For all the benefits that cycling has, its ability to help you lose weight is among the most well-known. In fact, a recent study revealed that cycling is the best way to combat the UK’s obesity epidemic. Researchers found that the average man who starts cycling to work instead of driving achieves an average weight loss of 11lbs.
If you’re an amateur rider just starting out, you may have started cycling for the primary reason of losing weight. Even if you’re a seasoned pro, you know that shaving off those extra pounds is the quickest and easiest way to increase your speed.
However, it’s not quite as easy as getting on your bike and pedalling away the pounds (if only it were), there are some other measures to put in place to make sure the extra weight burns away – here are our top tips
Discover more: What Are The Health Benefits Of Cycling? [Interactive]
You could be putting mile after mile under your belt on the road, but if your nutrition is off, it can halt your weight loss completely. First and foremost, although it can be tempting to cut down on your calorie intake massively, this is not sustainable – especially if you’re putting in many hours out on the road. Of course, you don’t want to overindulge either – it’s getting the balance right that trips up many people.
Sticking to three meals a day should help combat both issues. By doing this, it means you’re less likely to snack or binge as a result of missing meals and being hungry. Also, if you're in the habit of popping to the supermarket every day to get your dinner, you know how tempting it is to pop a chocolate bar or two into your basket. Planning your week’s meals will also help counteract this.
Get enough Zzzs
To lose weight, you need to eat less and move more, right? So why is sleep so important?
Sleep is an incredibly underrated hero of weight loss. Studies have shown time and time again that people who get 6-8 hours of sleep a night are more likely to not only lose weight but keep it off. This is because if we are sleep deprived, our bodies are less able to regulate hunger.
Furthermore, sleep is essential to help our body repair and build muscle. Two things that are essential when you’re spending time on the saddle.
Read More: Cycling and Sleep: What’s the Link?
Minimise sugar and processed foods
Sugar gives us plenty of energy in the short term but with that comes the inevitable sugar crash, and you’ll be craving more unhealthy treats in no time. Furthermore, foods that are highly processed and high in sugar tend to be very dense in calories and don’t keep us full for very long.
Of course, having a slice of cake with a coffee after a morning ride is one of the finest pleasures in life, so we’re not saying cut them out altogether! However, as with everything in life, moderation is key. Try cutting down to a slice of cake or another treat a week as a reward for staying on track.
Limit the liquor
As much as we wish alcohol was full of nutritional benefits, the sad reality is it’s not. Alcohol can be one of the main factors that can lead to excess weight gain for three reasons. The first is that alcoholic drinks tend to be highly calorific with no nutritional value. On top of this, we’re all too aware of the munchies that come after a night of drinking – the kebab shop is just too tempting to resist.
Thirdly, if we go especially hard, the hangover can be just as detrimental as the night of drinking itself. Let’s face it, waking up with a banging head, and a craving for a fry up won’t make you want to jump on that saddle for your usual ride! Of course, don’t deprive yourself completely (what kind of life would that be?) - just try to drink in moderation.
One thing’s for sure, getting on your bike regularly will likely be the easiest part of this whole process. However, there are plenty of ways to give your weekly mileage a boost. Our commute to work is an unavoidable part of life but combine it with cycling, and it’s the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone and speed up your fat loss.
Whenever you get the chance to hit the road on your trusty two-wheeled companion for your journey to the office, make the most of it – every mile counts!
Read More: 7 Ways to Burn More Calories While Cycling
Our last bit of advice is to have fun – one of the best parts of cycling is how enjoyable it is. Whether you like long reflective rides on your own or social rides with your cycling buddies, there’s so much to love. So much so, a lot of the time you’ll forget you’re exercising at all! The beauty is that you’re more likely to keep riding and pedal your way to your weight loss goals.
If you are planning on taking up cycling to enjoy its many health benefits, be sure to check out cycling insurance.