Wondering whether indoor cycling will help you lose weight? You’re in the right place! We’re going to answer this question and more right here.
Is Indoor Cycling Good for Losing Weight?
Using stationary bikes is a great way to lose weight. With a high-intensity session, you could burn 600 calories or more! Plus, it will strengthen and build lean muscle in your lower body to improve your metabolism. Thus, shedding those pounds in no time at all.
Your diet plays a major role in how much weight you’ll actually lose but we’ll talk more about that later on.
The Benefits of Indoor Cycling For Weight Loss
#1 Improves Cardio Fitness
There’s no doubt about it — your heart will be pumping during indoor cycling sessions. This helps to improve your cardiovascular health by strengthening your heart, improving blood flow, and oxygenating your muscles more efficiently.
In turn, this can lower your stress levels, give you more energy, allow you to sleep better, and so much more.
#2 Melts Body Fat
If you couple your indoor cycling expeditions with a low-calorie workout, you will undoubtedly burn fat. The saying “abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym” couldn’t be more true here. As long as you eat fewer calories than you burn each day, you are going to shred your fat and lose the weight you desire.
#3 Low-Impact, High-Intensity Workout
The smooth movements that stationary bikes promote allow your bones and joints to strengthen without placing undue amounts of pressure onto them. This makes indoor biking a must for those of you with joint problems or past injuries.
However, that does not mean that it isn’t hard work. It is! You can pedal just as hard — if not harder — than you can when you run.
#4 Strengthens Lower Body
Indoor cycling works your hamstrings, quads, and calves but it can also work your glutes, core, and back muscles depending on which style of bike you’re riding and your posture.
If you decide to use a dual-action bike, you can work your shoulders, triceps, and biceps at the same time.
#5 Great for Interval Training
Interval training allows you to work super hard for one interval and switch to lower intensities for the next interval. This works to “trick” your body into burning more calories both on and off the bike. This only needs to be done a few times a week.
We will take a look at some specific stationary bike-based workouts you can try later on.
#6 Safer Than Outdoor Cycling
Going outside to cycle is lots of fun and provides fantastic exercise. However, there are various risks associated with this activity. Whether it’s unapologetic drivers, uneven road surfaces, or the weather, danger seems to always be near.
With inside cycling, there is nothing to worry about. You can blast the music without fear of being hit or caught in the rain.
How to Lose Weight With Indoor Cycling
So far we know that indoor cycling does help us lose weight and brings us a bunch of other benefits. But we need to dive a bit deeper into how to get the most weight loss out of this activity as possible.
#1 Eat Before and After Your Cycle
It’s true; there are benefits of working out on an empty stomach. However, indoor cycling can be incredibly intense so it’s a good idea to give your body some fuel. This is the only way you’ll be able to experience all the benefits of your cycling workout.
If you’re not sure what to eat beforehand, try one of the following:
- A slice of toast and jam
- A banana
- A small portion of wholegrain cereal
- An apple and almond butter
#2 Switch and Split
Interval training is the best way to boost your metabolism and get that heart rate going. It’s far more effective at burning calories than pedaling at a steady pace for 45 minutes.
However, it’s important to switch your workout for something new now and again. Why?
Because over time, your body will become accustomed to the activity and you won’t get as many weight-loss benefits as you did initially. A good idea is to switch between strength, race, interval, and endurance rides.
#3 Resistance Is Your Friend
You’ve probably heard this before but, the more muscle, the higher your metabolic rate, the more calories you burn.
You don’t have to lift free weights to build lean muscle (although that is one way to do it) instead you can try kettlebells, resistance bands, or weight machines. Not to mention that turning the resistance up on your indoor bike will work as well.
Even though resistance training might not be your preferred thing to do, it will help you burn more calories (therefore losing more weight) when you get back on the bike.
#4 Move, Move, Move
Trust us, we know how tempting it is to flop down on the couch after you’ve worked hard at an indoor cycling session. However, it’s better to resist this urge and continue to move. This will help you to lose more weight and make extra steps toward your goal.
Becoming a couch potato for the day may reverse all the work you put into your cycling.
#5 Eat Balanced Meals
Everyone is different and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all meal plan out there. With that being said, there are general guidelines on how to eat a balanced diet. Sticking to the everything in moderation rule is quite common and can help you to reach your weight loss goal. However, you might want to think about having a meal plan tailored to you by a professional depending on your situation.
For now, here are the basic food group reference intakes that will allow you to get the most results out of your indoor biking sessions:
Female RI (Reference Intakes)
Male RI (Reference Intakes)
Again, please remember that these are guidelines. The amount you should eat depends on a variety of factors including activity level, age, weight, height, health conditions, and more.
#6 Try These Workouts
If you are just starting with indoor cycling and weight loss, it can be hard to know where to begin. To make it easier, try this stationary bike workout for beginners. You should find this relatively simple to follow and understand but if that doesn’t seem like a good fit for you, try the following instead:
- Begin pedaling at a low intensity for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Up the ante to medium for 5 minutes.
- Start interval training! Do 1 minute of high intensity and 5 minutes of medium intensity for the next half an hour. You can always do 3 minutes of high intensity and 3 minutes of medium intensity if you feel like it!
- After that, cool down by pedalling at a low intensity for 5 to 10 minutes.
Of course, there are plenty of YouTube videos available to pedal along with as well!
The Types of Indoor Cycling Bikes to Choose From
#1 Upright Bike
Out of all stationary bikes, the upright version is the one that looks most likely a general cycling bicycle. The pedals are below the body and the seat is smaller than others.
If you like to switch between sitting and standing positions, this is the one for you. This way, you can activate your core as well as your lower body.
Having said this, it’s worth bearing in mind that the small seat can quickly become uncomfortable. Plus, they generally place more weight on your wrists which is something to think about when choosing a bike.
#2 Recumbent Bike
With this bike, you will be sitting in a reclined position with the pedals in front of you. The backrest is tall and the seat is large, providing comfort and support.
There are handles located on each side of the seat but there is no pressure to hold them. You’ll find that recumbent bikes don’t place a lot of pressure on your upper body.
Ideally, you should only choose this style if you are a beginner or your joints require a super low-impact workout.
#3 Dual-Action Bike
Finally, this stationary bike works your upper body more than the other two. It has long handles pointing to the ceiling that move with the pedals.
This type of bike is perfect for those of you who are wanting to improve your cycling game and are already at quite a high level. Just keep in mind that there will be a lot of pressure on your entire body throughout your workout.
The Bottom Line
Indoor cycling is a fantastic way to get your body moving, your heart pumping, and your weight removing.
The most important thing is that you have fun while you’re doing it — and drink water, of course!