If you’re looking for a good way to lose a few pounds, consider getting a bike and following a cycling program to help trim down excess body fat and burn more calories. Scientific research has proven that cycling for weight loss for beginners is actually a lot more effective than walking or jogging.
To make things even better, cycling is also considered form of a low-impact exercise making it perfect for those who want to have an effective fitness program but are hindered by weak joints or muscles, especially older people.
IMPORTANT: Getting into cycling is easy, but as a beginner, you need to keep a few things in mind. You can’t cycle for weight loss properly if you are uncomfortable AND unsafe on the road. This is why we start out with these two tips focused on having a smoother and safer ride:
1. Buy the Best Bike For You
Buying a bike is like buying a pair of shoes; the best one fits you perfectly. Research how to pick the right bike size so you can find a bike that won’t force you to tiptoe when standing still, but still big enough to keep you from feeling cramped when on the move.
Don’t forget to choose the right type of bike according to the kind of cycling you’re doing. For example, if you plan on riding on trails, consider buying a mountain bike. If you think you’ll be riding strictly on the road, a road bike is your best option. If you want a bit of both, you can’t go wrong with a hybrid bike.
2. Don’t Forget Biking Gear
Cycling can cause you to sweat a lot so you want something lightweight and breathable when working out. Furthermore, jogging pants could get caught in the gear when pedaling. Always wear shorts (preferably cycling shorts) so you get a wider range of movement.
Helmets are a must-have (and even enforced in certain places) to keep your head protected in case you fall down, but there are other optional cycling accessories that can make your trips safer. These include sports glasses to protect your eyes from the sun’s glare, gloves for better grip on the handle, and elbow or knee pads to help avoid nasty scrapes.
With all the preparations made, we can move to the next three tips, which are about getting the most out of cycling for weight loss.
3. Start Small
Once you have your gear, you may be tempted to take on hours-long trips to burn off as many calories from the start, but this will only cause you to feel tired. Like in any form of exercise, you start off easy, taking more manageable routes and cycling times before slowly adjusting to more challenging trips.
This also goes the same for each ride. Paddling too fast at the beginning of your ride uses up precious energy you’ll need to make sure you make the entire trip. Instead, go easy on the paddles throughout most of the ride, then paddle hard during the last few hundred meters to keep your body pumped a little longer after the workout.
4. Watch Your Diet
Cycling works best when paired with the right diet. Start your day with breakfast meals meant to help boost your metabolism before your daily ride. Good examples of cycling-friendly morning dishes include scrambled eggs with vegetables and toast and oatmeal with milk and fruit to go with it. Meals like these are rich in proteins and carbohydrates that will help keep you charged well after your ride.
Take note that your diet should match the amount of time you spend on the road. Eating too much food –even healthy food– could mean you’re still consuming more calories than you’re burning off. For best results, keep track of your calorie intake and adjust according to how frequently you ride your bike.
5. Plan Ahead
Planning ahead does two things – it gives you an idea of how to start and end each cycling session and keeps you from slacking off. It doesn’t even have to be too complicated. For example, you can schedule your rides every other day of the week and cap off the weekends with a leisure ride to mix things up.
Feel free to mix cycling with other forms of workout. A good basic plan is to put in core workout sessions during days you’re not going outside, or even combine cycling AND core workouts a couple of times a week if you’re up for it.
6. Track Your Progress
Weight loss isn’t instant so it can be frustrating if you don’t see or feel the effects. Keep track of the amount of cycling you do each week and record your body weight on a regular basis; you’re bound to see good results if you’re consistent with your workout.
Tracking your progress also gives you an idea of areas where you can improve your cycling program. If you feel like you’re not losing weight fast enough, track down your metrics and consult a fitness expert to see which part of your cycling plan needs to be adjusted.
Cycling for weight loss is a fun way to stay fit and accessible to almost everyone. People of all ages have taken up to cycling for this very reason. By keeping the following tips in mind, you can also start cycling for weight loss in the best way possible.