Cycling is a highly effective form of exercise. It requires a lot of energy, builds lean muscle mass, and improves your strength, cardio capacity, and endurance. However, cycling won’t specifically burn belly fat. It will certainly help to reduce your overall body fat, but since spot reduction is a myth, you will have to be patient for your belly fat to burn off with the rest of your fat.
Cycling is a quicker activity than walking, so it’s no surprise that it burns more calories. A person weighing 160 pounds will burn 11 calories per minute cycling at a slow pace of 12 to 14 miles per hour. This would result in a loss of 1 pound of fat in just over 300 minutes.
How many calories will cycling burn?
Depending on your weight and exertion level cycling will burn off between 75-670 extra calories* in a half-hour cycle session.
30 min Cycling will burn:
- Recreational, 5mph: 75-155kcal
- Moderate, 10mph: 190-415kcal
- Vigorous, 15mph: 300-670kcal
If you are keen to use cycling to burn calories and so lose weight, think about it like this…
A half-hour daily cycle trip could burn 11 pounds of extra fat in a year. Because the activity is frequent, the weight is likely to stay off – combine it with a change to a healthier calorie-counted diet and weight loss will be even more effective.
The Spot Reduction Myth
The idea of “spot reduction” — burning fat from one particular area of your body — is a very appealing idea, but it simply doesn’t work that way. Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki says that reducing your overall body fat is the only way to see a reduction in a problem area. You simply have to be patient and consistent with your training and nutrition to see the changes you want. Krusczelnicki suggests regular cardio training as one of the best ways to reduce your overall body fat.
The Cycling Burn
Cycling is a popular and effective form of cardio. Not only does it get your heart rate up, but it burns a significant number of calories. Depending on your size, an hour of moderate cycling has been found to burn between 470 and 745 calories. An hour of vigorous cycling can burn between 590 and 930 calories. The high-calorie burn will help you start burning off fat stores all over your body, including your belly fat, provided you are eating sensibly.
Bring On The Definition
Cycling is also very effective for improving lean muscle definition. While it is unlikely to build lean muscle mass — which would require regular weight training — cycling will certainly strengthen your muscles and improve their appearance. In combination with the reduction in overall body fat, your body will start to have a more lean and defined look after a couple of months of regular cycling. Your belly will also see the benefits, tightening and becoming a little flatter due to the demand for core stability during cycling.
Supercharge Your Cycling
While cycling is traditionally done over long distances, you can also use your bike to do interval training. That means working extremely hard for a short period of time, taking a break, then repeating. This style of training has been found to be highly effective for burning body fat and improving lean muscle definition, so it’s a useful addition to your regular cycle training. Including interval training twice a week will speed up your fat loss results, allowing you to see a reduction in your belly fat sooner. A simple way to do intervals is to cycle as fast as you can for 20 seconds, then take a 10-second break, repeating this sequence eight times.
So, cycling is a great exercise to help lose weight and keep fit, and with the associated health benefits that a cycling workout will give, the calories burned when biking can help you achieve your weight loss goals.