6 Tips to Lose Weight Through Cycling
Cycling is a fantastic exercise. It works certain muscle groups, exercises your heart and keeps you in better condition. It is also good for your immune system, which in the current climate is no bad thing. It can also be a good way of losing and maintaining weight and is a low impact sport. It you’re a beginner rider this may be one of your goals, if you’re more seasoned, you can use weight loss to find your ideal power to weight ratio.
Losing a few pounds or kilos is one of the fastest ways to be able to ride further and faster with less effort. As such, one will help the other: Cycling will help you losing weight and being lighter will increase your cycling performance; a win-win situation.
Let’s get to it.
A good diet is essential for good cycling. Generally, have three meals a day but cut down on your food portions. This will help you avoid snacking during the day while keeping the calorie intake high enough to sustain you when riding your bike but not too high that you put on weight.
A good rule of thumb is to get in the habit of weekly/monthly shops to avoid popping into the supermarket where you might be tempted to buy snack food which isn’t very good for you. Over a week you will have more time to ride your bike shopping in this way.
Your diet itself should be healthy food choices rather than high fat or sugar foods. Eat smaller portions, and if you feel hungry, it could be a sign of dehydration. So drink some liquids, and you’ll find the hunger pangs will go away.
As with everything, it takes practice to get the balance right. You may want to discover our cycling nutrition posts.
2 Avoid High Fat and Sugar Drinks
There is a feeling of satisfaction at the end of a long ride from drinking a can of your favourite fizzy drink. Given the fat, sugar, and calorie intake, it is not great from a health or weight loss perspective. There are alternatives such as specialist recovery drinks which tend to have high carb concentrations.
Other options include water with a carb-based snack, or a glass of milk. Both provide good alternatives to fizzy drinks.
Similarly, when you choose a coffee from a café, try and avoid the mochas and lattes. Consuming this drink is often similar to consuming a meal, and you won’t see much weight being shed as a result.
3 Drink Less Booze
Drinking alcohol, especially a lot of it will see you pile on the pounds. After a few drinks, you can lose perception of how much you have consumed and drink a few more drinks. You may then think it is a good idea to eat something, and as you can see, the pounds are piling on all the time.
Try and cut out a few drinking sessions and enjoy the results.
4 Avoid Fuelling if Possible
Unless you need to eat on the bike, you shouldn’t’ do so. Rides under an hour will not require food to be eaten mid-ride. If your ride is over an hour, take the food you’ll need to complete the ride but no more.
Always ensure, regardless of how long your ride, that you take plenty of water.
Commuting to work is a great opportunity to ride your bike. Depending on the nature of the roads, you may be able to do specific bike exercises such as over gearing, or high-intensity interval training. If your commute isn’t suitable for these exercises, you could try riding longer routes home. Ideally these would incorporate good, challenging climbs.
Always take a safety first approach if adopting this strategy to lose weight.
As always, don’t be afraid to experiment.
6 Talk to a Pro Cycling Coach
Pro cycling coaches know all about nutrition, and it is a good idea to talk to one. Why not attend a cycling holiday or camp and improve your cycling techniques and your nutritional knowledge at the same time?