Is cycling good for weight loss? 5 Tips to lose weight cycling

Is cycling good for weight loss? 5 Tips to lose weight cycling

There’s a lot to love about cycling. Whether it’s scenic rides in the countryside, getting together with some friends or breathing in lungfuls of fresh air on your way to work, it’s also a wonderful way to keep fit. Lots of people get into cycling for weight loss, and soon discover there’s so much more to it than that. It’s a great alternative to sports more commonly associated with losing weight, like running, as you’ll soon discover. 


Is cycling good for weight loss?


Cycling is a fantastic way to lose weight. It's a low-impact, aerobic sport that works a wide range of muscles throughout your body. When you lose weight by cycling, you’re not just burning calories. You’re also building muscle, especially in your lower body. This makes it as effective for weight loss as other sports such as running, but without pounding roads or running machines. This puts more stress on your joints – your knees in particular. 


The versatility of cycling, from intense road biking to leisurely rides, means it’s suitable for all fitness levels and weight loss goals. If you’re asking the question ‘is cycling good for you?’, the answer’s a resounding yes. Whether you’re looking for a high-intensity workout, a gentle exercise routine or a cleaner, greener and more enjoyable way to get to work, cycling can be an enjoyable and effective way to lose weight. 


How to lose weight by cycling - 5 essential tips


Cycling is a great way to shed some extra pounds. And it can also have lots of other benefits when you get into it. But how do you lose weight by cycling? No matter if you’re a total beginner or super experienced in the saddle, try our five top tips to harness your pedal power as best you can. 


1 - Don’t diet


Instead of traditional dieting where you deprive yourself of calories to lose weight, focus on eating a balanced diet that fuels your cycling. You need plenty of energy in the saddle, while strict diets can be tough to stick to anyway and are rarely successful. 

 Nutritious whole food meals

Prioritise whole foods, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. As well as staying energised during your rides, eating well-rounded meals will also aid your recovery afterwards. This will help you maintain a consistent routine with your cycling. 



2 - High-intensity workouts are better than endurance rides


High-intensity workouts are better for losing weight than longer and gentler periods of exercise. This is because they burn calories more efficiently. Your body demands more energy during an intense workout, leading to higher calorie burn both during and after your workout.


Rides with a higher average cycling speed are also more beneficial for muscle gain. Think of the difference in build between a long-distance runner and a 100m sprinter. This further boosts your metabolism and increases the number of calories you burn when you rest. 


3 - HIIT training works best


To take an intense workout to the next level, try high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This is where you follow lots of intense bursts of activity with brief rest periods. It could be sprinting along an open road, or hammering the pedals as hard as you can each time you get to a hill. 


HIIT is incredibly effective for weight loss, maximising calorie burn and increasing your metabolic rate even after you’ve finished cycling. It’s also great if you don’t have as much time, as you can cram a lot of intense exercise into a shorter period. 


4 - Try cycling to work


A great way to incorporate cycling into your daily routine is by riding your bike to work. This automatically builds exercise into your schedule and gives you a minimum of two workouts a day, although you may want to take it a little easier on the way to work. Unless, that is, you can take a shower when you get there. 


With the right commuter cycling clothes to ensure you’ve got the appropriate gear for all conditions, you can enjoy some fresh air every day while also commuting to work in a much more environmentally friendly way. 

Man in suit arriving at work with their bicycle

5 - Enjoy the journey


The key to successful long-term weight loss is finding joy in the activity you do. This applies to anything, not just cycling. The health benefits of cycling are enormous, but if you don’t enjoy it, you’re much less likely to stick with it in the long run. 


Explore different routes, join a local cycling group and set personal goals. Track your rides with an online app to see your progress in real time, and take pleasure in the gradual improvements you make as the weeks and months go by. Enjoying the process makes it easier to stay motivated and consistent, helping you to reach your weight loss goals while improving your overall health and fitness. 


Get out there


So, is cycling good for weight loss? It sure is. It’s an incredible way to get out into the fresh air, giving you the opportunity to see more of your local area, meet new people and improve your health. Whatever level you’re starting at, making it fun is the best way to ensure you stick at it. Get out there, and check out our range of reflective cycling clothing so you stay safe when you do. 

 Male and Female modelling our Reflect 360 Jackets

Cycling for weight loss - FAQs


Can you lose belly fat by cycling?


Yes, cycling can help you lose belly fat when you incorporate it into an exercise and nutrition regime. Cycling is an effective aerobic exercise that burns calories, helping to reduce overall body fat, including your tummy. A consistent exercise routine combined with a healthy diet can lead to significant fat loss over time. 


Is 30 minutes of cycling a day enough to lose weight?


Yes, cycling for 30 minutes each day can be enough to lose weight, especially when combined with a healthy diet. And even more so when you do other forms of exercise. Half an hour is enough to burn calories and improve your cardiovascular health, particularly if you try high-intensity interval training (HIIT). 


Is cycling better than walking for weight loss?


Cycling can be more effective than walking for weight loss due to its higher intensity. This means you burn more calories in a shorter period. However, both forms of exercise are beneficial, and the best choice for you depends on your personal preferences, fitness levels and goals. Cycling is better if you’re looking for a higher-intensity workout, while walking is good as a low-impact, moderate form of exercise. 

Article by Sue Ritzdorf
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