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Indoor cycling is an excellent form of exercise that comes with a host of benefits that is great for your cardiovascular system and will absolutely shred fat in no time at all….as long as you maintain consistency.
Obviously one of the main details people want to see is how many calories you actually burn during an indoor cycling session.
Well, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration such as age, gender and height. However, as a universal estimate it basically comes down to 3 factors:
Well let’s take a look at some examples:
Say you weigh in at 150lbs and cycle for 45 minutes at mid intensity you can burn off a total of 462 calories.
Say you weigh in at 220lbs and cycle for 60 minutes at low intensity you can burn off a total of 735 calories.
Say you weigh in at 140lbs and cycle for 30 minutes at high intensity you can burn off a total of 342 calories.
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Your weight actually has a massive impact on how many calories you can burn when cycling. The more you weigh, the more energy it takes your body to function.
So this basically means a heavier person will burn more calories during an indoor cycling session than a lighter person will, making sure the length of the cycling session and intensity is the same.
If a heavier person stays consistent and is cycling regularly, they will start to burn off calories very quick. However, once the weight starts to drop the number of calories burned per minute will also drop as the body won’t need as much energy to burn those calories.
The calories burned per minute will eventually start to plateau, not entirely, you will continue to burn those calories but just over a longer period of time.
How Long You Are Cycling For
Depending on the intensity of your indoor cycling session is how you should base the length of your actual cycling session.
For example, if you are planning to cycle at high intensity you could cycle for around 30 minutes. If you are planning to cycle at low intensity you could cycle for 60 minutes.
What you don’t want to do is say to yourself, ‘Okay I’m going to cycle at high intensity today for 60 minutes to burn off that extra large margarita pizza I had last night’.
What will happen here is that you’ll go in with all good intentions but 60 minutes at high intensity will make you burn out quickly, you’ll be annoyed at yourself which will eventually demotivate you from getting back on the bike.
Just remember, the higher the intensity, the shorter the workout should be.
You can also mix it up though, with some high, mid and low intensity. You could cycle this way for around 45 minutes and get a very effective workout.
Intensity Of Your Indoor Cycle Session
It goes without saying, the greater the intensity – the more calories you will burn. An example of this could be using High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
Here is when your cycling should be performed in high effective bursts with a short slow cycle in between. This is to get your heart rate jacked up for intervals of between 30 to 60 seconds and a slow pace for around 15 to 30 seconds.
This is an excellent form of cardio that can be done very quickly if you don’t have much time.
You couldn’t do this type of cardio for 45 minutes or an hour long, this is only meant for 15 to 30 minutes at the most.
Example of Calories burned with HIIT
If you were to weigh 12 stone (168lbs) and cycle for 15 minutes at high intensity, you would burn 205 calories.
The long name for this is Low Intensity Steady State Cardio. It’s the opposite of HIIT.
This is where you are cycling at a low intensity over a longer period of time. This takes the heart rate longer to start pumping faster which in turn means it takes longer to burn off calories, however more calories you will burn.
This is a great way to cycle if your are just starting out on the bike and feel that you don’t quite have the endurance yet for HIIT. I would also recommend this form of cardio if you have an injury and in the process of rehabilitation.
LISS is also an excellent way of warming up and cooling down.
Example of Calories burned with LISS
If you were to weigh 12 stone (168lbs) and cycle for 60 minutes at low intensity, you would burn 561 calories.
Mixture of HIIT & LISS
I believe a good indoor cycling session should always incorporate a mixture of HIIT and LISS. It makes the cycle more realistic in the sense that if you were cycling outdoors, you are going to be cycling uphill, downhill or on the flat.
Indoor cycling should in some way reflect that type of training.
Not only is your heart rate pumping through the high intensity but allows it to drop down to a slower pace so you can catch a breathe again.
It also just makes the workout more enjoyable and keeps it interesting.
Spinning.com report that participants in their classes burn between 400-600 calories per hour. This is a mixture of low, mid and high intensities.
Example of Mixture of HIIT & LISS
If you were to weigh 12 stone (168lbs) and cycle for 45 minutes at low, mid and high intensity, you would burn around 528 calories.
Set Up and Posture
Indoor cycling isn’t just quite as simple as jumping on the bike and going ‘hell for leather’. You want to make sure that you have the correct set up and posture or else you could run the risk of injury.
Firstly, you need to fix the seat or saddle to your height. Adjust the saddle so its parallel with your hip.
Once your on the bike, you want to make sure your posture is good. Your knee should be over the ball of your foot with the other knee slightly bent.
This will keep you injury free and allow for a more effective but also comfortable cycle.
So, I hope this has helped and provided an understanding on how effective indoor cycling is at burning calories.
If you have any questions, please drop me a comment and I’ll make sure to get back to you.