A Cyclist's Guide to Losing Weight
By Joan Bishop Denizot
Taking up cycling for fitness and losing weight is a great decision but there are a few other elements that you might not have considered. Here are a few tips that will speed up your weight loss project through cycling.
Dressing Properly: You see other cyclists all bundled up in layers of clothing. Some have this idea that getting under the layers will keep them warm, make them sweat more and lose more pounds but losing weight through dehydration is both unappealing and unsafe, especially for bikers. Lose all the unnecessary layers and load up on water properly. This will help you ride farther, which, in turn, will help you burn more calories.
Pacing: A lot of studies have proven the effectiveness of oxygen consumption towards the end of the work-out in the burning of body fat. Push your fat burning factory into overdrive by putting in a lot of effort when you are about to finish. With this, your body will continue to consume a lot of oxygen even after you've finished biking which will lead to continuous burning of fat. In addition to this, doing intervals is also helpful. These are bursts of more effort that will improve your fitness and speed. You may cycle at a normal pace for 5 minutes and then put in all of your effort for another minute. After a few days of this, you'll notice progress in your performance.
Adjust your bike: You may already have the right bike but an incorrect set up will be inefficient, or worse, lead to injury. If you're not sure about how to check yours, you can head to a bike shop for a set-up check. If you want to check it on your own, watch out for the saddle height. While sitting on your bike with your heel on the pedal which should be at 6 o'clock, your leg must be straight. Remember to check for both legs. Adjust the saddle until they're both straight. As for the handlebar height, it depends on your preference. The general rule is to make your handlebars level or higher than your saddle. They should also be the same with as your shoulders. Biking comfortably is important, this means that you can bike longer and farther.
Flexibility: Stretching helps loosening up your muscles which come with regular cycling. It helps you ride in a better position. Do not forget to stretch your hips, buttocks, legs, knees, ankles and feet.
Your eating habits: You cannot take up cycling and expect the best results without taking up healthy eating as well. Vegetables and lean protein are a must in a good cyclist's diet. Instead of loading up on dietary supplements, it is better to source out your vitamins and proteins from food, which will be absorbed by your body better. Providing what your body needs will help make you feel and bike better. This will also help curb cravings for sweets and junk food. A lot of cyclists also recommend limiting the gluten intake which will keep the bloated feeling away for when on you're on the saddle.
Don't Skip Breakfast. It has always been a debate - whether it is better to eat breakfast before or after working out. A European study on fourteen cyclists has shown that those who trained without eating burned more fat than those who munched on their first meal. However, it has shown that they performed worse. At the end of the day, it all boils down to whether you have enough fuel to bike better and longer - so you can make the most out of your work out. It doesn't have to be something heavy. Yogurt, fruit or a smoothie will be great. After getting off your bike, you can then chow down on something heartier like eggs and vegetables or cereal with fruit.
Also, if you've made a habit of skipping out on food when riding, then this should be corrected. Eating while on the bike has been proven to help improve performance. You're refuelling and you're keeping the hunger in check and ultimately minimizing the urge to overeat after the ride.
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