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  1. #1
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    Biking vs. running for weight loss?

    I ran cross country in HS. Was never that great but did it to support my favorite sport which was basketball. Back then I weighed 160 and could run a decent pace for 10 miles. Tried running 3 miles yesterday for the first time in a long time and could barely jog at a very slow pace without my HR spiking above 154 which is my LT threshold according to the 2X20 test on a bike. It was somewhat discouraging to run so damn slow. I guess it is a little harder to move 235 pounds than to move 160.

    In terms of exercising for weight loss, does it matter which sport one uses? At this point, I can bike 4 times as long as I can run, so maybe it makes sense for me to stay on the bike. Of course I could start out with a very light 20 minute ride, then go out and run 3 miles, come back and finish on the bike at low intensity.
    Last edited by IceNine; 01-18-09 at 02:12 PM.

  2. #2
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    It is easier on the joints (lower impact) to ride a bike and easier to stay aerobic... buring fat for fuel. And, as you said, you can bike for longer a duration. Thus the bike is favored, given where you are today.

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  3. #3
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    Someone told me that running burns 100 calories per mile and cycling 40 calories per mile. I have no idea what intensity those figures come from and I'm sure it varies greatly depending on weight, but I bet the ratio stays true. Personally I'm convinced the "fat buring zone" training is a misstating of the science and that one will always burn at least as much fat and way more overall calories by going faster. It will also boost your metabolism post workout a lot longer than a mellow workout, allowing your body to burn another 100 or more calories. And if you're working out hard enough to put on more muscle, you'll burn more fat anyway since it is muscle that burns the fat! (put on 10 pounds of muscle and it'll burn 1 pound of fat per week just to maintain itself)
    Last edited by pacificaslim; 01-18-09 at 02:49 PM.

  4. #4
    Tilting with windmills txvintage's Avatar
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    I think that running probably does burn more calories than riding, but you ride longer and it takes much less of a toll on your joints.

    There are more old runners turning to cycling than old cyclists turning to running.

  5. #5
    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    I have been using my Garmin Forerunner 305 for my calories burned during exercise, and it will depend upon how fast I am running and/or riding. If I do intervals on my bike or running, I work out for a shorter period of time and still burn basically the same calories if I did a slow ride for at least twice as long, or a slow run for twice as long. Slow ride depends upon the person. I try to get my heart rate up, but on my slow rides it may only be 110 -120, instead of doing intervals taking it to 160.

    If you are not getting your heart rate up, you are not burning many calories.
    Last edited by flip18436572; 01-18-09 at 04:08 PM.
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  6. #6
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    It doesn't take long to start putting in distance. When I moved to ATL from the Chicago area a couple of workers decided to take me for a little run. I lasted almost 5 miles then the HR just spiked 180bpm. That was in Aug. In November I ran my first Half marathon and scheduled for another 1/2M in the beginning of March and Tri (sprint) mid march, and a full Marathon at the end. I find it easier to go "running" than the biking which I just started doing. You might think you're going slow but as long as the HR stays at a appropriate rate you're burning calories.

    If you were 160 when competetive you're another 50% heavier. Just go slow since an injury will really slow your progress

  7. #7
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I despise jogging, so yes, it does make a difference. There's two problems. First off, the fatter you are, the more awkward it is to jog, so if you really need to lose weight, it's hard to even do the exercise. Secondly, if I jog at what seems like a "natural" pace for me, it's too fast. To jog at a pace I can continue doing, it's like I'm running in slow motion.

    If you can comfortably jog, it's probably better exercise for you than biking. For me, though, definitely not. I have done a lot of walking and hiking. The best exercise I ever found was just walking uphill. Preferably in a scenic cool place.
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  8. #8
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    I guess I just need to focus on biking and weight lifting for now--which is what I had been doing. I need to get an old beater bike set up for winter riding next winter. It really helps to fight the cabin fever if you get outside. I took my Schwinn Voyageur outside last week but even though I have fenders and mudflap it got so much sand on the rims and on the brake pads and in the drivetrain that I think it would be hell on the bike. Next year I'm going to look for an old garden variety Schwinn Varsity and set it up with studded tires so I don't have to worry about destroying a decent bike riding in these conditions.

  9. #9
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Running for sure. I'll lose far more weight if I run. I'm not talking jogging, running! I used to run a mile as hard as I could. Then do 100 yard dashes. Then maybe some 40 yard sprints.I drop a gang of weight. I just ride cause I enjoy it more. I can meet 100 people on a ride. If I go run, only thing I see is a few strollers on the track, usually getting in my way.

  10. #10
    Senior Member adrien's Avatar
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    Well, grudgingly, running. But...

    You are way more likely to hurt yourself (knees) running, and you won't lose any weight if you can do neither because you blew out a joint.

    I ran for a while -- could do 8-9 miles at a time at one point. but then I couldn't go up the stairs without pain for 2 days. Doctor, brilliantly, said "stop running".

    Bike is more fun for me anyway, because it's a machine you get to drive, and you can go much, much further. I still run every so often (busienss trips, etc.), and it reminds me how much I hate it and how much I miss my bike.
    "how do you know you can't swim until you have drowned?"

  11. #11
    Senior Member Redskin8006's Avatar
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    I've had better weight loss results with biking. My theory is that I spend more time in the fat burning zone on a bike. When I run, I tend to run hard for 30-40 minutes. When I bike, I normally go an hour or two at a steady pace. I've never done a calorie comparison, but biking seems to work better for burning fat even though running is a much more intense workout.

  12. #12
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    Exercise helps, but try and curb your calorie intake, too. Its easier to NOT consume 100 calories than it is to burn it off exercising.

    I both jog and bike. Usually do about 60-80 miles a week on bicycles (my stable's expanding!) and two days a week of jogging/stair climbing. With a few breaks, I've done both since high school (distance runner and rode my bike 4 miles to school), so I'm one of those who enjoys both.

  13. #13
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redskin8006 View Post
    I've had better weight loss results with biking. My theory is that I spend more time in the fat burning zone on a bike. When I run, I tend to run hard for 30-40 minutes. When I bike, I normally go an hour or two at a steady pace. I've never done a calorie comparison, but biking seems to work better for burning fat even though running is a much more intense workout.
    Exactly... it is not calories per mile but calores per unit of time that matters, along with how long you can maintain the effort. For the OP (overweight and pretty out of shape), and in the context of this forum (most of us need to be careful about joint and overuse injuries) it is hard for me to see how running can be recommended over cycling. People in better condition, less overweight, younger- well it might be a closer call for them.

    The OP can always do what he wishes of course, but he needs to make progress from where he his before he can sustain higher intensity work.
    Last edited by billydonn; 01-18-09 at 08:46 PM.

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  14. #14
    Senior Member dbikingman's Avatar
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    I currently do both run/jog and bike. I looked at a chart for calories burned. There could be an arguement for the number of calories burned per hour, but I used the same chart that had biking and running at different speeds and weights. Amazingly for me at the speed I normally ride my bike and run at I burn about the same number of calories per hour. But, I can ride for several hours where a hour run is my limit for now. I tend to run more in the winter because there is less wind chill and I can more easily get out of the way of cars on icy roads.

    Even through the summer I like to run some so I have the ability to do fun runs if I want. Why work hard for fitness and not be able to do an activity such as that if one wishes.

  15. #15
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    If you're looking to lose weight, CROSSTRAIN! Walk/jog/run, cycle, hit the gym for the elliptical, hit the gym for spinning (if you don't have a trainer at home), hit the gym for strength training.
    That which does not kill me has made a massive tactical blunder.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Running is EVIL!

    Best to compute calories burned by the hour, not mile. One mile can be a leg busting climb, but the next one a nice easy downhill coast, followed by a few miles up a false flat, then into a series of stoplights and stop signs, then a dog chases you for another mile making you sprint to 30 mph, then up another hill for 3 miles, followed by a winding descent with 15 switchbacks competing with semis and dump trucks for the road, then finally sprinting to the coffee shop before it closes.

    Yeah, a mile on the bike can be way different then jogging. You could end up drafting MrsBeanz.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  17. #17
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
    Yeah, a mile on the bike can be way different then jogging. You could end up drafting MrsBeanz.
    I need to do more of that myself!

    Everyone talks about blowing knees and hurting oneself while running. True in any sport but one must be careful whenever starting a program to use prope tech and avoid such injuries. When I've trained newbs or my daughters, I didn't just put them on a lifting program. I never throw anyoned down on a bench and say lift 300 lbs.....I've alwys started them ewiht lite dumbells. 2 lbs for presses, lateral raises etc. Then increase after the tendons etc strengthen. Same with running. Jog for 50 yards, walk, do wateveer it takes to slowly build up the muscles involved.

    If it's weightloss and toning that's desired. Maybe try some circuit training. 10 pushup, run once around he track (walk if you need to). Then 10 sit ups, 1/4 lap then 10 pushups, another lap. Repeat and mix with other exercises, pushups, situps, crunches, lunges whater you fancy. One set then a short run. It all adds up and big results are recorded!

  18. #18
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by txvintage View Post
    I think that running probably does burn more calories than riding, but you ride longer and it takes much less of a toll on your joints.

    There are more old runners turning to cycling than old cyclists turning to running.
    Running (or walking) burns more calories per mile, but you're going faster on the bike, and probably burning about the same per hour.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by txvintage View Post
    I think that running probably does burn more calories than riding, but you ride longer and it takes much less of a toll on your joints.
    I would agree with this. Plus, I hate running, so I never do it. As a result, I lose more weight bicycling

  20. #20
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Likely a heart rate monitor tells no lies as to the effectiveness of any exercise. Unless you concentrate on really intense cycling, running is probably more intense. But, my problem, it's also more intense on one's knees.. As my damaged knees indicate.. Just up the intensity of your cycling and you'll be ok..
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  21. #21
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    I am cross training. I usually take a couple of hour-long walks each week, I lift weights a couple of times per week and then I bike about 3-4 times per week. The last 8 weeks, the biking has been in my basement on the rollers. We canceled our gym membership this fall to save a little money, so I'm lifting at home.

    As for weights, I set my HR monitor from 126 to 150, just below my LT of 154, and I try and stay in that zone for 60 minutes. I'll do about 6 stages with one upper body, one core and one lower body exercise, with very little or no time in between. I do relatively low weights with 15-20 reps for most of exercises. For example,

    1 lunges, crunches, bench press (3 sets)
    2 squats, reverse situp, bent over row
    3 step ups, quadruped, bicep curls
    4 dead lift, bicycle crunch, dips
    5 calf raises, weighted side bend, military press

  22. #22
    jcm
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    I'm with most of the others, here. A vigorous jog or running regimen will peel off the weight fast, but Oh Boy Howdy, it hurts. If I tried the herculean program that some have suggested: running, squats, stretching, somersalts down the driveway, vaulting the neighbors fence, etc, I'd just quit in disgust.

    I run like a pachederm. It's too late in life to mess with crap like that. In fact, doing all that as a young Spartan, I believe it wore me out.

  23. #23
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    I'll burn very few calories if I try to run. How many calories/hr for writhing on the ground in agony from re-splintered shins? I ran long ago, and I probably shouldn't have run back then either. Shoe technology wasn't up to par for guys my size (I'm a perma-clyde, since my high school days) and I did a lot of damage to myself back then. I really notice the ramifications of it now, 20 years later, if I try to run more than a block or two.
    If your body is up to the task, then running is a great workout. For me, not so much. If I want a higher intensity workout, I sprint a high gear for intervals or I take my singlespeed out on the rolling hills and push my HR that way.

  24. #24
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    I think if you cycle and monitor your heart rate you will see comparable results to running with less wear and tear on the joints. One of the best things I ever bought for exercising is a Heart Rate Monitor. I try and exercise at at least a 130 BPM average. It is higher than the "Fat burning " range but I go on the theory of more calories burned and the metabolisim stays going. I am 41 years old ,6'1 and 210 now, started at about 230 just before Thanksgiving. I ride my bike in some manor 2 out of three days. Lately that has been on my trainer but I still ride for at least an hour and if I get outside I do an hour and a half. On the days I am on duty (1 out of 3 days) I do an hour on the eliptical and then about 20 minutes of weight work in a super set. 4 exercises with out any rest for 3 sets. The heart rate monitor is a huge help for all of it because as time goes by it gets harder to get the up to the HR that I want so I have to work harder which burns more. I think you can get just an intense workout riding you just have to go faster or go ride hills.

  25. #25
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    In fact a fear. The running I used to do: I am afraid it might some year stop my cycling.. Pain in the right knee sometimes seems a little worrisome.. Lateral motion seems to set off a pain in the joints , I don't like. When I stopped running I had to start using elastic knee supports. It took like 6 months, after I stopped running before knee supports were not necessary. Mean while I was walking like Chester Dillon on *** Smoke. What's the story with knee replacements and cycling. hope that never becomes the case. But, is cycling and artificial knees compatible. ?.
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