Road cycling is a fun, outdoor exercise that can help you reach your weight-loss goals. Weight loss is achieved through a combination of diet and exercise that creates a daily calorie-deficit. Road cycling within specific cadence ranges burns a high number of calories which helps burn calories and contributes to your weight loss.
Down and Out
Often it seems that the number on the scale refuses to go down. The only way weight loss occurs is when you create a negative calorie balance, or a calorie deficit. You can do this in one of two ways or a combination of both: eat less and move more. First, you must establish how many calories are required to maintain your current weight. The easiest way to approximate this is to add a zero to your weight. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, your daily calorie intake should be approximately 1600 and you should eat within this limit. Next, estimate how many calories you burn doing daily activities such as house-cleaning, shopping and walking to your office. Subtract these from your daily minimum calories as a baseline from which you can determine your necessary cycling duration to lose weight.
On Your Way
Calculate the amount of time you need to spend on the bike by estimating how much weight you want to lose. Each pound of weight loss is equal to 3,500 calories, which can add up to many miles on the road. According to the American Council on Exercise, a 160-pound person burns approximately 7.3 calories each minute when cycling at 10 miles per hour. A 10-mph pace requires a moderate cycling cadence. If your goal is to lose one pound a week, you need to lessen your daily calorie minimum by 500 each day. A 30-minute ride, burns approximately 250 calories. If your daily activities, and a reduction in incoming calories equals another 250 calories, you will lose one pound a week.
Round and Round
The cycling cadence is equal to the number of times the wheel spins in a minute. These revolutions per minute, RPM, are given a numerical rating such as 60 or 80. A 60 RPM pace is slow and steady and often used when cycling uphill. Cadence ranges between 80 and 100 are often used for flat-road cycling using a light gear. If you are a beginner, you may find yourself cycling near the 60 RPM range regardless of the terrain. As your endurance and leg muscle fibers develop, you will increase your RPM to cover more distance.
Your aim is to burn fat for fuel during your road cycling. After you burn off stored glycogen, fat supplies the fuel. A high calorie-burning cadence is one that is near the higher range, such as 100 to 110 RPM, and is performed in a low gear with not a lot of resistance. This ensures that you are able to maintain your workout for an extended duration to burn fat calories and add to your weight loss.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, weight-loss results are more readily seen when you increase your cycling duration to 60 minutes on most days of the week. The workout time should be within a moderate to high intensity level which is measured by cadence and heart rate. Your cycling cadence should put you within a target heart-rate range that is between 65 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. When you exercise at this level, you burn calories. To calculate your target heart rate, subtract your age from 220 and multiply the result by 65 and 85 percent.
- Spinning: Your Target Heart Rate Range
- The Cyclist's Training Manual: Fitness and Skills for Every Rider; Guy Andrews and Simon Doughty
- ExRx.net: Aerobic Exercise Guidelines for Specific Goals
- American Council on Exercise: Fit Facts: Calorie Burners: Activities That Turn Up The Heat
- Spinning: Cadence Ranges
- Winning After Losing: Keep Off the Weight You'e Lost-- Forever--; Stacey Halprin