Cycling for weight loss: how much can you lose and how to lose weight

Cycling is among the most popular and effective low-impact cardio and aerobic workouts to lose weight. Riding a bike increases muscle strength, improves joint mobility, boosts the immune system, and helps to fight against cardiovascular diseases.

An individual weighing 154 lbs(70 kg) can lose between 0.56 to 2.24 lbs(0.25 to 1.02 kg) in one week if cycling one hour per day. The lost weight value varies based on cycling intensity, from leisure biking to professional racing. We use the Metabolic Equivalent of Tasks(METs) method to calculate weight loss from cycling.

Research by Professor Chris Oliver from the University of Edinburg mentioned that “a half-hour bike ride every day will burn nearly five kilograms of fat over a year”, while Dr. Jane Doe of the Health Institute for Obesity found from his research that regular cycling can help the body more efficient at using fat as fuel, thus help for weight loss.

In this article, we will analyze if cycling helps you lose weight, how biking helps you lose weight, our cycling weight loss calculator, and how much weight can you lose in a certain period of time including one day, one week, one month or longer, how much cycling you need to lose weight, how to lose weight through cycling by adjusting diet, engage in workout, macronutrients and micronutrients, track your cycling to lose weight, get motivated, how cycling compare to other exercises for weight loss and potential cycling benefits and risks to concern when you ride bike to lose weight.

Table of Contents

Does cycling help you lose weight?

Yes, cycling helps to lose weight because it is an excellent cardio and aerobic workout that torches calories and builds lower body muscles, leading to a calorie deficit when combined with a balanced diet, which results in burning body fat to lose weight.

In the study “Differential Associations of Walking and Cycling with Body Weight, Body Fat and Fat Distribution – the ACTI-Cités Project” of 12,776 French adults, both walking and cycling were associated with reductions in obesity markers. Women walking over 2.5 hours weekly reduced weight by 1.8 kg and body fat by 1.1%. Importantly, cycling over 1.5 hours weekly led to a weight reduction of 4.3 kg for men and 1.4 kg for women. The study emphasizes the significant weight-loss benefits of biking compared to non-cycling activity.

Is biking a good way to lose weight?

Yes, biking is a good way to lose weight because it’s low-impact and burns calories efficiently. 

Biking burns more fat than walking and swimming, only burns a little less than running, If one wishes to lose 1lb a week, which equals 3,500 calories over 7 days, biking can be an effective means to achieve this when combined with careful food intake. 

Can you lose belly fat by cycling?

Yes, you can lose belly fat by cycling when maintaining a calorie deficit with overall fitness. Cycling, a form of aerobic exercise, helps burn visceral belly fat. High-intensity training on a bike is effective at burning abdominal fat by elevating your heart rate near its maximum, enhancing metabolism, and burning significant calories.

Does cycling help you lose weight on your thighs?

Yes, cycling helps you lose weight on your thighs when performed consistently and at varying intensities because it targets the major muscle groups in the legs. The repetitive motion of pedaling engages the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, promoting muscle toning and fat burning in the thigh region. Over time, this aerobic exercise coupled with a calorie deficit can lead to leaner and more defined thighs

How does biking help you lose weight?

Biking helps you lose weight by creating a calorie deficit, providing a rigorous cardio workout, and enhancing lower-body muscle strength. A calorie deficit is achieved when the energy expended during biking exceeds the calories consumed, leading to fat loss. The aerobic nature of biking boosts stamina, and the immune system, and burns body fat quickly, while consistently pedaling tones and strengthens the thighs, calves, and glutes, especially when combined with a healthy diet plan and regular workout routine.

In a clinical trial from the Department of Sports Science (DISMOT), University of Palermo, Italy, with 14 young overweight women, a 12-week indoor cycling program was conducted three times weekly. Results showed a decrease in body weight by 3.2% and fat mass by 5% after 36 sessions, while lean mass increased by 2.6%. The study confirmed indoor cycling’s efficacy in improving body composition and cardiovascular fitness in young overweight women.

Where does the fat go when you lose weight?

The fat goes through a metabolic process when you lose weight because the body breaks it down into energy. Specifically, fat cells are converted to carbon dioxide, water, and energy. Most of the fat is exhaled as carbon dioxide through our lungs, while the rest is released as water through urine, faeces, sweat, breath, tears, and other bodily fluids.

Where does the fat go when you lose weight

Resource: BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g7257

Researcher Ruben Meerman and Professor Andrew J Brown from the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia proved that “lungs are the primary excretory organ for fat.” To be specific, when one loses 10 kg of fat, 8.4 kg is exhaled as carbon dioxide(CO2), and 1.6 kg water (H2O).

Fat loss vs. weight loss through cycling, what’s the difference?

Fat loss through cycling is the reduction of stored body fat achieved by burning more calories than consumed, while weight loss from cycling includes a decrease in both body fat and muscle mass. The three main differences are as below.

  • Fat loss focuses on decreasing body fat percentage, preserving muscle, and improving body composition.
  • Weight loss can result in losing both fat and lean muscle, potentially lowering metabolism
  • Weight loss measures overall body weight without distinguishing between fat and muscle, whereas fat loss targets only the fat reserves in the body.
Can biking everyday help lose weight?

Yes, biking every day helps lose weight only if you ensure that the calories burned through biking exceed your calorie intake. For instance, in general cycling for 1 hour can burn around 500 calories depending on the intensity. Consistently burning 500 calories per day for 7 days can lead to a weight loss of approximately 1lb.

Can I lose weight just by cycling?

Yes, you can lose weight just by cycling if you maintain a consistent calorie deficit, which means burning more calories through cycling than you consume in your daily diet. Incorporating a healthy diet further amplifies weight loss by ensuring optimal nutrition without excessive calorie intake. Cycling regularly, combined with mindful eating, creates the ideal environment for sustainable weight loss.

How long does it take to lose weight by cycling?

It takes at least 7 days to lose 1 lb of weight by cycling at moderate intensity, meaning 1 hour of cycling per day for 7 days. This calculation is based on the principle that burning 3,500 calories equates to shedding 1 lb of body weight. Thus, by burning approximately 500 calories through an hour of cycling each day, you can achieve a weight loss of 1 lb in a week.

How much weight can you lose by cycling?

You can lose 1 lb in one week if you cycle at a moderate intensity for one hour per day. An hour of moderate cycling can burn up to 500 calories, but weight loss hinges on your eating habits. To achieve consistent weight loss of 1lb per week, use the calories burned through exercise to create your deficit, while ensuring proper dietary intake.

Cycling Weight Loss Calculator by Rinasclta

Based on the METs method, we create the cycling weight loss calculator by calculating body weight, cycling duration, and intensity. The cycling weight loss amount varies significantly from different intensity, we list the 5 most common options including leisure biking, moderate, vigorous, very vigorous, and racing levels.

The formula for calculating the calories burned using the MET method is:

Calories Burned =MET × Weight in kg × Duration in hours

Cycling Weight Loss Calculator

Estimated Results

Calories Burned:

Weight Loss (pounds):

Weight Loss (kilograms):

According to our weight loss cycling calculator, we can double the biking burned calories by just changing the cycling intensity from leisure to vigorous biking, which results from 300 calories per hour to 600 calories, thus the weight loss changes from 0.09 lb to 0.17 lb in 60 minutes.

How much weight loss is concerning?

Weight loss over 5% from the body weight baseline level is concerning based on the Clinically significant weight loss(CWL) medical definition. Losing weight over 5% increases the mortality risk and cardiometabolic risk, as mentioned by a study from the Department of Kinesiology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA.

Dr. N. John Bosomworth suggested in Can Fam Physician in 2012, that “One systematic review suggests avoidance of weight gain (or loss) of more than 4% in order to minimize effect on mortality. The exception to this is in the late middle years and old age, where a modest weight gain might be protective in those not already overweight or obese.”

How many grams of fat per day to lose weight?

Losing 44 to 77 grams of fat per day can help you lose weight for a generally healthy 2000-calorie daily diet. While dietary recommendations vary, a general guideline is to consume between 20% to 35% of total daily calories from healthy fats. According to the Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC) USA, fat provides 9 calories per gram.

How much weight can you lose by biking 30 minutes a day?

You can lose 0.49 pounds (0.21 kg) of weight in one week if you cycle in a moderate intensity 30 minutes a day. The result is calculated by using 165.34(75 kg) lbs body weight. You can lose more weight if you ride in different intensity with different body weight. Below is a table to show how the weight loss value varies.

Body Weight

Leisure biking

Moderate biking

Vigorous biking

Very vigorous biking

Racing

150 lbs (68kg)

~0.28 lbs (0.13kg)/week

~0.48 lbs (0.22kg)/week

~0.56 lbs (0.25kg)/week

~0.70 lbs (0.32kg)/week

~1.12 lbs (0.51kg)/week

175 lbs (79.5kg)

~0.32 lbs (0.15kg)/week

~0.56 lbs (0.25kg)/week

~0.65 lbs (0.29kg)/week

~0.82 lbs (0.37kg)/week

~1.31 lbs (0.59kg)/week

200 lbs (90.7kg)

~0.37 lbs (0.17kg)/week

~0.63 lbs (0.29kg)/week

~0.74 lbs (0.34kg)/week

~0.93 lbs (0.42kg)/week

~1.49 lbs (0.68kg)/week

225 lbs (102.1kg)

~0.41 lbs (0.19kg)/week

~0.71 lbs (0.32kg)/week

~0.83 lbs (0.38kg)/week

~1.05 lbs (0.48kg)/week

~1.67 lbs (0.76kg)/week

250 lbs (113.4kg)

~0.46 lbs (0.21kg)/week

~0.79 lbs (0.36kg)/week

~0.92 lbs (0.42kg)/week

~1.16 lbs (0.53kg)/week

~1.85 lbs (0.84kg)/week

How much weight can you lose by biking 60 minutes a day?

You can lose 1.02 pounds (0.46 kg) of weight in one week if you cycle in a moderate intensity one hour a day. The result is calculated by using 165.34(75 kg) lbs body weight. You can lose more weight if you ride in different intensity with different body weight. Below is a table to show how the weight loss value varies.

Body Weight

Leisure biking

Moderate biking

Vigorous biking

Very vigorous biking

Racing

150 lbs (68kg)

~0.56 lbs (0.25kg)/week

~0.96 lbs (0.44kg)/week

~1.12 lbs (0.51kg)/week

~1.40 lbs (0.64kg)/week

~2.24 lbs (1.02kg)/week

175 lbs (79.5kg)

~0.64 lbs (0.29kg)/week

~1.12 lbs (0.51kg)/week

~1.30 lbs (0.59kg)/week

~1.64 lbs (0.74kg)/week

~2.62 lbs (1.19kg)/week

200 lbs (90.7kg)

~0.74 lbs (0.34kg)/week

~1.26 lbs (0.57kg)/week

~1.48 lbs (0.67kg)/week

~1.86 lbs (0.84kg)/week

~2.98 lbs (1.35kg)/week

225 lbs (102.1kg)

~0.82 lbs (0.37kg)/week

~1.42 lbs (0.64kg)/week

~1.66 lbs (0.75kg)/week

~2.10 lbs (0.95kg)/week

~3.34 lbs (1.52kg)/week

250 lbs (113.4kg)

~0.92 lbs (0.42kg)/week

~1.58 lbs (0.72kg)/week

~1.84 lbs (0.83kg)/week

~2.32 lbs (1.05kg)/week

~3.70 lbs (1.68kg)/week

How much cycling do you need to lose weight?

You need at least 40-60 minutes of cycling per day to lose 1 lb of weight in one week, depending on your cycling intensity and body weight. Based on the common knowledge, we need to burn at least 3500 calories to lose 1lb weight, which equals 500 calories per day to burn. For the same body weight, the more intensity you cycle, the shorter time you need.

Body Weight

Leisure biking (hours/week)

Moderate biking (hours/week)

Vigorous biking (hours/week)

Very vigorous biking (hours/week)

Racing (hours/week)

150 lbs (68.04 kg)

1.84

1.08

0.92

0.73

0.46

175 lbs (79.38 kg)

1.57

0.93

0.79

0.63

0.39

200 lbs (90.72 kg)

1.38

0.81

0.69

0.55

0.34

225 lbs (102.06 kg)

1.22

0.72

0.61

0.49

0.31

250 lbs (113.4 kg)

1.10

0.65

0.55

0.44

0.28

Can I lose weight from cycling for one hour a day?

Yes, you can lose weight from cycling for one hour a day if you ride in a moderate intensity. You can lose 1 lb in one week if you ride and burn 500 calories per day.

Biking 10 miles a day for weight loss

An Individual weighing 175 pounds( 79.38 kg) could lose 1.48 pounds in one week if cycle at a moderate intensity( 10-12 mph) for 10 miles per day. The biking 10 miles a day weight loss depends on your body weight and cycling intensity. Below is the table with more biking 10 miles per day weight loss values.

Body Weight

Leisure biking (lb/week)

Moderate biking (lb/week)

Vigorous biking (lb/week)

Very vigorous biking (lb/week)

Racing (lb/week)

150 lbs (68.04 kg)

0.95

1.27

1.52

1.82

2.40

175 lbs (79.38 kg)

1.10

1.48

1.77

2.12

2.79

200 lbs (90.72 kg)

1.26

1.69

2.02

2.42

3.18

225 lbs (102.06 kg)

1.41

1.89

2.27

2.72

3.58

250 lbs (113.4 kg)

1.57

2.10

2.52

3.02

3.97

20 km cycling per day weight loss

20 km cycling per day weight loss depends on your body weight, fitness level, and cycling speed. At moderate speeds of 16-19 kph, an individual weighing 75 kg could lose 0.48 kg in one week if cycles at moderate speed for 20 km per day. Below you can find more 20 km biking weight loss values depending on different body weights.

Body Weight (kg)

Leisure biking (kg/week)

Moderate biking (kg/week)

Vigorous biking (kg/week)

Very vigorous biking (kg/week)

Racing (kg/week)

65 kg

0.29

0.42

0.39

0.41

0.47

75 kg

0.34

0.48

0.45

0.47

0.54

80 kg

0.36

0.51

0.48

0.50

0.58

90 kg

0.41

0.58

0.54

0.56

0.65

100 kg

0.45

0.64

0.60

0.63

0.72

1000 calories a day to lose weight by cycling

1000 calories a day by cycling could help to lose 2 lbs(0.9 kg) in one week if an individual doesn’t change the diet plan while burning 1000 calories per day by cycling for one week. 1 pound (0.49 kg) equals 3500 calories, thus burning 7000 calories in one week could help to lose around 2 pounds.

Is 30 minutes of cycling a day enough?

Yes, 30 minutes of cycling a day is enough to lose 1 lb in one week only if you cycle in racing intensity (> 20 mph, not drafting) for 30 minutes per day. You could burn at least 500 calories per day in 30 minutes of cycling with this intensity, which leads to 1 lb weight loss in one week.

If you can’t keep this intensity, then 30 minutes of cycling a day can only burn 200-300 calories, which wouldn’t help with weight loss, but for sure will keep you in a fit body condition.

How to lose 20 lb from cycling?

You can lose 20 lb from cycling in 20 weeks (5 months) by riding in moderate intensity 60 minutes per day. If an individual weighs 175 pounds( 79.38 kg), below is the time required to lose 20 lb by cycling in different intensities.

Cycling Intensity

Days

Weeks

Months

Leisure biking (less than 10 mph on a flat terrain)

220 days

31.5 weeks

7.24 months

Moderate biking (10-12 mph on a flat terrain)

130 days

18.5 weeks

4.26 months

Vigorous biking (12-14 mph with some resistance)

110 days

15.7 weeks

3.62 months

Very vigorous biking (14-16 mph with a lot of resistance)

88 days

12.6 weeks

2.90 months

Racing (more than 16 mph)

55 days

7.87 weeks

1.81 months

How to lose 20 lb from cycling

How to Lose Weight Through Cycling

Losing weight through cycling is similar to other cardio and aerobic workouts which are used to create the calorie deficit by balancing a daily healthy diet, and nutrients with a proper amount of workout. When using cycling as the main workout for weight loss, you need to analyze your own body condition to create a cycle of diet plan, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, fruit, and protein powder recipes, along with weight loss drinks like drinking water, apple cider vinegar, black coffee, cabbage soup, juices, and tea.

For the cycling weight loss workout, you need to combine Low Intensity, Steady State(LISS) cardiovascular training with High-intensity Interval Training(HIIT) anaerobic exercise to burn a certain amount of calories regularly, which plays a key role in the weight loss process. Choose either indoor or outdoor cycling based on your time schedule and local road traffic conditions.

Besides diet and workout, macronutrients and micronutrients are important for balancing your body condition and weight loss process. You need to keep tracking your workout and weight loss progress and keep motivated to keep cycling as planned.

Cycling diet to lose weight

Cycling diet to weight loss is the fundamental element in the weight loss through the cycling process. To create a calorie deficit is the purpose when choosing a healthy diet. You can create your cycling diet by choosing food based on energy density, setting a target weight loss goal, and designing your diet plan along with your workout.

Matt Fitzgerald, author of Racing Weight and 80/20 Running mentioned in an interview with Cyclocross Magazine that you should focus on diet quality which means the amount of nutrients, calorie density, and natural food are important in your cycling diet.

Eating to lose weight through cycling

Eating to lose weight through cycling means you need to eat the necessary food which contains fat, carbohydrate, and protein. The best method is to focus on a 500-calorie deficit diet without taking any food away from your diet plan. You may lose weight in a very short time by following a strict 7-day diet plan for weight loss through cycling, but it will come back quicker and worse if you switch to a daily-based diet.

Assuming an estimated calorie requirement of around 2,000 calories per day for a moderately active woman aiming for a 500-calorie deficit diet, here is a sample meal plan based on average calorie values from the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE(USDA)’s FoodData Center.

Meal

Food Item

Calories

Breakfast

Oatmeal (1/2 cup dry)

150

Skimmed milk (1 cup)

90

Blueberries (1/2 cup)

40

Chia seeds (1 tbsp)

58

Almonds (10)

70

Lunch

Grilled chicken breast (100g)

165

Quinoa (1/2 cup cooked)

111

Mixed vegetables (1 cup)

35

Olive oil (1 tbsp)

119

Spinach salad with lemon vinaigrette

60

Snack

Greek yogurt (1/2 cup)

75

Apple (medium-sized)

95

Dinner

Baked salmon (3 oz)

180

Steamed broccoli (1 cup)

55

Sweet potato (medium-sized)

112

Mixed salad greens (2 cups)

15

Olive oil and vinegar dressing (1 tbsp)

119

Total Calories

1549

Note: Calorie needs can vary based on age, gender, weight, height, and activity level. Adjustments might be needed based on individual needs and dietary preferences. It’s always a good idea to consult with a nutritionist or dietitian to get personalized advice.

500-calorie daily deficit diet

With this sample cycling diet plan, you can create a 451-calorie deficit from the food alone. When you combine the diet plan with cycling workout, you will achieve the target 500-calorie burning through cycling per day easily.

Drinking to lose weight through cycling

Drinking to lose weight through cycling means incorporating beverages that assist in hydrating, energizing, and promoting fat loss while participating in cycling activities. Maintaining proper hydration is essential for optimal cycling performance, muscle function, and enhanced metabolism. 

Water remains the top choice for hydration. Additionally, some beverages, like black coffee, can provide a short-term metabolism boost. Apple cider vinegar has been touted for its potential weight-loss benefits, but it should be consumed in moderation and properly diluted. Tea, particularly green tea, contains antioxidants that may aid in fat burning. Here are some drink samples with calorie counts based on the USDA’s FoodData Center and commonly known facts:

Drink

Calories (Per Serving)

Water (8 oz)

0

Black Coffee (8 oz)

2

Apple Cider Vinegar (1 tbsp diluted in 8 oz water)

3

Green Tea (8 oz)

2

Vegetable Juice (8 oz)

50

Fruit Juice (8 oz)

100-150

Cabbage Soup (1 cup)

65

7-day diet plan for weight loss through cycling

A 7-day diet plan for weight loss through cycling is a quick way to lose a certain amount of body weight for some special purposes. Here’s a basic 7-day cycling weight loss diet plan, aiming for a balance of macronutrients to fuel your cycling activities and promote recovery.

Day (Total Calories)

Breakfast (Calories)

Lunch (Calories)

Dinner (Calories)

Snacks (Calories)

Day 1 (1400)

Oatmeal with berries and almonds (300)

Grilled chicken salad with vinaigrette (450)

Salmon, quinoa, and steamed broccoli (500)

Yogurt with honey (150)

Day 2 (1300)

Whole grain toast with avocado (250)

Tuna salad with crackers (400)

Stir-fried tofu with vegetables (450)

Nuts and dried fruits (200)

Day 3 (1400)

Smoothie with spinach, banana, and protein powder (300)

Whole grain wrap with turkey and veggies (450)

Beef stir-fry with bell peppers and brown rice (550)

Celery with peanut butter (100)

Day 4 (1350)

Scrambled eggs with mushrooms and tomatoes (250)

Lentil soup with whole grain bread (450)

Chicken breast, sweet potato, and green beans (500)

Carrots with hummus (150)

Day 5 (1400)

Yogurt with granola and fruit (350)

Vegetable quiche (400)

Shrimp pasta with zucchini (500)

Fruit salad (150)

Day 6 (1500)

Pancakes with maple syrup and berries (400)

BLT sandwich (450)

Vegetable curry with rice (500)

Cottage cheese with pineapple (150)

Day 7 (1420)

Granola with milk and a banana (350)

Chicken Caesar salad (450)

Grilled steak, roasted potatoes, and asparagus (550)

Hard-boiled eggs (70)

7-day diet plan for weight loss through cycling

Remember, the caloric values mentioned above are approximations, and actual caloric values can vary based on exact ingredient amounts and preparation. Always adjust meals based on your personal caloric needs and activity level.

Do I need to diet to lose weight?

No, you don’t need to diet to lose weight if you can create a basic 500-calorie deficit through cycling every day.

How to lose weight without dieting?

You can lose weight without dieting by cycling 60 minutes per day at a moderate intensity, either indoors or outdoors. In this way, you could lose 1lb in one week.

Cycling workout for weight loss

Cycling workout for weight loss includes both low-intensity and high-intensity biking workouts. Low-intensity steady-state (LISS, often referred to as base training, especially popular during the winter months) primarily uses fat as the primary fuel, allowing riders to reduce carbohydrate intake and create a calorie deficit to lose weight. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves pushing yourself into higher training zones, specifically zones six and seven, which can greatly improve both fitness and weight loss.

Traditionally, riders have turned to high-volume, low-intensity rides during off-seasons to shed weight. However, incorporating high-intensity sessions can be optimal for weight loss and boosting functional threshold power. A concept known as excess post-exercise energy consumption (EPOC) is vital here. After intense workouts like VO2 max intervals, the body continues to burn calories at an elevated rate, even post-workout.

Moreover, strength training combined with a balanced intake of carbohydrates and protein can further support fat loss. For those looking for a short-term approach, engaging in cyclocross racing on muddy technical courses can be a great way to work the legs and lungs, and hone cyclocross skills, offering a dynamic alternative to traditional tarmac-based training.

Low-intensity Steady State(LISS) Cycling Workout to lose weight

Low-intensity Steady State (LISS) Cycling Workout for weight loss means engaging in longer durations of cycling at a consistent, low-intensity pace. You can effectively burn fat as the primary fuel source during these sessions, making it a popular choice for base training, especially during off-seasons. This approach allows for improved endurance and cardiovascular health, while supporting a calorie deficit for weight loss. 

Here is a Weekly LISS Cycling Workout Schedule.

Day

Duration & Intensity

Description

Estimated Calorie Burn

Day 1

60 minutes at 50-60% max heart rate

Steady, relaxed pace on a flat or gentle route.

500 calories

Day 2

75 minutes at 50-60% max heart rate

Steady ride with a few small hills.

600 calories

Day 3

Rest/Recovery Day

Day 4

60 minutes at 50-60% max heart rate

Steady, relaxed pace. Change the route for variety.

500 calories

Day 5

90 minutes at 50-60% max heart rate

Longer rides, aim for consistent pacing.

750 calories

Day 6

Rest/Recovery Day

Day 7

75 minutes at 50-60% max heart rate

Ride on a new or favorite route for motivation.

600 calories

Total Weekly Calorie Burn

2,950 calories

By following this LISS cycling workout schedule, you’d burn an estimated 2,950 calories from cycling alone. To achieve the 3,500-calorie deficit, you would still need to create an additional 550-calorie deficit through dietary choices or other light physical activities during the week.

Weekly Low-intensity Steady State(LISS) Cycling Workout

Again, individual calorie burns can vary, so it’s good to monitor your heart rate and adjust as necessary to remain in the low-intensity zone. The key with LISS is maintaining a consistent, steady pace where you can still carry on a conversation without feeling out of breath

High-intensity Interval training (HIIT) cycling workout to lose weight

High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT) cycling workout to lose weight means engaging in short bursts of maximum-effort cycling followed by rest or low-intensity periods. This method effectively burns a significant amount of calories in a shorter time frame compared to steady-state workouts. Incorporating HIIT into your cycling routine can accelerate weight loss and improve cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance.

High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT) cycling stimulates the anaerobic energy system, leading to increased excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) which enhances calorie burn even after the workout is over. Pushing the body to its VO2 max during the intense intervals, it prompts physiological adaptations that improve mitochondrial function and aerobic capacity. The alternating stress and recovery periods in HIIT optimize the efficiency of fatty acid oxidation processes, facilitating faster fat loss.

Here is a weekly HIIT weight loss cycling workout plan.

Day

Workout

Duration

Calories Burned (approx.)

Day 1

HIIT Cycling: 15 seconds sprint, 45 seconds rest

30 minutes

400 calories

Day 2

Rest or Active Recovery

Day 3

HIIT Cycling: 30 seconds sprint, 30 seconds rest

30 minutes

450 calories

Day 4

Rest or Active Recovery

Day 5

HIIT Cycling: 20 seconds sprint, 40 seconds rest

30 minutes

420 calories

Day 6

Rest or Active Recovery

Day 7

HIIT Cycling: 10 seconds sprint, 50 seconds rest

30 minutes

380 calories

Total Calories Burned Over 7 Days

1650 calories

A typical HIIT cycling workout can burn between 300 to 500 calories in 30 minutes, depending on factors like the individual’s weight, fitness level, and the intensity of the workout. It’s worth noting that HIIT can be intense on the body, so it’s crucial to ensure adequate recovery. This schedule has alternate days of intense workouts and rest to ensure the body can recover and adapt.

weekly HIIT weight loss cycling workout plan

Combined LISS and HIIT cycling workout plan for weight loss

To lose at least 1lb of body weight per week through cycling, we combine the LISS and HIIT cycling workouts together to give you an example cycling schedule, which can be an effective way to achieve your goal of burning 3500 calories per week. We add recovery in the schedule to allow your body to heal and adapt. Here is the combined cycling weekly plan.

Day

Workout

Duration

Calories Burned (approx.)

Day 1

LISS Cycling

90 minutes

450 calories

Day 2

HIIT Cycling: 20 seconds sprint, 40 seconds rest

40 minutes

600 calories

Day 3

Rest or Active Recovery (gentle walk or stretch)

Day 4

LISS Cycling

100 minutes

500 calories

Day 5

HIIT Cycling: 30 seconds sprint, 30 seconds rest

40 minutes

650 calories

Day 6

LISS Cycling

110 minutes

550 calories

Day 7

HIIT Cycling: 15 seconds sprint, 45 seconds rest

40 minutes

600 calories

Total Calories Burned Over 7 Days

3500 calories

This plan provides a balance of LISS and HIIT sessions, with proper rest days in between. Make sure to keep yourself well-hydrated and consider consulting with a fitness professional or medical expert before starting this plan, especially if you have any health concerns. Always stop if you feel fatigued or in pain, and adjust the workout based on your body condition.

Combined LISS and HIIT cycling workout plan for weight loss

Indoor vs. outdoor cycling for weight loss

Indoor vs. outdoor cycling for weight loss are both effective methods for burning calories and improving cardiovascular health. The differences are influenced by various factors including time schedule, budget, work commitments, weather conditions, and preparation required. 

Outdoor cycling offers a changing environment, varied terrains, and real-world cycling dynamics, but can be limited by weather conditions, and daylight hours, and may require more time for preparation, such as selecting a route or ensuring bicycle maintenance for road cycling or mountain biking. 

Indoor cycling, often done on a stationary bike or via platforms like Zwift, provides controlled environments perfect for HIIT workouts, unaffected by external weather, and can be fit into any time of the day. However, initial costs might be high with the purchase of quality indoor bikes or smart trainers. 

  • Work commitments can influence the decision as indoor cycling can be squeezed in before or after work without the need for a commute or cleanup.
  • Preparation for outdoor cycling might involve checking the weather, inflating tires, or packing essentials, while indoor cycling requires just hopping on the trainer. 
  • Post-workout, outdoor cyclists might have to deal with cleaning a muddy bike, while indoor cyclists will focus more on cooling down and hydration. 
  • For food and drink, outdoor cyclists need to carry nutrition, while indoor cyclists have the convenience of accessing food and hydration at any point. 
When is the best time to biking to lose weight?

The best time to bike to lose weight is in the morning before eating, often referred to as fasted cardio, depending on one’s individual body rhythm and energy levels. Exercising during this time can optimize fat burning since the body uses stored fat as fuel due to depleted glycogen levels. However, it’s essential to listen to your body and choose a time that feels most comfortable and sustainable for you.

What to eat after a cycling workout to lose weight?

You should eat a combination of lean proteins and complex carbohydrates after a cycling workout to lose weight because this mix helps repair muscles and replenish glycogen stores that have been depleted during the exercise. Examples include grilled chicken with quinoa or a tuna salad with whole-grain bread. It’s crucial to refuel within a 30-minute window post-workout to maximize recovery and support weight loss goals.

How to lose weight and gain muscle from cycling?

You can lose weight and gain muscle from cycling by incorporating both high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and resistance-focused hill climbs into your regimen. HIIT sessions increase caloric burn and elevate metabolism, promoting fat loss, while powering up hills engages and strengthens the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles. Pairing this with a protein-rich recovery meal post-ride further supports muscle growth and repair. If you want to gain more muscles, then add a weight-training workout to your schedule.

Macronutrients and micronutrients for weight loss cycling

Macronutrients and micronutrients for weight loss cycling are important because they provide the necessary fuel for performance and recovery while ensuring overall health. 

Macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, which you can gain from foods like whole grains, lean meats, and avocados, respectively. Micronutrients include vitamins( like Vitamin B12, Iron, Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Calcium) and minerals, which you can gain from a variety of fruits, vegetables, and fortified foods. 

Macronutrients play a crucial role in cycling because they directly supply the body with energy, support muscle repair, and regulate energy storage. Meanwhile, micronutrients work on ensuring optimal cellular function, enhancing energy production, and promoting immune health, which are all critical for consistent and efficient biking performance.

Track your cycling weight loss progress

Tracking your cycling weight loss progress is essential because it provides tangible data on your efforts, allowing you to adjust and optimize your routine. 

  • Using a weight scale consistently, preferably at the same time each day, offers a direct measure of weight changes. Apps specifically designed for weight management can help you log your daily food intake and exercise, giving an overview of your calorie balance. 
  • Cycling apps like Zwift and Strava record your rides and provide insights on improvements in performance and endurance, further indicating your fitness progress. 
  • Regularly documenting these metrics ensures you remain on track and motivated towards your weight loss goals.

Motivation to lose weight through cycling

Motivation to lose weight through cycling is fueled by the dual benefits of improving cardiovascular health and witnessing tangible weight loss results. Engaging in cycling allows individuals to set and achieve performance goals, such as longer distances or faster times, which directly correlate with caloric burn and fat loss. Moreover, the sense of community and camaraderie in cycling groups and events provides an additional boost, encouraging consistent participation and commitment to a healthier lifestyle.

How to break a weight loss plateau through cycling?

To break a weight loss plateau through cycling, you can alter your cycling routine, incorporate interval training, and cross-train with other exercises. A weight loss plateau is a period where the body no longer loses weight, despite following a diet and exercise regimen. You can break the cycling to lose weight plateau by following the 3 methods below.

  • Change the intensity, duration, or terrain of your cycling routes to challenge your body in new ways
  • Integrate high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions into your cycling to elevate your heart rate and burn more calories
  • Cross-train with other exercises like strength training to develop muscle and increase your metabolic rate

How does cycling compare to other exercises for weight loss?

Cycling compared to other exercises for weight loss differs in calorie burn rate and muscle engagement. 

  • Running typically burns more calories than cycling at the same intensity due to full-body engagement, either running outdoor or treadmill running
  • Rope jumping even surpasses running in METs (Metabolic Equivalent of Task) and calorie burn rate for the same duration. 
  • Walking, although lower in calorie burn compared to cycling, provides less joint impact, making it suitable for many. 
  • Swimming engages the whole body and can burn as many or even more calories than cycling, depending on the intensity and stroke. 

Overall, while cycling offers a balanced combination of calorie burn and lower joint stress, each exercise has its unique benefits and calorie burn rates.

Cycling vs. rope jumping vs. swimming vs. running vs. rowing vs. walking calorie burned

Cycling vs. Running for weight loss

Cycling burns fewer calories than running for weight loss because running engages more muscle groups and places more demand on the cardiovascular system. 

From our cycling calories calculator we know, if a person weighs 175 lb (79.38kg), for a general 30-minute moderate exercise session, the individual could burn 388.96 calories by running, while could burn 269.89 calories by cycling.

Cycling vs. Rope jumping for weight loss

Rope jumping burns more calories than cycling for weight loss because it demands a greater cardiovascular effort and involves the activation of more muscle groups. In a moderate 30-minute workout for a 175 lb individual, cycling burns approximately 269.89 calories, while rope jumping burns around 468.33 calories.

Cycling vs. Walking for weight loss

Cycling burns more calories than walking in general because it requires greater exertion and engages the muscles in a more intensive manner. A person who weighs 175 lb (79.38kg) burns 130.97 calories when walking moderately for 30 mins, while burns 269.89 calories when cycling moderate for 30 mins.

Cycling vs. Swimming for weight loss

Swimming burns more calories per hour than aerobics and cycling because it engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously and requires the body to use energy to maintain body temperature in the water. From our calories burned graph, a person weighs 175 lb (79.38kg), for a moderate half-hour exercise, the individual could burn 269.89 calories by cycling while burning 329.42 calories by Swimming.

Cycling vs. Rowing for weight loss

Rowing burns more calories than cycling at vigorous intensities (520.92 vs. 416.74 calories at 175 lbs for vigorous rowing and cycling, respectively), and engages more muscle groups with a higher afterburn effect due to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), but cycling at moderate to general intensities can burn more calories (312.55 for general cycling vs. 145.86 for general rowing at 175 lbs), making both effective for creating a calorie deficit and weight loss.

Equipment or gear to start cycling

Equipment or gear to start cycling are essential gears for safety and optimal performance, including a well-fitted helmet, cycling gloves, bike lights, padded shorts, reflective clothing, proper footwear, a water bottle, and a basic repair kit with tire levers, spare tubes, and a multi-tool.

Benefits and disadvantages of cycling

The benefits of cycling include aiding in weight loss, increasing muscle strength, flexibility, stamina, and enhancing balance and posture. It improves joint mobility, bone fortification, lung health, and immune system strength, while guarding against cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Cycling combats fatigue, boosts sexual well-being, mental health, and sleep quality, and even assists during pregnancy. It can extend lifespan, counter anxiety and depression, and heighten spatial awareness and creativity. Moreover, cycling offers opportunities for socialization, family bonding, efficient time usage, allows indulgence in guilt-free snacks post-ride, and contributes to reducing one’s carbon footprint.

The disadvantages of cycling include potentially triggering back pain, causing numbness or nerve damage, and exposing muscles to injury or cramps. It may lead to various health issues such as piles, prostate problems, knee pain, and even decrease bone density. Cycling might elevate stress on the heart, contribute to headaches, and increase the risk of injuries from road accidents. Exposure to air and noise pollution, the expenses involved, and the time it takes can be downsides. Weather changes and physical conditions can be frustrating, while distance limitations and storage concerns can be restrictive. Additionally, worries about bike theft, feelings of self-doubt or loneliness, and the environmental impact of bike production are concerns.