There are many types of exercise out there that can help you lose weight. But personally, I recommend indoor cycling. Why? Because cycling is a low-impact activity which means it puts minimal stress on your joints. Thus anyone–including the elderly and pregnant women, can do it.
What is the best indoor cycling program for weight loss? Doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) indoor cycling program regularly combined with strength training is the best way to achieve the leaner body you’ve always wanted.
I have to emphasize too that a proper diet is also essential when you trying to lose weight. Exercising will not give you a license to eat as much as you want.
Before we discuss HIIT and strength training in more detail, it is important that you understand the relationship between calorie intake and expenditure and weight loss.
Calories and weight loss
Every person has specific caloric needs. It depends on your age, gender, activity level, the amount of muscle mass in your body and other factors.
When your calorie intake is more than your calorie you burn, those extra calories you consume will not magically disappear. It will definitely go somewhere, like in your belly, arms, hips, most probably in the form of fat (or muscles in the right condition).
When your calorie intake is lower than your calorie expenditure, also known as a calorie deficit, your body is going to need to get energy from somewhere other than the food you consume–from the stored fat or muscles in your body.
So, if you are overweight or obese, the only way to lose those extra pounds is through a calorie deficit.
Calorie deficit through diet
Many people who want to lose weight go into diets that aim to limit the amount of calorie intake in order to create a calorie deficit.
Before you go on a diet, it helps if you know your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) or the number of calories you burn per day. This, of course, varies each day depending on the amount and intensity of your activities.
You might be surprised to know that you are burning calories even you are doing nothing! Yes, you read that right. This is what is called the basal metabolic rate. What is even more surprising is that your BMR accounts for 70% of your TDEE!
BMR is the minimum amount of calories your body needs to be able to function. Breathing, pumping your blood throughout your body and other bodily functions, all of these require energy which you get from the food you eat.
BMR is also different for each person but you can get a rough estimate using this tool.
You also burn calories in just doing your daily activities like taking a shower, cleaning your house, and other activities that are typically not considered as exercise.
If you are already engaging in exercise, then that counts toward your TDEE too.
You can use this calculator to know what your estimated TDEE is.
Once you know your estimated TDEE, you will get a picture of how much calorie intake you really need per day.
If you want to maintain your weight, you only need to eat roughly the equivalent in calories of your TDEE.
If you want to lose more weight, then you have to ensure that your caloric intake is less than your TDEE. But don’t go overboard. Around 500 calories less than your TDEE per day is enough for most people who are trying to lose weight.
Calorie deficit through physical activities
Another way to create a calorie deficit is to increase the number of calories you burn every day. This can be achieved through regular exercise and limiting the amount of time spent sitting or lying down.
Health experts recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity in a week, or a combination of both, for most healthy adults.
You may need to exercise more if you are aiming to lose weight. But how much more?
One pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories. So you need to burn around that amount of calories to get rid of just one pound of fat. But I have to tell you that this is just a rough estimate as there are some other factors that come into play in the process of burning fat.
So if you burn roughly 500 calories per day, you can potentially lose around one pound in a week.
If you want best results for your weight loss goals, combine proper diet and regular exercise.
HIIT Indoor Cycling
On average, a 45-minute indoor cycling workout can burn around 350 to 600 calories depending on one’s weight, your body built, the intensity of the workout and other factors.
You can further increase your calorie burn and calorie deficit by doing High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT.
In HIIT, you alternate short burst of high-intensity activity with low-intensity activity and repeat the process until your time is up.
You can do HIIT with any type of exercise. But as I have mentioned, I recommend indoor cycling because it is low-impact.
Why is HIIT better than other types of workouts? It is because HIIT is proven to burn calories even after you exercise. This is called the afterburn effect which lasts around two to three hours after your workout.
Apart from the afterburn effect, HIIT can improve your overall heart health according to several studies. Likewise, it may help decrease blood pressure in hypertensive overweight and obese individuals.
Another advantage of HIIT is that it is designed to be short, otherwise, you will burn yourself out. So if you are a busy person, you will have no more excuse not to exercise since you can squeeze your workout in 15 to 30 minutes.
Moderate-Intensity Continuous Training (wherein you do not vary the intensity of your training for the whole duration) has also been proven to help you lose fat, but it is not as time-efficient as HIIT.
In this study, both the HIIT and MICT group attained a fat reduction of more than 10% after 12 weeks of intervention. However, the duration of each session of the HIIT group was roughly half the time for the MICT group.
As with any exercise program, you should always start with a warm-up and end with a cool down.
If you are a beginner, you can start HIIT for 10 minutes per session and gradually increase the duration until you are comfortable to do 30 minutes.
For best results, do HIIT indoor cycling two to three times a week with a rest in between. I don’t advise you doing more than to avoid injuries.
For specific indoor cycling HIIT programs, you can head out to YouTube or look for HIIT workouts in your favorite cycling apps.
Here are also some indoor cycling HIIT you can try.
Strength training can also help you burn more calories.
How? Consistent strength training will build your muscles. And as discussed earlier, the body burns calories even at rest. Compared to fat, muscles burns more calories at rest. Therefore, more muscles you have, the more calories you will burn at a resting state.
However, you have to keep in mind that building muscle does not happen overnight, so don’t expect a significant drop in you weight after your first session.
Another advantage of strength training is that it can also give you an afterburn effect just like HIIT.
Also, there are other benefits strength training as follows:
- It can help build muscle mass
- It can help prevent osteoporosis
- It can help boost your mood.
- It can help you reduce your risk of heart attack and diabetes.
Fitness experts recommend twice a week of strength training for at least 20 minutes, with rest in-between days of workout.
For beginners, you can start with less than 20 minutes and gradually work your way up as you progress.
Is sit-up effective to get rid of belly fat? Sit-ups and spot exercises do not really get rid of belly fat. Only aerobic exercises like cycling, running, aerobics, dancing, ellipticals and the like can actually burn fat. But that is not to say that sit-ups are useless. They do help tone your muscles and strengthen your core so I recommend incorporating them in your exercise program.
Can I lift weights while indoor cycling? Lifting weights, doing pushups, and other antics while indoor cycling is a no-no. You will only run the risk of injury if you try to follow the fad propagated by some indoor cycling classes.
What are some things I can do to be successful in my diet? Stay away from soda. Eat fiber-rich foods which are usually lower in calories but can keep you feeling full for a longer time. Watch out for low fat versions of food as they may be laden with sugar to compensate for the lost flavor.