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  1. #1
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    Is cycling good for weight loss?

    I'm looking to get fitter and lose weight but hate jogging/running etc. Is cycling good form of cardio? Do you guys work up a good sweat on a ride?

  2. #2
    Goodbye Leeroy Jenkins tagaproject6's Avatar
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    Yes.
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    You can get as much exercise as you want out of bicycling. Pedal harder and/or longer to increase your workout. A 5 hour bike ride is going to burn a lot of calories, no matter how fast you go.

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    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    If you work cycling is excellent for burning calories. Unlike running where the pounding often limits the amount of work done.

    If you take a nice easy ride to a pub or bakery and enjoy their wares you can easily gain weight.

    Cycling does not force you to work, but it allows you to work very hard. Your choice.
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  5. #5
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by makavelicss View Post
    I'm looking to get fitter and lose weight but hate jogging/running etc. Is cycling good form of cardio? Do you guys work up a good sweat on a ride?
    Depends what I'm riding for. When I did jury service I cycled to the court but not so fast I arrived in a bath of sweat. When I'm out on a gentle ride I'll usually sweat a bit, when I'm out on a harder ride it's not uncommon for me to get home to find my shirt is so wet I can wring the sweat out of it.

    If you want to push yourself you can burn up a lot of calories. If you want to take it easy and not exert yourself too hard you can cycle without burning up very many calories.

    When I started cycling I was the slowest thing on two wheels for miles around. Now when I see another cyclist in the distance I feel an urge to try and catch them which usually helps give me a bit of a CV workout, especially if they are fast enough that I can't catch them.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I have dropped ~26# since the first of the year. I ride about 25 miles a week and walk another 6 or so miles. For me the keys were to watch what I eat and limit it to healthy choices and keep my total calories around 2,000. The other key was just to get up and move. I try to shoot for a 120 minutes a week of exercise minimum. I use SparkPeople for tracking my nutrition and fitness.

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  7. #7
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    I take it you've never heard of spin classes, huh?
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member peckma's Avatar
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    Six months, 3800 miles, 17 pounds lighter. It's not just the cycling, but the routines that go with it. It's going to bed early Friday night to rise at 6AM on Saturday to crank out the mileage, mixing in hills and speedwork, getting plenty of rest and eating properly. Fitness is a lifestyle, not something you spend an hour doing 3x a week.

  9. #9
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Hell yeah.

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    If your training sessions are short (say, 30 min to 1 hour), cycling can be roughly equivalent to jogging, as long as you put some effort into it, and don't just coast along and pedal here and there.

    But cycling has a huge potential advantage because you can keep going much longer. If you are overweight, you may find it physically difficult to run even 30 minutes at once. The ability to run non-stop for 4 hours requires an immense amount of training and even then you can't do it more than once every two weeks. On the other hand, with a road bike, some proper clothing, and some effort and training (read: time to build up a callus on your butt), you can learn to ride for 6 hours straight and to repeat it every other day, even if you weigh 200 lbs.

    Just last Saturday I went for a ride and, according to a calculator I have, I burned 1800 calories. And I am still a bit out of shape after a long period off the bike. 3000-4000 and even more is within reach with practice.
    Last edited by eugenek; 02-27-12 at 05:23 PM.

  11. #11
    Junior Member HumanPowerOzmo's Avatar
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    I lost 100 lbs in 1 yr strictly eating less (and better - nothing crazy, just count calories and eat better than you're used to - get into details of diet later) ride the bike, like others have said, pedal that thing !! coast only to catch your breath and lower the heart rate for a few minutess once in a while( wear a heart rate montor) go to spin classes !, they can kick your butt more than people think. have fun !!!! enjoy the benefits !!!!

  12. #12
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    I look at cycling to burn calories and a lot of them. And i like riding

  13. #13
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    For cycling to be a good workout, you need to ride fast and for a long time. You can cover ten miles on a bike easily even if you can't run that far.

    I'll repeat what I've learned for myself:

    Endurance = cardio;
    strength = lifting;
    weight loss = eating right.

  14. #14
    Senior Member GaryPitts's Avatar
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    Last year was my first year riding. After a couple of months to 'ramp up' I was losing 1 or 2 pounds every week ALL summer long riding around 500 miles a month. I made no changes to what I was eating. This winter I've only averaged 200 miles a month and 15 of those pounds have come back Thankfully full time riding season is almost here!
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  15. #15
    Senior Member a1penguin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peckma View Post
    Six months, 3800 miles, 17 pounds lighter. It's not just the cycling, but the routines that go with it. It's going to bed early Friday night to rise at 6AM on Saturday to crank out the mileage, mixing in hills and speedwork, getting plenty of rest and eating properly. Fitness is a lifestyle, not something you spend an hour doing 3x a week.
    This. If you are over 50, it's a lot harder to lose weight. I found that I started losing weight when I was fit enough to start taking 25+ mile rides on the weekend in addition to commuting 8.5 miles each way during the week. I did, however, turn fat into muscle. I dropped 2" waist size on the jeans.
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  16. #16
    I love custom cruisers whitefiretiger's Avatar
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    I found biking to be double edge sword for me but the benefits out weighed the cons.

    I used to ride a lot and was 180ish lbs and 36pants than was out for some time due to injury and life leaving little time for anything but work and sleep. But when I was cleared to ride again I was 250lbs and 42 pants. I started riding again slowly the first month and the pounds started to come off slowly and I found my joints were feeling better. Within 6 months of light/moderate riding I was down to 200lbs and feeling more like my old self. I figured if I started pushing myself I'd bet back to my lower weight but when I pushed harder I found I wasn't losing weight but gaining in the form of muscle. I'm now 1.5years back riding like I used to but I'm now 220lbs and 37 pants (between 36 & 38 neither fit right). The reason I say double edge sword is I needed to cut the lbs for my joints are missed up and at my current weight walking more than 1/2 mile does a number on my knees and ankles but I can wear my old pants again and ride for long periods and distances again.

    Also bikes can be addictive. I have a minimum of 4 bikes at all times and enjoy working on them so much I fix friends and neighbors bikes all the time.

  17. #17
    Daily Rider Robert C's Avatar
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    I don't have a car in this country. I walk or cycle everywhere I go. I have been doing this since 2006.

    Even with that, I am still over 200 pounds at 5'6". There has been no real change since I stopped driving. So, I have to say no, it has not helped me loose weight. However, by all measures other than weight, heart rate (resting and stressed), blood pressure, and other methods, I show up as being extremely fit.

    But weight; no, no help at all.

  18. #18
    I love custom cruisers whitefiretiger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
    I don't have a car in this country. I walk or cycle everywhere I go. I have been doing this since 2006.

    Even with that, I am still over 200 pounds at 5'6". There has been no real change since I stopped driving. So, I have to say no, it has not helped me loose weight. However, by all measures other than weight, heart rate (resting and stressed), blood pressure, and other methods, I show up as being extremely fit.

    But weight; no, no help at all.
    I know what you are saying. Some people just don't lose weight easy. I'm cursed to be a big guy ... I've been 180+ lbs since the 7th grade. And once my body is set on a weight it doesn't do down without a fight and if I try too hard as I did trying to get back to 180 lbs I put weight back on as muscle.

    Even if you are unfortunate enough not to lose weight by biking it is worth doing for other health reasons.

  19. #19
    Senior Member The Chemist's Avatar
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    Absolutely. I was 93kg last April when I bought my bike. Now nearly 11 months and just over 7000km later, I'm down to 82kg (and have been as low as 80.5kg) - and this is without making any changes to my diet. If I actually tried to eat more healthily, I would probably lose even more.
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  20. #20
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    If done correctly - yes. I've lost 50+ lbs riding but I combined that with eating healtier. I didn't "diet" per se because I still had junk food on occasion I just didn't go over-board.

  21. #21
    Senior Member The_DK's Avatar
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    Food is the most important factor in weight loss, of course.
    A typical big soda from a convenience store is 450-650 calories. There's an hour of pretty solid riding right there.

  22. #22
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    It's what you make of it, because bikes are so darn efficient. Cruising is like walking, though you might do it for hours on end. Sprinting, spinning, hill climbing, real MTB; these efforts are more like running. Burning 1000 calories an hour is doable and with little impact, but you have to push yourself. As others have said, if you don't control your intake then you'll just spiral between burning lots of calories on the bike that you replace as soon as you get near the frig. or the golden arches.

  23. #23
    Carpe Velo Yo Spiff's Avatar
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    Yes. Between eating better and riding the snot out of my bike, I've dropped 63 pounds in the last year. 54 to go. I think the longer rides are better for kicking in my fat burning machanisms, while a shorter but more intense ride helps my cardio more.
    2000 Bianchi Veloce, '88 Schwinn Prologue, '88 Trek 900, '92 Trek T100, 2000 Rans Tailwind

  24. #24
    Snakes on a bike Antaresia's Avatar
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    Probably depends on a lot of factors, there are obviously people here who lost weight, but technically I'm not one of them.

    I'm a car-free commuter, 4.5 miles to work each way plus all other errands. I've been at it almost a year and still weigh the same. I know I have shed some fat though, and built muscle. But if you're watching the scale you might be in for some really slow progress (probably depends on how much you weigh now, your gender, and diet as well).

    I started cycling because it's easier on the knees than jogging, but found it was also super practical for transportation. I wouldn't buy a car now if you paid me...so weight loss is pretty far down on the list of "reasons to bike". Just get a bicycle regardless. You'll love it.

  25. #25
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaryPitts View Post
    Last year was my first year riding. After a couple of months to 'ramp up' I was losing 1 or 2 pounds every week ALL summer long riding around 500 miles a month. I made no changes to what I was eating. This winter I've only averaged 200 miles a month and 15 of those pounds have come back Thankfully full time riding season is almost here!
    Two things that I think causes this --

    Your body is getting conditioned to cycling, which means that it's getting more efficient at doing what you ask it to do. It will expend less energy to accomplish the same tasks. If you keep the same speeds and the same routes, you're going to hit a plateau.

    Then, because you've been exercising less (assuming that you're not replacing lost seat time with another physical activity), you were expending much less than you were before, and the same food intake became a calorie surplus.

    Fix this by 1) adding different forms of exercise, and 2) adjusting what you eat.

    Fitness is a year-round thing. The ones who need to treat it seasonally are gearing up for race season or specific events, and they're making very specific changes in their training schedule (which is still year-round). The rest of us aren't fighting for every fraction of a second on our TT time, so we can afford to do a bunch of other things that don't directly affect our cycling fitness.

    Think of cycling-for-weight-loss as a beginning to your gaining overall fitness.

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