Cycling is one of the best fat burning training methods out there. Not only is it a great fat burning workout, but it tones muscles, increases endurance, and can be done indoors, outdoors…any day of the week.
Both indoor and outdoor cycling are aerobic exercises, so it promises to help you stomp out your risk of heart disease. The muscles in your quads, glutes, and calves work hard to get you moving, so you can expect some extra muscle tone, and fast! All that work will quickly raise your working AND resting metabolism, helping you burn more calories, even while you’re doing nothing.
When you ride, your feet never leave the pedals, so the pressure on your joints and bones is basically non-existant in this low impact exercise. Injury is usually limited to falling off the bike, hopefully not an issue with indoor cycling. The important thing is to be sure to wear a helmet to protect yourself EVERY TIME YOU RIDE.
Pracice Interval Training
Cycling is a fantastic endurance exercise where intervals can easily be incorporated. You can choose speed intervals, varying the resistance or simply standing vs. sitting to increase and decrease intensity.
Change the resistance on your bike ride faster or hit some small grade hills for 1-2 minutes before recovering. Match the time of your high interval and your recovery time, so you allow your legs a chance to rest.
Stand up while Riding
Standing while riding is also another way to get your heart thumping even harder. Try standing for a minute then sitting for a minute during the ride. An extra bonus keeps some of the pressure off your tailbone, too! Keep it interesting by combining a few standing rounds to your increased resistance intervals. Increase the resistance and ride standing for 30 seconds, then keep the resistance up and sit for the next 30.
Put the Pedal to the Metal
Speed up for 30 seconds to 1 minute and alternate another choice for your last 30. Incorporating the speed rounds will help the average woman incinerate about 350 calories per half hour!
Cycle Indoors and/or Outdoors
Both options have their benefits, although the calorie burn is essentially the same. Your choice may be based on practicality (don’t have a bike) or preference (there’s nothing like working out outside!).
Indoor cycling, or spinning, offers anytime, any day convenience, with NO equipment required, and no learning curve…just get on and ride! In the cardio room at your gym, you can choose an upright bike or a recumbent bike, where you sit back with legs in front of you. You can trade your helmet for your headphones indoors to keep yourself motivated, or even take a class where intervals are predetermined for you. Many indoor riders hunch when riding, so keep your back straight, shoulders in-line with hips, either sitting straight up, or in a straight line while you lean forward to the handlebars. Be sure to bring a towel. You are going to sweat like crazy on this one!
Although there may be a learning curve here for some riders, outdoor cycling is probably the most convenient exercise out there, assuming you know how to ride a bike! You can ride as exercise, but you can also incorporate transportation, and knock out your workout on your way to work. Ride to a farther grocery store when you’re just picking up a thing or two, or trade traffic for terrain during your morning and afternoon commute. After a little practice, you can probably handle even a long commute!
So get pedaling! If you’re new to the bikes, add 10-15 minutes to your established routine, and work your way up to 30 minutes, 2 or 3 times a week, and watch your fat melt away and your muscles get toned in no time!