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Biking and losing weight

Old 07-09-22, 05:31 PM
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Biking and losing weight

A friend sent me this useful calculator on losing weight in biking:

Calories Burned Biking / Cycling Calculator (caloriesburnedhq.com)
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Old 07-10-22, 01:13 PM
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It is worthwhile as a comparison between different rides on different days but don't expect it to be an accurate calculation of calories burned. It is an approximation. It does not take into account the differences in efficiency between different bikes. A rider using a lightweight carbon fiber road bike doing 20 mph for an hour will not burn the same number of calories as somebody riding a much heavier and less expensive bike like a 45 pound Huffy. It takes a lot more effort to propel the latter to the same speed.

If you wish to lose weight, the answer is simple. Monitor your caloric intake and make sure it is somewhat less than what your body requires to maintain it's current state. It is pretty easy to automatically adjust for the calories burned while riding and then wonder why all of your effort does not result in losing weight.
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Old 07-12-22, 12:56 PM
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I simply don't understand the resistance to the takeaway from post #2. I kind of get that we are into bikes on Bike Forums. What has that got to do with weight loss? Cycling just might be the worst way of all to use as a weight loss regimen! There, I've said it. Again. The main reason is that most of us simply can't do it enough for it to be meaningful in burning excess calories. The main reason for that is that most of us do not like to, or are downright against riding in traffic. So we have to hump the bike to a riding spot and how often does that happen? Even the commuters with a 4mi or even 10mi one way aren't going to burn enough calories by riding alone to touch any visible amount of weight. Stuff breaks on the bike. Tires get flats. It's raining. It's cold. It's hot ... ... amirite? This isn't to say that anyone shouldn't ride! We love riding. I love riding. But riding isn't how I lose or maintain weight. It doesn't factor in there at all. If it's helping, fine. But I am not counting those calories burned. I am only counting calorie intake and attempting to limit trash calories where possible.
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Old 07-13-22, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
I simply don't understand the resistance to the takeaway from post #2. I kind of get that we are into bikes on Bike Forums. What has that got to do with weight loss? Cycling just might be the worst way of all to use as a weight loss regimen! There, I've said it. Again. The main reason is that most of us simply can't do it enough for it to be meaningful in burning excess calories. The main reason for that is that most of us do not like to, or are downright against riding in traffic. So we have to hump the bike to a riding spot and how often does that happen? Even the commuters with a 4mi or even 10mi one way aren't going to burn enough calories by riding alone to touch any visible amount of weight. Stuff breaks on the bike. Tires get flats. It's raining. It's cold. It's hot ... ... amirite? This isn't to say that anyone shouldn't ride! We love riding. I love riding. But riding isn't how I lose or maintain weight. It doesn't factor in there at all. If it's helping, fine. But I am not counting those calories burned. I am only counting calorie intake and attempting to limit trash calories where possible.

and I don't understand your resistance to biking to assist in weight loss

just about any activity or exercise to burn calories is a plus

it's basically what you burn vs what you consume

some do have the time - and cycling is one of the few exercises they can do for a significant length of time to burn some calories (because it's a weight supported activity) ; most heavy people won't be able to run for a significant length of time or distance etc - but they will be able to spend the time on a bike

I know of many that have used biking to assist in weight loss
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Old 07-17-22, 10:53 AM
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Iíve heard about cycling not being good for losing weight and donít understand it. Perhaps maybe compared to running or some other activity.

in my case, I went from 170 to 155 in the first year of regular cycling. More importantly I went from 36 to 33 waist pants and went down a shirt size. All this without counting calories or dieting in any way.

this was done mainly by riding for about an hour in the morning around 5AM 3-4 days a week on an old mtb and doing longer rides on a road bike on Sundays. Typically 100-125 miles a week total.

Maybe itís not a good way to lose weight fast, but just about everyone I know who has lost a bunch of weight fast, ended up worse off within 6 months.
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Old 07-17-22, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
I simply don't understand the resistance to the takeaway from post #2. I kind of get that we are into bikes on Bike Forums. What has that got to do with weight loss? Cycling just might be the worst way of all to use as a weight loss regimen! There, I've said it. Again. The main reason is that most of us simply can't do it enough for it to be meaningful in burning excess calories. The main reason for that is that most of us do not like to, or are downright against riding in traffic. So we have to hump the bike to a riding spot and how often does that happen? Even the commuters with a 4mi or even 10mi one way aren't going to burn enough calories by riding alone to touch any visible amount of weight. Stuff breaks on the bike. Tires get flats. It's raining. It's cold. It's hot ... ... amirite? This isn't to say that anyone shouldn't ride! We love riding. I love riding. But riding isn't how I lose or maintain weight. It doesn't factor in there at all. If it's helping, fine. But I am not counting those calories burned. I am only counting calorie intake and attempting to limit trash calories where possible.
Wrong.

Another case of an individual speaking for themselves and imagining it applies to everybody.
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Old 08-03-22, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by jessyrich
How good is cycling when it comes to loosing belly fat?
Personal experience please
I lost my pot belly in the first 5 months of riding. Lost about 10% of body weight. I ride about 4-6 hours per week. I know everybody's metabolism is different but that's my experience.

Very similar to the web calculator that TLit posted, Strava estimates my calorie burn at 400-700 calories per hour, and I reduce that to Minus One Big Macs per hour. 😀

Before biking Big Macs only went in and ass was in-chair. If I was a different person, I could have improved before retirement but I guess I needed the relaxed headspace to get in gear.

Last edited by BTinNYC; 08-03-22 at 05:39 AM.
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Old 08-03-22, 05:56 AM
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Honestly think the OP just shared a tool, to be helpful.

use it if you wish pass if you donít.

I actually use that one and two others and use the average calories burned from the three of them, but find them to be pre similar. I think this may be useful whether your trying to lose weight or replenish the calories burned, this tool may get a person close. I do also use it preplanning longer rights to calculate calories needed.

as a side note in the last 1.5 years Iíve lost 81.5 lbs (started at 285.5lbs)and as of this morning within 2/10ths of a pound from my low, so itís staying off. And while cycling can help, I did it the old fashioned way of counting calories, (1750 a day)
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Old 08-03-22, 06:40 AM
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I've had an activity change in the last year or more from a physically exhausting job that I quit. I like to combine biking with hiking at local parks; bike 5 or more miles, hike 3 miles at two parks in an hour and a half or so. It helps up the metabolism and stay in shape. I've found backbacking on the AT or LT to be great for losing weight, a week is usually enough to get in much better shape hiking 15-20 miles a day.
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Old 08-03-22, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by TLit
I've had an activity change in the last year or more from a physically exhausting job that I quit. I like to combine biking with hiking at local parks; bike 5 or more miles, hike 3 miles at two parks in an hour and a half or so. It helps up the metabolism and stay in shape. I've found backbacking on the AT or LT to be great for losing weight, a week is usually enough to get in much better shape hiking 15-20 miles a day.
I think this is a prudent approach. Thats why I alternate walking with hiking up a hill for aprox 1 hour one day, and bike 20 - 25 km the next (aprox 70 minutes). I might do this 5 days a week. Tues and Thurs I hang out at the mall with the other "Old guys" and walk there. Walking/hiking IMO is a very important activity for us seniors. Biking is both fun and healthy, at least for me when not taken to extremes.

A Proper diet where we loose a few hundred calories a day is by far the most important step, and probably the hardest for reasonably active people to loose weight. It doesn't matter how we loose them. Biking is only one of many activities that can contribute to that goal.

Last edited by xroadcharlie; 08-03-22 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 08-03-22, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jessyrich
How good is cycling when it comes to loosing belly fat?
Personal experience please
It's not great in terms of efficiency relative to time. But if it's a form of exercise you'll engage in much more regularly and for more time than anything else, then it's great.

Running and especially doing intervals will burn more in less time. But if you don't like running and won't do it regularly, then the efficiency is of no use. Weight training to add more muscle and increase metabolic rate is ideal in addition to whatever is your cardio of choice.

Diet is the number one factor, though. Very few people have the time, or willpower, to exercise enough to counteract the effect of an undisciplined diet.
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Old 08-03-22, 05:40 PM
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When I started riding I lost about 20 lbs in a couple of months. Wasn't trying to lose weight and it happened so quickly it was a bit worrisome. People asked me if I was ill. Then it plateaued and in the intervening decade or so I've put a few pounds back on. But I'm still carrying about 15 pounds less that I had been for the prior 20 years or so. (I was a lot heavier before that, but that's another story.)
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Old 08-04-22, 10:45 AM
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Cycling has made me super lean. I also strength train, with fewer reps/heavy weight and eat salads with my meals daily. The only form of cardio I do is ride a bike. Though most my cycling is focused on hill climbing within a short period of time in order to maximize the burn.
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Old 08-12-22, 09:55 AM
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I guess I wouldn't lose much weight if I just coasted around. If you think pedaling a bike isn't exercise, I'm not sure what to tell you. Because it is.

I don't run anymore because of neck surgery, bad back, bad knees, bad ankles, you get the idea. Swimming in my modestly-sized pool, and biking are really the only exercise I get.

I wish I could run as much and often and as strenuous as I once did, but getting older sure is putting a damper on that. For me.

This is why fat people don't go to the gym, because they think someone will say they are doing something wrong. Way to poopoo on someone who has an interest in cycling for fitness.
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Old 08-12-22, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by suprchunk
If you think pedaling a bike isn't exercise, I'm not sure what to tell you. Because it is.
Agreed.

Yesterday I had a Dr appointment... Dr has moved her office to a new location that's 25km from my place. I rode there and back: 2:18 moving time on my fatbike (28T chainring) with 280 meters climbed. Averaged 165 HR for 2:18.

How can that NOT be exercise?

It sure felt like it.

lol
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Old 08-16-22, 08:37 AM
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I lost 180lbs over 2 years by cycling and dieting. At 50 years old and 6'2" tall I weighed 360lbs. I had back and knee trouble so severe when I started that cycling was the only way I could exercise hard enough to get much benefit. I didn't ride out of sight that first ride before I got off and pushed but my second-year riding, I rode 360 days of that year and averaged around 100 miles a week.

I do think my diet was just as, or more important than the exercise. I did a very simple diet. I stopped eating all sugar, all bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes. I ate when I was hungry, and stopped when I was full. I wouldn't even taste anything containing sugar and not so much as a cracker or breaded chicken finger for 2 years. I dropped down to 170 lbs. from 360 lbs. in 2 years. Then over the next 2 years I added some muscle back and have maintained 180lbs for a while.

Last edited by RH Clark; 08-16-22 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 08-16-22, 09:58 AM
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I have to say that the key to my cycling as exercise was that it was my cheapest and most convenient source of fun at the time, that also just happened to be exercise. I had bought gym memberships before, but it's a 20min drive there and it's an exercise thing that you know you need to do, but don't want to do. Cycling opened up a new world to me. I hadn't been on a bike for 40 years. I gave $50 for my first one at a pawn shop. It was a Giant Rincon rigid frame all Crome molly steel MTB. It was too small for me, but I rode that thing about 400 miles before I figured it out.
My body changed a lot over the next 2 years. I bought several used bikes. I have touring bikes, Mountain bikes, Gravel bikes, and racing bikes. My main bike is a pristine 2012 Surly LHT. If I feel like living dangerously, I have a Lemond with an 853 frame and carbon nearly everything else that weighs 18 lbs.

I was lucky enough to live where I can ride out my driveway and do 4 miles of country road to get to nearly endless forest service gravel roads. There are no other cyclists that ride in my town. There are a few people that ride a Walmart bike because it's their only transportation, but no groups that ride just for fun. I tour the town by myself when I feel like riding pavement. I truck my bike the 6 miles to town, and I can ride very low and slow traffic areas all day long, if I want. I have lots of great places to cycle. The only drawback is that to ride with anybody, I would have to drive over an hour one way.

The point is that the best exercise is doing the thing that you most want to do, rather than the thing you need to get done. I'm assuming that cycling is that thing for most of us, or we wouldn't be on here.
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Old 08-16-22, 10:34 AM
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How are you doing now in Aug 2022?

Originally Posted by RH Clark
The point is that the best exercise is doing the thing that you most want to do, rather than the thing you need to get done. I'm assuming that cycling is that thing for most of us, or we wouldn't be on here.
You have a great story! Congrats. Now 2 1/2 years into the pandemic, how are you doing now?

I hope you're able to still ride into the nice areas alone!
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Old 08-16-22, 10:38 AM
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bike riding is my favorite way to gain weight. I tend to eat more recovery food than needed. Oh well.
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Old 08-16-22, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by CraigAustin
You have a great story! Congrats. Now 2 1/2 years into the pandemic, how are you doing now?

I hope you're able to still ride into the nice areas alone!
Thanks. I was depressed during the pandemic. I drank a bit too much red wine and I've got to 190lbs. I've been cutting back on the wine though and I've been doing a lot more cycling and kayaking lately. I'm back on track to get to my preferred 180lb weight again now. The crime rate is very low here. You do have to watch out for Pits though if going through the subdivisions. I can drive 6 miles though if I want to completely avoid traffic and ride 70 miles of dirt up and down the foothills with creeks and waterfalls to cool off in. I've rode there 8 hours on a weekday and never seen another person.
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Old 08-21-22, 07:05 PM
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A friend invited me to a hot yoga session last week that kicked by butt; I'm thinking the value of resetting the muscles and spine can be a really healthy think. The best aerobics I've gotten has been on the AT or Long Trail in Vermont. Also many years ago raking blueberries in eastern Maine was impressive exercise except for the pesticides in the fields. Biking is great too.
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Old 09-02-22, 03:07 PM
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I did not read every word of the discussion/argument in this thread, but I gave it a good skim.


I'll chime in with a few comments.


1) At least anecdotally, it seems biking can absolutely be an effective part of a weight loss regimen. I say this because I have a friend who lost something like 80 or 100 pounds a few years ago and has kept the weight off. He tells me he did it by eating a little bit healthier diet (nothing extreme or really strict, just cutting back a bit) and by riding his bike a lot. Individual results, of course, will vary.


2) Keep in mind a well-proven principle of weight loss: to achieve it, you must exercise at an intensity that elevates your heart to around 70% of max, give or take, and sustain that level for at least 30 minutes (40 to 60 minutes is better).


I believe my friend when he tells me biking is almost exclusively to thank for his progress. And I still believe what doctors and researchers have been saying for decades about exercise intensity and duration.


To me, this means one must be pretty committed and have a reasonably convenient place to ride. Many people do. Many others are probably better served by a stationary bike, treadmill, lap pool, or some other exercise arrangement. Weather, traffic, terrain, and other factors can unfortunately squash the good intentions of someone who wants to use a bike for weight loss (or other fitness goals). Running, with its often-cited drawbacks (not least of which is potential for joint damage) allows for faster calorie burn and easier intensity regulation. By that I mean it's easier for a runner to adjust pace/effort to remain in the desired heart rate zone. Cyclists often have more trouble with this due to the factors I mentioned three sentences up. It is still my favored exercise method. I am not in need of weight loss, but I am trying to maintain my overall health and fitness, mostly by biking as often as practical.


Now, if we're talking about the morbidly obese, biking is probably not an option. That's okay, because they will start losing weight as soon as they cut back their diet and take daily walks for 5-10 minutes or whatever they can handle. Once they get below 300-ish pounds, biking might become viable. For those who are just moderately overweight, I say "Yeah, ride a bike!"
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Old 10-02-22, 09:17 AM
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Like anything reducing caloric intake first then gauging calories burned through cycling can yield weight loss but you need to watch what you put into your body for any meaningful change.
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Old 10-09-22, 04:11 PM
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Jogging would be your best bet for losing weight - cycling not so much since I've seen plenty of overweight cyclists some of which are too small for their bikes. You'd have to put in some serious miles or intense riding to lose major pounds.
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Old 10-09-22, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Pugs2xLove
Jogging would be your best bet for losing weight - cycling not so much since I've seen plenty of overweight cyclists some of which are too small for their bikes. You'd have to put in some serious miles or intense riding to lose major pounds.
running / jogging can burn more calories than bicycling - but many obese people cannot run / jog (for significant length of time - if at all )

( jumping rope can top both significantly - but again not many obese people are able to jump rope for a significant length of time )

and the obese people that jog often run into foot / knee / hip problems

bicycling is a weight supported exercise - so the lower body of an obese person better able to tolerate
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