat more! Watch the video from the good cycling people of GCN, and then review the quick and easy Cycling Weight Loss Cheat Sheet that follows. At the end of the post is an inspirational video showing how one young woman lost weight cycling – and had a good time doing it too!
Contents of this Post
- Video Showing How to Lose Weight Cycling
- Tip 1 to Lose Weight Cycling: Do High Intensity Training (HIT) on Your Bike
- Tip 2 to Lose Weight Cycling: Drink Water Strategically
- Tip 3 for Weight Loss: Eat on the Ride
- Tip 4: Incorporate Hard Efforts at the End of Your Bike Rides
- Tip 5: Set an Achievable Goal
- Keep a Diary of Your Training and Progress
- What NOT to Do to Lose Weight Cycling
- Inspirational Video Showing One Woman’s Cycling Weight Loss Transformation
Video Showing How to Lose Weight Cycling
As noted in the video, cycling is an excellent way to lose weight. And as a bonus: if you lose weight, you will become faster on your bike.
Tip 1 to Lose Weight Cycling: Do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on Your Bike
Many of us remember that back in the day, the usual advice for losing weight was to do long hours of low-intensity cardio, such as easy to moderate cycling. The theory was that you burn a higher proportion of fat than carbs while doing low intensity exercise. And also that you would burn a whole lot of calories during that long, long ride.
It is true that you can expect to burn around 400 to 600 calories on a long bike ride. See our post called How Many Calories Can You Burn Cycling?
But the reality is that most people just don’t have endless hours to spare. Plus, research has shown that that advice was somewhat incorrect, anyway. Our bodies actually respond better to high-intensity exercise, especially the kind that you do when interval training. This is also known as High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT. These are exercise sessions that include very short bursts of very intense effort.
Our post, a Complete Guide to Bike Training, explains in very simple terms how you can get started on interval training today.
Benefits of HIIT
HIIT offers the opportunity to burn up more calories, and get fitter faster, while allocating less time to training. For example, just a few minutes of very intense exercise has been shown to generate significant fitness and health gains. See our post called “Science Shows HIIT on a Bike is the Best Exercise to Fight Aging – And We Show You How to Do it!”
As explained in that post, it has been shown that it is possible to get just as fit in 30 minutes a week as in 2.5 hours per week! This breaks down to three 10-minute workouts, as compared to three 50-minute workouts. No, it’s not another crazy get-fit-fast fad, and you don’t have to buy anything. It’s simply more proof of the enormous health and cardiovascular benefits of HIIT (i.e., t).
In short, a huge benefit of HIIT is that it is the quickest way to get dramatically fitter, as explained further in this post:
7 Reasons to do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on Your Bike – And How to Add HIIT to Your Cycling.
HIIT Leads to Less Hunger
Also, there is an added benefit to HIIT. You usually feel a bit less hungry after an intense bike ride than after a long, slow ride. So, you are far less likely to make that classic mistake: binge eating more calories after a bike ride than you actually burned up on the ride!
HIIT on an Indoor Trainer
An ideal way to do a couple of high-intensity cycling workout is to do a structured HIIT (high intensity interval training ) session at home on a trainer. You can turn your outdoor bike into an indoor trainer in just a few minutes with an indoor trainer. If you want to learn more, see our Guide to Smart Trainers:
Tip 2 to Lose Weight Cycling: Drink Water Strategically
Drink a big glass of water as soon as you get home, and before you have a post-workout snack. This will make you tend to eat less. Here’s an extra hack: you can also do this before all your meals.
Water is good for you, and it will help you feel full quicker – there are no down sides to this one!
Tip 3 for Weight Loss: Eat on the Ride
Yes, that’s right. It’s counter-intuitive, but eating a bit more on your long bike rides will help you to lose weight. This is better than doing the opposite. Some people who are trying to lose weight cycling will not eat anything at all on a long bike ride.
However, small snacks at frequent intervals on your long bike rides (over 90 minutes) will mean that you will be much less hungry when you get home. This will therefore make you less likely to binge eat. Be sure that you snack on something healthy and sustaining, so you don’t undermine your efforts. And don’t overdo it: The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour of exercise. Your body cannot absorb more than that. One banana per hour will do it.
Are Energy Bars Helpful?
In a word, yes. But you. need to choose a really good energy bar, such as a Cliff Bar. These contain a blend of complex carbs for sustained energy, plus simple carbs that you can break down quickly for immediate energy. They also contain protein and fat to balance the carbs.
One chocolate chip Clif Bar contains the following: 260 calories; 43 grams of carbohydrates; 10 grams of protein; 17 grams of sugar and 6 grams of fat. So half a Cliff Bar every 30 minutes would be ideal.
Avoid Sugary Drinks
So as not to consume too many carbs, do NOT wash this down with a sugary drink such as Gatorade. Instead, choose a low-carb electrolyte-hydrating fluid. Nuun Sport is a great option. It’s sweetened with Stevia, a natural sweetener, and contains just a tiny bit of sugar to enhance water absorption. Plus it comes in dissolvable pill form, so you can carry them with you on your bike, and add to water as needed.
Tip 4: Incorporate Hard Efforts at the End of Your Bike Rides
Throw in a couple of high-intensity intervals just before you end a regular (long, steady) bike ride. Studies have shown that post exercise oxygen consumption can promote the burning of fat. The easiest way to get into that state is to do some high intensity exercise near the end of your ride.
This way, you will still be burning a lot of calories, even when you are relaxing on the sofa.
Tip 5: Set a SMART Goal
Set yourself a realistic, achievable goal and write it down. Leave this out where you can see it. For example, use a fridge magnet to keep it prominently displayed on your fridge. This will help keep you motivated on your journey to lose weight cycling.
What is a SMART Goal?
T: (anchored within a) Time Frame
For example: My goal is to lose 10 pounds in one year, and become 5% faster on my bike rides.
- This goal is Specific, in that it specifies an exact, measurable goal and time frame.
- It is Measurable, in that you can measure weight loss and your speed on your bike. It is easy to measure your progress, using a good bathroom scale and a quality bike computer.
- It is Achievable, as it does not set impossible goals.
- It is Realistic, in that most people can lose 10 pounds in one year. And most people can realistically expect to get 5% faster.
- It is anchored within a Time Frame, that is, your goal is anchored within a Time Frame of one year.
Related Post: 7 of the Best Bike Computers – Budget to Premium
Keep a Diary of Your Training and Progress
A diary will help you to achieve your goals if you record your progress, i.e. your training rides and your weight.
Tracking Your Weight: If you record your weight on a chart, you will be motivated by seeing your progress towards your goal. Set up a regular time interval to weigh yourself. Many people suggest that you don’t do it every day, as weight fluctuations can be discouraging. Once a week is ideal for most people. However, if it helps you to weigh yourself every day, then by all means, go right ahead!
Tracking Your Rides: The easiest and best way to keep track of your training rides is to wear a smart watch that records your bike rides and your heart rate. That way, you can look back on your progress. I have my smart watch set up to automatically upload my rides to Garmin, and then my Garmin automatically shares my rides with Strava. Then, I use my stats on Strava to motivate myself to always do a bit more this month than I did last month. That way, I keep making progress!
Of course, you don’t have to have Strava. You can just monitor your progress with Garmin Connect, or any other app that your smart watch uses.
Related Post: How Cycling Can Help You to Lose Weight
What NOT to Do to Lose Weight Cycling
Some people wear extra layers of clothes when cycling so that they sweat more. This does cause instant weight loss. However, don’t be fooled. It’s all water, not fat. So, this practice is both pointless and even potentially dangerous. And as soon as you re-hydrate, all of the weight will come right back.
Inspirational Video Showing One Woman’s Cycling Weight Loss Transformation
Inspiring right? The best thing is that Katie seems to have had such a good time on her weight loss journey.
Related Post: Our TOP TEN TIPS to Lose Weight Cycling
Related Post: 7 Steps to Lose Weight Cycling
Related Post: How Many Calories Do You Burn Cycling?
Related Post: A Guide for Fat Cyclists
So, there you have it – five simple, easy but effective tips to help you successfully lose weight through cycling. Good luck, and have fun!
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