You probably don't like exercise...

But we know you enjoy cycling. 

You can use cycling to support your weight loss goals.

Getting lean is all being active and burning calories, and your good old bike puts you on the right path to do that.

More...

You can potentially lose between 400-1000 calories per hour!

But it depends on the intensity and duration of your session.

You’ll want to cycle smart.

Pushing at your best effort every time you jump on your bike will increase chance of overtraining and burnout. 

Use this quick guide we’ve complied to help you ride the way to your dream body.

Choose Your Bike First:

Form, function and comfort need to be kept in mind when shopping for bikes.

You might be tempted to buy the fanciest or coolest looking bike but you may end up getting something unnecessarily heavy (like a mountain bike) that you'll only use on roads. 

weight loss cycling

Here are some types of bikes out there:

  • Road Bike – Lightweight design made for traveling great distances at high speed, usually on paved roads.
  • ​Mountain Bike – Made for handling tough terrain through its large, heavy built frame.
  • Hybrid Bike – Combining the best of both road and mountain bikes, these are your allrounders which can be used in a variety of different surfaces.
  • Recumbent Bike – Specialist bikes for individuals with knee or back issues, usually for low-impact usage.

Deciding which one to get can be a daunting process but don't worry, the next step will help you choose the best bike for you...

1. Evaluate Your Route

Given not all bikes function the same way, your bike will need to be made for your route.

If your neighborhood has access to paved roads and traffic isn’t a major intrusion, the road bike would be your best bet.

However, if you need to be off the road a lot, go for hybrid bikes or a mountain bike to help get through the rough terrains.

2. Get Fitted

Try out the bike!

Imagine riding it, sit on it and get a feel for it.

Visit a nearby bike shop and the staff will always be happy to assist (it's why they are there!).

They’ll not only be able to direct you towards options within your budget, but help you find the most comfortable bike for your experience.

They’ll likely measure out your physique and make adjustments to the seat, handlebars and saddle accordingly so you'll know what settings to use when you're about to head out for a ride.

3. Consider Your Health

Sleek or sporty frames might be visually appealing, but getting fit requires you to be consistent; therefore, be realistic about your restrictions and if you currently have any knee or back weaknesses, high impact bikes might make things worse.

Go for the low-impact recumbent bike and build yourself up to other versions.

Consult with your doctor to get the go ahead before starting any exercise program (including cycling!).

4. Find What You're Comfortable With

It always comes down to your comfort.

Each bike has its own feel and will provide you with a different riding experience.

For example, road bikes require you to maintain a forward leaning posture while hybrids and mountain bikes are more upright.

In terms of handlebars, the two latter types offer flat handles while the more traditional bike has dropped handles.

weight loss cycling

If you’re still concerned, check out your local bike shop to rent out or test different bikes to see which one feels the best to you.

At starting point of your weight loss journey, you should purchase a bike which allows you to be consistent with your routine and motivates you as you paddle along.

Planning For The Long Term

This moment will determine whether or not you'll stick with your weight loss goals. 

Burning 400 calories a day might not be a viable goal if you’re starting out.

Instead you need a routine that progressively pushes you towards your ideal weight while making you stronger and leaner in the process.

Let's start with your starting point...

5. Figure Out Your Baseline

Seeing is believing and sometimes the scale can be an unreliable measure of your progress.

By knowing your strengths and weaknesses from day one, you’ll be more prepared to handle obstacles.

You can go out for a ride and check three kinds of speeds: your steady riding, the sprint, and the all out max you can go.

It will also help figure out any weak points you may have.

6. Map Out Your Key Sessions

Once you have an idea of your capabilities on a bike, it's time to strategize.

Each workout should transition between each of the speed (steady, sprint and all out) in order to effectively strengthen your body while increasing your efficiency.

7. Workout In Intervals

If you can’t get through a full hour, start small with 20-30 minutes of routine cycling.

Your body will need time to adapt to your new regimen and progress isn’t simply restricted to the speed with which you cycle.

Your form, stamina and distance all make a difference. 

Allowing these small intervals will allow your body to recover for the next session.

8. Overcome Mother Nature's Obstacles 

Additionally, you’re not limited to perform the same routines every day.

If your surrounding has hills, it can help boost your endurance without the need of upping your speed.

weight loss cycling

Not to mention, an incline will target you’re a variety of muscles while increasing your calorie-burning potential.

9. Focus On Muscles, Not The Scale

You don’t just lose weight from workouts; you gain muscles as well.

Muscle mass is an important part of improving your fitness level as it frees your range and enables your body to reach new heights.

Most people might not see a difference in the scale or they might see their weight going up, progress should be tracked through your performance or pictures.

10. Train To Strengthen Weaknesses

Cycling demands a lot from your lower body, while offering little to your upper body.

Performing 30 minutes of strength training exercises during your off-days is highly recommended to keep your entire body feeling strong.

Not to mention, it makes your weight loss efforts more effective in the long run.

11. Enjoy And Breathe In Your Surroundings

All motivations aside, maintaining a routine will be tough if you’re not having fun.

Exercise is meant as a way to reduce stress so you can live a happier, healthier life—make the most of it.

Switch things around as you see fit while following a general protocol.

By setting up a flexible system, you’ll be able to see results and sustainably maintain cycling as part of your routine activities.

12. Count Every Pedal

Commuting on a bike is a good way to getting in some extra mileage along-with your regular exercise.

It helps you stay in practice and will slowly boost your endurance, while also making your traveling time more enjoyable.

Try integrating some cycling as you run errands and you’ll soon be hooked to this fast and easy traveling method.

13. Find Support

Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family to be your support or cycling buddy.

They can help keep you on track and motivated while also improving their own lifestyle.

In case you don’t have anyone available, there are dedicated personal trainers who would be able to guide you along the way as well.

Gearing Up

When you’re cycling routinely, safety and security are important details to figure out, let's start with one people often forget...

14. Always Wear A Helmet

Helmet hair might be a nuisance when it comes to riding, but consider it to be the cost of protecting the most important part of your body.

Never ride without having a properly fitted and secured helmet. 

If you do have any concerns, you can always visit your local bike shop for assistance.

You only have one head, protect it.

15. Carry Your Identification And Cellphone

Accidents can happen to anyone.

In the case of an unfortunate incident, having your cellphone or identification card can make the world of a difference.

If you need to, you can get armbands or bike phone holders so you’re more likely to remember to keep them with you.

Having a phone also provides other benefits.

If you’re pumped up by music or like listening to audiobooks, it might help you travel further.

However, allow outside noise to be heard or you won't be aware of your surroundings.

Lastly, there are dedicated cycling apps which can help track  daily progress, provide dedicated programs, or simply add another layer of accountability for you. 

16. Stay Hydrated

When performing high-impact workouts out in the open, the weather can be grueling.

The resulting dehydration restricts your present capabilities while impacting your overall health.

Therefore, keeping a water bottle with you while you cycle will make a world of a difference.

In case you tend to forget, you can use your phone to set reminders or have a checklist of things you want to bring before you head out.

17. Get A Good Pair Of Cycling Shoes

You’ll be doing a great deal of pedaling which can lead to blisters and sores if the right shoe isn’t worn.

To reduce the friction, cyclists tend to use stiff shoes while absorb pressure that’s put on it and helps you feel more comfortable.

There’s also a clipped variety wherein your shoes are affixed to the cycle.

18. Wear Glass

outdoors exercise

Specifically made for cycling, a pair of specs can protect your eye from any debris which may be floating around in the great outdoors.

Always check the sizing to ensure they won’t fall off as you ride.

19. Use A Reliable Weather App

Although not a necessity by any means, cycling depends on the forecast a lot.

Unlike traditional forms of weight loss workouts which happen indoors, winds, rain, cold and snow can all dampen your plans.

20. Dress For The Workout

Investing in a good tracksuit or a simple pair of cycling shorts can add to your experience.

They’ll help to reduce any friction between your body and the bike while also being open enough to position yourself correctly on the bike.

21. Invest In A Saddle

You’re most likely going to be traveling a lot on your bike therefore make it practical for yourself.

Aside from storing your phone, a saddle can essentially function as your gym bag, minus the bulk.

This way, you’ll be organized and focused on what’s really important.

22. Try To Incorporating Tech

With so many advancements available at your disposal on your quest, you can make your cycling workouts more effective through heart rate monitors and attachable bike computers.

The heart rate monitor will measure out the intensity you’re going at.

It also integrates with other apps that can use the fitness band to determine produce analytics or programs for you.

Likewise, bike computers will give you an idea of the speed and distance you’re going at.

The more advanced variety will also give you a map in case you need 

23. Give Yourself Time To Recover

In order for your physical activity to yield results, it needs to be sustainable.

Intense workouts on the daily does not give your body adequate time to recover and grow stronger.

Therefore, restrict intense activity to 3-4 times to ensure its effectiveness.

24. Nutrition

As the saying goes: You can’t cheat a bad diet.

Regardless of how you perform on the road (or off it), weight loss ultimately comes down to the calories you consume.

food to fuel cycling

Cycling helps to solidify and support your efforts, but it alone cannot make you lose weight.

To put matters into perspective, to burn a 600-calorie meal, you’ll most likely need an 45-60 minutes of intense cycling.

The good news, your diet is easily manageable and can become a tool for increasing your overall health and energy levels.

24. Divide Your Meals

It might be tempted to skip or delay meal times to restrict your calories; but it eventually just allows your hunger to fester and grow.

In the worst-case scenario, you might end up slowing your metabolism despite all the efforts you put in terms of your physical activity.

Therefore, you should develop a healthy relationship with food by planning them meals.

This will curb any snacking or overindulgence as you consume a deficit overall. 

It might not be possible to divide your meals so try to get in at least 2 big and nutritious meals per day (this could be breakfast and dinner).

25. Count Your Macros

If you’re just starting out with your fitness journey, keeping track of your macros will further fuel your body with the nutrition it needs.

The macro-nutrients we eat—e.g. protein, carbohydrates and fats—help our body perform on the daily and provide you with energy.

To check your macro requirements, you can use an online calculator that will tell you what your body needs according to your height, weight, age and activity level. 

Or simply try to follow this general ratio that your daily intake should consist of; 40% protein, 40% carbs, 20% fats. 

26. Avoid Processed Foods 

Nutritional value needs to be the priority and carvings should be planned for ahead of time..

Sugar and other processed foods do give you an energy boost.

But it comes at the cost of empty calories which could've been used towards nourishing your body instead.

Additionally, the crash of energy from the spike of carbs is usually counterproductive and may end up restricting your ability to perform on the road.

That said, the point is to avoid as much as you can or better yet, use them to reward yourself if it keeps you motivated.

Make it into a treat, not a meal. 

27. Eat Plenty Of Protein

Eating protein on the daily helps in a variety of ways.

Protein is used to build muscles within the body and is essential for making us stronger.

nutrition for cycling

Additionally, it provides nutrition without being dense with calories and fills you up faster.

You’ll be able to satiate your hunger faster and reduce your overall cravings.

You’re most likely going to be traveling a lot on your bike therefore make it practical for yourself.

Aside from keeping your phone, it can essentially function as your gym bag, minus the bulk.

This way, you’ll be organized and focused on what’s really important.

2​8. ​Abstain From Late Night Snacking

Should go without saying but it’s an important reminder to stop yourself from late night snacking.

Aside from possibly steering you away from your caloric threshold, it may lead to sleeplessness or a break from discipline.

Therefore, keep yourself on a schedule to see the best results.  

​Conclusion

​Losing weight takes more than simply cycling around.

It needs to be tackled through planned physical activity and nutrition.

You’re going to have to start by selecting the right gear for your environment and needs while also drawing up realistic goals.

You didn't gain weight overnight so you won't lose it overnight.

An effective training plan will work on improving weaknesses to help you push further.

But never forget safety...

Whether that’s as simple as not blocking your ears while you’re out on the road or selecting a bike that caters to your body’s needs.

Your weight loss program should improve you, it shouldn't make you unhappy.

Healthy eating will not only help maintain a deficit which leads to weight loss, but maximizes energy levels to ensure you make the most out of your cycling.

All in all, how can you say no to some cycling?

It's a cardio activity while improving endurance, stamina and strength.

You'll have intense workouts while enjoying something you've already been doing for most of your life. 

The sooner you get on that bike and the sooner you'll pedal your way to a healthier lifestyle.

So what are you waiting for? Have you started biking yet?