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17-04-2007, 12:12   #1
Cianos
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Cycling to lose weight?

Carrying a bit of extra weight that I want to tone down. I used to cycle all over the place but since getting a car that has pretty much stopped! I'm going to leave my bike into the shop today and get it fixed up so I can cycle down the road to the shop instead of taking the easy option

So, how good is cycling to increase fitness and lose a bit of weight? Do I need to cycle a lot and for long distances for it to have any effect?

Any help appreciated
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17-04-2007, 14:43   #2
Vladimir Kurtains
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Cycling down to the shops probably won't make a massive difference.

If you're serious about it, try slowly increasing your time in the saddle as you get fitter. I typically go for one or two long rides of up to five hours at the weekend, mixed with some shorter, higher intensity rides of one and a half to two hours during the week. I've worked myself up to this level over the past year as I've gotten into cycling.

All exercise can help lose weight, but you've got to combine it with a good diet for it to work. That doesn't mean starving yourself, because that might impact on how much you can train, but it does mean cutting out the rubbish.

The other thing to think about is the intensity at which you ride. If you go out hell for leather and ride till you feel like collapsing, you'll simply burn up all your sugar reserves before you have the chance to burn off a lot of fat. Riding about 70% of your maximum heart rate means your body will burn a mixture of something like 50% fat. Your total calories expended per minute will be lower, but the proportion of fat higher.
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17-04-2007, 15:00   #3
mossieh
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I started cycling to work three months ago with the same goal. My commute is 8.5 miles each way and the weight is dropping fairly steadily, I've lost about a stone and a half in that time, although it would probably be more if I was more regimented in my diet. it's nice to get some muscle definition back in the legs too. Go for it man, it gets really enjoyable after a while.
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17-04-2007, 15:08   #4
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If losing weight is your main aim, you'll find running is a much quicker way of doing it. (That is to say, you'll have to spend a lot less time cycling than you would running to lose the same amount of weight.)
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17-04-2007, 15:12   #5
Evil Phil
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Yep. I'm doing approx 6 miles either way and I have to say it's trimmed me up a bit and gotten rid of the paunch.
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17-04-2007, 15:32   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by el tonto
Cycling down to the shops probably won't make a massive difference.

If you're serious about it, try slowly increasing your time in the saddle as you get fitter. I typically go for one or two long rides of up to five hours at the weekend, mixed with some shorter, higher intensity rides of one and a half to two hours during the week. I've worked myself up to this level over the past year as I've gotten into cycling..
I wouldn't get too worried about not doing the above - you don't need to be doing five hour spins to get benefit from cycling, or anything close to it. Not many people (especially with kids) can afford to give up a whole day once or twice a week for a long cycle. But if you're fancy free and serious, El tonto's advice will serve you well, and five hour cycles will knock the weight of you fairly sharpish.

Basically, any trip you make on the bike instead of the car will obvoiusly help, but the key is consistency. If you cycle to work and back every day, and if that is only a couple of miles, maybe start adding a couple of miles on your way home. Try and see if there are any regular trips you can subsitiute the bike for the car. Most of all, enjoy it - it shouldn't be a chore, and when it becomes one, you won't want to cycle any more.

For loosing weight though, I would have to say that walking to work for an hour would be much better than a 20 minute cycle.
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17-04-2007, 15:34   #7
mloc123
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Started about a month or so ago. I do 10miles at least 4/5 evenings a week and then try to do 30-50 miles on Saturday/Sunday. I certainly feel much fitter than when I started, haven't weighed myself much but I'd imagine I have lost a bit anyway. Gonna start the daily commute soon, 13miles each way.
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17-04-2007, 15:44   #8
Evil Phil
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Cycling helps the bank balance too
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17-04-2007, 16:20   #9
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but makes you deeply unpopular with whoever does the laundry, Changing punctures and doing the washing are the bane's of my life!
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17-04-2007, 16:38   #10
rubadub
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mossieh
I started cycling to work three months ago with the same goal. My commute is 8.5 miles each way and the weight is dropping fairly steadily,
I lost weight cycling to work, but it plateaus. When I started it took over 1 hour, now I do it in 20mins. Back then I was carrying an additional 20kg. So I was burning more calories on the route since I was lugging around more weight. If I carry an additional 20kg on a bike now I am in bits again!

Lifting weights helped shift a lot of fat and improved my cycling greatly. Lifting weights increases your metabolism greatly since your body uses large amounts of calories to build muscle on the days you are not training. If you were to only do 3 hours exercise per week, then heavy weight training will RESULT in more calories being burned in the course of the week than any other exercise done to the same intensity. i.e. running might burn 7-800kcal in the hour, and weights might only be 500kcal per hour, BUT every single day of the week your body is using calories to build muscle.
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17-04-2007, 18:20   #11
Raam
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cycling is a great way to get fit as it can be good fun, I'm out on the bike pretty much everyday.

I would recommend that you also do another activity so as to exercise other muscle groups. Cycling is non-impact so perhaps alternating between some easy running/jogging and cycling would help see better benefits than cycling alone. If going running, get a good pair of quality trainers (FYI www.amphibianking.ie is where I picked up a pair)

As others may have said, take it easy at first. Build it up so that you don't get dis-heartened about not being able to go long distances and also so that you don't injure yourself by overdoing it.

Remember to do some stretching after you have finished your exercises. Some folk recommend that you don't stretch before you are warmed up (do a light jog first or whatever). However, you should stretch properly, so get someone knowledgeable to show you or pick up a book that explains the fundamentals.

Finally, food, as some one already mentioned, cut out the rubbish. It makes a huge difference. However, make sure that you actually fuel your body. When doing exercise you are going to need to eat the right stuff. I eat like a horse, but I only weigh 11 stone (6' 3"). I try to keep all junk food to a minimum and eat plenty of fruit and veg and wholewheat (rice, bread, pasta) and fish

that's all I can think of right now, hopefully it's all good advice. I'm far from an expert in the areas of sports nutrition/training so everything I've said/know are bits of information that I've picked up from others or from books/t'internet

P

Last edited by Raam; 17-04-2007 at 18:22.
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17-04-2007, 20:31   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubadub
Lifting weights helped shift a lot of fat and improved my cycling greatly. Lifting weights increases your metabolism greatly since your body uses large amounts of calories to build muscle on the days you are not training.
I'm not sure how that fits in with the first law of thermodynamics.

I currently cycle ~40km a day and my weight stays constant - I just eat more! I'm soon going to pick up the mileage on the way home from work, so should shed a few pounds.
As people have commented, cycling enough to lose weight might will probably take up a bit of time. My recommendation is to cycle to work, it might take a bit longer (or maybe not), but you're putting the time to good use.

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18-04-2007, 00:20   #13
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Same - I actually gain weight when I cycle more - I just end up eating more and it all becomes leg muscles instead of fat!
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18-04-2007, 10:54   #14
rubadub
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mucco
I'm not sure how that fits in with the first law of thermodynamics.
Which bit?

I dropped about 1.5 stone after eating better and cycling. What I was saying above is that if you do a daily commute of a fixed difference then as you start to lose weight you burn less calories over the same distance. Whereas if cycle at a full pace for 1 hour you would burn around the same.

I used to spend 1 hour cycling to work, now I do it in 20mins with the same effort.

Quote:
I currently cycle ~40km a day and my weight stays constant
My weight is constant now too. After weight training I got much thinner but weighed the same, i.e. was adding muscle and losing fat at the same rate.

If you weight train 3 times a work for an hour you can burn 3x500kcal. But your body will use up to 300kcal per day developing muscle, so that is up to about and extra 2000kcal per week.

It is imporant to watch fat levels and measurements rather than weight. Most people goal is to lose FAT not weight, so seeing a constant weight can be disheartening even though you could be shifting lbs of fat.
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18-04-2007, 22:00   #15
RainyDay
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I'd suggest that you need to be cycling at least 30 minute sessions, 4 times per week. I wasn't losing any weight with my (very energetic) 20 minute commute, until I started extending the duration with a long detour to bring it up to 40 minutes duration.
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