Cycling Tips For Fat Burning

by Ron Fritzke

Losing weight is an issue of both what goes in and what goes out. If you're interested in burning fat (and who isn't?), you'll want to pay attention to both ends of the spectrum. By reducing calories in, and increasing calories out, you'll achieve the kind of weight loss that's permanent rather than transient.

There are plenty of excellent articles giving good tips on how to suppress appetite or reduce calorie input. In this article I'll share with you how I use bicycling to burn fat and calories by increasing my metabolism... even after I get off the bike.

Cycling Has Several Advantages

Unlike running, there is almost no shock to the joints and muscles when cycling. While swimming requires getting to a body of water, cycling can be done just about anywhere...even when the weather seems to be working against you (more on that later).

Walking can be an excellent fat burner, but sometimes it's difficult to get the intensity level up enough to be effective, particularly when your level of fitness increases.

Prolong Your Fat Burning With Hard Efforts

I noticed something years ago, and it's now entering into the common body of fitness knowledge. I found that while steady state-exercising had its benefits, workouts that incorporated intervals of high intensity effort mixed in with recovery intervals were even more effective in weight loss.

What clued me into this was my elevated heart rate several hours after the workout. I don't mean that my heart rate was pounding as fast as during the workout, but it was at about 150% of normal for a couple of hours after getting off my bike. And that means that I was increasing the amount of fat I was burning for much longer than merely during the workout.

An Interval Workout Exampledog chasing bike image

The type of workout I'm referring to is called an 'interval' workout in the competitive running world.

You can find all sorts of interval-style workouts on the internet, but let me give you an example of a simple cycling interval workout.

I do this type of workout on an indoor bicycle trainer because I have more control over the weather, the poor drivers, the stop lights, and the chasing dogs.

- 15 minute warm-up.
- 8 minutes moderately hard, followed by four minutes easy spinning.
- 6 minutes a bit harder, followed by three minutes easy spinning.
- 4 minutes a bit harder, followed by two minutes easy spinning.
- 2 minutes a bit harder, followed by one minute easy spinning.
- 1 minute hard.
- 15 minute warm-down.

Of course you should consult your doctor to see if you have a health condition that precludes you from this type of a workout.

If you're interested in doing indoor workouts on your bike that include sessions of intensity, you'd do well to consider a fluid trainer like the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine bike trainer, or the Cycleops Fluid 2 bicycle trainer since they can provide more resistance than even the most accomplished and hard-core cyclist requires. Other types of trainers may not be 'strong enough' for your hardest intervals.

It's All About Reducing Calories And Fat Burning

Like so many issues in life, 'balance' is key. And in this case, it's critical to getting the type of body and level of fitness you're seeking. Not only do you have to work at reducing the calories you're taking in, but you need to increase the calories you're putting out.

While there are several ways to increase the body's 'fat burning furnace', I've found bicycling to be an excellent option, particularly when I attach my bike to a bike trainer and do a very focused high-intensity workout. I'll bet you'll see good results, too.

About the author: Ron Fritzke finds that although he can't run competitively anymore, he's able to exercise his competitive streak by racing his bike in Northern California. He also spends a lot of time reviewing good cycling products and writing about them on his website.