OK, the health benefits of cycling are well-documented – higher muscular strength and cardiovascular fitness levels, better blood circulation and yes, effective weight loss.
This last benefit is a particularly important one, given that those of us a little overweight are more statistically likely to develop a whole host of ailments ranging from diabetes and high blood pressure to kidney failure and heart disease. So yes, keeping the pounds off is vital in a world that seems intent on feeding us food that is ever higher in fats and sugar.
One of the most effective and efficient ways to burn those nasty, evil calories is with a bicycle – and an even better way of losing those pounds during the winter months is with an indoor bike trainer. Indoor trainers are superb in assisting you squeeze in fat-burning workouts whenever you can, regardless of what the elements are throwing at us outside.
We’ve dug a little deeper into this topic ourselves, as we’ve been down the road of trying to effectively lose weight, so here are THREE killer tips that worked for us and will hopefully do the same for you if you’re looking to turn your saggy waistline into a solid six-pack.
TIP 1: Exercise at 50-60% of your maximum capacity
Imagine a spectrum that measures physical effort from levels 1 to 10, 1 being a slow stroll and 10 being “so exhausted you can barely walk”.
It may seem intuitive to cycle at levels 8 to 10 as they would appear to be the most effective in burning calories.
However, the “effectiveness” of a given workout depends on your fitness goals. Cycling at high intensity may be good for building cardiovascular fitness, but if fat-burning is your aim, it’s best to cycle at low to moderate intensity (somewhere between levels 4 to 6).
A good gauge is whether you can maintain a conversation throughout the session. This encourages your body to burn lipids rather than muscle and as an added bonus, leaves you less sore the next day so you can work out more often for faster results.
A golden tip for ensuring your trainer helps in your quest to lose weight: tweak the resistance!
TIP 2: Try interval training
Interval training involves alternating high and low intensity training within a single workout.
That could involve a 30 second sprint on your indoor trainer, followed by a minute of brisk strolling (say at level 4 on the spectrum we discussed above). This 90-second workout forms a single interval. If you perform 10 to 15 of these intervals in one training session, your fat-burning engine is sent into overdrive.
According to studies, HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is far more efficient at fat-burning because it sends your metabolism through the roof for up to 24 hours after your workout, ensuring your body is constantly zapping away at your excess fat.
TIP 3: Mix it up!
Invest in a decent indoor bike trainer that comes with adjustable resistance (even better, go with one of these and never worry about resistance again!), as this will give you a myriad of options with which to vary your training.
After a few weeks of interval training, your body might adjust and your weight loss might start to plateau. Switch it up with long endurance sessions at very high resistance but low speeds. Keep your body guessing, and you’ll consistently get results with your fat loss goals.
With these 3 killer tips and a trusty bike trainer, that extra tire will be gone in no time at all!
Good Luck and Happy Riding!
See Also: The 5 BEST bike trainers of 2017