Cycling can be a great way to lose weight. Unlike other fitness programs, the learning curve is minimal. It is very likely that you already know how to ride a bicycle. In addition, cycling is a fun, easy, low-impact exercise that is very beneficial for the joints and can be done by almost anyone (regardless of age or fitness level). If you start slowly and stick to a regular routine, you will lose weight and improve your cardiovascular health.
Part 1 of 4: Choosing the Right Gear
Step 1. Pick a bike
Do you want to ride your bike outdoors or use a stationary one? The advantage of stationary bikes is that you can do other activities while you exercise (for example, watch your favorite TV show). However, if you use a standard bicycle, you can exercise outside. In addition, you will achieve a positive impact on caring for the environment if you use it as a means of transport instead of the car. Of course, you can always choose both options.
- If you choose a standard bike, you should be aware that there are many different styles (for example, mountain bikes, road bikes, T-shirts, or fixed gear) and they can vary widely in price. The bike you choose will depend on your body type and the terrain you plan to ride it on. Talk to your local dealer and consider scheduling an appointment to have your bike properly fitted.
- If you choose to use a stationary bike, you must buy one or go to a gym. In addition, you have to choose between an inclined or a vertical one. If you have back problems, you should choose the first one. Otherwise, you can choose the second one. In addition, bicycles help to strengthen the muscles of the torso.
Step 2. Pick the right outfit
According to Brian Wansink, a weight loss researcher at Cornell University, wearing tight clothing made of lycra instead of baggy suits makes weight loss easier. Wansink found that inmates tend to gain weight due to the baggy overalls they are forced to wear in prisons.
- Plus, loose-fitting clothing builds resistance and slows you down as you exercise.
- You should choose clothes that make you more visible so that other drivers can notice you on the road.
- Putting on too much clothing to make you sweat more (which is a common practice in France) won't actually help you lose weight.
Step 3. Get the right accessories
It is your duty to put on a helmet if you plan to ride a bike on the road. Make sure you get one that fits your head correctly. You may want to take a set of patches and a small handheld inflator with you to repair and inflate flat tires. If you plan to leave the bike parked outside, you should get a lock.
- It is also an excellent idea to carry a backpack with you to store your identification documents, your house keys and your phone, since these items can fall out of your pockets while you are driving.
- Bringing a bottle of water with you will help you stay hydrated while riding the bike.
- Consider carrying carbon dioxide cylinders in your backpack to quickly inflate flat tires.
Part 2 of 4: Planning Your Routine
Step 1. Start slowly
You can start with a nice and easy route in a safe place (like your neighborhood) before tackling more difficult terrain like the mountains. Once you feel comfortable, you can extend your tour in heavy traffic areas.
- At first, you should stay in flat areas. Try a local park or bike path. You can also search for a route on websites such as traillink.com.
- When you start riding your bike, you may only be able to go a few miles. Stay close to home so you don't get lost. You must travel a few kilometers for about a month.
Step 2. Alternate the intensity of your ride
If you do the course at full speed with high resistance, you will burn more calories. If you walk at a slower pace, you will improve your stamina. However, the ideal is to perform a combination of both methods. In a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, alternating between sprinting and endurance was found to help burn more calories.
- Travel the mountains. Cycling champion Rebecca Rusch uses the routine of standing on the pedals (that is, alternating between standing and sitting while pedaling up a mountain) to improve her endurance.
- When you are towards the end of the course, you must drive with all your power.
- Take spinning classes at a local gym or consider hiring a trainer.
Step 3. Make recovery time part of your routine
Schedule a day for full power driving, then take a calmer "recovery run" or combination workout the next day. You should also schedule non-exercise days off.
- Make sure you get enough sleep and take breaks between your cycling sessions. According to Stacy T. Sims, an exercise physiologist at Stanford University and founder of Osmo Nutrition, sleep deprivation can lead to false hunger and unnecessary cravings.
- Consider getting a massage on your day off.
Step 4. Set specific goals
Determine your goal weight and estimate how long it will take you to reach that goal. Cycling to lose weight is a long-term strategy. Don't be discouraged if you don't see immediate results.
- A reasonable and achievable goal is to lose 1/2 to 1 kg (1 to 2 lbs.) Per week.
- Use a BMI calculator that you can find online to determine your ideal weight.
Part 3 of 4: Rethink Your Diet
Step 1. Have breakfast
While there are some disagreements about whether you should eat breakfast before or after riding your bike, breakfast plays an important role in your weight loss routine.
- Many people tend to associate breakfast with cereal and bacon. However, if you want to lose weight, all of your meals should be made up of lots of fruits and vegetables. These items are the best, but often their frozen versions are excellent. You should be careful when buying canned fruits and vegetables, as they can contain added sodium and sugars.
- Choose lean meats, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts as sources of protein.
Step 2. Eat while you ride your bike
This may seem strange to you, but eating while on a long ride can really help you resist the ride and avoid overeating at the end of the ride.
- Some good options to eat during the tour are energy bars, bananas, and jellies.
- Plan to eat 200 to 250 calories per hour.
Step 3. Eat as soon as you finish the tour
Your body's "recovery time" is 30 to 60 minutes after your cycling session. Your body needs nutrients to repair itself.
- Carbohydrates only help restore glycogen levels. Eating a combination of carbohydrates and protein means you won't need to eat too many carbohydrates, which can be difficult after a strenuous workout.
- Consuming protein also helps rebuild muscles that have been broken during the ride.
- Prepare food for your body's recovery before leaving home in case you are too tired to prepare something when you finish the tour.
Step 4. Stay hydrated
Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after the bike tour. Shortly after finishing your cycling session, fill your water bottle and drink its entire contents.
You should be careful with energy drinks that contain caffeine and other stimulants, as they can make you dehydrated quickly
Part 4 of 4: Staying excited
Step 1. Keep your bike visible and accessible
If you place the bike out of your sight, other priorities will get in the way of your cycling routine. According to Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist and fitness coach at Stanford University, having a reminder of your exercise routine will keep you motivated to do it.
Store your bike in a place where you can use it
Step 2. Change your routes
An occasional change of scenery will break the monotony of traveling the same route over and over again. In addition, doing this presents new physical challenges.
Step 3. Ride your bike to work
You can go to work or carry out errands around the city by bike. People who normally cycle to work lose weight without extra effort. Plus, you'll save gas money and won't waste time looking for where to park.
- If you plan to cycle to work, you should bring a change of clothes with you and consider showering in the office, if possible. No matter what you do, you should avoid showing up too sweaty at work.
- You should carefully plan your route to work so that you avoid being late. Take the tour on a free day until you get used to the route.
Step 4. Make friends with other cyclists
If you have friends in a spin class at the gym or fellow cyclists on the road, it means you can exercise and socialize at the same time.