There are countless ways to work on your fitness and weight. And in practice, cycling training for beginners proves to be an enjoyable and easy way for many people to lose weight.
Cycling is a low-impact workout that puts little to no strain on the joints.
Moreover, you can cycle throughout the year, outdoors (with a road bike, mountain bike, or regular bike) and indoors (with an exercise bike or spinning bike, for example).
Below, we go deeper into the benefits of losing weight with cycling.
We also pay attention to the different heart rate zones in the context of burning fat efficiently.
Finally, we also dwell on 5 tips to optimally build up your condition with the help of cycling training for beginners.
So do you suffer from a little excess weight, and would you like to burn fat without forcing your joints? Then read on quickly!
Benefits of cycling training for beginners to lose weight
That cycling helps with weight loss is a fact. But, of course, healthy eating is also essential and even crucial.
However, by starting cycling as a novice athlete, you are at least aiding your slimming process.
Side note: Cycling training for beginners offers many more benefits than burning fat and losing weight.
Below we list the main benefits of cycling:
Whereas most sports are tough on the joints, cycling is not. Running, jumping, sprinting, weightlifting, and so on significantly impact and pressure your ankles, knees, hips, back, shoulders, wrists, neck, and feet.
And apart from the joints, high-impact sports can also easily overload the muscles and tendons.
The advantage of cycling is that your cycling movements are smooth and even. Even older, overweight, or obese people with joint problems can often cycle without pain.
If you're a bit heavier, it's essential to watch out for sports that put too much strain on your joints. Running, for example, is not an ideal sport if you are a beginner and want to start exercising to lose weight. It is much more interesting to start with cycling (or swimming).
Good to know: Sports such as running put up to 3 times as much pressure on your lower extremities and feet (compared to when you are standing still).
In other words, losing weight by cycling is the solution for anyone with a bit of excess weight to provide optimal joint relief.
While cycling, most of your body weight is on the saddle, so the knees and ankles do not have to bear that weight.
Cycling works to relieve stress
We all have to deal with stress regularly these days, which can put a hefty burden on our bodies.
It can cause poor sleep, obesity, high blood pressure, chronic diseases, and other complaints.
Similarly, stress often makes us overeat, and the stress hormone cortisol makes us gain weight faster.
Fortunately, cycling is relaxing and has a scientifically proven stress-relieving effect.
The movements themselves are calming, and when you go cycling in nature, it provides even more relaxation thanks to all the smells, sounds, and colors.
Remember that Mother Nature has a lot of influence on how you feel. So if you're cycling through nature in the fields, along the coast, or in the woods, hearing birds chirping and seeing the greenery around you will help lower your stress levels quickly.
Therefore, cycling is perfect for you if you suffer from stress. And remember, the less stress you have, the better the weight loss will be.
So what are you waiting for? Start cycling now and kill two birds with one stone! Relaxation and fat burning combined!
Cycling training for beginners improves your physical condition
People who don't exercise much are quickly out of breath and usually have lousy fitness.
Walking up a flight of stairs is very demanding, as is walking quickly to get somewhere on time. Playing with the (grand)children on the trampoline or on the basketball court just for fun does not go smoothly at all...
In short, people with little or no physical activity have a lower quality of life. They simply cannot enjoy life to the fullest.
A good condition helps you perform simple activities without problems in everyday life.
And so it is of prime importance to improve your fitness. And with cycling training for beginners, this is possible without putting extreme pressure and force on your joints!
To illustrate: If you cycled for 15 to 20 minutes daily, your condition would quickly improve by about 15%.
Cycling exercises strengthen your heart and lungs, improve blood circulation, and develop stronger muscles.
Good to know: Indoor cycling (spinning) can improve your aerobic capacity, blood pressure, lipid profile, and body composition. A combination of indoor cycling and a sensible diet is recommended to efficiently lose weight and lower your blood pressure.
Read even more interesting information about cycling in the context of fitness building, healthier living, and fat burning in our following articles:
Cycling training for beginners stimulates the bowels and digestion
It is common knowledge that it is beneficial for digestion to exercise regularly.
Sport and exercise literally set your bowel movement in motion which, in time, will also work more efficiently.
Put another way, bicycle training allows you to absorb nutrients better and also burn more calories (and, therefore, body fat).
Regular exercise should be considered an effective and natural treatment to maintain the balance of the microbiota or rebalance any dysbiosis (while avoiding food contaminants as much as possible). Over time, you will benefit from improved functioning of the digestive system.
Physical activity appears to be an environmental factor influencing gut microbes' qualitative and quantitative composition, with potential benefits for the active individual.
A well-functioning digestive system is conducive to losing weight, so don't hesitate and start exercising more by hopping on your bike and giving your gut a boost!
Gives your heart and blood vessels a healthy boost
Exercise is good for your cardiovascular system, and cycling certainly is.
Regular cycling dramatically reduces the risk of hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
Bike training may even help reduce the risk of some cancers.
A scientific study has proven that regular cycling also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Therefore, any kind of cycling is recommended as an activity to improve your health.
Another scientific study associated cycling with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes (independent of engaging in other forms of physical activity).
In other words, diabetic patients who begin cycling have a significantly lower risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease and general causes of death than diabetic patients who do not cycle.
Conclusion: By cycling regularly (a healthy guideline is 3 times a week for 30-45 minutes), you become fitter and stronger and reduce the risk of ailments and severe and even life-threatening diseases.
Better resistance thanks to cycling training for beginners
Regular cycling boosts your resistance, resulting in a stronger natural defense mechanism against outside invaders.
This beneficial effect is especially true when cycling outside in the fresh air. But exercise improves resistance anyway, even if you cycle indoors on an exercise bike or spin bike (or if you perform air cycling exercise on the floor), for example.
Several scientific studies have shown that people who bike to work regularly are less likely to call in sick and be absent from work than those who don't bike to work!
Another scientifically proven and exciting fact is that individuals who walk or bike to work are less likely to suffer a heart attack!
Bicycle training develops muscles and increases strength
Thanks to cycling training for beginners, you train not only your leg muscles (calves and thighs) but also your buttocks, arms, and abdominal and back muscles.
The latter don't have to work as hard as the leg muscles, though. In fact, you use your abdominal and back muscles primarily to maintain balance.
Good to know: During cycling, the respiratory muscles between the ribs are also engaged and developed, which helps maintain proper and regular breathing.
Cycling training can be essential to any exercise program that seeks to improve aerobic capacity and cardiovascular health.
However, the effect of bicycle training on muscle size and strength gain should certainly not be underestimated either!
Cycling helps fight obesity
Do you want to lose weight? Then cycling is a good and responsible way to achieve your slimming goals.
Half an hour of cycling a day at an average pace (not too slow and not too fast) already sets the fat-burning process in motion nicely.
Good to know: The great thing about cycling is that fat burning doesn't stop after cycling!
Thanks to active muscle tissue, fat burning continues long after cycling.
Moreover, cycling is an ideal sport if you are a bit heavier. Because you sit on a saddle while moving, your knees and ankles do not have to fully support your weight.
A study by Bianco et al. found that indoor cycling reduces body weight without restricting food consumption. Indoor cycling also improves cardiorespiratory fitness.
Also, indoor cycling can effectively lose weight and reduce and prevent the increased risk of cardiovascular disease in overweight young women.
Another study by Kaya et al. found that spinning (indoor cycling) had a particularly beneficial effect on women between the ages of 32 and 47 who lead sedentary lives.
Specifically, after 6 weeks, they found that the overweight women, according to World Health Organization (WHO) standards, gained a normal weight. And the women who were considered obese were no longer considered obese after 6 weeks of regular spinning.
It was concluded that spinning bike training is an effective method for losing weight and reducing body fat in women in this age group.
This spinning exercise method can be recommended for obtaining good slimming results in obese and overweight women in a reasonably short time.
Tip for cycling comfortably as a plus-size individual:
There are many different types of bicycle saddles available, also known as bike seats, here are some examples to give you an idea of the wide range:
In order to find out which type of saddle would be best for you, read the following articles about bicycles and saddles for plus-size people:
Cycling is rejuvenating
Cycling has a protective effect on the brain, keeping your brain younger and sharper.
Research shows that it helps keep the brain plastic, meaning it can better adapt to changing conditions. So the brain stays sharper, more alert, and more flexible!
Cycling also allows different parts of the brain to communicate better with each other.
Lots of exercise and cycling boost memory, concentration, and your ability to plan clearly.
The study of Leyland et al. showed that the positive effect of cycling on the brain does not only apply to classical cycling. Because people who use an e-bike with electric drive also enjoy improved cognitive function!
This means that it is not just the physical component of cycling that positively stimulates the brain.
So other non-physical elements of cycling play an essential role in improving cognition and mental health.
Consider, for example, the sense of freedom and independence on a bicycle, involvement in the outdoor environment, and increased mobility to move around smoothly without traffic jams.
Cycling lowers excessively high cholesterol
Has your doctor diagnosed you with excessively high cholesterol? This means that your LDL cholesterol is too high, and your HDL cholesterol may be too low.
And then more exercise and cycling is an absolute must. This is because your LDL cholesterol shoots down while your HDL cholesterol is increased.
Physical activity and exercise can improve cholesterol levels in your body.
Researchers Mann et al. have shown that regular exercise increases HDL cholesterol levels. And to lower LDL cholesterol levels, some more intense activity is required using aerobic exercise.
Aerobic exercise (such as cycling and walking) at a high intensity effectively improves lipid profile and lowers bad LDL cholesterol.
A study by De Geus et al. found that blood pressure, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol dropped significantly in people who biked to work at least 3 times a week. Good HDL cholesterol also increased significantly!
Cycling makes you sleep deeper and better
Do you often suffer from restless and sleepless nights or have difficulty falling asleep? Then go cycling because this is a natural way to sleep better, deeper, longer, and more pleasantly.
If you bike for half an hour every day, it will take you less time to fall asleep, and you will generally also sleep longer.
This is also because you are cycling in the open air. The fresh air provides your brain with the oxygen it needs. In addition, you can relax in nature. And because you are outside and seeing lots of daylight, your body will develop a better biorhythm.
Your body will tire faster in the evening when it gets dark. As a result, you will fall asleep better and sleep more peacefully.
The best cycling pace to burn fat
When you start cycling to lose weight, you must pay close attention to your heart rate.
This is because it allows you to properly check whether you are training at the right pace to lose weight efficiently.
Namely, because there are different heart rate zones, and fat burning is only truly optimal in just one of these zones.
Five different heart rate zones
50 to 60% of your maximum heart rate
You are in this heart rate zone with light exercise (gentle walking or cycling, for example). You burn only a little fat in this heart rate zone.
60 to 70% of your maximum heart rate
You reach this heart rate zone when you exert yourself a bit more.
In other words, you cycle briskly outdoors or train well on a cross trainer. Your breathing has quickened, but you can still talk to someone without getting out of breath.
This is the optimal heart rate zone to burn fat during cycling training for beginners.
Your body will burn body fat and not yet sugars, making it the best heart rate zone if you want to lose weight with cycling. By the way, your muscles can handle this pace well (so you can make it a longer training session).
70 to 80% of your maximum heart rate
The effort you are making is quite demanding of you, and you notice this in your breathing.
You can no longer have a normal conversation with someone in this heart rate zone. Instead, your breathing should accelerate to the point where it is virtually impossible to have a smooth conversation during the cycling exercise.
This is the heart rate zone in which you train your fitness, heart, and lungs. In this heart rate zone, your body will use more fast sugars instead of fat.
80 to 90% of your maximum heart rate
If your heart rate is in this zone, you are making a strenuous physical effort.
Breathing is now labored, and as your body starts to produce lactic acid, you may experience muscle cramps.
The more you train in this zone, the more your body will get used to it. However, this is not the zone where you burn body fat, so you should not find yourself in this zone during your training as a novice cyclist who wants to lose weight.
90 to 100% of your maximum heart rate
This heart rate zone is where you demand maximum performance from your heart.
Training in this heart rate zone is very tough, putting a lot of pressure on your body. So it is not wise to do this for a long time because it is dangerous for injuries and your health.
Cycling training for beginners: How to calculate your optimal fat-burning zone?
To burn your body fat optimally while cycling, as stated above, you should train at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate (heart rate zone 2).
So to do that, you need to be able to calculate your maximum heart rate.
You can calculate this by subtracting your age from the number 220.
Max Heart Rate = 220 - your age
This means that someone who is, say, 50 years old has a maximum heart rate of 170 (220 minus 50).
To burn fat optimally as a 50-year-old, your heart rate should be between 60 and 70% of this 170.
Therefore, this means that your optimal heart rate zone to burn fat during bicycle training should be between 102 and 119 beats per minute if you are 50 years old.
Training with heart rate zones is the best way to burn fat
Training at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate is essential to losing weight optimally.
Your body uses fuel to move, but if you are cycling too hard, it is not the most efficient way to lose weight.
Namely, your body prefers to use a quick fuel during heavy exercises, such as sugars in your blood and muscles (instead of your body fat).
In other words, if you make a somewhat less strenuous effort, you will have the advantage of your body burning more fat, and you will also keep it up longer.
Invest in a good heart rate monitor
A good heart rate monitor is indispensable for optimal cycling training with attention to your heart rate zones.
You can use a heart rate monitor or activity tracker that you wear on your wrist or an actual chest strap that connects to a wristwatch.
These devices measure your heart rate with the help of a sensor so you can see at any time how high your heart rate is.
As such, you can adjust your cycling training for beginners accordingly. Constantly training in the most effective zone to lose weight enables you to reach your goal faster.
Five tips for building your fitness with cycling training for beginners
Do you love cycling, and would you like to build your fitness as a beginner? Then we have good news!
Cycling is an excellent way to get in shape and boost resistance and fitness.
In this regard, a road bike, mountain bike, or even a city or hybrid bike is not only a pleasant means of transportation but also your best friend on your way to a healthier lifestyle.
Read the following 5 tips to stay fit on your favorite mode of transportation:
Start with a well-thought-out training schedule
If you want to improve your fitness by cycling, setting up a well-thought-out training schedule is advisable.
Start with relatively short rides and build up slowly. Continuously vary the length and difficulty of the rides.
For example, start with a 20-minute ride on flat ground and, over time, expand to 50 to 60 minutes on more hilly terrain.
Over time, you will have plenty of opportunities to build your fitness and train your muscles.
Having fun is important
For beginning cyclists, working on fitness should remain fun. If you're not having fun in your cycling sessions (indoors or out), chances are you'll quickly abandon your good intentions.
Therefore, plan fun outings and don't feel obligated to complete the workout schedule every week.
Having fun with what you do is even more important! This will make it easier for you to achieve your goal.
Also, be careful of overloading your bicycle saddle! As a beginner, you can quickly experience overuse of the bike seat!
So don't overdo it with the intensity of the cycling sessions initially, and invest in a decent pair of cycling shorts and a comfortable saddle that fits your body and weight!
Read more about suitable saddles in the following articles:
Pay attention to a healthy eating schedule
Of course, a training schedule for cycling exercises also includes proper nutrition. Choose foods that are energizing.
For example, consider bananas or brown bread, which boost the body and enable you to sustain long rides.
Going out for a challenging bike ride? Then, ensure you always have a water bottle with fresh water at your disposal.
This will prevent dehydration and encourage your body to perform better during your cycling training for beginners.
Losing weight can be done by combining cycling with proper nutrition
You can achieve good weight loss results with cycling training for beginners.
But losing weight and burning fat works best if you also make changes in your diet in addition to exercising.
In fact, while exercise and cycling affect your weight, what you eat still determines your weight for the most part.
Therefore, a healthy diet is advisable with lots of vegetables, fruits, limited amounts of meat, some fish, and various healthy snacks.
Try to reduce the number of carbohydrates you take in as they make it easy to gain weight.
A high-protein diet, on the other hand, actually helps you lose weight because protein stimulates fat burning and makes you feel full for a long time.
Combine healthy eating with regular cycling to lose weight easily and quickly.
Get guidance from a specialty retailer
Having the right bike and accessories is essential, especially if you plan to use your gear frequently.
There is a wide range of quality differences in bicycles and accessories. Therefore, choose a quality bike store and be well informed.
With a suitable bike, you are more likely to achieve your goals pleasantly and comfortably.
You can find more information on how to find the right plus-size bicycle in the following articles:
Set realistic goals
Stay realistic when setting up a cycling training schedule for beginners.
As a beginner, cycling for 60 minutes per session 4-5 times a week is not feasible for everyone, especially if you are not used to it.
Therefore, starting small and expanding the training schedule slowly but surely is better. This will prevent overworked muscles and injuries and make it easier to steadily build up your fitness.
Also, remember that you need to invest a lot of time in this. For example, when you work full-time, it is often difficult to schedule time for a bike ride. Avoid disappointment and only schedule rides when it is actually possible.
Tip for the winter months: Invest in a gym membership and go there to cycle on exercise or spinning bikes or buy one for your home.
Extra tip: If possible, ride your bike to work. This way, you kill two birds with one stone and build your fitness faster.