Cycling is a great way to lose weight. Unlike other forms of exercise, it's very easy to learn to practice, and you probably already know how to ride a bike. Plus, this is a fun, relaxed, low-impact exercise. It doesn't strain the joints and is accessible to anyone, whatever the person's age or physique. If you take it easy at first and learn to follow a regimented routine, you may be able to lose weight and improve cardiovascular health.
Part 1 of 4: Choosing Equipment
Step 1. Choose the bike
Do you prefer to ride outdoors or use an exercise bike? The advantage of the treadmill is that you can do other things while riding, like watching your favorite TV show. The regular bicycle, on the other hand, allows for outdoor rides and can have a positive impact on the environment if used instead of a car for transport. Of course you can use both.
- If you choose a regular bike, be aware that there are several types, such as mountain bikes (MTBs or mountain bikes), road bikes (speed), urban bikes, fixed bikes and so on. The price can vary a lot too. The type of bike you choose depends on your body and where you plan to ride. Talk to the seller and see the size right before buying.
- If you keep the exercise bike, you can buy one or go to the gym. You also need to decide between the recumbent (or horizontal) or the upright bike. The former is ideal for those who have back problems, the latter is better for strengthening the abdomen.
Step 2. Choose the right clothes
According to experts and researchers, wearing tight clothing, such as leggings and other Lycra garments, instead of loose clothing helps to better track weight loss. Cornell University researcher Brian Wansink found that inmates are more likely to gain weight because of the baggy uniforms they are required to wear.
- Loose clothes also end up interfering with pedaling and reducing your speed.
- Choose pieces that are eye-catching so that drivers can see you well.
- Wearing a lot of clothes to sweat a lot (a common practice in France) does not help you lose more weight.
Step 3. Buy the right accessories
You can't ride in the street without a helmet, can you? Buy one that fits right in your head right away. You should also always have a puncture repair kit on hand and a small manual air pump to inflate tires. Don't forget a padlock if you're going to park your bike outside of shops and outdoors.
- Another good idea is to carry a small bag to store your ID, house keys and cell phone, objects that can fall out of your pocket while you ride.
- To hydrate yourself during exercise, also take a small bottle of water.
- One last suggestion is to carry carbon dioxide cylinders in your bag to quickly inflate flat tires.
Part 2 of 4: Planning Your Routine
Step 1. Go little by little
Start slowly in a safe and easy-to-walk place like your neighborhood before venturing into steeper terrain with hills. Once you get the hang of it, you can start walking on busy streets.
- Prefer flat streets in the beginning. Try cycling in a park or bike path, checking the route beforehand on the internet.
- Once you start cycling, you may not be able to go beyond a few kilometers, so stay close to home so you can get back. After a while, you will see that you can travel longer and longer distances.
Step 2. Vary the intensity of your pedaling
Running over difficult terrain burns more calories, while pedaling at a slower pace in places with low friction helps build endurance. However, the right bet is to mix a little of the two. A study published in a trade journal found that switching between speed and endurance burns more calories.
- Ride uphill! Professional cyclist Rebecca Rusch uses the technique of pedaling uphill and sitting, alternating the two positions, to increase endurance.
- Pedal vigorously at the very end of the course.
- Try spinning classes at the gym or give the idea of hiring a personal trainer a try.
Step 3. Incorporate recovery time into your routine
You should plan to cycle a lot in one day and, the next day, take a more relaxing bike ride or do another type of activity to recover. Don't forget the days off, huh!
- Remember that you need to sleep well and take breaks between your physical activity sessions. According to physiologists, lack of sleep can make you hungry and lead to binge eating.
- How about a massage on your day off? Think about it fondly.
Step 4. Create specific goals
Know right from the start what weight you want to achieve and estimate how long it will take you to reach the goal. Riding a bike to lose weight is not an immediate strategy, so give it time and don't get discouraged if you don't see quick results.
- A sensible and achievable goal is to lose 0.5 to 1 kg per week.
- Use an online BMI Calculator to find your ideal weight.
Part 3 of 4: Rethinking Food
Step 1. Have breakfast
There are still experts who disagree on whether it is better to drink coffee before or after cycling, but, anyway, this meal is essential in the weight loss process.
- Many people associate breakfast with breakfast cereal and French bread. However, to lose weight, all your meals should be full of fruits and vegetables. If they're fresh, so much the better, but the frozen versions are also great. Be careful when buying canned fruits and vegetables as they contain a lot of sodium and sugar.
- For protein, choose lean meats, fish, beans, eggs and nuts.
Step 2. Eat while pedaling
This tip may sound strange, but if you eat for a long ride, you may have more energy to keep exercising and avoid overeating after physical activity.
- Cereal and banana bars are great options to eat while cycling.
- Try to eat 200 to 250 calories an hour.
Step 3. Eat right after riding a bike
The next 30 to 60 minutes after the exercise session is the body's recovery period, which needs nutrients to repair itself.
- Carbohydrates are capable of restoring glycogen levels, but if you combine them with a protein source, you can reduce the amount of carbohydrates ingested so that you don't go over the calorie point (which is easy to happen after a strenuous workout).
- Proteins also help rebuild muscles that break down during sports.
- Have the meal ready before you go cycling, because when you get back you're so tired that you don't even want to prepare anything afterwards, do you?
Step 4. Hydrate yourself
Don't forget to drink plenty of water before, during and after cycling. Right after finishing the course, fill your water bottle again and drink all the contents.
Beware of energy drinks as they contain lots of caffeine and other stimulants that can lead to dehydration
Part 4 of 4: Keeping Yourself Motivated
Step 1. Leave your bike in a visible and accessible place
If you hide the bike, you'll end up giving way to other priorities instead of riding. According to expert psychologists, we need a reminder to stay motivated to exercise.
Keep the bike in a place where you can use it
Step 2. Take different paths
A change of air every now and then is all you need to break the monotony of riding a bike on the same route every day, and it's a new challenge to your physical ability.
Step 3. Use the bicycle as a means of transport
You can ride a bike to work or to sort out cucumbers around. An ordinary person who uses a bicycle to get around loses weight without having to train. Plus, you can save a lot of money on gas and easily find parking spaces.
- If you're thinking about going to work by bicycle, take a change of clothes and, if you can, take a shower at work. Either way, do your best not to get all sweaty at work.
- Plan routes carefully so that you are not late for service. Take the route on a day off to get used to the way.
Step 4. Make friends with other cyclists
When you have friends to ride a bike with, whether in a spinning class or on the street, it's possible to work out and socialize at the same time.