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Using cycling to lose weight

This is an excerpt from Fitness Cycling by Shannon Sovndal.

Learn more about using cycling to reach weight loss goals in
Fitness Cycling.

Cycling for Weight Loss

Cycling is a fantastic way to lose weight. Regardless of what a trendy diet might try to tell you, an effective weight loss program includes two key aspects: (1) exercise and (2) eating right. For you to lose weight over time, the calories you take in or eat must be less than the calories you burn. It's a simple solution to what seems like a complex problem:

Weight Loss = Calories In < Calories Out

That might seem like work, and it is! Losing weight is tough. You'll need to follow the same principles that are applied to training. Be consistent and persistent. Changing your base weight is like turning a ship with a small rudder. It takes a little while for the ship to respond to a change of direction. The change will come; you just have to be patient.

Some cyclists make the mistake of only wanting to ride in the “fat burning zone.” The reality of weight loss is that you need to burn calories. The harder you ride, the faster you'll burn. This extrapolates beyond the workout as well. So if you only have a limited amount of time and want to get the most weight loss out of your workout, you should ride as fast as you can.

Going out on a ride is one of the best ways to burn calories. But burning calories is not all that cycling offers. It can help you lower blood pressure, build muscle, and improve cardiovascular health—all while rekindling the childhood thrill of zipping down the road with the wind blowing in your face.

Cycling offers a wide range of gradable training intensities, allowing you to find your perfect training tempo. You can train indoors and out. And cycling is easy on your muscles, joints, and tendons. It's a great way to get yourself back into shape if you've been out of the workout game for a while.

Cycling's weight loss benefits include the following:

  • Use of large muscle groups to burn calories
  • Easily varied intensities
  • Low-impact, non-weight-bearing exercise
  • Aerobic, resistance, and isometric exercises all in one workout
  • Fresh air, beautiful scenery, and socializing with riding partners
  • Effective exercise for all ages

Read more in Fitness Cycling by Shannon Sovndal.