Is Indoor Cycling Good for Weight Loss? Let’s Find Out in this Article
The short answer is yes, indoor cycling is good for weight loss, especially when it is combined with the right pre-cycling and after-cycling supplements and nutritions. However, as with most things in life, it is not as simple as buying an exercise bike and watching your waistline shrink. To maximise your weight loss while using exercise bikes, you need to have a training plan and have the discipline/motivation to be consistent with your workouts.
Weight loss is a very personal experience. While indoor cycling can and will help, you need to be motivated and dedicated to maximise the weight loss benefits of indoor cycling. The good news is that it is relatively easy to lose weight from cycling indoors. Still, you also want to be focusing on a sustainable weight loss program rather than using an exercise bike for hours on end straight away and risk overtraining or injuring yourself.
Throughout this article, we will look more deeply into why indoor cycling is good for weight loss and whether it is the best option for you if your sole focus is to lose weight. In addition, we will cover some of the most frequently asked questions to help you on your indoor cycling journey and hopefully ensure that you get maximum results while being efficient with your workouts.
Top tips to maximise weight loss using indoor cycling
We may have already told you the answer to “is indoor cycling good for weight loss?” However, here is vital information to help you get the most out of your indoor cycling workouts, especially if your ultimate goal is weight loss.
1. Create an indoor cycling training plan to lose weight
Whether you are thinking about buying an exercise bike or attending some spin classes at your local gym, you need to have a training plan if you are serious about using indoor cycling to lose weight. A plan does not have to be overly complicated or detailed, but it is an opportunity to be honest with yourself and set out how much time you can spend at a spin class or on your exercise bike per week.
This is an important step, and you must be honest with yourself. There is absolutely no point in writing out a training plan that says you will be spending 2 hours a day on your exercise bike when it would be impossible for you to dedicate that amount of time to indoor cycling due to other commitments. Don’t forget your indoor cycling should be fun and add to your life and not take it over.
If you are new to indoor cycling, for the first month, only do 1 or 2 indoor cycling workouts a week (no more than 3) and ensure that you listen to your body. After the first 4 weeks, you can start introducing another day, but you need to build up your fitness to reduce the risk of injury or burnout. Another critical ingredient for your indoor cycling training plan to lose weight is variety. Mix up your workouts with longer moderate rides and high-intensity interval workouts. Although your ultimate goal is to lose weight by combining workout styles, you will build up your cardiovascular fitness, pushing yourself and your body to the next level.
2. Have a goal in mind to lose weight on an exercise bike
You should set yourself a realistic but challenging goal. You will need to have a strong motivation to help nail those high-intensity workouts or even make it onto your exercise bike. Your goal does not have to be purely about the amount of weight you lose.
That is one of the beauties of indoor cycling. Some examples of goals that work for beginners to lose weight while indoor cycling include; ride my exercise bike more than two times a week for the next month or riding the furthest I have ever been during a 30 min indoor cycling workout.
Your weight loss goal should be realistic and not so outrageous that it is unattainable. While you are creating your regular habit of indoor cycling, you can set weekly or monthly weight loss goals to help keep you on track and not get too overwhelmed. Once you have hit your goals, make sure you treat yourself.
3. Reward yourself when you lose weight indoor cycling
Indoor cycling can be great fun, but there is no denying that it is tiring and can take a lot of dedication. You should reward yourself once you have put in the hard work and notice you are losing weight thanks to indoor cycling.
That reward does not have to be a giant cake or an extra glass of wine. Once you start spending more time on your exercise bike, you will want to keep improving your home gym setup to be as comfortable as possible. Why not treat yourself with some new spin bike accessories or an extra rest day the following week.
4. Get plenty of rest after cycling indoors
Rest is super important when you exercise, especially if you start doing it regularly to lose weight. By getting enough rest, you give your body and muscles a chance to fully recover so that during your next workout, you will be able to maximise your fat-burning results.
Also, rest is critical in helping to prevent injury. It is perfectly normal for your quadriceps and leg muscles to ache a bit when cycling regularly (especially at the start of a workout, if you have only given it a day or two since your last spinning session). However, if you do not give your legs a reasonable chance to recover, you risk injuring yourself by pulling a muscle or damaging your tendons.
No fixed rest period will work for everyone, but you will learn how to look after your body the more exercise. As a rule of thumb, you should have at least 1; ideally, 2 days rest in between workouts. The period should be longer if you have done a particularly intense workout. Remember, it is much better to have an extra day’s rest than injure yourself and be off the bike for weeks while you recover.
FAQs about how to use indoor cycling for weight loss
What are the best ways to lose belly fat while cycling?
The best way to lose belly fat while cycling is by training in what’s called the “endurance zone”. This refers to your heart rate, so hopefully, you have a spin bike with a built-in HR monitor. If not, don’t worry you can guestimate and still lose body fat by cycling indoors.
To lose belly fat while cycling, you ‘simply’ need to be burning more calories during your indoor cycling workout than you are consuming. If you are doing this consistently at least a few days a week, it will only be a matter of weeks before you start noticing that you have been able to lose belly fat from indoor cycling. For example, someone who is 155 pounds could burn as much as 252 calories in just 30 mins on spin bikes at a moderate pace (increasing to 350+ at a vigorous pace).
The best cycling workout to lose belly fat is a long and steady ride at a moderate pace. That requires some dedication and a good fitness level, as ideally, you should look to maintain a moderate intensity for an hour plus. You can incorporate interval training or some high-intensity bursts. If you have the time, try to spend at least an hour spinning at a moderate intensity, at least once a week, for maximum belly fat busting results.
All is not lost if you do not have hours to spare. You can use high-intensity interval training to lose belly fat during indoor cycling. This is the favoured approach used by many indoor cycling coaches at spin classes. Not only is it fun and engaging, but it also produces the best weight loss results in a short period. Be warned that you do need to give your muscles more time to recover after high-intensity workouts.
How often should you indoor cycle to lose weight?
Although this depends on your lifestyle and schedule, you should include at least two indoor cycling workouts a week to ensure that you are cycling enough to lose weight.
The quality of your workout and the time you spend during each spinning session is just as important as frequency. It is much more effective to do two focused, high-intensity 30 min workouts a week rather than doing a 1-hour ride every day, but you are hardly paying attention or breaking into a sweat.
So while you should be looking to do more than an indoor cycling workout a week to lose weight, focus more on the quality of your training rather than the quantity.
How long should you ride a stationary bike to lose weight?
Although it depends on your schedule, current fitness, and ultimate weight loss goals, you should spend at least 30 minutes riding your exercise bike. Cycling is a very effective and low impact activity that is great at promoting weight loss and causing your body to burn fat.
Even if you have just 30 minutes to spare, you can still expect to burn over 200 calories, rising to over 300 if you are spinning at a high tempo. If time is not on your side, then focus your efforts using high-intensity rides. For example, ride as hard as you can for 30 seconds to a minute, then have a 3 – 5 min ‘rest’ at a moderate pace. Repeating this 5 times in the middle of your ride will burn those extra calories you need to lose weight on an exercise bike.
Indoor cycling is good for weight loss and much, much more. However, you need to be dedicated, and if you can fall in love with indoor cycling, you will find that you lose weight a lot easier. Do not forget to have fun while cycling to lose weight. One benefit of having your own exercise bike is that you get to work out in the comfort of your own home. Make sure you make the most of this luxury without getting too distracted.
If you need some extra accessories and proper clothing to encourage you to spend more time on your exercise bike, check out this review of the best indoor cycling bike clothing tips.