Exercise bike workouts can help to boost your metabolism or burn calories. The more you move your body, the more calories you burn daily, and the better your weight loss progress will be.
Sounds easy, right? You only need to exercise regularly to keep your metabolism up and lose weight.
But at some point in your weight loss journey, you’ll notice that you are no longer progressing as quickly. What’s going on?
The relationship between metabolism and exercise is not as linear as you think.
So, let’s understand how metabolism works exactly and learn what you should do to keep your exercise bike workouts effective for your metabolic health.
What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is multiple chemical processes in the body to keep it functioning. These processes include food digestion, respiration, cell repair, and temperature regulation.
All of these require energy, which the body derives from food. Here’s how the body distributes the food or energy we give it:
- Resting or basal metabolic rate. The body uses about 50-80% of its daily energy intake to keep its systems working. That means your body burns calories to keep your heart beating, blood flowing, and more.
- Thermogenesis or thermic effect of food. The body uses about 5-10% of your total energy intake to digest the food that you eat and transport, absorb, and store nutrients.
- Physical activity energy expenditure. The body also uses energy to power your workouts and other daily activities like vacuuming, cooking, or walking the dog. And doing 30 to 45 minutes of moderate-intensity activities equates to 20% of your total energy use.
Is Exercise Essential in Boosting Metabolism?
Based on how metabolism works, it is clear that physical activity keeps your energy pie chart balanced.
Its contribution may be small, but it is indispensable. If you take exercise out of the equation, your body will end up with excess energy from the food you eat.
The body stores this extra energy as fat that is harder to burn (Journal of Advances in Physiology Education 2021).
While fat has multiple functions, it can quickly accumulate and lead to obesity and other health issues.
Some people try to compensate for their lack of exercise with lower food intake. Others also fall prey to various fad diets to speed up weight loss.
However, these don’t work either. Research findings show that drastically lowering your calorie or food intake slows your metabolism (Muller & Bosy-Westphal 2013).
That’s because when you do this, your body’s natural response is to switch on starvation mode or adaptive thermogenesis.
This mode means your body will start adjusting its energy consumption based on what little food you provide.
And that’s not good because, with low metabolism, you don’t burn calories efficiently, making it even harder to lose weight and keep it off. Add to that are the other harmful effects of very low-calorie diets.
These point to one conclusion: if you want to boost your metabolism, enough exercise and a balanced diet should go hand in hand.
Are Exercise Bike Workouts Effective in Boosting Metabolism?
Moderate-intensity cycling for 30 minutes boosts your metabolism as it can burn 210 to 294 calories.
Combining this with a healthy diet plus energy expenditure from your other daily tasks is enough to stimulate weight loss.
One study by Morville et. al. in 2018 even found that endurance exercise, in the form of cycling sessions, boosts the FGF21 metabolic hormone better than resistance training.
FGF21 (fibroblast growth factor 21) is a vital metabolic regulator (Frontiers in Pharmacology 2022). Keep in mind that the number of calories people burn varies. This is due to factors like gender, genetics, age, and current weight affect your metabolic rate.
At some point, these factors will naturally slow down your metabolism and affect your weight loss progress. Experts call this fitness plateau or a condition where your body burns fewer calories and is no longer as responsive to your exercise routine.
Moderate exercise bike workouts may be effective for metabolism and an excellent starting point for your weight loss journey. However, changing your cycling duration and intensity is also essential to keep your metabolic rate high.
Which Exercise Bike Workout is Best to Keep Metabolism Up?
Our bodies are smart cookies. They can eventually adapt to our regular exercise routines.
Once the body no longer finds these activities challenging, it lowers its energy use in response. After all, less energy is necessary for too-easy exercises, but that also means fewer calories burned and slower weight loss progress.
But don’t be discouraged. There are ways to turn this around.
One of which is through metabolic training. Others also call this metabolic conditioning or MetCon.
It works by adjusting relevant variables, including exercise intensity, duration, and rest periods, for more impact on the cardiovascular and metabolic systems.
In simpler terms, it is a technique where you keep your body guessing. You make your workouts harder and, in turn, trigger the body to use extra energy.
The best part? You can easily incorporate these into your exercise bike workouts to boost your metabolism.
How Should You Add Metabolic Training to Your Cycling Routine?
You can mix metabolic training into your indoor cycling workout schedule in two ways.
One is by doing a standalone metabolic cycling workout for 30 minutes or less. The other is incorporating it at the middle or end of a long cycling session.
Either way, see to it you only do it twice or thrice a week to give your body enough recovery time. You don’t have to perform a high-level metabolic workout if you are not ready yet.
Some also feel intimidated by this challenging workout, thinking only experienced riders can pull it off.
You can always start in shorter durations to get a feel of it. Once you feel tired or your body begins to ache, that’s your sign to stop. Treat this as your body’s limit, and stay here until you’re ready to progress.
Some also counter metabolic training hesitancy with group workouts. High-intensity exercises seem more doable and fun when you do them with others.
Check out this step-by-step guide to start your metabolic cycling sessions right.
What are the Other Ways to Boost Your Metabolism?
Boosting your metabolism is not limited to bike workouts and balanced meals. You can also incorporate better lifestyle habits and food choices to optimise your metabolic rate.
Here are some of them:
- Get enough sleep every night. Health experts recommend 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. That’s because sleep deprivation not only affects your productivity and decision-making ability. Research also shows that it affects your hunger and appetite hormones, encouraging you to eat more than required.
- Wake up early. This tip means you have no excuse to skip breakfast. A balanced, healthy brekkie stimulates your metabolism after the overnight fast. Also, being an early bird lets you squeeze in a few minutes of morning exercise, boosting your metabolic rate further.
- Eat small, frequent meals. Three meals a day may be the norm. But you can also eat five to six meals in smaller portions. This eating habit is excellent in controlling hunger. And giving your body a steady stream of energy keeps your metabolism up.
- Add high-calcium dairy foods to your diet. A study by Ilich et. al. in 2019 shows that calcium can boost your basal metabolic rate and weight loss. So, enjoy more yogurt, milk, and low-fat cheeses or take calcium supplements.
- Have more metabolism-boosting foods and beverages. Some natural foods have properties that can increase your metabolic rate and fat loss. Examples are green and oolong tea, coffee, full-fat Greek yogurt, olive oil, and chilli peppers.
- Stay hydrated. In a 2013 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, researchers found that participants who drank 2 cups of water 30 minutes before meals had BMI and body composition score reductions. Health experts linked this finding to thermogenesis, where the body starts generating heat to warm the fluid taken in and regulate body temperature.
Final Words on Boosting Metabolism with Exercise Bike Workouts
Exercise bike workouts can boost your metabolism, no doubt. It’s a doable and fun aerobic exercise that can add to your total energy expenditure, resulting in weight loss.
However, the metabolic rate varies from person to person. It can slow down due to several uncontrollable factors. So, boosting your metabolism should not stop at doing moderate workouts with your reliable exercise bike.
You should also level things up and incorporate metabolic training into your cycling sessions. With more intense exercises, you keep your metabolism up and avoid the dreaded fitness plateau.
And don’t forget: eat, hydrate, and sleep right daily for appetite control and optimum metabolism.
1. Can exercise bikes help with sustainable weight loss?
The key to keeping the excess weight off and staying fit is to do physical activities, like cycling, that you enjoy. That’s because sustaining weight loss is all about committing yourself to a long-term active lifestyle. Using the right stationary bike, working out within your heart rate zone, changing up your workouts, and doing HIIT are some effective techniques.
2. Which is better for weight loss: air or spin bike?
Exercising with either an air or spin bike can help you lose weight. Air assault bikes have infinite resistance and moveable handlebars, allowing you to burn calories efficiently. On the other hand, spin bikes are ideal for extended and precise workout routines. The choice then depends on your preference.
3. Which exercise bike workout is ideal for burning fat?
Body fat is harder to burn and needs higher physical exertion. This explains why HIIT on an exercise bike is the best workout for burning fat. With interval training, you significantly increase your metabolism and oxygen uptake, forcing your body to burn fat faster.
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