Cycling offers many benefits to the body, but the most popular by far is how it helps you lose weight. While cycling does burn off calories, it works better in conjunction with a balanced diet and other types of exercises. There’s also a proper way to shed off the pounds to avoid unnecessary muscle strain and injuries.

If you want to lose weight through cycling, consider these tips to make every ride count.

Set a Realistic Goal

Start with a target weight in mind. It’s better to use body mass index (BMI) or body fat percentage as a guide to set a clear and measurable target for yourself.  You may be surprised to see that you’ve piled on some weight the more you exercise. 

Don’t be alarmed, though. You’re actually burning the fats and turning them into muscles, which are denser than the former. Gaining muscles will give you a fitter and trimmer physique.

Ride Daily at a Moderate Pace

Doctors recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per week to stay healthy, but for your weight-loss goals, you must go beyond the bare minimum. Fortunately, cycling is the kind of fitness activity that you can do daily and never get tired of.

If you’re new to cycling, start slow to avoid unnecessarily stressing muscles and getting injured. Cycling is a low-impact exercise, but it does cause some strain if you don’t exercise regularly. For cycling to be effective at burning fat, you must ride at a speed that will elevate your heart rate between 70 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.

Age influences your max heart rate. You can calculate yours by subtracting your age from 220. If you’re 25, your max heart rate is 220 minus 25, which is 195 beats per minute. To burn fat, you must cycle at a pace that will get your heart to 70 percent of 195, which is 136.5 beats per minute.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Exercise works better at helping reach your fitness goals if you accompany it with a balanced diet. To lose weight, choose foods that are low in fat and high in lean protein. Avoid sugary, salty, oily, and processed food too.

On social media, you may see lots of fitness enthusiasts drinking fruit smoothies, but don’t be fooled. Fruit smoothies keep most of the sugar and lose most of the essential fiber. It’s better to eat fruits and vegetables fresh and unblended.

Turn Up Your Power and Speed Two or Three Times a Week

While riding moderately on a regular basis may help you shed off pounds, it’s not enough to tone your muscles and burn some more fats. For that, you need to add in some high-intensity exercise two to three times a week.

Turning up your riding power and speed while you ride will improve your cardiovascular fitness and boost your metabolic rate, making your body burn calories and fats faster and more efficiently. Get up to 90 percent of your max heart rate. 

Consider using a cycling power-measuring tool and heart-rate monitor to ensure you’re getting the intensity you need to exercise those muscles.

Enjoy the Ride!

Cycling does more than just burning fat and calories. It’s an excellent activity to achieve overall wellness. Regular cycling strengthens bones and muscles, promotes heart and lung health, and boosts the immune system. It also helps relieve stress and anxiety.

Joining cycling communities also enriches your social life and lets you meet people who share your hobbies and interests. You may be doing it to lose weight, but remember to enjoy the ride. Don’t miss out on all the amazing benefits of cycling!