Indoor cycling workouts are excellent for burning calories and losing weight. However, not understanding the relation of sustainable weight loss with exercise bikes will only bring your body back to square one.

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.

But that doesn’t mean you have to do the same biking routine over and over. The right exercise equipment and techniques are also important to sustainable weight loss.

So, let’s understand sustainable weight loss further and find out how exercise bikes can help you achieve this goal.

What is Sustainable Weight Loss?

Sustained or long-term weight loss is a fitness process of burning calories and fat without regaining them.

It’s the opposite of extreme diets and intense workout routines that solely focus on making you lose weight quickly and, perhaps, temporarily. Think of sustainable weight loss as a laid-back fitness journey rather than an overnight trip.

Its primary goal is to introduce healthy habits gradually, giving your body time to learn and adapt them for life. That means you’ll be losing weight slowly but surely and healthily.

Instead of just making you lose weight, this concept is also more about holistic health improvement. For instance, a study in 2021 showed that sustained weight loss among obese individuals experienced more clinical benefits, like lower incidents of osteoarthritis.

A 2001 research also linked sustained moderate weight loss to low risks of chronic degenerative diseases related to excess body fat.

Another study in 2022 also associated sustainable weight loss with delayed onset of cardiometabolic conditions, like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia.

What is Sustainable Weight Loss

Exercise is crucial in achieving long-term weight loss. Its role is to help you burn calories and build muscle.

As mentioned, sustainable weight loss is a slow process. That means the best exercise for this is something that you love doing and can maintain over time. It can be any activity that keeps you moving. It could be walking, hiking, swimming or cycling. Ideally, choose an exercise you can do for at least 30 minutes five days a week.

Combining your favourite cardio with strength training, like free-weight exercises or weightlifting, is also ideal for sustainable weight loss. These additional activities can increase muscle mass, boost metabolic rate, and encourage the after-burn effect.

That way, you’ll continue burning calories even while you are resting.

How Can You Best Achieve Sustainable Weight Loss Using Exercise Bikes?

We know that exercises for sustained weight loss should be doable and enjoyable. They should effectively burn calories and build muscles, too. If indoor cycling is your favourite activity, how can you integrate long-term weight loss into your workout sessions?

Here are some helpful tips.

1. Choose the right exercise bike

Two factors make an exercise bike suitable for sustainable weight loss. One is it’s a bike that lets you burn plenty of calories. Next, it’s a bike you enjoy using.

All types of exercise bikes can help you lose weight but there a two bike types that I consider the best when it comes to burning calories.

Air Bike

The first one is the air assault bike. This bike model is easy to spot because of its distinct fan blade, which spins as you pedal. One reason why it’s good for sustained weight loss is its infinite resistance.

Unlike other bike types with fixed tension levels, air bikes depend on your pedalling speed and effort for resistance. The faster you pedal, the harder your workout. That means you can keep working out hard as your fitness level improves using the same machine.

Most airbike models also have movable handles. You can move these back and forth while pedalling, giving you a full-body workout. With your upper and lower body involved, you work on more muscles and burn plenty of calories.

Spin Bike

The spin bike is another exercise bike I recommend for sustainable weight loss. This one may not allow full-body workouts. However, it can simulate outdoor cycling to encourage higher body muscle activation. You can also try standing up and riding a spin bike as if cycling uphill or moving its pedal backwards.

Check out this air vs spin bike comparison article to learn more.

Best Exercise Bikes for Sustainable Weight Loss

2. Work out with a wearable heart rate monitor

Consistent cycling workouts contribute to successful weight loss. However, if you want optimum results and continuous progress, you’ll want to exercise within your heart rate zone.

Exercising within your heart rate zone ensures you work out enough to burn calories and fat. More importantly, it keeps your heart in check and prevents you from overstressing your body during exercise.

You can learn how to compute your heart rate zone here.

Most exercise bike models now have built-in pulse monitors for heart rate tracking. You can also use a separate chest strap or wrist monitor for this if your exercise bike does not feature a built-in pulse monitor.

Aside from heart monitors, it also helps to use a smart scale and know relevant body composition metrics to track your weight loss progress.

3. Change up your cycling workouts

Monotonous and unchallenging routines will make you less motivated to stay physically active. Our bodies do not like repetitive exercises either. When we keep doing the same workouts, the body does not burn calories as much as it used to, and our progress plateaus.

So, what do we do? Do a different workout every week or two and keep your body guessing!

Do you notice how your body becomes less sore a few weeks after trying a new exercise? It’s a sign that your body already knows your routine and is no longer exerting as much effort. Avoid this by stretching your cycling time, pedalling faster, or going one resistance level higher.

Instead of sticking to 30-minute steady-state biking, try a 20-minute high-intensity training or 45-minute moderate cycling on some days. Check online workout channels or see what biking technique is trending on social media.

Also, make the most of your bike’s built-in programs and features to add variety to your cycling sessions.

4. Do HIIT on your exercise bike

Once you get past the beginner biking stage, the next step is to ramp up your workout intensity. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one way to do this.

Applying HIIT in your cycling sessions means performing short bursts of intense pedalling followed by a minute or less of active recovery. This biking style not only boosts your heart for a higher caloric burn. It also puts your body in aerobic mode to increase fat metabolism.

Including HIIT in your exercise bike workout will surely help with sustainable weight loss. However, HIIT is not for cycling novices as it requires considerable stamina. These steps and tips on stationary bike interval training should get you ready.

HIIT Cycling for Sustainable Weight Loss

5. Always warm up and cool down

This one’s a given but often disregarded. Remember that sustained weight loss requires consistency. Forgetting to warm up and cool down during exercise bike workouts can gravely affect sustainable weight loss progress.

For example, injuring yourself during HIIT cycling will get you sidelined. Long recovery periods make it harder for the body to get back on track.

So, no matter your biking workout for the day, always start with a 3 to 5-minute warm-up to elevate your heart rate and body temperature. Cycle at a comfortable pace before ramping up your cadence or resistance level. Then, cap your session with a 1 to 2-minute cool-down to bring your heart rate and breathing back to normal.

You can also opt for off-bike light stretching to prep your leg muscles or use a massage gun before and after exercise. Check out these quick-fix solutions to soothe muscle pain and prep your body for the next day’s workout.

6. Incorporate upper-body exercises into your cycling routine

One of the downsides of using exercise bikes for sustainable weight loss is that most of the work goes to your leg muscles.

Unless you are on an air bike, most indoor cycles neglect the upper body, which limits your weight loss progress. Counter these problems with strength training workouts between your cycling sessions.

Perform squats, lunges, bench presses and pull-up exercises to build muscles and work your upper body. If you have a pair of dumbbells, resistance bands or medicine balls at home, you can also try some arm exercises while pedalling on a stationary bike.

Bottom Line on Sustainable Weight Loss with Exercise Bikes

No one wants to lose weight and gain them back within a few months. So, if you aim to keep the weight off for good, stay away from quick fixes and temporary solutions.

Go for a longer but more fulfilling fitness journey instead with sustainable weight loss and your trusty exercise bike. Be patient and, as they say, enjoy the ride! Give your body time to embrace a permanently active and healthy you.

Cycling Workouts and Strength Straining

1. What exercise bike workout is best for fat loss?

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) on an exercise bike is the best workout for burning body fat. With HIIT, you increase your metabolism and oxygen uptake, pushing your body to burn fat faster. Just remember to start gradually, be patient and do not overdo it. Limit your HIIT cycling workouts to 2-3 times weekly to give your body enough time to recover.

2. Does an exercise bike help with belly fat?

Riding an exercise bike can help with your belly fat problem. But no fitness equipment can spot reduce the fat from your belly. The key to trimming your waistline is to lose excess weight first through regular exercise and a healthy diet.