While certain forms of cycling naturally burn more calories than others, the effectiveness of each method is dependent on how much effort you put in. To optimize your cycling workouts, here are six methods to spice things up while pedaling toward a slimmer you.
Taking a spin class is probably the most popular method as far as organized cycling workouts go. In addition to its popularity, spin is also extremely effective for weight loss. With the luxury of having a group fitness instructor in your ear, loud music pumping and a room full of sweaty fitness fiends by your side, how could you not reach your full exercise potential? While spin classes are not for everyone, for some these classes are a great way to exercise in a social setting while getting the necessary instruction you need to drop some serious pounds.
Spin classes can get pricy, so stop by your local YMCA. Most of them offer a variety of different classes that are more budget friendly than the usual gym.
High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T) is much more than just a clever acronym; it is one of the most effective ways to burn fat in an incredibly efficient amount of time. Whether you do your H.I.I.T workout on a recumbent bike or on the streets of your neighborhood, doing so gets your heart rate elevated into your target heart rate zone (65-85 percent of max heart rate), which is also the intensity level that your body burns fat most effectively.
Want to Race?
A fun and equally beneficial cycling workout can be found by challenging a friend to a race. Of course this should be done in a safe and friendly way, but a little competition goes a long way for your fitness. Your motivation to exercise will likely increase, and your body will be a little lighter after you beat your friend to the finish.
Slow and Steady Pace
One of the biggest debates over cardiovascular exercise for weight loss is slow and steady versus high and heavy intensity workouts. While each side may argue that one or the other is better, in all honesty, both burn calories and are subsequently better than sitting on the couch. As they say, “slow and steady wins the race,” and that includes when pedaling toward the finish in your weight loss race.
In many instances, cycling does not have to be the entirety of your workout. Cycling can work very symbiotically with other forms of exercise, such as body weight exercises and plyometrics, to raise your heart rate into the optimal fat burning zone.
Next time you’re at the gym, go on the recumbent bike for 30 minuets and then head on over to the treadmill for a quick 10 run.
Go for a Ride
It’s hard to argue with outdoor exercise; fitness just doesn’t get much better than going for a ride around the neighborhood or through the woods with many miles and calories left in the dust. According to pro mountain biker Selene Yeager on OutsideOnline.com, off-road riding burns more than 600 calories an hour. Trekking over roots, rocks and logs burns more calories than riding on pavement for the same amount of time. Riding your bike outdoors is an almost perfect combination of weight loss and mental serenity.
About the Author: Lauren Benson studied journalism in the Midwest and now does freelance work as a writer and blogger in the health and wellness sector. She maintains that it is possible to work out during the outrageous Midwestern winters.