Too many cyclists try to lose weight during the season when performance, recovery, and reducing inflammation are critical and require proper nutrition. “The base season, when people don’t care how fast they go, is the time to go to ‘food jail’ and lose your weight,” Goglia says. You might even consider completing your base season a few pounds below race weight so you have room to fully support the nutritional demands of your season.
Here's the thing: Working out isn't enough on its own to make weight loss happen. There's so much else that goes into weight loss and body fat loss; in fact, exercise isn't even technically necessary in many cases. If you want to lose weight—and it's totally cool if you do and totally cool if you don't—adopting healthy eating habits has got to be step numero uno. To get technical, you need to create a calorie deficit, which means using more calories in a day than you consume—and the consumption part plays a much bigger role in that than burning calories in the gym, or while carrying your groceries home, or any of the other myriad ways you put your muscles to work each day. Other lifestyle habits, like sleep and stress management, and health conditions (think thyroid issues, to name just one of many) also affect your weight. Point is, weight loss is a complicated and extremely personal journey that doesn't look or work the exact same way from one person to the next.
We've all heard how important H2O is when it comes to shedding pounds. It helps to suppress appetite, so you're less likely to overeat. But that's not all: When you're dehydrated, your kidneys can't function properly, so the body turns to the liver for additional support. Because the liver is working so hard, more of the fat you consume is stored, rather than burned off.
If you cycle for half an hour five days per week, you can expect to burn 1,500 calories if you weigh 125 pounds and cycle at 15 miles per hour. If you can't cycle this quickly, you'll burn 1,200 calories a week cycling at 12 miles per hour. You might have to build steadily to this activity level, and cutting calories from your diet can help you spend less time cycling each week. If you feel dizzy or otherwise exhausted, decrease your activity level, and always talk to your doctor before you begin regularly cycling.
8. Relax with the marathon workouts. You might feel like a rock star when you double up on fitness classes or outlast the girl on the next elliptical. But unless you're a pro athlete or you're training for a competition, "no one needs to work out for more than an hour and 15 minutes — more is not better," Jackowski says. Overdo it, and you'll set yourself up for stress fractures, insomnia, and exhaustion, all of which could put an end to your exercise routine and stand in the way of your weight loss goals.
If you’re looking to lose a few pounds, cycling is a great way to start. Hopping on your bike and going for a long, easy ride or doing something shorter and faster both have immense health benefits. But what you eat matters, too, although you don’t necessarily have to forego your favorite foods in order to lose weight. Here are 13 tips that will help you get the ball (er, wheels) rolling.