The key to dropping pounds lies in creating a calorie deficit. Ultimately, you simply need to burn more calories than you actually consume. While dieting is one way to create this deficit, exercise is much easier and far more beneficial overall.
Unlike extreme calorie deprivation, working out builds and preserves lean muscle mass, strengthens the bones, primes and conditions the body for improved functioning, and supports optimum heart health among many other things. Indoor cycling offers an entirely non-impact and well-balanced blend of both cardiovascular exercise and strength training.
As such, it can produce remarkable changes in a very nominal amount of time. To get the most from this activity, however, you should take advantage of these five tips to lose weight with indoor cycling.
1. Fuel Up Before Jumping On Your Bike
It’s never a good idea to load up on food right before cycling, but it’s generally best to avoid cycling on a completely empty stomach. A light snack just 30 to 40 minutes before exercising will give you the energy and focus that you need for getting optimum benefits from your workout.
Moreover, a pre-workout snack can actually boost your metabolism for increased fat burning due to the thermal effect of food (TEF). TEF is a measurement of how many calories your body will burn in order to process any food that you’ve eaten.
Noshing on a banana, an apple, or a slice of peanut butter toast will also keep you from feeling dizzy or lightheaded when working at maximum output.
2. Stay Hydrated
Although cycling is a non-impact activity that limits the amount of stress being placed on your joints and bones, it does take its toll. To reduce post-workout soreness, be sure to hydrate your body all throughout the day. In addition to drinking fresh, pure water, you can also sip on:
- Coconut water
- Fresh, water-dense fruits and vegetables
- Green juice or fresh-pressed vegetable juice
- Unsweetened herbal tea
- Coconut or almond milk
These flavorful water alternatives provide an impressive range of beneficial nutrients that can help support and expedite your post-workout recovery. Many of them also contain the perfect blend of electrolytes.
Best of all, they’ll get the job done when you’ve grown tired of sipping from the tap. Drinking sufficient fluids for meeting your body’s hydration requirements will help break down lactic acid stores and expedite the healing of shredded muscle tissues.
This way, muscle stiffness and pain won’t be severe enough to derail your exercise plan for several days or weeks. If your cycling schedule is intense, good hydration will also make it easier for you to get deep, satisfying, and truly sleep.
3. Vary Your Cycling Workout
Tweaking your workout from time to time is essential for ensuring that your body is constantly being challenged. Fortunately, if cycling is your preferred form of exercise, you can simply alter the way in which you cycle.
For instance, if your goal is to ride at high speeds on a level plane for a set amount of time each day, you can gradually adjust your incline or decline every few weeks, increase your riding speed, or extend the length of your workout.
A great way to get a varied and consistently challenging workout every time you get on your bike is by taking part in structured spin classes (learn more here). This level of training offers a sense of community, even as it provides some of the most intense cardiovascular and strength training that many riders ever experience.
4. Making Stretching An Integral Part Of Your Workout Routine
Runners stretch, dancer stretch, and even swimmers take the time to lengthen and extend their muscles before hitting the water. Sadly, however, this is something that many at-home cyclists overlook both before and after their routines.
Take a few minutes to warm cold muscles up before engaging in any rigorous activity. Once your heart rate increases and your skin starts to glow with the first signs of perspiration, spend some time stretching from head to toe. This is vital for preventing injury and for limiting post-workout discomfort. Properly cooling and down and then stretching out once you’re finished is important to this end as well.
Cyclists who stretch regularly tend to enjoy better balance and a greater overall range of motion. They also have a much lesser likelihood of sustaining tension-related injuries.
5. Use A Bike That Feels Good
Choose a bike that fits your body and feels good. Indoor cycling should feel comfortable and carefree, even when you’re pushing your respiratory system and muscles to the max. If you already have a stationary bike in-house, take the time to learn all about it.
Play around with the settings and features until you arrive at a setup that feels both intuitive and comfortable. When using stationary bikes in the gym, be sure to ask for help in adjusting your bike when you need it.
Once you’re on and pedaling, you should feel stable, and you should not experience any extreme pressure or pain at the buttocks or inner thighs due to poor seat height or seat positioning.