The most exciting part of your fitness journey is working out with a high-quality exercise bike and seeing the results of your hard work. However, you might be asking, what’s the best way to track exercise bike workout progress?
Taking full-body photos or checking how your clothes fit is a popular and, not to mention, fun method. Some prefer a more detailed and tangible approach, like analysing workout metrics and doing various self-assessment tests.
All these are equally effective in helping you stick to your indoor cycling routine, and it’s really up to you which tracking strategy to use.
To help you further, I’ve rounded up a few techniques to try and incorporate into your monitoring plan.
Explore these methods to see which one works best.
- Establish and Record Your SMART Workout Goals
- Take Body Measurements
- Use a Fitness Tracker or App
- Put Your Body to a Test
- Snap Before-and-After Photos
- Check How Old Clothes Fit
- Final Thoughts
- FAQs About Tracking Your Exercise Bike Workouts
Establish and Record Your SMART Workout Goals
If you prefer the traditional note-taking method to track your exercise bike workout progress, this one is for you.
This technique needs a pen and notebook or a gadget for digital journaling.
Three things should be present in your journal: your SMART goal, the steps to take to achieve it, and finally, the result or fitness outcome.
SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals. So, let’s say your goal is “to lose 1 kg through moderate cycling in 3 weeks”.
With this agenda, pair it with doable steps. You can go as detailed as you like. However, I recommend the following info:
- Date and time. Make a calendar for your SMART goal and plot your starting time and monitoring date. Adding a timestamp to your journal entry can help you compare and tweak your workouts based on the results and overall experience.
- Type of exercise. Note the speed, intensity, and other aspects of your indoor cycling workout for evaluation later. You can also indicate your recovery and supplementary activities or training performed for the day.
- Diet. Remember that exercise and good eating habits go hand in hand. So, keep a record of your meals and snacks, too.
As for measuring the results, it can be as simple as taking body measurements, doing weigh-ins every two weeks, or checking how your clothes fit.
Make sure to plan this along with your workout plan and that the method you’ll use complements your fitness goal.
Take Body Measurements
So, you’ve decided to track your exercise bike workout progress by measuring your body. The question is, how should you do it?
What tools do you need, and how often should you take your body measurements?
Here are some methods you can try.
1. Measure your BMI
A scale is perhaps everyone’s go-to for monitoring exercise-related weight loss. Ideally, do your weigh-ins in the morning once a week.
Also, use the restroom before weighing yourself, and follow the same weigh-in schedule for easy comparison.
Put on as little clothing as possible and wear the same thing every weigh-in time.
Make sure the scale is on a flat and even surface, too. Then, step on the scale barefoot.
Once you get your weight, I recommend measuring further by computing your body mass index (BMI).
This metric describes your weight status (i.e., normal, overweight) based on height.
You can use the BMI calculator of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for this.
Alternatively, a digital smart scale can measure your BMI and other weight loss metrics.
2. Compute your WHR
Another recommended measuring technique is the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR).
Aside from weight loss, this metric can also give you a picture of your overall health.
To compute, enter your waist and hip circumference on the WHR calculator. The result should be 0.9 or less for men and 0.85 or less for women.
Higher values than these indicate a higher risk for heart disease and other chronic ailments.
3. Check your BP
Your heart health is directly affected by your physical activity level, food intake, and other stress factors.
So, it’s only practical to measure your blood pressure (BP) when tracking your exercise bike workout progress.
It’s a metric similar to WHR, where monitoring goes beyond physical health.
This American Heart Association article has the details you need for proper BP reading and interpretation.
Use a Fitness Tracker or App
Letting technology track one’s fitness progress is perhaps the preferred choice of today’s indoor cyclists.
Most modern exercise bikes have built-in computers to display real-time speed, distance, calories burned, and other workout metrics for convenient monitoring.
Make sure you understand what these console features mean, though. That way, you can maximise the data and use them for cycling workout improvement.
Some exercise bikes also have built-in touchscreens, allowing you to work out with a compatible or your preferred fitness app.
These apps can work with an external device like a chest strap or a smartwatch, too.
The most popular fitness apps to date are iFit and Peloton.
Both have extensive program options and features to help you track your exercise bike workout progress.
Check out our iFit vs Peloton comparison article if you are keen on either for monitoring.
Put Your Body to a Test
Performing the same indoor cycling program will start to feel easy over time.
It’s a sign that your body has become strong and no longer finds your current routine challenging.
When this happens, consider levelling up your workout. Try a short HIIT session, for example.
Were you able to finish it without difficulty? Does your body ache the day after?
If not, congratulations! It only means you are fitter and ready to take on more challenging workouts.
The squat test is another method to gauge your growing body strength.
On your first workout day, perform squats and evaluate how it feels. Ideally, squat in front of a mirror to observe your form, too.
Keep doing the squat test once every week to note significant developments.
Soon, you’ll notice that you can perform more reps effortlessly with a better-looking physique.
Snap Before-and-After Photos
Tracking your exercise bike workout progress is not all about numbers and exact measurements. Sometimes, it can be as relaxing and fun as taking selfies!
Looking at the mirror to check your body post-workout can be difficult without something to compare it with, right?
So, why not make your progress picture-taking a weekly habit?
Find a good spot at home with good lighting for your photoshoot.
Ideally, have your photos taken in the morning, capturing the same body angles or poses.
It’s best if you wear the same clothes or outfit for easy comparison, too. If you like, take videos of yourself instead.
Check How Old Clothes Fit
Do you have a pair of jeans that no longer fit? How about a favourite dress that feels tight around the arms and waist?
Using your clothes to measure progress may not give you exact numbers.
However, how you feel in your clothes is a telltale sign that your cycling workout is taking effect.
If you plan to use this technique, try to use the same piece of clothing or outfit.
Exercise results do not happen overnight, and it will take several weeks to a few months before you see significant development.
Don’t be discouraged, though. Stick to your indoor cycling sessions, and track your exercise bike workout progress.
Doing this allows you to celebrate health achievements, big or small.
More importantly, measuring your progress helps you redesign your workout to suit your growing fitness level.
Try one or two of the strategies mentioned in this post, then let your family and friends know about your progress.
Who knows, you might even inspire others to follow your workout style!
FAQs About Tracking Your Exercise Bike Workouts
1. Should I get an exercise bike with a tablet holder for workout tracking?
An exercise bike with a tablet holder is ideal if you plan to use a fitness app to track your workout progress. Moreover, a tablet makes it easy to diversify your cycling workouts and enhance your overall experience. Exercise bikes with device holders are typically less expensive than touchscreen-equipped models, too.
2. Which is better for heart rate monitoring: built-in sensors on exercise bikes or external trackers?
Generally, external heart rate monitors trump built-in pulse sensors in terms of accuracy and ease of use. However, the choice also depends on your workout type and preference. For example, a chest strap is better for intense exercises. Electrical-based trackers are ideal for more accurate readings. On the other hand, wrist-worn trackers that double as a smartwatch offer better value for money.
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