Best Way To Lose Weight Cycling
Cycling at a medium pace primarily targets fat cells for energy; therefore, people say it is the “fat burning zone” and is the best way to lose weight cycling. Although all of this is true it is only half the story.
The Other Half of the Story
So you have gone out at your medium pace (approximately 60% of VOmax) for an hour and burned 400 calories, primarily fat, good work. After the workout you are hungry so you go grab some food… Well, your carbohydrate stores are mostly full because you didn’t use any… Better store most of that 500 calorie meal as fat… Wait what?
Your body is designed to use what it needs, and if it doesn’t need it it will store it as fat until it does.
You go as hard as you can for an hour and burn over 1000 calories, primarily carbohydrates, hard work. After the workout you are hungry so you go grab some food… Well, your carbohydrate stores are depleted because you primarily used them… Better store most of that 800 calorie meal (you are more hungry than example 1 because of the hard workout) as carbohydrate.
1000 calories – 800 calories = 200 calorie net loss = good = weight loss.
Additionally, when you workout that hard you continue to burn calories long after the work out has ended.
If you are looking to lose weight it does not matter what energy source is used during the workout because the golden rule of weight loss still applies “burn more calories than you consume”.
If you burn more calories than you can consume the net affect will be that you lose weight. A 200-300 caloric deficit per day is healthy and optimal.
The Actual Best Way to Lose Weight Cycling
Since burning the most calories is the primary objective that means that higher intensities are preferred for weight loss. That does not mean that every time you get on a bike you should put the hammer down and go like a bat out of hell, you will burn out.
Depending on how much time you have in a given week should determine how intense you should go:
- If you only have a chance to get on a bike twice in one week for 30 minutes each… bike like you stole something.
- If you are blessed with being able to afford lots of time on the bike then don’t go so hard that you need several days to recover afterwards. Include low and medium intensity workout sessions.
At the end of the day interval training is a great mix between high intensity and low/medium intensity to burn lots of calories for weight loss. Mostly I recommend to do whatever it takes to make the experience as fun as possible so you make it a priority and do it more often. Go buy a Garmin and watch yourself improve, go with friends or your husband/wife (or go without them…), use your bike to commute… whatever it takes… Just get out and ride.