How to Lose Weight by Cycling

Updated on August 29, 2017
CyclingFitness profile image

Liam Hallam is a sports science graduate. A keen cyclist, runner, and obstacle racer, he ran his first ultra-marathon in 2016.

How can you use cycling to achieve your weight loss goals?

In a world of fancy diets, weight loss and fat reduction strategies sometimes it’s the simplest tried and tested strategies for weight loss are what really makes the difference. Losing weight by cycling is simple, relatively inexpensive and is also fun which means you’re more likely to get into a consistent cycling exercise regime for weight loss. Cycling can help you to lose weight.

Having fun while mountain biking for weight loss.
Having fun while mountain biking for weight loss.

The general rule of weight loss bicycling

Weight loss occurs when:

  • Energy Expenditure (from metabolism, thermogenesis, and physical activity) is greater than Energy Intake (food and drink).

Cycling can help you to ensure that your energy expenditure is greater than your energy intake as you burn calories while you cycle. How many calories you burn while cycling is up to you and dependant on how long, far and quickly you ride.

How Many Calories Can You Burn Cycling?

A 70 kg (11 stone) adult will burn around 450 calories an hour cycling on a flat road at a relatively easy pace of 16-20 km per hour. That figure goes up to around 500 calories per hour for a person weighing 82kg (13 stone). Those figure go up even further the quicker you cycle. You really can burn a lot of calories cycling.

If you consider that a pound of fat consists of 3500 calories, it shouldn't take you long to burn fat cycling.

Commuting to work by bike can help weight loss
Commuting to work by bike can help weight loss

Establish Where You Would Like to Cycle

There are so many forms of bicycling and places you can cycle to enhance calorie burning for weight loss and sadly not all are right for everyone.

Do you prefer to cycle indoors for weight loss in the warm and dry at home or at the gym? Are you more comfortable in a controlled environment such as a spinning class?

If you're happy cycling outside to lose weight- Do you feel comfortable on the roads with traffic? Do you have cycle trails or woodland paths close by that you could use to get you away from traffic?

You may even want to consider commuting to work by bike if it's an option as you'll get your cycling fat burning fix while potentially not taking up a huge amount of your free time outside work.

Many people cite a lack of time as a reason not to cycle more often so use your free time wisely- that's why commuting by bike can often be a good way to combine cycling for weight loss and your daily trip to work.

Schedule Cycling Exercise

We all know that if we make time to do things we're more likely to do them and that's exceptionally true with cycling. Schedule time within your week for cycling to hit your weight loss goals.

Set yourself a cycling challenge to help your weight loss

Time Trials are a great challenge to help with cycling weight loss goals for the competitively minded.
Time Trials are a great challenge to help with cycling weight loss goals for the competitively minded. | Source

Set Yourself a Cycling-Related Goal

Think what you could achieve on a bike. Whether it's riding a century, target riding a local charity cycling ride or sportive or even consider some form of cycling adventure- it doesn't have to be the Tour De France to be a challenge both physically and metabolically.

For those with a competitive disposition why not consider riding a Time Trial? They're called 'The Race of Truth' as it's simply you riding a set course against the watch. Time Trials are a fantastic targeted way of cycling to improve your fitness while concentrating on your cycling fat loss goals. Time Trials are very popular in the United Kingdom in particular and more information can be found at the Cycling Time Trials website where you can find information regarding the sport and where your local event may be.

By setting yourself a healthy performance target to concentrate on training for there's a long term goal in place to aim for. Once you've achieved your first goal you can then plan an additional goal after that. While you're concentrating on riding you'll be amazed at how quickly you can lose weight if you also pay attention to your diet

Don't Just Cycle!

Losing weight is about more than just taking exercise. It's about taking an all round approach to weight loss and a healthier lifestyle.

You can't assume that you've burnt the calories that can take in excess calories as a result. Make considerations towards a healthier diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and natural foods as well as paying attention to keeping hydrated before during and after exercise.

Add Variation to Your Regimen

When something gets stale and you start to grow bored you're less likely to keep doing it. If staleness starts to set in to your weight loss plans it can seriously hamper your progress. Therefore it's a great strategy to mix things up with your cycling to achieve your weight loss goals goals. Consider some of the following for a change from your weight loss routine.

  • Head to the hills and do some hiking. Walking is a great low impact endurance activity and can help you explore places you would often struggle to see on bike. It also can be a great social experience too with friends and family who aren't so keen on riding a bicycle.
  • Book a week or a few days away skiing. Skiing is a great whole body workout and burns lots of calories if you don't hit the apres-ski too hard!
  • If you exercise a lot outside head to a spinning class in the gym. You could burn up to 1000 calories in a spinning workout which can be a great option to turbocharge your weight loss.
  • I'm sure you can think of plenty more ideas too as well.

Happy cycling and good luck with your weight loss goals

Questions & Answers


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      • CyclingFitness profile image

        Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

        Thanks GoodLady- glad you approve. I've tried to keep this hub to the point but filled with suggestions for everyone. Thanks for your feedback

      • CyclingFitness profile image

        Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

        Do you really consider yourself 'older' INFJay. Personally I think that age to a certain effect has a level of irrelevance if you lead a healthy lifestyle and have the right outlook. Thanks for your feedback.

      • CyclingFitness profile image

        Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

        Thanks Denisemai. Everyone has their own comfort zone although the main thing really to lose weight is to go and be active. Whether that's indoors or outdoors only matters to the individual. I'm glad you've found your own comfort level- I love the trails too!

      • CyclingFitness profile image

        Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

        Thanks coffeealera. Cycling is a great ways to potentially see the world. The weight loss effects are in some ways simply an added bonus. Thanks for the feedback.

      • coffeealera profile image

        coffeealera 5 years ago

        You can't beat getting on a bike and seeing the sites, all the while knowing you are losing some unwanted fat cells!

        Loved your hub, voted up.

      • EuroCafeAuLait profile image

        Anastasia Kingsley 5 years ago from Croatia, Europe

        More fun than jogging, and you get to take in the countryside...

      • denisemai profile image

        Denise Mai 5 years ago from Idaho

        I'm happy to hear this. Riding bikes on trails is a lot more fun than hitting the gym. I need to lose a few pounds and this sounds like a perfect way to do it. Great hub!

      • INFJay profile image

        Jay Manriquez 5 years ago from Santa Rosa, California

        Excellent Hub and advice. Cycling as part of a healthy lifestyle is also good for us "older" folk.

      • GoodLady profile image

        Penelope Hart 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

        Such a useful Hub and such fun.

        Thanks. It's a good looking Hub too. Easy to read and to take on your suggestions first time round.

      • angela_michelle profile image

        Angela Michelle Schultz 5 years ago from United States

        This would be a very effective workout for me. :)