Cycling is a fantastic hobby for both your physical and mental health. It comes with a whole range of benefits from making new friends to saving the planet. Cycling can be really easy to fit into a busy routine to help you lose a bit of weight through the winter period. We’ve listed some of the best ways to lose weight cycling.
Set a Realistic Goal:
There’s not a lot more depressing than an unrealistic weight loss goal that you’ll never reach. So work out where you’re starting from and set yourself a goal that you think you’ll be able to achieve. It’ll need a time limit so that you can reassess depending on progress.
Whether you track weight, body fat or BMI, there are a variety of different scales that will help you to track this over time. Losing weight cycling can be great but making sure you start off heading in the right direction is important. Make sure you don’t set your goal to lose weight of over 1kg a week. Rapid weight loss can be really detrimental to health and your overall energy.
Gradual process from the change in lifestyle will help you keep the confidence and continue to move forward week to week.
If you’re trying to lose weight cycling then monitoring progress can really set you up well. You don’t have to hit every single goal, but making sure you’re moving forward is really helpful. You can track this by weighing yourself at regular intervals.
Change doesn’t happen overnight, so stick with it. And if you’re measuring weight don’t forget it can fluctuate based on a lot of factors. So weighing yourself 3 times a week can give you a much better reading than once. But don’t get too hung up on the numbers. Keep being healthy, training well and staying happy and the weight will begin to drop over time.
Tracking fitness can be a great way to monitor improvement over time. If you’re getting fitter and faster, then once good nutrition is in place it’ll all come together nicely.
Ride at Tempo:
Using a heart rate monitor can provide you with the right zones while you continue to lose weight cycling. You might have to do a maximum heart rate test or push yourself as hard as you can to figure out where the limits are, but after this you’ll be able to work out what zones you should be in.
Riding at 65-80% of your maximum heart rate is the optimum range to burn fat. You can track this through a heart rate monitor paired with a bike computer. After this you can analyze the data with free software such as Garmin and Strava.
If you don’t have any of this equipment then don’t panic. If you aim for a tempo that leaves you out of breath and working hard but still able to talk to your riding partner, then you’ll be on the right lines. You should only be able to hold this pace for up to an hour but it will really help with fat loss.
Add High Intensity:
High intensity can help boost your Vo2 max. Mixing in these intervals will encourage your body to start to working anaerobically. This takes a lot of recovery and repair after sessions in which your body will look to the fat stores to help. Though this will mean that you also have to take on extra fuel, something we’ll touch on in the undereating section!
You can achieve these intervals on the turbo, watt bike or even in your local spin class. This will certainly help through the winter months, when the days are short and the roads are low quality. Just two sessions a week will help you burn much more fat and therefore lose weight cycling.
It’s no secret that a healthy balance is the secret to weight loss. Try and avoid refined sugars and processed foods and make sure you’re eating fresh and healthy. You don’t necessarily have to completely avoid sugars and fats. In fact, these are incredibly helpful tools for recovery and performance, but getting them from healthy sources is important.
Balance is key to lose weight cycling, so a coffee and a cake at the local cafe stop is a must. But make sure you only have the one slice! Try and stay away from juices and smoothies as they contain a lot of sugar and often you can consume far more than you would if you ate the components one at a time.
Cut Down on Alcohol:
For some of us this is easier said than done. Alcohol contains a huge amount of empty calories that the body struggles to burn. Although alcohol is actually one of the first fuel sources that the body burns, even before sugar. In the long term it could be playing a large part of your weight.
Alcoholic drinks often have more alcohol in than we think and also lead to more consumption of junk food which can also limit your progress. Limit yourself to a couple at a weekend and it’ll keep you on track!
Avoid Under Eating:
This is one of the key things if you’re trying to lose weight cycling. People that eat barely anything, but wonder why they never lose weight. Though over time calories in has to be below calories out, if you overdo it your body will go into starvation mode and store all the food you eat as fat.
Think of your body as a fire, if you keep feeding it, it will burn the fuel you offer over time. But if you stop, the fire will extinguish and the fuel will pile up until you light a bigger fire! Short term it might work, but over time it’s not sustainable or healthy.
Cutting back your calorie intake doesn’t have to be monotonous and only involve chicken and rice. You can eat some amazingly diverse healthy meals with a bit of planning. Healthy eating and substantial portions are key.
Commute to Work:
While you’re trying to lose weight cycling, you can also achieve some other great things. You’ll be helping to save the planet by reducing emissions and you can get from A to B with much more fun. If you’re going to be making the journey anyway, why not get some fitness in while you’re at it?
Riding to work boosts the levels of happiness chemicals in your brain. Serotonin, dopamine, and phenylethylamine will all increase if you cycle to work. Plus the added tan from riding in the summer & you’ll soon wish you’d never driven in the first place!
Rest and recovery is the most important part of fitness. Training creates the stress on the body, but recovering lets you adapt and become fitter. If you don’t recover well enough your body will begin to break down and you’ll see a lot of illness and injury creeping in.
Studies have been completed that show the more sleep you get, the easier you’ll find it to lose weight. The optimum is 8 hours a night, and you’ll feel far better for it. You’ll feel less hungry through the day as well as having far more energy to get after your goals. Both in and out of training.
Try a Fasted Ride:
Fasted training is a great tool and is becoming increasingly popular in the performance world. Though don’t train too much without your morning meal. Once or twice a week is plenty to encourage your body to use the fat stores instead of the carbs you’ve just taken on. Anything up to an hour is fine, but anything more and you’ll need to eat before you go.
Though some people feel fine on an empty stomach, you’re starving your body of key nutrition it needs for performance. You’ll be operating below what you’re truly capable of.
This won’t be hard as cycling will encourage you to have endless fun. You’ll make new friends, explore new places and before you know it you’ll be fully immersed into the swing of it. Keep happy and stick with it, you won’t look back!