When taking on cycling either as a hobby or a serious training regime, there are certain things that everyone need to know and follow to make the experience both productive and fun.
Now that you’ve gotten a bike and would like to use to for more than just transport, it all comes down to the amount of time you’re willing to spend and the goals you’re looking to accomplish.
Indoor vs Outdoor Biking for Weight Loss
Stationary bicycling is one of the best calorie burners, and is a useful piece of equipment for any level of trainee.
There are many benefits to using the stationary bicycle, including increasing leg power, strength, and mass. Stationary biking can be an effective warm-up, “finisher” to your workout, or it can be your entire workout program itself! However, there are many distinct benefits of outdoor biking as well.
Keep reading below to learn whether indoor or outdoor biking is better for weight loss!
Benefits of Biking Outdoors for Weight Loss
If stationary biking is too boring for you, bicycling outside is an incredible workout itself!
It is low-impact, allows you to pedal at your current fitness level, and constantly challenges you to ride further and faster. Plus, there are few things as relaxing as spinning through the countryside or down some bike trail, admiring nature.
Some people may think that bicycling outside is dangerous, however if you are generally cautious it shouldn’t be at all! Bicycling outside allows you to naturally climb hills and push yourself at your own speed.
If you are thinking about starting a program of bicycling outside, it is wise that you find the best bicycle to be able to keep up with your workout plan. I recommend that you check out this awesome guide to find the best mountain bike gear for climbing hills outdoors!
It is a great resource for you, and will help you find the best bicycle for your needs!
Related Reading: Gtech eBike Review
Choosing the Best Bike for Biking Outdoors
There are many other cheap hybrid bikes for sale if you want to begin biking outdoors. Dave’s Cheap Bikes has a pretty robust list you can check out as well, and he seems to update it every couple of months or so. Plus, your local bike shop should have some options.
Of course, you can always shop your local pawn shops for a used bike. Make sure the bike is comfortable for you to get on and off of, and adjust the seat up so that your leg is almost straight when the ball of your foot is on the pedal (a 20-degree bend at the knee is ideal).
Brands like Trek, Cannondale, Specialized, Giant, and Fuji, are all excellent brands to buy when shopping for a reliable used bike. Buying used can save you a lot of money, when you can find a suitable one for sale in your market.
These bikes also work great for commuting. Pack some wet wipes (baby wipes work great for this) and an extra set of clothes, and you can wipe down in the restroom at work and change from your workout clothes into your work gear.
As long as you get the sweat wiped off, you won’t have to deal with any post-ride muskiness. That only sets in when sweat has an hour or two to encourage bacteria growth.
Remove the sweat, and you remove the bacteria that creates unwanted workout scents.
Folks who commute regularly often find themselves riding 10-20 miles a week and discover dramatic lifestyle transformation as a result. (Plus, you save money on gas!)
I’m always impressed with how easy it is to maintain an active lifestyle, the benefits it yields and yet how insanely hard it is to find the required time to work out the minimum amount each week.
Read Also: Benefits of Exercising Outdoors
Benefits of Biking Indoors for Weight Loss
If you are content with using a stationary bicycle inside, it is important that you understand how to use this piece of equipment most efficiently.
As a warm-up tool, stationary bicycling is excellent for stimulating blood flow throughout your body (especially your legs). 8-10 minutes of moderate pace and moderate resistance biking before your workout is a great way to get a quick sweat going, and help you prepare for any type of workout!
As a “finisher” for your workout, 10-15 minutes’ worth of interval sprints is a great way to rip fat off your body, and increase your anaerobic and aerobic conditioning levels.
10-15 sets of 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off bicycling after your workout can drastically increase the number of calories you burn per workout, helping you with any number of athletic goals.
If you are looking to have stationary biking be your entire workout for the day, I recommend that you ride for about 45 minutes, and at varying intensities.
Mixing intervals with moderate pace riding is an excellent way to stimulate your leg muscles to build muscle mass, strength, and power; all at the same time.
Especially on days which you want to take a break from traditional weight lifting, an intense 45-minute stationary bike ride is an excellent cross-training solution!
How to Begin Biking for Weight Loss
Besides getting your body accustomed to constantly being in motion, cycling can be great fun and isn’t bound by the location of a gym – perpetually providing us with real-time progress.
If you decide not to purchase an outdoor bike, but still want to obtain some benefits of cycling, you should check out different websites for the best spin bike for home use! Biking indoors is certainly not the same as outdoors, but it can have many of the same benefits when done correctly!
Make the Necessary Preparations for Your Bicycle Workout
Before setting out on any kind of trip, it is mandatory to double-check everything, especially if going on a ride that will considerably stress your bike. A very common problem among cyclists is the chain falling off because the gears haven’t been set correctly.
Luckily, adjusting these is fairly easy and won’t take too much time away from the actual ride. Another key factor is to check both your front and rear brakes and make sure they’re tight enough.
While riding a bike, especially through an inhabited area, being able to stop is somewhat important.
Create a Training Schedule and Stick to It
Now that that’s out of the way, like with any training regime – keeping a schedule is crucial. If you’ve had a long break from cycling or exercising in general, it may be wise to pace yourself and increase the length and difficulty of rides as you get back into it.
Over-straining yourself on the first day can prevent you from continuing until you recover and may even tank your mood to do it again. Just like in the gym, pace yourself.
You’re never going to start out by putting on every weight you can find and hoping for the best. You’ve got nothing to prove, exercise is a journey, it doesn’t matter where we start – the only thing that matters is where we end up.
Start Out Slow
After you’ve gotten onto the bike, start out slow. Hopefully you’ve done some stretching beforehand, but giving your muscles time to warm up and get into the motion of things is considered wise.
A slow start will help you maintain proper breathing patterns while slowly warming up your legs and the rest of your body as time goes by. Building on the notion of avoiding rushing yourself in terms of your schedule, the same logic should be applied here.
Slow and steady wins the race, this way you won’t pull any muscles and won’t get any cramps before you’ve even started to break a sweat.
Read More: Why You Need to Do a Dynamic Warm Up
Ramp It Up
As our bodies warm up, we get to the stage where we can kick it into high gear. If you’re prepared properly the actual gear switch will go without a hitch and you’ll start bolting forward.
The idea here is to find a tempo that best suits the rider and maintain it for about ten to twenty minutes. The key thing here is to avoid stopping at all costs which is why an optimal place to do this would be an open patch of road.
This will raise your heart rate and will finally help you feel the burn.
Tune It Down Again
After starting to get tired, remember to tune it down – never just stop. A sudden stop can be quite a shock to your muscles and can lead to problems later.
When compared to a regular workout, this would be the stretching stage after the workout. You’re allowing your heart rate to go down at a steady pace while still getting some benefit out of it.
This is essentially the leisurely ride back after the workout program.
Upon arriving, take a few minutes to stretch out and center yourself after your workout before going in and hitting the showers.
Check Everything Again
After you’ve freshened up, go and check on your bike. Go through the same motions as you did before the actual ride and make sure everything is where it should be and properly secured.
If not, do not waste time, repair it on the spot, prolonging it will just make it more difficult down the line.
If able to, avoid buying at local retailers as you can get much better deals on the web via places like Bicycles Online. Shop only when absolutely necessary to avoid falling into the trap of constantly upgrading for no discernible reason.
Rinse and Repeat
Once everything on the list has been checked off, there’s nothing left to but to stick to it. A successful ride will boost confidence and get the endorphins running, but that will soon fade if it is not made into a daily thing.
If we want to see results, we’ll have to put in the time.
No amount of exercise will help us reach our goals overnight and it is up to us to keep at it and take control of our own path instead of waiting for something to change it for us.
How to Lose Weight with Cycling
People cycle for different reasons. Some do it for fun, some do it to get from one point to another within the shortest time possible while some do it to stay fit and shade off some weight.
Whichever way you look at it, all reasons can easily make one stay fit. To lose weight using a bicycle though, one needs to apply a laser like focus.
Fortunately, with the bike option, you do not have to struggle.
As a matter of fact, you can and you will, enjoy the entire process or if you may, exercise. Here are 10 ways to go about it.
Eat Breakfast Before Riding Your Bicycle
A good breakfast is the best way to kickstart your metabolism.
Think of it as fuel.
Without it, your car won’t start. With little fuel, it will start but it won’t get far.
That is exactly what happens when you work out without having breakfast. Without breakfast, your body will hold on fast to the fat in your body instead of burning it.
Drink a cup of green tea before exercising, and eat a healthy meal!
That is because starving off your body forces the metabolism structures to save what it may later need.
This always means fat which is the exact same thing you want to get rid of. So by all means, have a healthy breakfast before you can hit the pedals.
Read Also: Metabolism Boosting Foods for Breakfast
Consider Your Attire Before Going for a Ride
This is simple. Do not overdress as you ride.
That way, you will sweat with ease and burn more fat in the process. Your body will also expel more toxins as you sweat.
Drop the jacket.
Drop the legwarmers too.
But as you do this, keep your body hydrated because losing weight by dehydration is unhealthy. Stay warm with compression clothing though if you intend to work in extremely cold winter conditions.
Moderate Your Gluten Intake
The last thing you would want to experience while riding a bicycle is a bloated stomach. This mostly happens because of processed wheat. It can make your feel uncomfortable and hamper your efforts.
The best alternative here is to gluten free energy bar.
Always pack some and have it accompanied by a healthy fresh fruit juice.
Additional Reading: Benefits of Juicing Once a Day
Eat More as You Cycle More
Most cyclists skip out on meals as they ride.
There is nothing wrong with this, only that it can make your journey to weight lose longer than you may have expected. Eat as you ride especially if you plan on going for a long ride.
That way, you will keep your hunger in check.
You will also prevent overeating after your riding session mostly because you won’t feel the urge to eat much after riding.
Take On Hard Efforts at the End of Your Training
Always ride harder and faster before you finish. This is because post exercise oxygen consumption easily triggers burning more fat.
An easy way of going about this is to take on routes that feature steep areas towards the end of your riding session.
You can measure your heart rate, estimated calories burned and more with a HELO watch, Apple Watch, FitBit, or other fitness tracker.
Examine Your Bike’s Condition
Use a good bike all the time. You want to stay healthy.
But over and beyond health, safety stands out as one of the most important factors.
With that in mind, ensure your bike is always in a good condition. The gears should be in place.
The brakes too should work.
Keep in mind that it is easier to work out with the peace of mind that nothing will go wrong as you work out.
Make a Dietary Audit For Yourself
How else will you know if you are making progress?
There are so many applications that can help you with this.
A good alternative is to get a good cycling partner or better yet, join a cycling club. Working out in a group can do wonders as far as motivation is concerned as you will ultimately notice.
Watch Your Habits
Alcohol and weight loss hardly ever go hand in hand.
The same case applies to smoking, stress and of course, overeating. So before you come out with a cycling plan, watch over these habits. Refrain from them or quit the most addictive ones.
It may be hard at first but the good news is, once you keep your mind focused on working out, the other not so good habits will become boring as you progress.
Before long, you will feel younger, stay healthy and feel happier.
Boost Your Carbohydrate Intake
Cycling is by all means a high level endurance exercise.
That calls for at least 60% carbohydrate intake with less than 25% fat.
Note though, that you do not have to make radical changes. Make small adjustments to your diet every day. Patience is key.
Recommended Reading: Complex Carbs for Bodybuilding
Additional Health Benefits of Cycling
For decades, cycling has been one of the most popular sports and pastime activities in the world. It’s family-friendly, it can be highly competitive, it’s exhilarating, and it boasts a myriad of health benefits to boot.
From improved physical fitness, to recovery, and improved mental health, cycling is a fun and rewarding sport both kids and adults can enjoy.
While you might have taken to the streets and the local park up until now solely for the purpose of getting a good workout in, you will be delighted to find out just how much riding around on your bike can be beneficial to your overall well-being.
Here are a few other additional benefits of cycling!
Cycling Improves Your Cardiovascular Health
Have you ever tried structuring or programming your cycling workout? As in, have you tried measuring your time, increasing your speed, decreasing your rest intervals, and focusing on explosiveness and endurance?
Cycling is one of the best ways to increase your cardiovascular strength and endurance, especially if you set new goals and work hard to reach them.
It’s not just about how long you can ride around at moderate speeds, it’s also about how fast you can pedal, how well you control your breathing, and how you challenge your skills.
So make sure to add some variety into your training by incorporating speed and incline riding to bring your cardiovascular health to the next level.
Enjoy the Fresh Air
Speaking of taking your trusty steed to the great outdoors, cardio sessions can be far more effective by breathing in the fresh air instead of sweating, huffing, and puffing in a stuffy gym. While weightlifting might require you to be in a controlled environment, cardio workouts give you the freedom to enjoy the sunshine and take your workouts to the next level.
Don’t just confine yourself to your immediate surroundings, go on mountain rides, cycle around lakes and up riverbanks – the possibilities are endless.
You will need the appropriate bike depending on your next adventure though, and you can research various types of bicycles online to find the perfect tool for the task.
Effective Stress Relief
You might have felt an overwhelming sense of happiness and positivity during your workouts before, but couldn’t quite figure out why cycling makes you feel so good. Simple, cycling is a natural stress remedy, as the intense workout aids the production of dopamine and serotonin, also known as the happy hormones.
These neurotransmitters will be firing up after your workout, so you will be feeling relaxed, happy, and stress-free just in time for another session.
Easy on the Joints and Bones
Finally, cycling is a low-impact sport, meaning that it takes care of your body and it preserves the health of your joints, while stimulating the growth and dexterity of your bones.
You can use cycling as an effective post-workout recovery tool to help you get rid of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and various aches and pains throughout your body that are caused by heavy weightlifting.
Cycling is one of the most popular pastime activities in the world, but it can also be a challenging and even grueling workout that will transform your physique and help you step up your fitness game.
With these health benefits in mind, you will have no problem sculpting a toned and healthy physique with cycling.