If you are at the beginning of your weight loss journey, then you probably want to know which exercise will help you to reach your goals in the fastest and more efficient way. Or, alternatively, if you have been losing weight through dieting alone, you may now want to add exercise into the mix to turbocharge your results.
The truth is that there are many different types of cardio exercise that can support weight loss. In this post, we are going to focus on one exercise in particular: indoor cycling on a stationary bike. These bikes are known for their fat-busting ability and for being safe and easy to use, making them a great option for everyone.
How long until I see results?
The first question we get asked about any exercise machine is ‘how long until I see results?’ You guys are not patient people! Luckily, you do not need to be when it comes to an exercise bike. During a 30-minute session of moderate-intensity stationary cycling, a 125lb person will burn 210 calories, a 155lb person will burn 252 calories, and a 185lb person will burn 294 calories.
If you challenge yourself and cycle vigorously for 30 minutes, a 125lb person will burn 315 calories, a 155lb person will burn 378 calories, and a 185lb person will burn 441 calories.
The question of how long it will take to see results will depend on how hard you push yourself and how often you get on the bike, as well as the calorie deficit you are achieving through your diet. However, do not be fooled into thinking that more is always better. When it comes to exercise and weight loss, there is a balance to be struck between keeping yourself accountable and not overdoing things.
If you try to use your bike every day, for example, you will find that your body becomes achy and that your energy levels will be depleted, making every session a chore that you come to dread. This kind of training is not sustainable. Rest days are an important part of a training regime.
How often and for how long?
A sensible approach to cardio exercise for weight loss is to aim for 2-3 sessions per week, each lasting 30-45 minutes. Or, to put it another way, aim for 90 minutes on your stationary bike per week. How you clock up these 90 minutes is up to you, but remember that it is important to listen to your body and to adjust your routine accordingly.
For example, in the beginning, you may find that 2 sessions a week is taking a toll. If this is the case, try reducing this down to 1 session a week until you have built up some stamina. Alternatively, if you are doing 45-minute sessions, drop down to 30-minute sessions.
While 90 minutes of cardio a week may not sound like a lot, this is only meant to be one aspect of your fitness regime. We always recommend strength training alongside cardio and diet changes because increasing your muscle mass will boost your metabolic rate, as well as give shape to your physique.
Rest days should not be lazy days either, whether you are going for a long walk or doing housework (you would be surprised at how many calories you can burn while cleaning), you need to move your body every day.
Okay, but HOW LONG UNTIL I SEE RESULTS?
If you really must press us to give you a timeline for visible results, there is a way to calculate how long it will take to reach your milestones. To lose a pound of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories. If you do 3 moderate-intensity cycling sessions in a week, you will burn 630/756/882 calories, depending on your weight (we are using the 125/155/185lb examples from above). If you cycle vigorously, you will burn 945/1143/1323 calories.
While you can lose weight through exercise alone, the smarter approach is to combine it with a diet that puts you into a calorie deficit. If you cut 500 calories a day, 5 days a week and eat maintenance calories 2 days a week, you will be in a calorie deficit of 2,500 (you can diet every day if you would prefer, however, for the sake of this equation we are adding in some maintenance days to reflect the fact that having planned treats is a healthy approach to dieting). Combined with your calories burned through cycling, this will put you on track for losing a pound a week.
Finally, if your aim is to tackle a problem area, like your stomach, know that there is no way to ‘spot-reduce’ your fat. We all naturally distribute our fat in different ways and we all have our problem areas. Your only option is to keep cutting and burning calories and see how your body responds.