photo credit: GJ Lopez, cyclist

Cycling is the one workout that you don't get tired of. If you're up for getting rid of a few kg's and want to keep it that way, all you need is a bike to ride your way to weight loss. Why cycling? Simply put, its not just exercise, you can easily do intervals, can be done both indoors and outdoors and lastly, its gentle on the joints. Here are 6 practical tips to choose cycling as your sole exercise to lose weight.

1. Follow the 80-20 Rule
Switching the intensity of your training is key to weight loss. Sticking to high or low extremes of training affects your workout negatively. On the contrary, polarized training that involves 80% low intensity training and 20% high intensity training helps you burn fat faster. But how does that work? Spending 80% of your time cycling with low intensity doesn't leave you breathless and out of energy. The lactate produced during HIIT is recycled during your slow intensity workout. This way when it's time for high intensity cycling, you are fresh to do so and aren't tired. Cyclists who managed to stick to the 80-20 routine for six weeks reported to have doubled their performance gains and power as well. 

2. Fast Before you Ride
This doesn't apply to everyday routine, but going cycling without having breakfast for almost three days a week can help burn your fat. Since your body uses up its fats when you're not consuming carbs, its a good idea to go cycling fasted. You don't have to change your cycling routine at all. Stick to your normal ride by starting empty stomach. You can have black coffee or tea if you need a boost. 

3. Don't Overdo it
A lot of people tend to go overboard with their cycling routine. This can have the reverse effect of what you intended it to do. Intensive exercise at all times leaves your body stressed out and inflamed, adding to your belly fat. For this, it is advisable that high intensity cycling is confined to only a couple of times a week. The idea is to slowly increase your energy levels to the point where you can cycle for the longest time without tiring yourself out. The key to that is: go slow. 

4. Limit Your Gluten Diet
Limiting your gluten intake will definitely help you make the most of your cycling routine. Keeping a check on gluten intake will automatically reduce your processed food intake as well. This prevents you from feeling bloated during riding, maximizing your workout performance as well. Although gluten free diet is often linked to gluten intolerance, you can always make it part of your diet plan to see improved results with cycling. 

5. Stay Hydrated
To ride for long duration, it's imperative that you stay hydrated and carry at least two water bottles with you. 1 liter of water is enough to last 90 minutes of cycling. To stay on top of your hydration game, its best to drink at least 500 ml in 45 mins. 

6. Cycle Uphill
Every now and then, find a route where you can cycle uphill. Since you're riding against the force of gravity, its much harder than cycling on flat terrain, however the benefits reaped are immense in the form of calories burnt. For uphill training, a mountain bike is the best companion for you. You can find some great resources and buying a guide on the mountain bike at Sportsly.NET. However, be mindful of the fact that cycling uphill requires you to have some carbs before you head out for cycling. In case you go for a ride empty stomach, your body starts to burn muscle tissue as the fuel it needs for cycling. References: