Bike your way to your best body
Tips to help you pedal yourself fit
Fancy burning 500 calories per hour? Then saddle up and jump on your two-wheeler because cycling is the go-to exercise for everyone who wants to transform their body. Here we show you how cycling gets you fit and give you cycling tips that will help you to get your best body ever.
If you want a cycling session that will help you to burn off the pounds, try this: begin by cycling gently for 15 minutes, then build the speed and move into a tough, high gear for 10 minutes. If you can’t cycle at this intensity for 10 minutes then just cycle for the distance you can safely manage. Finally, drop down to a medium gear and cycle at this level for seven minutes. Once you have completed these three stages once repeat the sequence until you’ve had a decent workout.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those participants who performed this style of interval training burnt a higher amount of fat, compared to the control group who performed normal endurance training without the intervals. So, using this session will help you to burn unwanted fat.
Don’t train too hard
If you want your best body ever we suggest you don’t try to train too hard when cycling. This may sound odd, but keeping the intensity of your ride reasonably low over long distances helps you to burn fat. When riding you should aim to keep your level of intensity under 80 per cent of your maximum heart rate. This is because when your heart rate is working under this 80 per cent rate (typically between 60 per cent and 70 per cent) the calories you burn are taken from your fats.
We all know that cycling can help you to shed pounds and tone up, but did you know cycling could also help to keep your heart healthy? According to the British Heart Foundation, cycling for just 20 miles every week can reduce your risk of heart disease to less than half for non-cyclists that do not take part in any other exercise.
Similarly heart disease rates would decrease by an incredible five to 10 per cent if only people would cycle rather than hopping in the car for short car journeys. So, not only can cycling help you look great it can also help keep your heart healthy.
Although they can take time getting used to, put some cages or clips onto your pedals. Not only will these simple gadgets ensure you minimise the amount of energy you lose through the pedals and therefore make you go faster, they will also help you to tone your legs. This is because the cages or clips help you to maintain a smooth cycle motion when riding and this movement engages more of your leg muscles.
Although cycling is fun, if you do the same routes and do the same sessions all the time you’re going to get bored and lose interest pretty quickly. This is where the audax rides come in.
If you’ve not heard about audax rides they are long-distance cycle rides (distances tend to be either 50km, 100km, 200km, 300km, 400km or 600km) where you aim to complete the distance in a set time limit. The events are not races though. The amount of riders who take part in each audax varies greatly and you might find yourself riding with 100 plus riders or 10. Audax events are fun, challenging and will help keep you motivated and engaged in cycling so that you can stick at it and get your best body ever.
Commute in Lycra
Finding the time to keep fit can be tough, which is why if you live close enough to your work you should definitely try donning some Lycra and commuting to work by bike. A four-year study that was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that people who drove to work gained more weight than those that did not drive to work, even if those drivers did regular exercise.
Another argument that might persuade you to commute to work is that the National Forum for Coronary Foundation found that those people who cycle regularly have similar fitness levels to people that are 10 years younger than them.
If you stick to the same types of cycling sessions your progress will plateau. Keep things fresh and keep pushing your body by doing different types of training and going for different rides. One way you can achieve this is by signing up to a cycling event. This not only will give you a goal that will motivate you to train, but it will also help you to mix up your sessions. Plus cycle events are fun and will encourage you to cycle more and immerse yourself even further into the fantastic world of cycling.