7 Cycling Tips for Weight Loss

7 Cycling Tips for Weight Loss

Take a typical ride: you can burn 1000 calories an hour, so 3 hours is 3000 calories. How can you possibly not lose weight?

Unfortunately, it is possible to do all this exercise and not shift the pounds. It might have something to do with the energy drinks, bars and gels consumed during the ride, the bacon sandwich when you get home and the guilt free cake-shaped reward that comes after.  3000 calories out, 3000 calories back in…possibly more. 

Of course, swapping the sofa for a bike on a Saturday afternoon is a pedal stroke in the right direction but cycling alone won’t shift the ballast if you are consuming vast quantities of calories simultaneously.

Including cycling in your overall fitness regime will set you rolling in the right direction however.

Here’s how – by using the psychological powers of the bicycle to motivate you - to adapt your overall exercise regime, lifestyle and discipline to lose weight:

1. Cycling will help you save money 

What more motivation is needed? Hide the Oyster card or the car keys and get your bike out for the daily commute.  That could be a £10 per day saving or £50 a week whilst fat burning at a time you would otherwise be sitting. Try sprinting away from the traffic lights for a high intensity anaerobic blast.

2. Don't go overboard on your first bike 

On the subject of saving money, what about your bike? Everyone knows a lighter bike is a faster bike but when a 7kg super-light bike costs over £3k and a 12kg bike costs £500, that’s £500 per kg. You might want to focus on losing the weight from yourself first, not the bike. It’s got to be cheaper than £500 per kg.

3. It's basic maths 

Whilst we’re talking about weight, the bike scientists reckon that every surplus 2.25kg costs 30 seconds on a 5km 7% hill. So to climb faster or easier you need to shift the weight. It's all about power to weight ratio and other complicated maths. Bottom line, after suffering on a few hills you’ll be looking for a solution to help you cruise up a climb rather than cry up it. That solution is: lose weight.

4. Make it a challenge

If you are starting to get immersed in cycling (and you will as it gets easier), then you will want to graduate to the mountains and follow in the wheel tracks of the professionals. Set yourself a challenge like climbing the legendary Alpe D’Huez or terrifying Mont Ventoux. Then have a think about to power to weight ratios and remember those early miserable climbs. You will have all the motivation you need fat burn.

5. Make it interesting

If financial gain or avoiding misery on a hill hasn’t sparked the desire to be on your bike whenever you can, or to adopt a dedicated weight loss lifestyle change, how about humiliation? What I mean to suggest is ‘get competitive’. There are fewer things worse than being ribbed by your ride mates for consistently being the slowest. Time to turn the tables and do whatever it takes to boost that power to weight ratio and leave them gasping in your wake as you set the pace on the climbs.  When you lose all your friends for being too competitive there is always Strava where you can race virtual cyclists and your biggest nemesis: yourself!

6. Use that me-time wisely

If things have all got a bit macho, let's take a breather. Ask yourself ‘what can I do on a bike that I would normally do on the sofa?’ If we rule out watching TV and reading a book then we’re left with relaxing or thinking. Got a speech to practice: do it on your bike. Got a problem to solve: do it on your bike. Just need some time to yourself: do it on your bike. You get the idea. Similarly, think about taking your bike along when you would otherwise be tempted to vegetate, like on holiday or a weekend at the in-laws (I know these could be potentially relationship breaking ideas…or maybe relationship saving depending on your in-laws).

7. Sacrifice a pint

Here’s the last weight saving idea and maybe the most controversial and psychologically most challenging. Cycle instead of drinking beer. Busy family life means time is at a premium. You can’t go out Friday night, Saturday night and for a 5 hour ride on Sunday morning. Something has got to give. Give up evenings down the pub, spend some time quality time at home (not fettling your ride!) and get your mates out on a Sunday morning to do your socialising on the bike.

So there you have it: Calorie controlled cycling will motivate you to really want to lose weight, when you would otherwise be sitting on your behind.



The Author

Ben Walder

Ben is a keen cyclist, road and mountain biking, runner, skier and even enjoyed a brief flirtation with boxing. He’s cycled John O Groats to Lands End, London to Paris in 24 hours, 5 countries in 3 days and ticked off some legendary climbs from the Tour de France. When he’s not dragging his mates out on cycling adventures across Europe he’s being dragged around by his 2 young daughters to karate, ballet, gymnastics, tennis and swimming..


Matthew C.
31 May 2015

Matthew C.

"You might want to focus on losing the weight from yourself first, not the bike" - HA HA - i like this line - very true, although you don't actually see many plump cyclists.

craig t.
27 May 2015

craig t.

I am a complete cheater and just get on my exercise bike at home while I'm watching a film. It's definitely not the same as being outside but it's extra exercise i wouldn't get otherwise.

Mike D.
27 May 2015

Mike D.

I love cycling to work and back most days, but never seem to find the time to do any other cycling 'just for fun'. I wish I did., cos it's a completely different feeling when you're doing it with no agenda and no time limit. This has inspired me to ask a few friends to join me on a bike ride, thanks.

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