If you want to shed some weight and maintain a fit body, then hop on your bike and go for a ride.
Besides helping you get a trimmer and lighter shape, cycling is a great way to lose weight. It is fun, effective and can easily fit into a busy daily schedule; plus it has proven mental, physical and emotional benefits.
Here are effective ways you can lose weight by cycling:
Set a doable target
You can use Body Mass Index or BMI to set a realistic body weight loss target. BMI measures your body to heart ratio and is used by a lot of health professionals. There are BMI Checkers tools online to help you measure your weight loss progress.
Using BMI to lose weight by cycling is not perfect, but can serve as a good guide to get you started.
Ideally, aim for a weight loss of 1kg weekly
It is not healthy to rush your weight loss plan. If you lose too much weight too quickly, very likely you will not be able to maintain your new shape and therefore could soon put the weight back on and more.
So it’s best to lose weight slowly and make a gradual change of lifestyle that suits your new look. Start with a weight loss target of 1 kilogramme per week. Your goal should not just be to shed excess pounds; you must be able to keep it off too.
Find friends to ride with
Going on a ride with one or two other biker buddies will help you stick with your weight shed plan by cycling. Social support like this improves your consistency, which is key to your fitness goals.
Even if you haven’t found a riding partner yet, you can be rest assured you soon would. Cycling is a social sport and finding riders like you with the same fitness target is only a matter of time.
Try riding before breakfast
Getting yourself and your bike on the road before breakfast is a great way to kickstart your weight loss plan. Since you wouldn’t have had your first meal of the day, your body will be forced to use its store of fats and burn calories. This is known as fasted training.
Target a cycle routine of 30 to 60 minutes every morning before breakfast. If you are going to be cycling for much longer, it is advised you eat something before heading out.
Cycle to work
One of the things that make cycling a great form of exercise is that it doubles as an efficient means of transport. So, if you cycle – rather than drive a car or take a bus or train – to work, you’ll also be getting a good amount of workout while you commute to your workplace.
Studies have shown that people who ride a bike for at least 30 minutes daily shed an average of 7kg/1stone over a period of 12 months. Cycling also de-stresses you and improves your concentration and creativity level, making you more productive at work.
Include a couple of high-intensity sessions each week
High intensity workouts will give you high-intensity results. This usually means a better cardiovascular fitness level and a body that burns calories efficiently. You can swap the rigorous sessions with two or three of your regular, light cycling routines. But if you think you’re up to it, add them on top of your regular rides or combine them.
For these high-intensity rides, you’ll need to be cycling hard and fast – up to 70 or 90 percent of your regular heart rate or a cycling speed that doesn’t allow you to hold a conversation. For a more effective session, slow down at intervals.
Keep track of your progress
Stay motivated and keep track of your progress by recording as you go. Don’t get discouraged even if you don’t notice much progress at the early stages. You may not see it early enough, but your body will slowly adjust and get ready to be trimmer and fitter.
If you stay consistent and disciplined with your cycling routine, you’ll observe positive changes in a few weeks. Don’t worry if you plateau in some weeks, the overall trend and result is what is important.