Bicycling for Weight Loss: First get on the Scale
If you are not a skinny cyclist and you want to do something about it, you came to the right place. I am not skinny, either. That is why I have my own experience with biking and diets. I was not a FAT kid, but I was overweight. I am constantly fighting these extra 20 to 30 pounds.
Losing weight was not the reason I rode bikes as a kid. I rode for transportation in my small village, but especially for fun. Weight control was also not the reason my wife bought me a new bike when I turned 40. That’s what I’d like to think, anyway.
I ride for fun and sport. What can be better than losing weight while doing something you love? The numbers show that if you ride without changing your cycling diet, especially if you’re riding every day, you can expect to lose about 10 to 15 pounds in the first year.
Bicycling for Weight Loss – From Theory to Practice
Bicycles are the most efficient transportation tool. We have to work hard to lose weight. If you are slowly pedaling around your neighborhood on flat roads or trails, you can forget about losing weight just from riding. You’ll still have lots of fun, but to lose weight while riding you’ll need to do two things:
- Do aerobic cycling.
- Change your cycling diet.
There are many cycling diet programs out there. Each has its pros and cons. I prefer ones that help you make lifestyle choices that help in the long run. But others prefer fast changes and results. Either way, it’s a journey.
Losing weight is not easy, but it is possible to lose weight while cycling. Just remember that there is a real gold medal waiting for you at the end of the road. From personal experience, I can tell you that bicycling for weight loss is a rewarding journey and worth every effort.
Did you know...?
Did you know that scientists have found weight loss is most prevalent when subjects keep their heart rate in the "fat burning zone" during cardiovascular work?
This "fat burning zone" is between 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. Obviously, you can't really check your heart rate when you're cycling unless you invest in a heart rate monitor, but you should get a better idea of how hard you need to be working to stay in your "fat burning zone".
Here is what worked for me, and what I recommend
The advantage of the plan I followed is that there are only a few simple rules. If you follow these rules, you are going to lose weight, and gain important new habits that will help you in controlling your weight forever.
- Eat less, and be conscious of what you are eating. Concentrate on natural foods. I was deeply influenced by a great book by Allen Carr: Allen Carr's The Easy Way to Lose Weight.
- Ride your bicycle at least twice a week, for about 20 miles each time. There is no need to track your progress, but if you insist, I recommend OpenFitness.net.
- Add exercise to your upper body. You'll have more balanced muscle, not only strong legs. You'll weigh less and have a firmer midsection.
- Measure your weight daily. Buy a scale. You don't have to write anything down, but you will track it in your head and keep your mind on the goal. You could also consider buying an instrument that measures body fat.
Choosing the Right Methods for You
Losing weight by bike riding is not a complicated science. You can burn calories by challenging yourself through aerobic cycling that increases your heart rate and by making changes to your diet. When designing a weight loss strategy for yourself, there are two general paths you can take:
- Fast, Challenging Results – Those who want to see changes in their bodies very quickly will opt for pushing their body to the limit, choosing bike routes with high elevations and biking frequently.
- Slow and Steady - Another approach is to make gradual changes to your lifestyle, such as biking to work everyday, that you can sustain.
Whichever method you choose, I can attest from personal experience that bike riding for weight loss is rewarding, fulfilling, and worth the effort.
Here is a tool to calculate how many calories you are burning while riding your bike.
Books About Bicycling for Weight Loss
More information about bicycling for weight loss can be found on several informative books. Take a look at these selected books:
Last Word about Bicycling for Weight Loss
Don't worry if your weight is not going down immediately, or if the weight loss stops from time to time, or even if you gain a little weight. After all, muscle weighs more than fat.