One of the more common reasons behind people taking up cycling is weight loss. It is seen as a very accessible sport with no need for gym memberships and the "I know what I'm doing" look. It's easy to climb onto your bike and go for a pedal and anyone can do it. The best part about cycling with the aim of losing weight is that you can achieve it in a variety of ways! Here's a list of 5 ways to lose 5kg (11 lbs), all on a bike!
1. Indoor Sessions
A little bit boring, but very suitable for those living in cold climates or with a lack of time! Indoor cycling sessions allow you to ride in a very controlled manner, especially with the use of a Heart Rate Monitor. You'll be able to ride at calculated heart rates and make up your own training sessions as you go. You'll only need to ride for between 20 - 45min per session, approximately 3 times a week. Ease into it, as it's easy to go bananas for the first 10 minutes, only to realize you're knackered and can't continue.
2. Ride to Work
Riding to work is an easy favorite. By riding to work you benefit more than just by losing weight! You'll be wide awake when you arrive and also feeling like a superstar! Full of energy, you'll have time for that morning coffee while your colleagues sit in traffic all morning. When you ride to work, remember that you're riding home as well. A good method is to just ride to work at a leisurely pace, and when your ride home eventuates, smash it! A good tip to be aware of is the amount of other road and path users at that time of day. Ride safe, and always store extra clothes at work (in case you forget socks, undies or a work shirt!).
3. Do the Distance
Find the time on just a single day of the week, and do a long ride! Whatever your version of this distance may be, it'll work wonders for your health and fitness. An easy pace is recommended, especially if you're new to the distance. An example might be to double whatever you can ride at the moment. For some this might be a 20km ride, while others would be contemplating a 100km ride or more. Pack food, and eat and drink! Starving yourself while you ride will NOT help you lose weight.
4. Hill Repetitions
Finding a hill to ride up may sound suicidal when you're carrying too much baggage. Doing hill repetitions? Really? It's a great way to push your limitations as well as work towards a very achievable and progressive goal! Find a climb that is anywhere between 2km and 5km in length. Each time you ride it, try achieve one more repetition...You'll be hard pressed to achieve 3 ascents, so work towards it slowly. Next time, you might do 4 or 5 ascents, with an equal number of descents to keep you motivated. Distance comes for free on these rides, with every ascent equalling one descent. So 4 climbs x 5km = 20km uphill, but 40km of total ride distance. Bonus!
5. Plan your Rides
Although this sounds a bit boring, planning your training is a simple way of ensuring consistency in your training. Draw your program out on paper with a wide column for each day of the week. Below each day of the week, have which ride you'll be doing, as well as the days you'll have as rest days. This also allows you to see how far away a rest day is, so you can stay motivated, and earn the day off! Having a visual layout of your training is the easiest way to feel organized and in control of your training. We've published plenty of training articles in recent weeks, so read up and become your own motivator today.
Planning is the first step to sustained success.
Whatever your reason for riding is, the most important part is to have fun, and enjoy it. But if your number one goal is to lose weight, we can suggest looking beyond the amount of exercise you fit in. Some of us have legitimate limitations on our time, so it's pointless feeling guilty about reality. However, it's very important not to let reasons become excuses!
Find the time, and plan your weekly rides - do your best to stick to this program, and always aim to monitor your progress over a longer period of time. Checking your weight on a daily basis is useless, so try tracking your weight on a weekly basis, and base it on kilograms or pounds, not grams or ounces... You may consider doing several of these ideas in one week, to make riding a part of your daily life! It's easy to ride to work 3 times a week, do 1 indoor session a week and then as a reward, do an easy 50km on the weekend. That's 5 rides a week!
Depending on your weight loss goals, you may want to recruit a dietician to review your current eating habits. It's not so much about losing weight, but about maintaining the result once you achieve it.
Start today, because yesterday you said "I'll start tomorrow"...