There are many reasons why people ride bikes and losing weight is one of them. However, successfully losing weight is a committed process and it’s essential that one stays motivated throughout. You may start by losing weight rapidly, then for some reason that you can’t identify, the scale stops budging, even before achieving your cycling goals. This is called a weight-loss plateau.
It’s completely normal for your weight loss to slow down. But what’s important is that you don’t feel discouraged. The best way to beat this is by understanding what’s causing your weight loss to stall, which then will lead you to design strategies that’ll help you avoid backsliding. Today, I’ll share tips to lose weight by cycling.
First, What Causes a Weight Loss Plateau?
A weight-loss plateau happens to everyone who tries or is trying to lose weight. Often, most people are surprised because they’re still practicing healthy habits. Unfortunately, even excellent weight-loss efforts can still stall.
- For example, after pregnancy, it’s normal to observe rapid weight loss. That’s because your hormones are normalizing. Moreover, when you start reducing or cutting calories, your body initially draws the energy it needs from its glycogen stores. Since glycogen partly consists of water, it releases water when it’s burned for energy hence causing weight loss. But this is usually a temporary effect.
- Now as we lose weight, we lose some muscle as well. Muscles help improve the rate at which we burn calories (metabolism). However, when we lose weight, our metabolism reduces thus we burn fewer calories compared to when we started.
- A decrease in metabolism causes weight loss to slow down even when you’re following the same diet. When you burn the same calories you eat, your weight loss slows down or stalls. Therefore, to lose more weight you need to either intensify the workout, decrease how many calories you eat, or both.
8 Effective Tips to Lose Weight by Cycling
When your weight loss slows down, it can be frustrating. But, don’t be discouraged as there are many things you can do for your weight loss while biking. One way is by rewarding yourself for every achieved goal, increasing the intensity of your cycling activity, or diversifying your training program. Another way is pedaling on an empty stomach or using your bike for longer. Joining a Cyclist Club and tracking your progress also goes a long way with weight loss.
Even when your weight loss seems to slow down to a crawl, it’s essential to recognize and appreciate your accomplishments. Keep in mind that the number on the scale doesn’t reflect your pant size. Sure, you might not be losing that much weight like before, but the little you lose is still important and needs a reward.
Also, note that a diet plan can sometimes be frustrating. If this is the case for you, you can put a pause and revamp it. Some plans can become monotonous. You can contact a weight loss center for advice on new ways to shed weight.
Ø1. What You Eat Matters
Remember that weight loss is about 75% of what you eat and 25% of what exercise you do. So, with your food, as long it doesn’t go below 1200 calories, you can reduce your daily intake of calories. Fewer calories than 1200/day may be insufficient to keep one from constant hunger episodes hence you may frequently overeat.
Therefore, eating foods such as fruits, vegetables, proteins, and carbohydrates in moderation will make you achieve much greater progress. So, check your diet because the number of calories you consume matters.
Ø2. Increase The Intensity of Your Cycling Activity
Increasing your physical activity daily can help you shed more pounds. You can opt to ride 5 miles daily. A bike ride at a moderate pace can burn around 500 calories in an hour depending on your height and fitness level.
Walk or ride your bike instead of using your car. Indeed, you could do more cleaning or yard work. This will help burn more calories.
Additionally, you can change your cycling routine in various ways including breaking a sweat by challenging different routes. You can also ride on flat ground at a steady speed for a longer time. Of course, don’t forget to enjoy the sights.
And, if you’re feeling really frustrated, just take a break for one or two days from your diet and exercise routine altogether.
Ø3. Diversify Your Cycling Training Program
I completely get it when people prefer doing the same type of routine over and over. why? Well, you know the routine and duration of it, you are in total control.
But, is repeating the same cycling routine effective?
I believe this is only effective when you’re trying to build the habit of exercising. Once your habit is settled it may be time to try new techniques or a new way to workout.
Adding a new fitness program using a stationary bike or enrolling in HIIT cycling classes also goes a long way. Yes, You can mix it up so every day feels different. Consider increasing your workout intensity and adding exercises like weightlifting which increases your muscle mass.
Diversifying your workouts makes your journey more attractive and challenging. This is fundamental for your weight loss journey. If you’re constantly changing your workouts, you are more likely to avoid plateauing and also keep yourself motivated to continue.
Ø4. Pedal on an Empty Stomach
The best way to convert fat stores into fuel is to cycle first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. According to Harvard University, when the body is fasting, an exercise routine will lead to more rapidly fat burning.
That’s why doing fasted training sessions two or three times a week can improve your ability to burn fat and have an effect on your resistance training.
But be aware that if you do not feel well in general or it is difficult for you to concentrate on the trail, always carry something to eat. Also, try to drink fluids every 15 minutes and do not pedal fast for more than an hour.
Ø5. Use Your Bike For Longer
One of the brilliant things about cycling is that it is also an efficient form of transport. Commuting with your bike means you get more time to exercise and yet get to your workplace. The time you would have spent traveling would be used to achieve your fitness goals.
Occasionally abandon that usually tired loop you ride week-in, week out, and take new roads. Explore with your bike! Which roads haven’t you ridden before?
Have faith that as you drop weight, you will gain more energy. Once you get used to the idea of riding for weight loss, it becomes easier to get out there regularly. It’s a reward in itself and makes you feel rejuvenated—whether your weight changes much or not.
Ø6. Track Calories Burned and Everything You Eat
Keep motivated and monitor the progress of your fitness plan by recording it as you go. One great and efficient way to do this is by downloading a cycling app. Most of these apps include time, speed, distance traveled, and calories burned.
Recording your progress helps you create a personalized record, and gives you a great sense of achievement. To make it even better, try to beat the record of other friends using the same app. These new goals may be the motivating factor you need.
Don’t get disheartened if things don’t change at a fast rate; you are training your body to be fitter and more efficient, and some weeks you’ll see lots of progress, other weeks you might plateau – the overall trend and result are what is important.
Ø7. Join a Cyclist Club
Another great way to keep you motivated is to join a biking club. You might be scared of the challenges that would come with membership in a bike club but, not all club members are racers.
Becoming involved in a local group will likely introduce you to like-minded people and offer you even more opportunities to enjoy your cycling. The teamwork within the group would assist you in reaching your set goals.
Cycling in groups presents you with more time to socialize and spend quality time together. Having others share the struggle can also make things much more manageable. A good company would make the hard, long kilometers tick away really quick.
Ø8. Take Your Bike on Vacation
Have you considered having your bike with you while on vacation and adding cycling as an activity during the holiday? Spend this year’s vacation on a bike.
Vacation time is family time. Spend quality time with your loved ones and create memories! Cycling is a fun activity that everyone can partake in. Find the right bike for everyone and jump on the saddle, even the really small ones can join in the fun. Race along tracks, challenge your partners and get fitter together as a family.
If your weight loss has slowed down, consider talking to a dietitian or doctor about what tactics to try. Also, if you’re finding it challenging to reduce the calories you eat or increase physical activity, you may want to revisit your weight loss goals and appreciate how much weight you’ve lost.
It could be the scale number you’re trying to achieve is unrealistic for you and you may need to set a more achievable goal.
Since you’ve improved your diet, your health has also improved. Even if you’re obese or overweight, keep in mind that weight loss, no matter how little, reduces chronic conditions that come with being overweight.
But after all is said and done, the important thing is not to go back to your old eating and exercise habits at all costs. Doing that will make you gain weight. Just remember to appreciate your efforts and maintain them.
To Your Workout Success!