Cycling Training for Weight Loss
By Jonathan Bales
, last updated February 12, 2012
Cycling training for the purpose of weight loss is a bit different than traditional cycling, although the basic principles remain intact. The primary goal when trying to lose weight via cycling is burning as much fat as possible. Believe it or not, this does not come by cycling as long or as often as possible. Actually, the best way to burn fat while cycling is to do interval training which highlights short bursts of all-out cycling between longer periods of medium-intensity training. Your workouts will be shorter than low-intensity training, burning far more fat in the process. Plus, you do not and should not cycle as frequently, as your body will need time to recover from the intense training. Read on to learn more about cycling training for weight loss.
Beginners generally stick to low-intensity training no matter what type of exercises they are performing, but this is a mistake, particularly if your goal is to lose weight. In reality, you actually burn the most calories after you work out. Thus, the goal is not to burn as many possible calories during a workout, but rather burn the most calories overall. For example, 90 minutes of low-intensity training might burn 750 calories. One half-hour of interval training which utilizes bursts of high-intensity cycling, on the other hand, might burn just 500 calories. So how can the latter be better? Because high-intensity cycling increases your heart rate and metabolism far more than low-intensity cycling, causing you o burn calories far after your workout has ended. In total, the aforementioned workouts might end up burning 1,000 and 1,500 calories, respectively. Ultimately, high-intensity training is the best way to lose weight.
Another benefit of high-intensity cycling is its effect on your regular cycling pace. When you cycle as fast as possible, you place stress on your body that forces it to adapt. This allows you to cycle faster when traveling at a moderate speed, thus increasing the umber of calories you burn. The goal during cycling is to improve, particularly if you are performing the exercises to work out. Push yourself to new limits, and the weight will come off.
So how should this be incorporated into your cycling routine? There are a variety of ways to do it, and although there is no "correct" training program, some are superior to others. Ultimately, you want to maximize the amount of high-quality cycling sessions you can do by resting for as much time as needed between workouts. Remember, it is better to do three high-intensity training sessions per week than five easy low-intensity ones.
As a sample workout routine, start with 45 minutes of cycling three times a week. During these workouts, cycle as fast as possible for 30 seconds, followed by two minutes at a moderate speed. As you improve your endurance, you can increase the time spent "sprinting" and decrease the time spent cycling moderately. If you need more of a challenge, try to increase the intensity of your workouts rather than their frequency. When training hard, your body will need plenty of time to recover.