Is Cycling Good For Weight Loss?

cycling and weight loss

Cycling is one of the best cardiovascular activities, and it's a great way to lose weight. If you're thinking about taking up cycling, you're probably wondering: how many calories does cycling burn? And what are the best ways to cycle for weight loss? Here's what you need to know.

Cycling is a great exercise because it doesn't put much stress on your joints. This makes it an excellent choice for people who have knee pain, since riding a bike won't further damage your knees like running would.

One of the benefits of cycling is that your quads will be sore for days after riding a bike—but in a good way! The ache you'll feel means that your body is being forced to work harder than usual, which will help you burn more fat faster.

Is Cycling Good for Weight Loss?

Cycling is a great way to lose weight, whether you’re just starting out or are looking for another way to maximize your results. Cycling burns a lot of calories and can help you build up your muscles. You’ll also challenge your cardiovascular system, which will benefit your health in many ways. But before you swap out all those hours on the treadmill for cycling, there are a few things you need to know about weight loss and cycling.

First of all, burning calories is not the same as losing weight. This is because when we burn more calories than we eat, it causes our bodies to use fat reserves instead of simply burning off extra food. So even if cycling burns hundreds more calories than running does in one hour, that doesn't mean that it will help us lose weight faster, since our bodies are still using fat reserves rather than burning off extra food.

Can cycling reduce belly fat?

Despite what you might read online, cardio exercise like cycling isn't going to help you lose weight from any one specific body part. By losing overall body fat, though, you'll likely see your stomach getting smaller as well.

The truth is that a combination of diet and exercise is the most effective way to reduce belly fat. If you want to tone your tummy or lose any excess fat around your midsection, it's important that you make changes to how many calories you eat and how much exercise you do on a regular basis. This means doing both aerobic exercises like cycling on a daily basis and also eating healthy foods in controlled portions.

Is cycling better than running?

Cycling is often compared to running. They're both a means of transportation, and they can be used as exercise. But are they equally beneficial?

  • Running is high-impact, meaning your feet repetitively hit the ground with significant impact force; this makes it weight-bearing. Cycling, while considered low-impact, still requires you to apply some force in order to propel yourself forward. While you are applying that force, you'll also be supporting your body weight on the saddle. This means cycling is not a non-weight bearing activity like swimming or cycling on an exercise bike, but it's not as high impact as running or jogging.
  • Cycling doesn't require much support for the joints and bones in the upper body (with the exception of your wrist and hand if you hold onto handlebars). However, running constantly supports all of your body weight with every step taken, and very few runners land completely lightly on their feet. Running has also been shown to increase osteoarthritis risk in older people by as much as three times, although this could be because people who run tend to do so for longer than those who cycle for exercise (45 minutes vs 30 minutes per day at higher intensities).

Which Is the Best Time of the Day for Cycling?

The best time of the day to cycle is, hands down, first thing in the morning. This is when your body has its highest levels of cortisol, a hormone that helps you feel alert and wake up. Your body temperature is also at its peak, which means your muscles can work more efficiently and you're less likely to injure yourself. Morning workouts have also been shown to produce better results for weight loss than evening workouts.

Having said that, there are benefits to working out at night as well: it can help improve sleep and reduce stress. If you're not a morning person or if you have a job that requires long hours into the evening, cycling in the evening may be better suited for your schedule.

If neither morning nor evening cycling works with your schedule, don't worry! Just choose whatever time works best for you and stick with it; consistency is key.

What not to do When Cycling for Weight Loss?

Just like there are proper ways to do certain things, there are also improper ways to do certain things. The following are a few of the worst mistakes you can make while cycling for weight loss.

  • Don't drink alcohol
  • While drinking alcohol in moderation may be okay for some, if you're serious about losing weight with cycling, it's better to avoid alcohol altogether. Alcohol provides empty calories and it's easy to drink more than you think, especially when mixed with other beverages like soda or juice.

  • Avoid junk food and processed foods as much as possible
  • It should go without saying that if your goal is weight loss, you shouldn't eat junk food and meals made from processed ingredients like TV dinners or frozen pizza rolls. Instead of these foods, focus on eating whole foods that give you energy and help your body function properly rather than providing empty calories and making your body work harder to process them.

  • Don't skimp on sleep
  • Although cycling is great exercise, it's important not only to get enough exercise but also to get enough rest in order for your body to recover from all the hard work it does during the day (and during rides). Not getting enough sleep can cause decreased performance and productivity which means more time wasted on tasks other than the ones required for weight loss such as going grocery shopping or making healthy meals at home instead of buying fast food away from home.

  • Not doing recovery rides
  • Recovery rides help to avoid injury. A lot of people think that recovery rides are easy, they're not. They're just difficult in a different way than your typical ride is. Instead of pedaling at a speed that gets your heart rate up and your legs burning, recovery rides are about recovering from the last ride and getting ready for the next one. Your pace is slower and although it might feel like nothing's happening when you're pedaling at this pace, your body is actually working hard to recover from the previous ride. That's why it's important to include recovery rides into your cycling routine, they not only keep your muscles healthy but they also help you burn calories because they keep your metabolism going while keeping your heart rate low. It's important not to overwork your muscles, so make sure you take at least one day off between hard training days. Your body needs time to recover and build up its strength again in order to get the most out of your exercise routine without getting injured or sick.

  • Eating unhealthy food
  • You need fuel for your body in order to work out properly, but too much of anything is a bad thing. If you eat junk food all the time and never get enough nutrients from fruits, vegetables, grains etc., then there's no point in cycling because those calories won't help you lose any weight and will only make things worse by slowing down your metabolism. So try not eating unhealthy foods like candy bars or chips before exercising if possible; instead focus on eating healthier snacks food.

  • Not setting goals
  • Doing something without a goal in mind is like shooting arrows in the dark, you never know if you're going to hit the target or not. Set goals for yourself and reward yourself when you meet them so that you can stay motivated along the way.

    Setting goals will let you know if you're on the right track or not. This will in turn let your address you cycling schedule accordingly to raech said goal.

Can I lose weight just by cycling?

The answer to this question is yes! You can absolutely lose weight, just by cycling. The key here is that you'll need to be cycling a good amount of time.

Imagine yourself on your bike. Now imagine yourself eating a slice of cake. Both burn calories, but through different mechanisms (one does it through self-propulsion and the other through heat production in the body's cells). However, you're burning calories in both scenarios. This means that if you were to ride your bike for 30 minutes at a moderate intensity and then ate a slice of cake, you could still be in an overall calorie deficit for the day, meaning that you'd burn more calories than you consumed, resulting in weight loss over the long term.

Cycling burns calories, which can help you lose weight

Cycling can be an effective tool for weight loss. It burns calories, obviously. The number of minutes it takes to burn those calories depends on a number of factors, including your current body weight, the intensity of your cycling routine and the type of terrain you cover during your ride.

On average, a person will burn approximately 500 calories per hour when riding a bike at 10 mph. That said, the specific number varies depending on height and weight. A heavier person will burn more while a smaller person will burn fewer. Additionally, if you're riding uphill or facing a headwind, you'll likely expend far more energy than if you're cruising downhill or with a tailwind at your back.

If you're aiming to lose either fat or weight in general (water weight counts!), it's important to remember that every calorie burned counts toward your goal—and as long as you eat less daily than this total amount of calories burned through exercise, you should see progress. Put another way: If cycling burns 450 calories per hour and you eat 2,000 each day instead of 2,450, or even just 1,900 instead of 2,350, then theoretically speaking (and setting aside other factors) you should lose roughly half a pound per week by cycling an hour per day five days per week.

Some cyclists use a high-intensity approach to weight loss

There are many ways to use cycling as a tool for weight loss. It's important to note that there isn't an official perfect amount of time or intensity you should aim for, that will be different depending on the person and their goals. If you're looking for a less demanding approach to weight loss, consider a more moderate pace over a longer period of time. But if high-intensity cycling is more your style, there's good news: some cyclists do use this method successfully as part of their training.

High-intensity intervals are short bursts of increased intensity followed by periods of rest or lower intensity. The specific timing and structure are up to you, but here are two common formats:
  • Tabata protocol: 20 seconds of hard effort followed by 10 seconds of rest.
  • Sprints: 30 seconds at close to maximum effort.

This type of workout can be extremely effective, even in short bursts, because it raises your heart rate while also improving your aerobic capacity, muscular strength, and fat-burning abilities, in other words, everything you need to get fitter, faster, stronger.

If you're serious about weight loss, you'll need to put in the miles

To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. The more calories you burn in a day, the faster you'll lose weight. Cycling is a great way to burn calories because it's a low-impact activity that can be done for long periods of time.

You can build muscle while on a bike

You can get leaner and stronger on a bicycle. You just need to eat the right food and have a consistent exercise routine. There's no magic formula for building muscle, but there are some guidelines that you should follow if you want to see results in a reasonable amount of time.

In order to build muscle, you'll need to do two things:

  1. Eat enough protein (preferably 30 grams per meal) and enough calories. This is where many cyclists fail. They skimp on both protein and calorie intake because they think it will help them burn off fat faster. It won't, though, it'll just leave them hungry and irritable all day long! If you're trying to lose weight while cycling, it's important that your diet includes plenty of protein so that your body doesn't start eating away at itself when it gets hungry (which happens pretty quickly).
  2. Lift heavy weights regularly (at least twice per week). The best way to see results from weightlifting is by doing compound exercises like squats or deadlifts, these target multiple muscle groups at once! For example: If I'm going for pure strength gains, I might do squats with an empty barbell (20kg), then add two plates (40kg), then four more plates (60kg), eight more plates (80kg), etc., until I reach one tonne of plates which would be 100kg total.

You can boost your results with strength training and healthy eating

  • Eat a protein-rich meal after you workout. This can help repair muscles, and make sure your body is ready to go for next time.
  • Use a food tracking app like MyFitnessPal to record your food intake, especially at the beginning of your cycling journey. This will help you learn what a healthy portion looks like without having to weigh everything out yourself (though it's good to do that too). You may find you're not getting enough fruits or veggies, for instance, and can adjust accordingly.
  • Make sure you get plenty of fruit and vegetables. They're key sources of nutrients that help keep your brain functioning well and your body running smoothly. Plus they'll fill you up on fiber so you don't feel hungry all the time.
  • Eat complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and whole grains instead of refined carbs like white breads or sugars from soda pop--even diet soda has been linked with an increased weight gain over time! Avoiding these simple starches will keep blood sugar levels stable throughout day which means less chance of snacking when they crash later on (and less overall calories consumed).

How much weight can you lose cycling?

You can certainly expect to lose weight on a bike, but the amount will vary depending on your lifestyle and body type. Weight loss efforts rely heavily on calories burned, so it depends how much work you put into riding, and also how much you weigh already. Generally speaking, if you’re currently inactive, you’ll burn more calories with cycling than if you’re already active.

If we take a 175-pound person who rides at a moderate pace of 12 miles per hour for 30 minutes every day of the week, they’ll end up burning about 2 pounds in their first week. If that same person tries to lose weight by eating less food for whatever reason, their results may be even greater than 2 pounds per week. For an active cyclist who is trying to lose weight through cycling alone (not dieting), the results are likely going to be slower and maybe only 1 pound of fat lost per week (depending on how long/far/hard they ride)

It is noting that this kind of intense exercise is not appropriate for everyone, especially someone looking to improve their health through cardiovascular activity, but can be useful as part of a comprehensive plan if done with the guidance of a doctor or professional trainer.


Stay updated with our newsletter


To sum up, cycling is awesome. It’s a fun way to get around, a great way to feel good, and a spectacular way to lose weight. Now that you’ve read this article, go out there and ride your bike.

About Author:

image of Kevin Pommells

Hi, I'm Kevin Pommells, a lover of camping and the great outdoors as everyone says nowadays. I'm also a passionate soccer fan and the proud owner of, a website dedicated to helping campers and outdoor enthusiasts make the most of their adventures. With years of experience exploring the wilderness and a deep love for the sport of soccer, I'm always looking for new ways to combine my two passions and share my knowledge with others. Follow me for tips, tricks, and insights on all things camping and outdoor recreation.

Follow Me @ Twitter | Facebook |

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.