Cycling helps in weight loss

Lose weight with cycling: the most important questions and answers

Are you wondering if you can lose weight while cycling? That's fine! What is not true, however, is that the pounds only fall off after 30 minutes and only after a certain number of kilometers.

In our article you will find out how losing weight by bike really works and what to look out for. We have selected the most important tips and tricks for you so that you have a positive training effect in the long term.

the essentials in brief

  • Cycling is an exercise that, if done regularly, can lead to weight loss. When you cycle, you build muscle, get your metabolism going and stimulate fat burning. It also strengthens your immune system and prevents cardiovascular diseases.
  • Cycling is particularly suitable for overweight people as it is easy on the joints. In fact, the saddle supports 60-70% of your body weight.
  • It is best to increase the duration and frequency of your training first before increasing the intensity. For a positive training success, you should also adjust your diet and ensure a calorie deficit.

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Is cycling a sporting activity?

Yes! When cycling you use different muscles, burn calories and increase your metabolism. Cycling may not be as effective as going to the gym, but it can still burn off pesky love handles.

In fact, bicycles are represented in around 90% of German households, but not everyone uses them. If you, too, let your bike rust, here we will show you what kind of sporting opportunity you are missing out on.

How high is the calorie consumption when cycling?

It is difficult to give a generalized calorie consumption as this depends on various factors. Depending on the intensity, you burn different numbers of calories. You should therefore ask yourself the following questions:

  • How long does the bike tour last?
  • What gear are you in?
  • How fast are you going
  • Is it going up or down?
  • Do you have a tailwind or a headwind?
  • How muscular are you
  • How old and how heavy are you

The faster you drive and the more strenuous the route, the more calories you will burn on your bike tour. You can find out the exact value with an activity tracker or with a heart rate monitor.

As a beginner you may not be able to manage strenuous tours straight away, but over time you will improve your condition, master more demanding tours and burn more love handles per bike tour.

Basically, you can expect to burn between 200 and 800 calories per hour while cycling.

Compared to other selected sports, you burn a little more calories while cycling. You can read the approximate comparison with average values ​​in the table below.

sport Calorie consumption per hour (kcal / h)
To go biking approx. 400 kcal / h
to jog approx. 400 kcal / h
Swimming (breaststroke) approx. 350 kcal / h
Soccer approx. 340 kcal / h

Cycling has the advantage that it is particularly easy on the joints and is also suitable for overweight people who are just starting out with sports.

Which muscles are used when cycling?

When cycling, the muscles in the problem areas of the stomach, legs and buttocks are mainly trained. Above all, you tone your leg muscles. Due to the large muscle volume in this area, you also burn a lot of calories.

With your leg muscles, you mainly train your calves as well as your front and back thighs up to your buttocks. If you cycle regularly, you will tone your thighs, calves, your buttocks and your stomach.

In addition, the back muscles and the hip muscles are used, which prevents back pain and disc problems. This will keep you flexible and fit longer.

How does cycling affect metabolism?

Cycling gets your metabolism and circulation going and stimulates fat burning.

In order to achieve a lasting training effect and benefit from fitness, you should go cycling at least three times a week.

Does cycling help you lose weight?

Since cycling is a sporting activity that promotes muscle growth, burns calories and also stimulates your metabolism, it definitely helps you lose weight.

In this section we want to address the most important questions about this sport when it comes to weight loss and show you how you can train most effectively with the bike in order to achieve sustainable success in weight loss.

Why is the bicycle particularly suitable for losing weight?

As mentioned earlier, cycling tends to work the largest muscle groups, and - we'll recall at this point - more muscles burn more calories.

In addition, it is a joint-gentle training method, especially for overweight people, as the saddle supports around 60-70% of your body weight. In addition, the forms of movement are very soft and round, which makes it more comfortable for your joints than jogging.

Another advantage of cycling is that it can be easily integrated into everyday life: you can easily ride your bike to work, to school or to a meeting with your friends.

So you can burn additional calories again and again and do something for the environment at the same time. Exercising in the fresh air also strengthens your immune system and your lungs (your lung volume increases).

In addition, the blood circulation is stimulated when cycling, which reduces the likelihood of cardiovascular disease by 50%.

Endurance sports such as cycling ensure that the happiness hormones are released after about 30 minutes. This means that cycling can even have a positive effect on your mood.

What are the disadvantages of losing weight on a bike?

Cycling has many positive effects on your body, but it should also be mentioned at this point that it can have one or the other disadvantage.
  • Intensity: Only intensive bike tours burn a comparatively high number of calories than other sports.
  • Muscle building: Only the muscles in the lower body are trained. Arms, shoulders and abs require separate training.
  • Pain: Getting started with cycling can be painful, as parts of the body can fall asleep or start to hurt on longer bike tours. However, these initial pains can be avoided with the correct adjustment of the saddle. We have included a video for you in this regard below.
  • Aching: Especially in your bum you will feel a strenuous bike ride for days afterwards.
  • Acquisition cost: In the beginning, you have to face high acquisition costs. However, you can keep these as low as possible if you buy a used bike. In the long run, however, this investment is worthwhile and also cheaper than a membership in the fitness studio.

At the beginning of your training you will first have to overcome yourself, endure pain and sore muscles. But every new sport is initially unfamiliar to your body.

It is important that you stick with it and don't give up immediately. Over time, your body will get used to cycling and you will benefit from the many advantages that we showed you in the previous section.

Which bike is suitable for losing weight?

Basically, every type of bicycle is suitable for losing weight. You can make the decision based on your personal preferences. To make it easier for you, we have listed the different types of bicycles and their areas of use here.

What training plan do I have to follow to lose weight while cycling?

If you really want to lose weight, you should cycle as often and for as long as possible.

You don't necessarily have to plan strenuous tours to lose weight. Short distances are enough if you have something to do. You can use the afterburn effect here.

The afterburn effect, also known as “increased oxygen demand after exercise”, ensures that you have increased calorie consumption for hours after your workout. You can read about this in more detail in the further reading (1).

Here we have created a rough training plan for you that will help you achieve sustainable success in losing weight through cycling:

  1. Beginners: 3 training units per week of 30-40 minutes each. You should start with light or medium gears (90-100 revolutions per minute). It is important that you pedal regularly, because you can only effectively burn love handles if you continue to exercise. Also, don't forget to breathe properly, as oxygen is needed to burn fat.
  2. Advanced: After two weeks you can increase the duration or introduce another weekly unit. Remember to increase the duration or frequency first and only then increase the intensity!
  3. Professionals: If more units no longer challenge you, you can increase the intensity, i.e. use heavier gears, introduce a higher cadence or go uphill.

Incidentally, the more intense your training, the more you benefit from the afterburn effect.

How quickly can I lose weight while cycling?

Losing weight while cycling is a slow but steady process. This is not bad news because losing weight slowly is not only healthier for your body, but also more long-term.

According to studies, you lose an average of 2.5kg per month while cycling regularly.

With a rapid weight loss of, for example, one kilo per day, not only fat is broken down, but rather water. This is especially the case with overweight people at the beginning of the exercise. This then levels off over time.

Which heart rate range is right for losing weight while cycling?

In fact, you train different skills depending on your heart rate zone. Fat reserves can only be broken down in the correct frequency range, which is why a heart rate monitor is worthwhile for monitoring.

You can find out which training effect you achieve with which heart rate range in the following table:

Pulse range Training effect
60-75% of the maximum heart rate Basic perseverance. Values ​​in the lower heart rate range are ideal for beginners. Fat burning also takes place in this area.
75-85% of the maximum heart rate This area helps improve performance and is suitable for advanced users.
more than 85% of the maximum heart rate Only very experienced athletes should train in this area, as the body needs a correspondingly long regeneration. An example would be the preparation for a competition.

Incidentally, you can calculate the maximum heart rate with the following formula: 210 - (0.5 x age in years) - (0.11 x weight in kg).

Which is better for losing weight: indoor or outdoor training?

Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, but both the ergometer and the conventional bicycle are suitable for losing weight. Below you will find out what the respective training method will bring you.

The exercise bike offers you the advantage that you can train regularly at any time of the day and, above all, at any time of the year. No matter if it's 34 ° outside or if it storms and snows, nothing can stop you from training that day.

You can also gossip with others who are using the ergometer next to you, while it would be more difficult on the street.

  • Training possible at any time of the day or year
  • Interaction possible
  • You don't have to cycle home when you can't anymore
  • monotony
  • No strengthening of the immune system
  • No natural obstacles

The exercise bike also has the advantage that you can get off if you can no longer. You would have to go home on your bike, no matter how exhausted you are.

However, it can also get pretty monotonous and boring on the exercise bike. The positive effects that occur when cycling in nature (strengthening of the immune system, vitamin D intake, etc.) also disappear.

What Are Effective Tips For Lose Weight By Bike?

Finally, we want to give you useful tips and tricks for losing weight by bike. For long-term success, you should pay particular attention to the following points:
  • Regeneration: Rest days are also necessary for a good training result. So treat yourself to a day off to regenerate.
  • Drink: You shouldn't forget your water bottle for long sessions, as you could become dehydrated.
  • Gloves:We recommend cycling gloves, as blisters can easily form on your hands, especially at the beginning of your training.
  • Proper clothes: Make sure you wear breathable clothing, otherwise you could get cold easily. Don't dress too warmly as you will work up a sweat while cycling. Remember, stay away from cotton and use wool instead, which will keep you warm when you sweat.
  • Fitness apps and other motivations: Fitness apps can give you additional motivation, for example by encouraging you to break your personal best. With indoor training you can also distract or motivate yourself with music or films.
  • Nutrition: In order to actually lose weight while cycling, you have to eat right. You can choose between a low-carb, slow-carb, ketogenic or pegan diet. Here you have to keep a certain calorie deficit.
  • Don't go cycling before breakfast: If you skip breakfast, your body will burn muscle instead of fat. Your body will store and store what it may need later, so you should have an extensive breakfast before doing any sport.

What are the alternatives for losing weight with cycling?

There are tons of alternatives to cycling to lose weight, as there are many more sports that burn calories. Below are just a few:

  • swim
  • play soccer
  • Jogging / running
  • athletics
  • Boxing
  • horse riding

You can always do something in your everyday life to burn a few extra calories and lose weight in a healthy way.

For example, you could take the stairs more often, go for a walk every now and then, or meet up with friends at the gym. Because sporting activity is much more fun as a couple!

Trivia: Interesting facts and figures about losing weight with cycling

In this section you can find more useful information about losing weight with cycling. These tips will help you get started in this sport as painlessly and safely as possible.

We'll show you how to adjust your seat correctly and what accessories you need when cycling. We also have an explanation for you in case the pounds don't drop as you might wish.

How do I adjust the bicycle seat correctly?

To make your bike tour as comfortable as possible, you should adjust your seat correctly. Otherwise, an incorrectly adjusted seat can lead to pain in your body. The following video shows you exactly how to do this:

In addition to the bike seat, you should also adjust your handlebars correctly to avoid unnatural positions.

What equipment do I need for cycling?

If you want to do intense bike tours, you shouldn't dress too warmly. Breathable, moisture-absorbing jerseys are best. Definitely avoid damp t-shirts as they can lead to a cold.

Also try on the jersey in the riding position before buying to see if it fits well.

For your safety, get a helmet that fits snugly but doesn't pinch. In addition, it shouldn't be too heavy and have lots of slots to allow air to circulate. Be sure to look for a security seal of approval.

We also recommend racing bike pants that are tight-fitting and just below the knee. Underpants can often cause chafing, which is why many cyclists usually go without them.