Want to Lose Weight by Biking? Here's Your 7-Day Kickstart Guide

LIVESTRONG.com may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Pair this week-long biking plan to lose weight with some savvy diet tweaks to see lasting results.
Image Credit: kali9/E+/GettyImages

Exercise is key for burning calories and helping you reach your weight-loss goal. And bicycling can be a solid workout, since you can adapt it for your current fitness level and ramp things up over time.

Weight loss ultimately comes down to burning more calories than you take in. Any kind of workout can help you make that happen, of course. But bicycling is especially good for a number of reasons: You can tailor workouts to meet your needs, so it's great for total beginners and seasoned exercisers alike. And since it's low-impact, there's less risk for achy joints.

Curious exactly how many calories you burn during your workouts? Download the MyPlate app for a more accurate and customized estimate.

That's where these bicycling weight-loss workouts come in. We tapped certified personal trainer and health coach Angela Foster to design a seven-day kickstart plan that's perfect for beginners — but can easily be adjusted to become more intense.

Even at the starter level, you can expect to burn up to 600 calories per day and lose 1 to 3 pounds in a week, assuming you're also taking steps to clean up your diet.

Ready to get started? Let's go.

The Plan: 7 Bicycling Workouts for Weight Loss

Foster's plan offers up a mix of interval training, VO2 max training and recovery rides to help you maximize your calorie burn and increase your stamina without burning yourself out.

You can do these workouts on a stationary or outdoor bicycle. The key is maintaining the right pace: The simplest way to do that is by paying attention to how hard it feels like you're exerting yourself — and maintaining that pace until it's time to slow down or speed up.

A final pro tip to keep in mind: You'll boost your fat-burning even more by doing the recovery workouts in a fasted state, before breakfast, Foster says. "To amplify the effects further, have black coffee or green tea before your ride."

Day 1: Interval Training

  • 0:00 to 10:00 minutes: Warm up at an easy pace.
  • 10:00 to 10:30 minutes: Cycle as hard and fast as you can possibly push yourself.
  • 10:30 to 14:30 minutes: Recover at an easy pace.
  • Repeat hard and easy cycles 4 to 6 more times, ending with recovering at an easy pace.

Day 2: VO2 Max Training

  • 0:00 to 10:00 minutes: Warm up at an easy pace.
  • 10:00 to 14:00 minutes: Cycle hard enough where talking is difficult, like you could only say one word before catching your breath.
  • 14:00 to 18:00 minutes: Recover at an easy pace.
  • Repeat hard and easy cycles 4 more times, ending with recovering at an easy pace.

Day 3: Recovery Ride

  • 0:00 to 5:00 minutes: Warm up at an easy pace.
  • 5:00 to 25:00 minutes: Cycle at a moderate, conversational pace.
  • 25:00 to 30:00 minutes: Cool down at an easy pace.

Day 4: Interval Training

  • 0:00 to 10:00 minutes: Warm up at an easy pace.
  • 10:00 to 10:30 minutes: Cycle as hard and fast as you can possibly push yourself.
  • 10:30 to 14:30 minutes: Recover at an easy pace.
  • Repeat hard and easy cycles 4 to 6 more times, ending with recovering at an easy pace.

Day 5: Interval Training

  • 0:00 to 10:00 minutes: Warm up at an easy pace.
  • 10:00 to 11:00 minutes: Cycle hard enough where talking is difficult, like you could only say one word before catching your breath.
  • 11:00 to 13:00 minutes: Recover at an easy pace.
  • Repeat hard and easy cycles 9 more times, ending with recovering at an easy pace.

Day 6: Endurance Recovery Ride

  • 0:00 to 5:00 minutes: Warm up at an easy pace.
  • 5:00 to 55:00 minutes: Cycle at a moderate, conversational pace.
  • 55:00 to 60:00 minutes: Cool down at an easy pace.

Day 7: Interval Training

  • 0:00 to 10:00 minutes: Warm up at an easy pace.
  • 10:00 to 10:30 minutes: Cycle as hard and fast as you can possibly push yourself.
  • 10:30 to 14:30 minutes: Recover at an easy pace.
  • Repeat hard and easy cycles 4 to 6 more times, ending with recovering at an easy pace.

Related Reading

Make the Workouts More Intense

You can use Foster's schedule for more than just a week, of course. But as your stamina improves and the original plan starts to feel easier, make adjustments to keep things challenging. "If you keep performing the same workouts your body will quickly adapt and limit your results," Foster says. "Mixing things up every two to three weeks can help you avoid that."

You can make things harder by:

  • Adding hill climbs by raising the resistance on a stationary bike, or cycling up hills on an outdoor bike.
  • Shortening the rest periods between intervals.
  • Changing up the length of your intervals. Try 4 minutes of hard work, 20 seconds of all-out sprinting and 10 seconds of recovery, repeated up to 8 times, for example.

Related Reading

Remember to Eat Right, Too

It's tough to lose weight through exercise alone. To really make progress, you'll also need to tackle your diet. If you cut 500 calories a day, you'll be down 3,500 calories in a week, which roughly translates to losing a pound of fat, per the Mayo Clinic.

That might sound like a lot of calories to slash, but don't be intimidated: Making small dietary changes throughout the day can add up to real progress.

Try things like:

  • Trimming your portions: Save a few bites at each meal or snack, or experiment with using smaller plates and bowls.
  • Picking foods that are low in calories — but more filling: Salads and broth-based soups, for instance, take up lots of space in your stomach for relatively fewer calories.
  • Save treats for once in a while: You definitely don't need to swear off dessert for good. Just splurge less often — say, once or twice a week — and keep your portions small.

Related Reading

references
Show Comments