Here’s How Many Miles You Should Bike Each Week To Lose Weight By July, According To An Expert
Sound familiar? Summer’s here and you still have some pounds you need to shed. A great way to lose substantial weight fast is with cardio exercise. There are many impactful cardio exercises like running, circuit training, yoga, and weight training—the list goes on and on. Of course, the best cardio workout is going to vary from person to person. But, since consistency is key in fitness, the best exercise for you is what you can do every day without getting bored.
One enjoyable and weight loss-friendly cardio you can try is bicycling. It’s a great workout because it burns calories, builds muscles, and it can be enjoyable so you can consistently workout out. Plus, it’s low-impact cardio, which means it gets your heart rate up slowly and causes less pressure on your joints.
But, how many miles do you have to bike to lose weight? To learn more, we spoke with John Swanstrom, a cycling expert, amateur mountain bike racer, and founder of Cyclist’s Authority. He says to lose substantial weight, you should cycle at a moderate pace of 12-14 miles per day or about 84-98 miles per week to aim to lose substantial weight, or 1 to 2 pounds per week. But, if you are just starting out, it’s important to listen to your body and avoid overexerting yourself. So, first aim for 5 miles a day, or about 35 miles per week. Read on to learn more about Swanstrom’s insight about cycling and the best way to start for newcomers.
How To Lose Weight By July
First things first, let’s determine if it’s actually possible to lose weight by July. Swanstrom answers, Yes, it’s definitely possible to lose weight in that timeframe, especially if you incorporate regular exercise such as cycling into your routine. Healthy weight loss is usually defined as losing 1-2 pounds per week, so over the course of 30 days or approximately 4 weeks, you could aim to lose around 4-8 pounds. However, it’s also crucial to remember that weight loss is not just about consistently working out, it’s also about maintaining a healthy diet.
Eating a balanced diet that’s low in processed foods and high in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help to create a calorie deficit, which is key for weight loss, he warns. Remember, everyone’s body is different and the rate at which you lose weight might differ from others. Please consult a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for a more personalized plan.
Swanstrom provides a few tips to get started on your weight loss journey. First, he says you should start cycling regularly to see substantial results. The exact amount of weight you can lose from cycling will depend on many factors, including your current weight, the intensity and duration of your workouts, and your diet. A general rule of thumb is that you can burn approximately 400-600 calories per hour of cycling, depending on these factors, he recommends.
7 Ways to Lose Weight with Your Bike
And when it comes to diet, he says, Try to reduce your intake of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods. Instead, eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially before and after your cycling workouts. Swanstrom also emphasizes the importance of getting enough sleep. Sleep is often overlooked, but it’s critical for recovery and maintaining a healthy metabolism. At the end of the day, the key to long-term weight loss is consistency. So, be sure to stick to your cycling routine and your healthy eating habits—even after you’ve reached your weight loss goal.
Cycling Is A Low-Impact, Enjoyable Cardio That Burns Calories And Builds Muscle
Swanstrom recommends cycling as a way to lose weight for a number of reasons. As a general rule, the faster you cycle, the more calories you’ll burn. Cycling is an aerobic exercise, which is beneficial for burning calories. Depending on your speed and intensity, you can burn between 400-600 calories per hour of cycling. This can help create a calorie deficit, which is essential for weight loss. Regular cycling can help to improve your overall fitness, which in turn can increase your metabolic rate. This means you will burn more calories even when you’re not exercising. he explains.
Cycling is also a low-impact exercise that builds muscle. Unlike some other forms of exercise, cycling is low impact, which means it’s easier on your joints. This can be beneficial if you’re carrying a lot of extra weight or if you have joint issues that make high-impact exercises difficult, Swanstrom notes. While it’s primarily a cardiovascular exercise, cycling also helps in building muscles, especially in the lower body—your calves, thighs, and glutes. Muscle burns more calories than fat even when at rest, so increasing your muscle mass can help you lose weight.
The best part? Cycling is fun and great for all fitness levels! One of the benefits of cycling is that it’s suitable for all fitness levels. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned athlete, you can adjust the intensity to fit your current fitness level and desired calorie burn, he concludes. Many people find cycling to be a fun activity, which can make it easier to stick to in the long term. Plus, cycling is a practical mode of transportation, so you can incorporate it into your daily routine like going to work or the grocery store to burn more calories throughout the day.
Weight Loss Benefits of Biking 1 Hour Every Day
Biking an hour a day to lose weight is ideal for several reasons, one being it’s easy to do, unlike many weight loss techniques such as dieting and intense exercises.
While there’s nothing wrong with keeping track of calories, carbs, and other macros and micros, it takes up a lot of time, and it can put someone’s health at risk if they leave out essential food groups or starve themselves.
When it comes to intense exercises, just the thought of getting up to lift weights or jog outside makes some people cringe due to the hard work involved in these activities.
Riding a bike doesn’t require much effort or adherence to a specific meal plan. Biking is good for weight loss since all an individual needs to do is pedal and take in the scenery as they ride, so it feels less like a chore and more of a pleasant experience. In addition, it’s a low-impact sport, which decreases the risk of getting severely injured.
Riders may enjoy cycling so much that they may forget they’re exercising. It can also promote a strong immune system as proven by a university study.
The Appalachian State University once carried out a trial to examine the link between frequent exercise and health. The researchers discovered that people who engaged in aerobic exercises most days per week reduced their chances of getting sick by 40 percent. 1
Another study, recorded in the Archive of Internal Medicine, demonstrates that biking can be just as good for weight loss as brisk walking. Between 1989 and 2005, 18,414 women completed a mail-in survey containing questions about physical and sedentary activities.
The questionnaire responses showed that the participants lost more weight cycling and brisk walking than slow walking. And, this occurred during a 30-minute period. The women in the study likely would have experienced significant weight loss if they cycled for twice as long.
Furthermore, cycling 1 hour a day weight loss contributes to leaner muscle mass, the result of burned calories. 2 This leads to the question of the number of calories a person burns per hour while cycling.
How Many Calories Does Cycling Burn in an Hour?
Knowing the number of calories burned cycling can benefit everyone, particularly those aiming to reach specific weight loss goals. Nevertheless, the number of calories a cyclist burns each hour depends on their speed, weight, and intensity if there’s an incline or decline.
How Long to Ride an Exercise Bike? (For Weight Loss & Muscle Gain)
Source: bowdenimages via Canva.com 13
For example, someone riding their bicycle at a slow or medium pace can expect to burn 300 calories an hour; cycling at a lightning-fast rate can burn 600 or more per hour. 3
Weight is another factor that affects calories burned while cycling, too. To extrapolate, a person weighing 125 pounds riding at a speed of 12 to 14 miles per hour burns 480 calories, and a 155-pound individual burns 596 cycling at the same rate.
This will obviously increase if the cyclist is going up a hill or decrease if they’re going downhill.
Anyone interested in keeping tabs on calories burned per hour can use a calorie calculator website like ExRx or an app. 4
How Fast Will I Lose Weight Cycling 1 Hour a Day?
If someone wants to learn how to lose weight fast in 2 weeks, they’d be glad to know that they’ll see changes quickly from cycling an hour per day. After all, an hour is what many people can only spare due to possessing busy schedules.
For instance, an individual can expect to lose about one to two pounds per week riding their bike, especially when riding at a fast speed. 5 Others – primarily those new to daily cycling – can see weight changes in approximately two to three weeks. 6
Starting a new exercise regimen can be daunting, but cycling is an activity that can be easily adapted to all fitness levels. It’s always best to start slowly and gradually increase your intensity and duration as your fitness improves.
When starting, it’s important to choose the right bike. If you’re cycling outdoors, make sure to choose a bike that fits your body well and is suitable for your environment. For indoor cycling, a stationary bike or a spin bike can be a great choice.
Set a schedule for your cycling sessions. An hour a day could be split into two 30-minute sessions or even four 15-minute sessions. The important thing is consistency and gradually building up your strength and stamina.
Incorporating Cycling into Your Daily Routine
One of the biggest challenges people face when trying to lose weight is finding the time to exercise. The good news is that cycling can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. You could cycle to work, to the shops, or even just take a leisurely ride in the evening.
It’s a great way to get your exercise in while also getting from point A to point B. For indoor cyclists, a stationary bike can be placed in front of the TV or computer. You can enjoy your favorite shows, movies, or even work while getting your daily exercise in. The key is to make cycling a part of your lifestyle rather than just an activity.
Monitoring Your Progress
Keeping track of your progress is an important aspect of any weight loss journey. It not only helps you see how far you’ve come, but it can also be a great source of motivation. Some ways to monitor your progress include:
- Logging your daily cycling sessions: record the duration, distance, and how you felt during and after each session.
- Taking regular body measurements: sometimes, the scale doesn’t reflect the changes in your body. Taking measurements of your waist, hips, and other areas can give you a better idea of your progress.
- Taking progress photos: visual evidence of your transformation can be incredibly motivating.
The Importance of a Balanced Diet
While cycling is a great exercise for burning calories, it’s important to remember that a balanced diet is essential for weight loss. Without proper nutrition, your body won’t have the fuel it needs to perform at its best. Focus on incorporating a variety of nutrient-dense foods into your diet, such as lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.
Also, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially during your cycling sessions. Try to avoid highly processed foods and sugary drinks, which are high in calories but low in nutrients. Instead, aim for wholesome, nutritious foods that will keep you feeling full and satisfied.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
When starting a new exercise routine, it’s easy to make mistakes. Here are some common ones to avoid when cycling for weight loss:
- Overtraining: While it’s important to be consistent with your cycling, it’s equally crucial to give your body adequate rest. Overtraining can lead to injuries and hinder your progress.
- Not varying your workouts: To keep your body from adapting to the same workout, try to vary your cycling routines. This can include changing your route, speed, and intensity.
- Neglecting other forms of exercise: While cycling is a great cardio exercise, it’s also important to include strength training and flexibility exercises in your routine for overall fitness.
During your weight loss journey, you may reach a point where you stop seeing progress, also known as a plateau. This is a common occurrence, and there are ways to overcome it. If you hit a plateau, consider increasing the intensity or duration of your cycling sessions.
Alternatively, you could try adding some high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to your routine. It’s also worth reassessing your diet. Even a few small changes, like cutting back on sugary snacks or increasing your protein intake, can make a big difference.
Benefits of Cycling Beyond Weight Loss
Cycling is not just a tool for weight loss; it’s an exercise with a multitude of other health benefits. Regular cycling can improve your cardiovascular fitness, increase your muscle strength and flexibility, improve joint mobility, and decrease stress levels.
This type of activity also allows you to connect with nature if you choose to ride outdoors. It can help improve your mental health by reducing stress and anxiety. over, cycling can also be a social activity. Joining a cycling club or participating in group rides can help you make new friends and create a supportive community.
Safety Tips for Cyclists
Safety should always be a top priority when cycling. Whether you’re riding on a busy road or in a park, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and follow certain safety guidelines. Here are some tips to stay:
- Always wear a helmet and use lights if cycling in low-light conditions.
- Follow traffic rules and signals when cycling on roads.
- Make sure your bike is in good working order, with fully inflated tires and working brakes.
- Stay hydrated and protect your skin with sunscreen during long rides.
Does riding a bike burn fat?
Fat is the body’s preferred fuel source when you ride in your lower-intensity training zones, such as zone two in a seven-zone model. Training in the fat-burning zone improves cycling endurance and aerobic capacity or VO2 max. Just remember that burning fat by cycling isn’t the same as losing fat from your body, as Asker Jeukendrup, Team Jumbo-Visma’s nutritionist, explains: “You can have high rates of fat burning and not lose any weight at all, or even gain weight. “Weight loss is all to do with energy balance. It’s basically energy in and energy out, and if you burn more then you’ve taken in, you will lose weight. There is no way around that.” Calculating exactly what is energy in and energy out is not easy, but when short of calories, the body uses stored fat for energy and to top up depleted muscle glycogen stores. Over time, this process reduces body fat.
Does cycling reduce belly fat?
Whether you can target weight loss remains hotly disputed, but it’s arguably irrelevant. Scientists have examined what happens when participants lose weight while performing resistance and endurance training with a certain muscle group. A 2013 study found localised muscle resistance training led to the whole body becoming leaner, not specifically the area of the body trained. However, a more recent study concluded fat loss can be localised. Matt Fitzgerald, author of Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance and co-founder of 80/20 endurance sport coaching, says “anatomically specific weight loss” is possible, but not from the belly. “People doing sit-ups to lose belly fat was scoffed at but more recent research has shown that there is site specificity,” he says. “Cyclists tend to have leaner legs than upper body, so anytime you do whole-body aerobic exercise you will lose fat everywhere, but it is more concentrated in the areas where the muscle is active. For example, if you want to lose fat on your arms, Fitzgerald recommends swimming, which will activate your arm muscles. He adds that it’s easy to “get stuck in the weeds” of fat loss and forget the basics. “The average cyclist doesn’t need to worry too much: the basic things of improving diet quality, not eating mindlessly, training Smart and progressively are going to do a lot more than doing ice baths to shed brown fat or what have you,” he says.
How can I burn fat by cycling?
The short answer is by riding slower. As intensity increases, the proportion of fat to carbohydrate your body resorts to in order to fuel cycling decreases. This is because fat reserves are nearly unlimited even in the leanest athletes. Your body tries to preserve its finite carbohydrate stores for when energy is needed quickly. The timing of the transition from fat to carbohydrate varies from person to person. A 2005 study into fat oxidation concluded that women are better at oxidising fat than men, meaning they have to switch later to easily extinguished carbohydrates. This may explain why other studies have found women are less likely to bonk and slow down in endurance events such as marathons. You can raise your maximal fat oxidation or Fatmax (the hardest effort you can sustain while using fat for fuel) by doing lots of zone 2 riding. While this can help you to ride 100 miles and complte ultra-distance cycling challenges, as discussed previously, it doesn’t equate to weight loss. Here are a few pointers on how to use cycling to shed fat and retain muscle.
Tips to lose fat while cycling
Try interval training
Intense intervals are the most efficient type of training for weight loss. Steve Sayers / Our Media
Fitzgerald says short, sharp bouts of intervals – such as 10x 30 seconds at full gas with several minutes’ recovery – repeated up to three or four times a week is the most efficient way to lose fat fast. It’s best to take this approach for weeks, not months at a time in between your off-season base training and more race-oriented VO2 max intervals. Be sure to stay aware of traffic if you’re doing flat-out efforts on the road and consider indoor cycling for these sessions. You expend more calories per minute during interval training sessions and after, owing to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). A 2005 study found EPOC equated to 6 to 15 per cent of an intense workout’s net total energy expenditure. While you can’t burn as many calories in a high intensity interval training session as during a long ride, a high training load is not optimal for fat loss, according to Fitzgerald. He believes vigorous workouts suppress appetite better than steady rides. This makes you less likely to overcompensate by refuelling with junk food. On the other hand, Jeukendrup says you should prioritise total calorie burn for weight loss. In his view, if you’re restricting carbohydrate intake, long, low-intensity riding is the best way to achieve a negative energy balance. Both methods work and, whichever you choose, you’ll still need to expend more energy than you take in.
It’s difficult to say if exercise or diet is more important for fat loss. But according to Fitzgerald, you have more leverage with your diet because you can improve its quality. Ideally, your diet complements your exercise. For instance, you eat less carbohydrate and more protein to contribute to a negative energy balance while staying full. Fitzgerald recommends eschewing processed foods in favour of their more satiating and less calories-dense unprocessed equivalents. For example, swapping white rice for brown rice. In addition, he advises avoiding mindless eating (continuing eating once full) and low-quality, high-calorie foods such as crisps. This is a fairly easy and quick way to move from an energy surplus to an energy deficit. Meanwhile, Alan Murchison, author of The Performance Chef books and nutritionist with Specialized Factory Racing, advocates incrementally cutting portion sizes across the board, but not eliminating any particular food. He underlines that each macronutrient – protein, carbohydrate and fat – is necessary for a balanced diet, so exclusionary diets such as keto are a bad idea.
A diet that includes all your favourite treats will be arduous to uphold. Olive Magazine / Immediate Media Co
Murchison says even the professional athletes he works with eat chocolate and sweets from time to time, but do so in a balanced way. A manageable deficit of 500 calories a day could see you drop a kilo a week, according to Murchison. A more negative energy balance will make you so hungry you’re likely to then overeat. Echoing Murchison, Jeukendrup says: “If you go more than that, you have a high risk of just not recovering, becoming overtrained and having all sorts of negative effects.” How long you can sustain the calorie-reduced diet is more important than the technical details, he adds. Your new eating habits need to last months, not days. Jeukendrup recommends examining what you’re eating to identify what you can easily cut out. He does this dietary analysis with athletes on an individual basis because some people can’t do without certain foods. He says sometimes the analysis is unnecessary because the athlete’s source of excess calories is obvious, for example after-dinner snacking. But Jeukendrup warns that everyday riders need to be more cautious about calorie reduction than professionals. It’s easier to reduce a pro’s 5,000-calorie daily intake with no ill effect, he says. But cutting 500 calories from a 2,500-calorie diet could adversely affect its nutritional quality.
While losing fat is often a good thing, losing muscle is not. But a careful approach to weight loss can ensure your power-to-weight ratio improves. To maintain power while getting lighter, Fitzgerald advocates strength training for cyclists who want to lose fat. A 2017 meta analysis of weight loss studies concluded that doing strengthening exercises in a calorie deficit sheds fat while preserving muscle. In a 2011 study, participants who lost weight while strength training lost less muscle than a control group who did not strength train. What’s more, aerobic and resistance training prevent fat regain following weight loss, according to a 2009 study. Fitzgerald maintains strength training will increase muscle mass and drive up your metabolism. However, Jeukendrup says bulking up in a negative energy balance is very hard to do. In fact, bodybuilders grow muscle in an energy surplus before eating drastically less for a short time to trim fat. He cites evidence that a calorie deficit impairs your strength gains from lifting weights. Therefore, if you combine losing weight with resistance training, your energy deficit shouldn’t exceed 500 calories, according to Jeukendrup. He stresses the importance of doing weight training when well-fuelled, for example not when glycogen-depleted after a sweetspot training session. Indeed, Murchison and Jeukendrup agree you should fuel properly before, after and during all training sessions. Calories should then be cut at different times, such as your evening meal or after a morning workout.