Cycling is a great low impact cardio exercise that can help you lose weight. With summer fast approaching, time is running out to lose those final pounds for swimsuit season or a big target event. If we all had 25 hours a week to ride our bikes, losing those final pounds wouldn’t be so tricky but the truth is most people are looking for more marginal methods to shed weight. So instead of looking to completely overhaul your life, looking to areas, you can make small changes that can make a big difference.

Woman ride a bike: summertime activity

Hydrate

Throughout the day and during your rides, staying hydrated can ensure that you never compensate being thirsty by eating more than you need. Work with a bottle of water on your desk and ride with two full bottles so you have something to sip on regularly. Drinking water improves your digestive system and will help you lose weight.

Ride short and intense

Countless studies have shown that high-intensity interval training is very effective for losing weight. If you are hoping to use your cycling more effectively to slim down, consider doing two to three short and intense interval rides a week. This can consist of something as simple as an hour of short hill efforts or two-minute intervals on a local loop or flat stretch of road. Fast group or drop rides can also provide the high-intensity efforts that will help you not only become a stronger rider but also lose some weight.

Long and steady is also great

If you have the time, getting one five to six-hour ride into your calendar every week will help you burn a lot of fat. These rides should be at a steady pace but still hard enough to get your heart rate up. For riders not accustomed to riding so long, start with regular two or three-hour rides to build up to those long rides.

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Meal prep and recovery

The best way to compromise weight loss is by interrupting your routine and eating foods you otherwise wouldn’t, like easy takeout or packaged snacks. Eating consistently well thought out and planned meals can help you reach your goals much quicker and recover better from your rides. Build a habit of planning your meals for the week, buying your ingredients fresh from the grocery store and cooking your own food. It’ll take more time than takeout or pre-made meals but you’ll be able to make conscious decisions on what is fueling your riding. This can be especially helpful for post-ride meals. When you are feeling a little famished, you won’t always make the best meal choices. Having something ready to eat after a ride can ensure that instead of binge snacking you have a healthy salad with grains or fruit smoothie to cut your initial voracious appetite.

sleep cycling

Sleep

Getting enough sleep will not only better prepare you for your riding and reduce stress levels, but studies have shown that sleeping between six and eight hours a night helps with weight loss. When you are tired you are more prone to feeling hungry and your body will feel less satisfied when you do eat.

Bike to work

An easy way to get more active without and big changes is by biking to work. Extra time in the saddle will energize you for your day but also ensure that instead of a sitting motionless on the subway or in your car, you are moving burning energy. You’ll get to work feeling more creative, less stressed and focused.

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Treat yourself

If you have cravings or just want to enjoy the odd sweet, don’t worry about indulging every one in a while. Moderation is the key to success when it comes to losing weight because depriving yourself may help in the short term but won’t be sustainable. It’s healthier to change your habits than overhauling your entire diet so you can still enjoy that chocolate chip cookie or bowl of ice cream, maybe just start with one scoop before serving yourself a second.

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Have fun

The best weight loss success stories come from people who enjoyed the process. Riding your bike is supposed to be fun, not a chore. Making healthier food choices will help you feel better, don’t worry about tracking every calorie or meticulously tracking your weight if it doesn’t suit you. If you are enjoying yourself and motivated to ride, you just need to stick to it. Don’ get discouraged if you have a lapse or results are not as quick as you’d hope. A positive outlook and persistence will pay off. Just consistently get out on your bike. Chances are, as a result you’ll be happier and healthier.

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