To lose a pound of fat you'll need to burn about 3,500 calories. That may seem like a lot, but if you make cycling or running part of your routine you'll find it easier to reach this goal than you may think. Both running and cycling burn calories at about the same rate, but the exact rate varies with your weight and speed.
Slow But Steady
Running at an easy 12-minute-per-mile -- or 5 mph -- pace burns the same number of calories as cycling at a slow speed of 12 to 13.9 mph. If you weigh 125 pounds, either activity will burn about 240 calories in 30 minutes. If you weigh 155 pounds then you can expect to burn 298 calories with a half-hour workout. In 30 minutes these activities will each burn about 355 calories if you weigh 185 pounds.
If you can increase your speed, you'll burn more calories. Running at a faster 10-minute-per-mile -- or 6 mph -- pace burns the same number of calories as cycling at a slightly faster speed of 14 to 15.9 mph. If you weigh 125 pounds, you can burn around 300 calories with half an hour of either cardio workout. You'll burn about 372 calories if you weigh 155 pounds, and if you tip the scales at 185 pounds you can expect to burn about 444 calories per half hour.
Fast runners and cyclists burn close to the same number of calories. Cycling at a quick speed of 16 to 19 mph burns 360 calories in 30 minutes for a 125-pound individual. This same person will burn about 375 calories per half hour running at an 8-minute-per-mile pace -- or 7.5 mph. A 155-pound person burns about 446 calories from cycling at this speed or 465 from running at the faster pace. For a 185-pound individual, running burns about 555 calories and cycling burns 533.
Cycling at a fast speed of 20 mph burns the same number of calories as running at a fast 6-minute-per-mile -- or 10 mph -- pace. If you can sustain this speed for 30 minutes you'll burn 495 calories if you weigh 125 pounds. If you weigh 155 pounds, either activity will burn about 614 calories. If you weigh 185 pounds you can expect to burn 733 calories.