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How Cycling Helps To Reduce Belly Fat


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If you’re looking for a weight loss exercise option that is naturally engaging and adaptable to different goals and personalities, cycling might be perfect for you. Whether you love the thrill of adventure in the outdoors or the energizing environment of a spin class, cycling is ready to help you burn fat and become a healthier version of yourself. But how does it help reduce your belly fat?

Cycling helps to reduce belly fat because of the endurance and high-intensity segments. Climbing a steep hill or passing other cyclists will engage you in a burst of high-intensity exercise. Enjoying nature and riding a long trail will give you the added benefits of endurance training. 

In the rest of this article, we will explore how the nature of cycling activates the fat-burning capacity of your body and helps you to reduce belly fat. We will also see how you can enhance these aspects of your ride to maximize your weight loss when cycling. 

Incorporate High-Intensity Workouts In Your Cycling

Incorporating high-intensity segments into your cycling routine is an amazing way to burn calories and reduce unwanted belly fat. It allows your body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates without requiring a large time investment.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) segments are where you push yourself close to your full physical abilities for a short period of time, followed by a longer, more comfortable recovery segment. 

This type of training has become quite popular recently since it doesn’t require a large time investment to achieve great results.

HIIT Is Better Than Normal Exercise For Fat-Burning

Studies have been carried out comparing high-intensity workouts to more traditional ways of exercising. Even short bursts of 15 minutes of high-intensity interval training will give your body stronger effects than an hour of traditional jogging. 

In cycling, you can incorporate short bursts of maximum power in a way that suits you and your body. You might prefer a strict schedule, or you might prefer to incorporate it at different points during your ride. 

To help you get started, let’s take a look at a sample schedule for introducing high-intensity intervals into your usual cycling routine. 

After a sufficient warm-up, you can try out this workout routine.

Time (after warm-up)Intensity Pacing
First Minute10 seconds full intensity
50 seconds recovery pace
Second Minute20 seconds full intensity 
40 seconds recovery pace
Third Minute30 seconds full intensity
30 seconds recovery pace
Fourth Minute40 seconds full intensity
20 seconds recovery pace
Fifth Minute50 seconds full intensity
10 seconds recovery pace
Sixth Minute60 seconds full intensity
60 seconds recovery pace

This sample workout is just one idea for introducing high-intensity interval training into your cycling routine. 

You can make adjustments to best fit your body and training plan. However you decide to incorporate high-intensity segments in a safe way for your body, you will be able to enjoy this workout style’s proven benefits.

Optimal Fat-Burning Zone

When you engage in this type of workout pacing, you enter the optimal zone for your body to both lose stored fat and strengthen your muscles. During HIIT, your body is able to enter its “fat-burning zone,” where it targets fat instead of carbohydrates to burn for energy.

When your body enters this zone, you are able to lose weight as your excess stored fat is used to fuel your workout. At the same time, you will be building lean muscle, which will help improve the overall look and feel of your body.

You will notice you are not just losing weight but becoming stronger and more toned. 

Additionally, the benefits don’t stop when the workout is over. Due to its high intensity, your heart will be pumping, and your body will continue to stay in the fat-burning zone. Some studies suggest that it might continue burning fat for up to 24 hours after the workout is complete. 

Compare This To Traditional Cardio

Traditional cardio workouts don’t usually allow the fat burning to continue for so long after the workout has finished. When incorporating high-intensity segments into your workout, you will be able to burn stored fat more effortlessly and see results sooner than you would with a traditional workout plan.

Even when performing this kind of training for short periods, like ten or twenty minutes, you will be able to access these amazing benefits. Some beneficial high-intensity workouts are only around 6 minutes long and still will give you a healthy boost you are seeking from your workout. 

If you enjoy cycling indoors on a stationary machine, you will need to put effort into incorporating these maximum power segments into your ride. 

However, if you are outside in nature, you may find yourself doing this type of workout naturally. If you need to get up a steep hill or need to power past some pedestrians or other riders, you may find yourself going full tilt from time to time anyway. 

Because many cyclists are already having some intense moments in their ride, they may already be reaping the benefits of this style of exercise. By consciously adding a few more to each ride, they will notice the fat melting away even faster. 

Push the Endurance Training During Cycling

Cycling can easily incorporate aspects of endurance training.

Going outside and taking a set route through nature is an activity well-loved by cyclists. By following a designated trail or loop, you might easily find yourself cycling further and for longer than you would without the designated trail.

When you go for a longer distance than you originally intended, you are helping your body engage in endurance training which can also be beneficial for weight loss and overall health. 

Endurance training helps the body build the muscle needed to get used to exercising. 

Increase Your Intensity When You Get In Shape

As your body gets more adjusted to working out, you will be able to increase your intensity or go for longer periods more easily. This change will improve your ability to engage with your cycling routine effectively. 

You will be able to push yourself harder during your high-intensity segments and be able to go for longer bike rides without feeling the fatigue that you might have once experienced. 

As you lose weight and build more lean muscle through endurance training, your metabolism will increase as well. A faster metabolism will help you manage the same amount of calories in a more efficient way. 

Your body will be better equipped to process the food you eat compared to when you had a more sedentary lifestyle. 

Benefits Of Endurance Training

Many people who practice endurance training feel benefits in other areas of their life that can help contribute to weight loss as well. 

Endurance training can bring great mental benefits. You might experience improved cognitive function or a “runner’s high,” which refers to the rush of endorphins released in your body after exercise.

When you’re feeling good and mentally clear, it can be easier to fall into healthier choices.

Many of us eat in unhealthy ways in connection with our mental health. As our mental health improves and we feel more positive and optimistic, it can be easier to make positive changes to our diet and lifestyle. 

Finally, when you are engaged in endurance training, you might find yourself sleeping much more easily at night.

With a good night’s sleep, your body has time to recover, and you will often feel refreshed and reenergized the next morning. These positive states can help propel you into continuing your healthy habits, like eating nutritious foods and sticking to your exercise routine. 

All of these factors will aid in your weight loss and overall physical health.

Find the Right Style for You

Cycling is a great choice for weight loss due to how flexible and fun it can be. You might choose to make biking your main mode of transportation, forcing you to exercise even when you’re not in the mood. You might prefer the high intensity and social aspect of attending a spinning class. 

No matter what your preference is, cycling can easily fit into many lifestyles.

Cycling Indoors

Spin classes have become immensely popular in the last few years. Available in cities and towns all over the world, spin classes allow you to join in a large group environment to achieve your cycling exercise goals.

These are known for their stimulating environment, with loud music, enthusiastic instructors, and plenty of other people joining the workout with you. For some, performing the same workout side by side with others is a great way to feel a little healthy competition and push yourself further than you would on your own. 

Spin classes will give you periods of high intensity as well as aspects of endurance training

People easily find themselves addicted to the rush of endorphins they are able to feel at the end of an intense spin class. This feeling keeps them coming back over and over, putting them in a great place to achieve their weight loss goals. 

To see more of the benefits of spin classes, you can check out this informative Youtube video:

Cycling Outdoors

While cycling is often thought of as a leisurely activity or exercise option, it is also a common mode of transportation. If you struggle to fit working out into your daily routine, think of where you can substitute driving a car or taking public transportation and consider using a bicycle instead.

If you can change your daily commute from sedentary to cycling, you will be able to make exercise a non-negotiable part of your daily routine. 

It can be easy to talk ourselves out of going to the gym or working out after a long day of work. However, if the only way to get home after work is to get on your bicycle, you will be setting yourself up for healthy habits and accountability.

Cycling even when you’re not in the mood is a great way to give your endurance a little push. You will be giving your body a chance to get used to the routine of daily exercise without letting your mind take over and talk you out of it.

As humans, our minds are ready to convince us to stay in our comfort zones, making it difficult to stick to new habits. The less chance you give your mind to talk you out of your new healthy routine, the better chance you will have at sticking to it and achieving your weight loss goals. 

In addition to transportation, you may find cycling outdoors an amazing way to socialize or engage with nature. 

See if there is a group of cyclers in your neighborhood you can join on regular rides. Riding with others can help you push yourself to speed up your pace or ride up a hill without taking a break. The social element can also motivate you to keep coming back and continue to engage in the exercise routine that will help you achieve your weight loss goals. 

You will also gain community around this new activity which can help to increase knowledge and interest. You might find yourself increasingly passionate about cycling and seek out more opportunities to cycle. 

Finally, cycling outdoors is an amazing way to explore your area. 

You discover beautiful places as you seek out different places to ride, or you could take a long-distance trip with your bike. There is a strong cross-country cycling culture in the U.S. which might inspire you to take a ride across your state or even across the country.

To learn more about the magic and options in cross-country cycling, check out this Youtube video from Ryan Van Duzer:

Final Thoughts

If you want to get rid of unwanted belly fat with a fun and engaging activity, look no further than cycling. Whether you’re attending a spin class or you’re riding outdoors with friends, cycling naturally helps you engage in activities to burn belly fat.

You will naturally find yourself exerting more effort in high-intensity segments when biking. 

You can add more of these intervals in order to maximize your fat-burning potential. In addition to the benefits of high-intensity training, cycling will give you the chance to build your endurance and increase your metabolism. 

Related articles:

What To Wear (and Not) to Spinning Class

How To Lose Weight Without Losing Cycling Power

How to Strengthen Your Lower Back for Cycling

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