Cycling for fitness or weight loss

Doing the same old thing will make you stale so look out for new tracks or take that road you always wondered where it went. Better still plan a day on new routes and you’ll be amazed what more you see.

If you’re new to cycling or returning after years away and are cycling to keep fit and lose weight then here a few tips to help you along.

Before you start any exercise regime it is recommended that you have a check-up with a doctor or health professional to assess your current state of health as we don’t want you overdoing it.
fat cyclist

The bike

This is the most basic rule but make sure your bike fits you and is working properly. This will make it easier to ride and also won’t put you off from using it.

Make sure the saddle is the correct height, you’re not too stretched out or bunched up and pump your tyres up to the correct pressure as this makes it easier to push.

Kit

Get some padded shorts to make the seated area more comfortable and don’t wear any underwear underneath them.

Lycra shorts can be worn under other clothing if you don’t want it on show or baggy mountain bike shorts are much more forgiving and also have a padded liner in them.

A pair of gloves will also make your hands more comfortable and help wipe sweat away from the face.

Have a plan

Once you’ve decided that you are going to cycle more then make a plan of how many times you are going to ride per week and stick to it.

Do a weekly plan and build it up a little each week, slightly longer distance or more time spent cycling, so you push yourself slightly more as time goes on.

Keep a record of the plans and the rides you did as they great for looking back on and seeing how far you’ve progressed since you started after a few weeks.

Stay hydrated

Make sure you have enough fluids with you on the ride.

Attach a water bottle cage to your bike and take a bottle with you or at least carry a plastic bottle if you have pockets if you haven’t got a cage.

If you have a backpack then use a bladder drinking system if you are planning any longer rides. Make sure you are well hydrated before you go out as this will also help you cycle longer.

drinking cyclist

Eat on the move

Cycling is a great sport in that it allows you to eat while doing it. Having a few light snacks or fruit with you to eat on slightly longer rides will fuel your efforts and stop you gorging when you get home or worse still getting the hunger knock while riding.

Make sure the snacks are light though, no point eating more than you are burning.

Use the bike instead of the car

If you have a short journey to make, why not use the bike instead of the car. Not only is this is a great way of including cycling in your everyday life without having to make specific time for it but saves you money on fuel and is better for the environment.

By the time you’ve parked up etc it’s usually just as quick to take the bike and by replacing short car journeys you’ll hardly notice you are cycling more.

Once it becomes second nature to use the bike you’ll find yourself using it for slightly longer trips or maybe even cycling to work which is one of the best ways to integrate cycling into your day.

Go exploring

Mix up your riding routes or try some new paths.

Doing the same old thing will make you stale so look out for new tracks or take that road you always wondered where it went.

Better still plan a day on new routes and you’ll be amazed what more you see on the bike compared to being in the car.

off the beaten track

Ride early in the day

Studies have shown that exercising in the morning really sets you up for the day and we can vouch for this.

Riding in the morning is so much easier than later as you are fresh and it wakes you up. We all know what it’s like to come home from work tired and do all the usual things and by then you’ve either talked yourself out of it or there’s no time left.

Get up a bit earlier and go for a ride, trust us you’ll enjoy it.

Push it hard every now and then

Don’t be afraid to push it a little bit on your rides. We’re not talking flat out all the time but a few sprints or maybe pushing hard on a hill will help your fitness and bring you on in no time.

Soon you’ll find yourself riding up hills or completing circuits quicker than you ever thought possible when you started.

Studies have also shown that including a few sprints in your training increases the body’s fat burning ability and increasing metabolism means you are also burning fat after the ride as well as during.

event cycling

Enter an event

Sign yourself up for an event in the future to give you a goal to work towards.

It could be a charity cycle, a sportive, a race or simply joining a club and going on one of their rides. This focus will keep you motivated when the going gets tough or you think you don’t have enough time to train.

Be careful though, this can become addictive and once you enter one you’ll find yourself looking for others which are further, hillier, tougher… and you’ll love it!

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