Why do you want to lose weight?
In Canada, 34% of the population is overweight and 27% population is obese. Obesity is a key factor leading to various health conditions such as cardiac issues, diabetes, etc. To stay healthy it is always a good to lose unwanted weight first. Dropping excess baggage can immensely improve health. Losing weight doesn’t only improve your health but also boosts your confidence and improves overall performance in every walk of life.
Once you have concluded that reducing weight is beneficial for your health then hop on your bike and start the journey of shedding weight. But you should know that only biking is not enough to lose weight there are various other factors related to biking to attain desired results. For instance, most people start overeating after a biking session as they feel happy about the exercise, for this you should learn to set an follow mean plans. There are many more factors to consider with biking.
We have listed down essential points that will help you lose weight with biking, eating right, and staying healthy. Let us dig into the 10 factors of biking for weight loss instead of going for quick fixes and gimmicks.
10 Factors of Biking for Weight Loss
Factor 1 – Muscle Mass:
The weight loss doesn’t just come from burning fat but it may also come from muscle tissue. The bike riders who are on a strict diet often become slow and weak due to loss of muscle mass.
Suppose if you lose 10 pounds, you should know 10 pounds of what? Because muscles tend to burn calories as well so there is a probability that body fat percentages can rise instead of lowering even after losing weight. To combat this situation, you should take in enough protein to strengthen the muscles after weight loss.
Factor 2 – Balanced Diet:
Keeping a nutritional balance is a key factor in reducing weight by biking. It is not about the quantity of the meal but what exactly are you eating. Maintaining a balance in carbohydrates, fats, and protein intake is essential for bike riders because they need extra carbs to fuel up their body, fat to feel satiated, and most importantly protein for muscle repair after the ride.
To avoid untimely snacking, make a habit of taking three meals a day. Set out an organized weekly meal plan to steer clear any temptations and overindulging after a missing a meal.
The human mind is very interesting; it takes a few minutes to signal the stomach that it does not require any more food. So to avoid over-stuffing yourself use smaller plates filled with smaller portions and wait for your stomach to feel full after finishing your meal.
Factor 3 – Strengthen your upper body:
As we know biking is primarily a lower body workout, this may lead to loss of muscle in the upper region of the body. To train the upper body strength training with weights is best. It doesn’t have to be for hours. A resistance training of 20 minutes twice a week in summers and 30 minutes 2-3 times a week in winter is sufficient to strengthen the upper-body muscle mass.
Factor 4 – Hydration:
Staying hydrated during biking is a vital factor for staying healthy while losing weight. It is necessary to stay hydrated in the hot summer heat, humidity, and even in winters. Make sure before starting a ride in the heat you have at least 2 full bottles of water and refill along the way.
Adding supplements or energy boosters to the water is better to keep the electrolyte in balance but it is not mandatory, plain water can do hydration as well. Sometimes dehydration is misinterpreted for hunger so when you start to feel hungry during a ride. Drink a glass of water and check if it fills the gap to avoid overeating.
Factor 5 – Setting Realistic Goals:
Everyone desires to lose weight as quickly as possible but studies have shown that rapid weight loss is not consistent and it may lead to a sudden gain of the weight. Biking is a gradual procedure and it brings in a lifestyle change. Most people who dedicate an hour daily to exercising then they can hope to be consistently losing 1 kg per week.
You can choose the target weight by BMI i.e., Body Mass Index. BMI is an individual’s height to weight ratio. You can set a healthy and realistic weight to aim for by calculating BMI which is a perfect metric.
Another way to set a realistic target weight is by calculating fat percentage which is 15% – 18% for a healthy man and 24% – 28% for a regular bike riding woman. There are various body fat measuring devices available in the market. Investing in such a product is a necessity.
Factor 6 – Alcohol:
A major contributing factor in gaining weight is alcohol consumption because they are highly calorific. Moreover, alcohol tricks your mind and after a drink or two, you may lose track of how much you have drunk leading to overconsumption.
Factor 7 – Time:
When you are biking the time duration counts more than the distance covered. It means that you don’t need to travel to specific spots or measure miles. But when you are a new biker you should have an odometer to calculate how far you can bike in 30 minutes and then set up your biking workout program.
As you move forward with biking your fitness level will improve and you will be able to cover more distance in less time. Now you can go for longer routes. If your fitness plan is to go biking thrice a week then you should take one shortride of 30 minutes, the second ride of moderate durations that is 45 minutes, and finally jump to a longer ride i.e. of almost 60 – 120 minutes in a week.
Factor 8 –Intensity:
Speed is dependent on the type of bike you have and the trail you will choose. When you are biking for weight loss then the intensity matters a lot. A high-intensity workout burns more calories as compared to a low-intensity workout. For fat burning your heart rate should reach up to 68% to 79% of your maximum heart rate. Use a heart rate monitor to set the perimeters
The most common mistake even experienced bikers make is they don’t make a workout plan. A good exercise plan consists of mixed up intensities. It the key factor when your main focus is to lose weight by biking.
Factor 9 – Commute by Bike:
One of the best things about biking is that it is an excellent way of transport. You can switch to bike riding for your daily transportations to ensure that you utilize that traveling time to get regular exercise.
Selecting a bike for commuting has a huge impact on weight loss. A study showed that those who switched to biking from other means of transportations, they lost 7kg/1stone in one year on average by biking at least 30 minutes on each ride.
Factor 10 – Basic Repairing Skills:
All bike riders must learn the basic bike maintenance skill to smoothen their rides whether they ride a few times a week or regularly to commute to work, it necessary for keeping the standard maintained.
You should at least learn to:
- Change a flat tire
- Tighten handlebar bolts
- Fix broken chain
- Properly clean the bike
Consider taking basic bike maintenance classes at your local bike shop. At Foster’s Sport Centre we are more than happy to guide you on how to tune your bike and how you can keep your bike in smooth running condition.
Some Extra Weight Loss Tips:
- Add hills to your route to increase your aerobic capacity and boost your calorie-burning potential.
- Once you become comfortable on a regular riding routine, come out of your comfort zone, and challenge yourself with increased speed.
- Combine biking for weight loss with other types of exercises to lose weight faster. Go for simple strength training and walk.
- You should be able to see and hear everything around you when you are on your bike, so leave the earphones at home!
- Similarly, keep your cellphone for emergencies only.
Biking for weight loss is a great way to burn calories, reduce stress, and enjoy the outdoors. Remember! Keep your wellbeing at priority. That means that the purpose of weight loss should only be to enhance physical and mental health. Otherwise, reducing body weight in an unhealthy manner can result in disastrous health issues. Consult your GP if necessary, do your research, set healthy goals, and most importantly, consider above mentioned 10 factors of biking for weight loss before getting started with a dedicated biking routine.
Invest in safety equipment and buy the best bike for your body to keep your rides safe and enjoyable. If you need a bike or looking for a bike tune-up service? Have a look at local stores to get an idea of the bike options like Foster’s Sports Centre where you can walk in on any day, check out some bikes, and walk out with a new bike.
We have been serving the local bicycle community for over 50 years and have had the pleasure of outfitting entire families with bicycles and sporting equipment.