If you are considering bike riding for weight loss, you are certainly not alone. I was in the same boat as you not very long ago. Always staying about 20 to 30 pounds heavier than I wanted to be, I could not seem to drop that bit of excess padding no matter how hard I fought.
I saw a choice before me. I could purchase a gym membership and go stare at a wall – or even worse, a mirror – while I sweat it out on an elliptical machine or treadmill next to strangers. Or, I could jump on a bike and adventure through my town, the countryside, or the mountains while I burn calories.
Especially since the average gym membership is approximately 50 to 60 dollars a month, and the beautiful scenery you see on a bike is free, my decision was somewhat of a no brainer: I opted for bike riding for weight loss without hesitation.
I always loved riding my bike as a kid, and even today I ride for fun and for sport, while I also get the benefit of losing weight. Studies have shown that, even if you do not change your diet, you can lose roughly 10 to 15 pounds during your first year of cycling.
Staying in the Fat Burning Zone When Bike Riding for Weight Loss
Researchers have found that you can optimize your weight loss results by keeping your heart rate within 60 to 70 percent of its maximum range. This area is known as your fat burning zone. You can borrow or invest in a heart rate monitor in order to determine when you are in this zone. After using the monitor a few times, you can get an idea of how hard you need to push yourself to stay in this sweet spot.
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.
The Plan That Worked for Me
I found that the best way to lose weight and easily keep it off was to follow a few simple rules.
- Eat Less – Try to be more aware of what you are putting into your body and how much. Incorporate more natural foods into your diet. Much of my diet has been influenced by Allen Carr’s Easyweigh to Lose Weight, a wonderful book on this subject.
- Ride At Least Twice a Week – I try to go on at least two bike rides each week, each for about 20 miles. OpenFitness.net is great tool to use if you would like to keep track.
- Work Your Upper Body – Obviously, biking is going to strengthen your legs considerably. Balance your muscles and firm your midsection by doing a few upper body workouts each week.
- Track Your Weight – You do not have to keep a written log, but you should use a scale regularly to see how you are progressing toward your goal. It is smart to also purchase an instrument that specifically measures body fat.
You can use this tool to calculate the number of calories you are burning as you ride.
Books about Bike Riding and Weight Loss
For more information about bike riding and about weight loss you are invited to read some of these quality books:
Do not be too hard on yourself if you do not see the numbers on the scale always going down as you continue bike riding for weight loss, or if you experience a plateau. Simply adjust your strategy if necessary, and remember that muscle weighs more than fat.