Most outdoor activities are pretty dreadful when you bring them inside (see: running on a treadmill). But indoor cycling apps like Zwift, Sufferfest, TrainerRoad, as well as studio cycling classes offered virtually like Peloton actually make stationary cycling fun and entertaining. That means you’re less likely to fall out of routine when the weather turns bad.
When you are new to exercise, you can start your biking workout program with a simple test. Use your odometer (or a GPS watch or smartphone app) to see how far you travel when you bike for 30 minutes. Jot down the number in your workout journal and set a goal to decrease the amount of time it takes you to ride that same distance and route. As your fitness level improves you'll be able to log more miles in less time and you'll burn more calories in the process.
Yep. Much to my dismay, research finds that dedicated workouts simply can't compensate for being sedentary the rest of the time. According to one University of Missouri–Columbia study, sitting for just a few hours causes your body to stop making a fat-inhibiting enzyme called lipase. Getting up and walking for just two minutes during each of those hours burns an additional 59 calories a day, according to research from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.
“I love this video for the great routines which provide amazing core work, cardio and strengthening…Kristin has some wonderful warm-ups and cool-downs as well to ease you in and out of the workouts. There are exercises you can do on the go and I often find myself doing some of them when waiting for something to cook on the stove, or waiting in line at the grocery store.”
Most studios offer classes on a mat — usually with props like weights, elastic bands, and a squishy plastic circle called a Magic Circle— or a machine called a reformer, which basically looks like a hospital bed with pulleys, ropes, and levers attached. The intensity level depends on the studio but, for the most part, Pilates is comparable to a barre or somewhat-intensive Vinyasa yoga class. It can be tough, but the focus is mainly on toning, not cardio, so it is unlikely that you will leave a class dripping in sweat.
Having worked as a certified fitness trainer for over 23 years, I’ve long since come to the conclusion that if you’re looking for the best exercise to shed a few pounds—and keep them off—nothing beats cycling. Over the years, I’ve seen clients shed half their size and heard from readers who have lost more than 100 pounds by adding cycling to their weight loss arsenal, which, yes, must include a healthy diet. (But you already knew that.)