Weight is often at the forefront of a cyclist’s mind. Some get into cycling to lose weight and others need to maintain a certain power to weight ratio to stay competitive in the sport. And then there are those of us who enjoyed one too many coffee and croissant stops in the off-season and need to get things dialed in. Whatever your reason, here are a few tried and true ways for how to lose weight cycling, plus a couple of lesser-known weight loss hacks to speed up the process.
Ride before breakfast
Pro riders know all the tricks for how to lose weight cycling and this tip is one they use often. One of the best times to burn fat is in the morning, when your body is already in a fasted state from sleeping. As your body repairs itself at night, it slowly burns through its glucose reserves, making it easier to tap into stored fat. When you begin to take it fuel, especially carbohydrates, this shifts the balance and the body returns to preferring glucose. Unless it’s a short or easy recovery day, do this workout in addition to your training ride, as you don’t want to deplete your fuel when you’re trying to build fitness.
Try it: Without eating anything (black coffee is fine), get up and either do 20-30 minutes of intervals or a steady state ride. Not only will this wake you up, but it will also accelerate fat burning.
Hack it: Aim to fast for 12 hours before this ride to increase the fat-burning benefits. Since you’re already sleeping for 8 hours, this shouldn’t feel too taxing.
Go all out with interval training
There’s a reason why sprinting is so much fun: It torches fat. One study in the Journal of Applied Physiology observed that a cyclists’ fat burning ability increased by 36% by repeating alternate day interval training for two weeks. It turns out that going all out in the big ring for 30 second sprint efforts shoots human growth hormone through the roof (yes, the same stuff people dope with for big gains). Increased HGH burns fat and promotes lean tissue.
Try it: Inside or out, add in some all out sprints and difficult efforts to your training. For fast fitness and fat burning, avoid being a one-speed rider.
Hack it: Add a power meter to your program so you can begin to monitor performance gains. Research shows that people are more likely to stick to their weight-loss goals if they focus on a performance goal instead.