A stationary bike is a favourite equipment choice for losing weight. It’s easy to use and adjustable to different fitness levels. And you only need 30 minutes a day on an exercise bike to start losing the extra pounds.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, 30 minutes of moderate stationary bicycling can burn 210 to 294 calories, depending on body weight. You also burn more calories when you shift to a vigorous pace. Either of these modes can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
However, your biking workout needs to be consistent for weight loss.
Also, progress is more significant if you optimise your routine and complement it with a balanced diet.
Here are the details you need to know to cycle your way to successful weight loss.
How can Exercise Bikes Help with Weight Loss?
Spending 30 minutes a day on an exercise bike results in weight loss as your body uses energy during cycling.
But the number of calories you burn is different from others.
That’s because several factors affect your caloric expenditure. For instance:
- Heavier people burn more calories. An 80-kg person naturally has more calories to burn than a 55-kg individual.
- Intense or extended workouts result in higher caloric burn. Faster cycling boosts your heart rate, causing you to take in more oxygen. In turn, your metabolism speeds up, too. You also get a similar effect when you exercise in prolonged sessions or increase the resistance level of your bike.
- Burning more calories than you eat is key to weight loss success. Lifestyle changes go hand in hand with exercise. Switching to a healthier diet, for example, can make your calorie-burning workout more effective.
How Often Should I Use the Exercise Bike?
Let’s answer this question by first identifying how many calories and weight we have to lose every week.
Health professionals suggest a daily calorie deficit of 500 calories to achieve an ideal weight loss of 1 to 2 lbs weekly (or 0.5 to 0.9 kg).
These goals are easily achievable with regular physical activity and an adjusted caloric intake.
Specifically, you can start with a 30-minute exercise bike routine, five days a week to lose about 200 calories daily.
Make sure to allocate about two days of rest for your recovery.
The remaining calorie deficit requirement can come from your diet.
Combining these two can kick-start your weight loss program and help your body adjust.
Once you are used to this routine, keep your body challenged by extending your workout time or increasing exercise difficulty.
Either technique will ensure continuous weight loss and prevent fitness plateau.
How Can I Optimise My Exercise Bike Routine for Weight Loss?
Doing the same exercise bike routine for 30 minutes can be tiresome, though.
Eventually, it can affect your motivation as your weight loss rate begins to slow down.
Why not try one of these strategies to make your workouts more effective, challenging and fun?
1. Boost Your Cycling Speed or Resistance
Beginner indoor cyclists can start with a leisurely pace to let their bodies adjust. After a week or two, you have to start working out harder.
Remember, you burn more calories when you spend more physical effort. And you can do that by adjusting the speed or resistance of your stationary bike.
When you start feeling that your cycling workout is a little too easy for you, that only means you have better stamina to exercise more.
But keep your biking adjustments in small increments every two weeks or so.
Use your bike or heart monitor to keep track of the calories you burn each time you change your settings.
2. Try High-Intensity Interval Training
HIIT is a favourite exercise technique of many fitness enthusiasts, particularly those who cannot do hour-long workouts.
With interval training, you perform short bursts of intense exercise followed by a low-intensity active recovery.
And HIIT applies to most cardio machines like treadmills and ellipticals.
But if you are using a stationary bike, you can start with this:
- Warm up by cycling at a comfortable speed and resistance for 2 minutes.
- Crank your resistance and speed levels, then cycle or sprint as fast as you can for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Return to your original settings and cycle to recover for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Repeat the intense-to-low cycling pattern until you reach the 20 to 30-minute mark. Make sure to allocate about 2 to 3 minutes of cool down to cap your workout.
3. Check Your Built-In Cycling Workouts
If your exercise bike includes 30-minute workout programs, you can use them for your weight loss plan.
These help to achieve specific fitness goals such as building strength, losing weight, improving speed and more.
They are also categorised based on difficulty levels, making it easy for you to do progressive training.
Rather than create and perform personalised workouts every time, these built-in programs can save you time plus add variety to your routine.
Some modern models, like the NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Bike, also work with compatible apps with extensive workout libraries.
They offer live classes and global workouts to ensure every ride is unique.
4. Incorporate resistance or strength training
Cycling can tone your muscles as you burn calories and lose weight.
When you gain more lean muscles, your resting metabolic rate also increases. That means you continue burning calories even after your workout.
You can do strength or resistance training twice or thrice every week and target one or multiple muscle groups you prefer.
How can I Eat Better for Weight Loss?
You’ll reduce the efficacy of your 30-minute exercise bike routines if you do not modify your calorie intake.
But you don’t have to deprive yourself of a good meal.
All you need is to choose your food options wisely and enjoy them at the right time.
Here are a few dietary reminders to keep in mind to support your weight loss program.
Eat something before your biking session.
Your body needs fuel to withstand a good workout. So, eat a banana or toast 30 minutes before your early morning cycling routine.
For afternoon or evening sessions, have a snack with protein and carbs 1 to 2 hours before your ride.
Also, stay hydrated at all times. Your body needs sufficient water to keep your metabolism up.
Eat foods for muscle recovery post-workout.
After your biking session, your muscles need to restore their glycogen levels. You also need the amino acids from food for muscle repair.
So, eat some carbohydrates and protein an hour after your workout. Food should help your muscles recover for the next training session.
You’ll also need the food energy boost to keep your metabolism working.
Eat healthier food choices in controlled portions.
Indoor cycling can burn 200 to 400 calories. Its caloric burn level is high compared with other forms of exercise.
But that does not mean you can cycle, eat a lot and still lose weight.
If you eat more than your ideal caloric intake, you’ll only eliminate the calories you’ve burned during exercise.
You don’t have to starve yourself, though. The best way around it is to make better food choices.
You can also spread the usual three mealtimes into five or six but in smaller meal portions. That way, you stay full throughout the day and avoid overeating.
Exercising for 30 minutes on an exercise bike every day can help you lose weight.
But for optimum results, you can extend your exercise time or boost your workout intensity.
Strength training exercises and a good diet are equally essential, too. After all, losing excess weight and keeping it off need a holistic approach.
Lastly, have the perfect exercise bike type that you’ll enjoy using daily.
See to it that its built-in programs and adjustable features can support your weight loss success.
If you don’t want to spend half an hour on biking, then find out if a 20-minute exercise bike session is good enough to gain some benefits.
1. Does an exercise bike help with belly fat?
An indoor exercise bike can help burn calories. And cycling consistently eventually leads to fat burn and belly size reduction. This process takes time, though. But keep doing your moderate-intensity exercise routine. Also, add a strength training regimen to build more muscles and boost your caloric burn.
2. What are the health benefits of exercise bikes other than weight loss?
Stationary bikes are for cardio workouts. And so, aside from weight loss, these machines are ideal for improving cardiovascular fitness. These are also best for toning muscles, particularly boosting leg muscle strength. Some models, like recumbent bikes, can also help patients stay active while recovering from an injury or surgery.
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