If you’re looking to shed a few pounds and keep fit, then getting on your bike is a great place to start. Cycling is an effective and enjoyable type of exercise so is perfect for those looking to have fun whilst keeping active.
Here are some of our top tips to help you get the best results if you’re cycling for weight loss.
Avoid Undereating and Overtraining
Some people think that starving themselves or heavily undereating is the best option when it comes to losing weight, but it is highly advised you avoid this approach. When you stop fuelling your body with sufficient nutrients your body enters starvation mode and holds onto all the fat it can in order to keep you alive, so instead of losing fat, you’ll actually be losing muscle mass. You’ll also have slowed down your metabolism which means that when you go back to eating normally, you’ll gain weight faster – completely counterproductive.
It’s also advised you avoid overtraining, particularly if you’re only just getting into the sport. This is because you risk tiring yourself out completely (leaving you with no energy) and also because you’ll be much more likely to sustain an injury. And if you’re undereating too, your body won’t be getting the nutrition it requires to support the amount of exercise you’re doing.
Set an Achievable Goal
One thing we strongly recommend is to set yourself a specific goal you want to achieve. It’s all well and good saying you ‘want to lose weight’, but exactly how much do you want to lose and when do you want to lose it by? The key is to make sure your goal is precise so that you’re working towards a tangible result, therefore pushing and motivating you all the way. Good examples include aiming to shed 5 pounds by the end of the month or wanting to lose 1 stone before the end of the year.
See more: How to Set & Achieve Your Fitness Goals
Ride for Time, Not Distance
The duration of time you’re riding for is more important than the distance you ride. A good idea when getting started is to use your odometer or tracking app such as Strava to see how far you travel on a 30-minute ride. Make a note of the distance and challenge yourself to reduce the time it takes for you to ride the same route. As your fitness level improves, you’ll be able to complete more miles in the same length of time and therefore burn more calories in the process.
Riding uphill is great practice for weight loss as you have to drag both your body weight and the weight of your bike up the hill, taxing your body more than riding along the flat. As the gradient increases, the tougher it gets, meaning your body has to work harder to pedal against the forces of gravity.
When adding hills to your riding for the first time, it’s vital that find hills that challenge you enough but aren’t too difficult. As you gradually build up your fitness and confidence you can start to tackle longer and steeper climbs.
Commute to Work
Government guidelines state that adults should get at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity every week to stay healthy and one way you can achieve this is to cycle to and from work rather than drive or catch the train. It’s an easy way you can incorporate more exercise into your day-to-day routine and ensures you’re getting in a regular amount of exercise.
If you already cycle to work, then perhaps you can take a more indirect route to slightly extend the time you’re active. A little detour maybe that involves hillier roads can be a good option.
The importance of your diet mustn’t be underestimated when it comes to weight loss. As exercise stimulates your appetite and tends to make you want to eat more, it can be easy to overindulge, but it’s crucial you avoid this as it’ll undo all your hard work. Weight loss relies on a calorie deficit so it’s critical that you’re eating the right types of food.
After a workout ensure you replace your used carbohydrates, rehydrate properly and consume enough protein to rebuild damaged muscle tissue.
Adding in cross-training, such as yoga or swimming, to your routine will help you to reach your goals. Not only will it give your leg muscles a break from the pedalling but it will also strengthen your core and help to build muscle in other areas of your body which is great for weight loss – the more muscle you have, the more efficient your body will be at burning calories.
Reward Yourself and Enjoy it
Rewarding yourself for your efforts is incredibly important for maintaining motivation and enjoyment. Here at Race At Your Pace, our virtual cycling challenges reward you with real medals to help encourage you to keep moving and staying active.
The challenges are designed to fit around you, your lifestyle and your fitness level. You can cycle at a pace that suits you and pick a distance that is ambitious but achievable.
Find out more about our challenges here or sign-up today!
See more: 3 Stationary Bike Workouts – The Best Cycling Challenges for Exercise Bikes
See more: Best UK Cycling Challenges & Rides