How to Use Exercise Bike to Lose Weight: The first thing we have to tell you is that there is no single answer to this question. Keep in mind that training at a constant speed is not the same as changing intensity. We will talk about this later. Likewise, the time required also varies depending on your height and weight.
Let’s take a closer look at the features of an exercise bike, its advantages and disadvantages, and also consider the question of how to choose an exercise bike and whether it is possible to lose weight with it.
Exercise Bike General Information
What is an exercise bike? This is a stationary bicycle design in which the load is carried out by pedaling. The faster you pedal, the more speed you develop, and the more intense the workout. In addition to speed, you can adjust the level of resistance (like when cycling on a mountain road, when you need to climb up and down), thereby putting more stress on the leg muscles.
By regulating the load, you will conduct an effective cardio workout, get a boost of vivacity, and take a step towards shaping a toned and slim figure.
The exercise bike is one of the most effective weight loss training machines. Rapid pedaling will raise your heart rate and burn fat while strengthening your legs, glutes and back by adjusting the level of resistance. At the same time, you will train the heart muscle and strengthen the respiratory system. And all this without leaving your home!
Of course, it is important to remember that an exercise bike will only help you lose weight if you exercise regularly and monitor your diet. But at least with regular training, problems should not arise – you can train and watch your favorite movie in parallel.
Pros of an Exercise Bike:
- Exercise on a stationary bike is an excellent cardio exercise, thanks to which you can strengthen the cardiovascular system, lower cholesterol, normalize blood pressure, and train the heart muscle.
- Cycling training helps to strengthen the legs and buttocks’ muscles, which is especially often dreamed of by the fair sex. At the same time, you will not increase the hips’ volume, but dry them, make them more elastic.
- Stationary bike workouts are suitable for people of all ages and activities. It is impossible to fall from it; it is easy to operate and does not require in-depth knowledge of your’s correct technique.
- The exercise bike is small compared to other home’s cardiovascular equipment (such as an elliptical trainer or treadmill) , so it doesn’t take up much space in your apartment. Also, portable exercise bikes are sold that can easily fit even in a closet.
- While exercising on a stationary bike, you can calmly read a book, watch movies and TV shows. For example, a treadmill and an ellipsoid require to be to proceed concentration, so combine them to another activity is not always possible.
- Because exercise bikes have long been popular with those exercising at home, there is a large selection of models with different fitness market characteristics. You can easily find the right model for yourself at an affordable price.
Cons of an Exercise Bike:
- An exercise bike intensively engages the lower body’s muscles, but practically does not engage the muscles of the upper body.
- Exercising on a stationary bike puts a lot of stress on the spine, causing back pain. Also, improper body position during exercise can ruin your posture.
- Doing it at home will require motivation and willpower. Without this, the exercise bike can eventually turn into useless furniture.
- Compared to a treadmill and elliptical trainer, the exercise bike has a relatively low-calorie burn.
- Training on a stationary bike is rather monotonous and not very variable, so many gradually lose interest in cycling at home.
Of course, no sports equipment will be absolutely referencing without flaws. But some features of an exercise bike can become critical when making a purchase decision. For example, if you have problems with your back and spine, you can buy an exercise bike with a horizontal fit and a comfortable back. In this case, the load on the back will be much less.
Contraindications for Stationary Bike Training
If you have any chronic or acute illness, we recommend that you consult your doctor before exercising on a stationary bike. Intense cardio loads can aggravate diseases or provoke an exacerbation, so you should not risk your health. If you feel nausea, dizziness, dark eyes or chest pains during the workout, then stop the exercise, walk around the room at a calm pace for 10 minutes.
Exercise on a stationary bike is not recommended if you have the following conditions:
- Cardiovascular insufficiency
- Angina pectoris, tachycardia
- Diseases of the musculoskeletal system
- Knee problems
- Frequent hypertensive crises
- Oncological diseases
- Serious infections of the bones and spine
During pregnancy, exercise on a stationary bike is possible only with a doctor’s permission and training experience. In the first two months after childbirth, you should avoid strenuous physical activity on the simulator.
But if you have no contraindications and health complaints, then you can safely start training on an exercise bike for weight loss and body shaping.
Weight Loss Exercise Bike
An exercise bike is an excellent sports equipment for burning calories and losing weight. If you want intense cardio at home, then this trainer will be an excellent purchase for you. By spinning the pedals, you increase the heart rate, turn on the heart, speed up metabolic processes, and start burning body fat reserves. But training alone cannot solve the problem of losing weight. Even with regular exercise on a stationary bike without nutrition changes, you will not be able to shed those extra pounds.
Food When Exercising on a Stationary Bike
As you know, weight loss occurs only when your body receives less nutrients than your body can spend. Any excess calories that are not converted into energy are stored as body fat. When you eat less than the body can spend, then the body begins to use up fat reserves, and you lose weight. That is, losing weight is possible only with a calorie deficit.
For example, your daily calorie intake, at which you do not lose weight or gain weight, is 1800 kcal. This means that if you eat 1500 kcal, then you are losing weight. If you eat 2300 calories, then you are gaining weight.
Exercising on a stationary bike gives additional calorie consumption: an average of 500-600 kcal per hour of training. But if you eat with a calorie surplus (based on our example, consume, for example, 3500 kcal), then even regular sports will not help you lose weight.
General nutritional tips for weight loss:
- Eliminate fast food, sweet, flour, fried and fatty foods from your menu
- Don’t skip meals: you should have breakfast, lunch, dinner and 2-3 snacks
- Include more fresh vegetables in your menu, try to eat salads for lunch and dinner
- Replace industrial sweets with fruits (but don’t overuse bananas and grapes)
- Do not fry food; it is better to use cooking or baking in the oven
- Don’t overeat – you usually feel full 20 minutes after eating
- Eat complex carbohydrates for breakfast, proteins and vegetables for dinner
- Drink 20-30 minutes before class and 5 minutes after class, a glass of water
- Do not forget significantly alter during training: a couple of sips every 5-10 minutes
- Drink 1.5-2 liters of water a day; it helps to reduce appetite
Muscle Work When Training on a Stationary Bike
The exercise bike is primarily designed to work out the cardiovascular system and burn calories, but muscles are also toned and strengthened during pedaling. Basically, during exercise on a stationary bike, the legs of the legs are involved, but the buttocks’ muscles, abs and back are also included in the work. You won’t build muscle with a stationary bike, but you can strengthen your muscles and make your legs tighter and firmer.
During training on an exercise bike, the following are actively involved:
- The muscles of the front of the thigh (quadriceps)
- Muscles of the back of the thigh (hamstrings)
- Calf muscles
Additionally, the following are also involved:
- Gluteal muscles
- Latissimus dorsi
- Lumbar muscles
- Rectus and oblique muscles of the press
It is a mistake to think that you will grow muscles and increase your legs in volume from exercising on a stationary bike. You can’t build muscle with cardio! Maximum – you will bring them into a light tone and draw a relief by reducing the body fat. Muscles from exercise on a stationary bike do not grow. If you want to increase the volume of your muscles, then do strength training with free weights.
Another not entirely correct judgment is that an exercise bike helps to lose weight in the legs. There is no local fat burning – the volumes will decrease in the arms, legs, and abdomen. However, by strengthening the thigh muscles while pedaling, you will make your muscles firm and elastic, which means that the laxity and looseness on the thigh’s front and back will gradually go away. If you want to improve your legs’ quality, try to select settings on the machine that provide a higher level of resistance.
Is an Exercise Bike Effective for Losing Weight?
Cardio exercises are considered the fastest and most effective way to get rid of those extra pounds. By increasing the body’s pulse, processes begin to occur that contribute to the intense burning of calories and the acceleration of metabolic processes. On average, you can burn 400-600 calories per hour on a stationary bike.
However, cardio training on a stationary bike not only helps you burn calories but also tone your muscles. At the same time, large leg muscles are actively involved in the work, which provides the most power consumption of calories. Therefore, the exercise bike is useful for everyone who wants to lose weight and get extra pounds.
Do many people wonder whether it is worth buying an exercise bike if you need to lose weight in the abdomen? To answer this question, let’s make two important points. Firstly, the belly can be removed only with general weight loss, with a calorie deficit created by proper nutrition and exercise. Secondly, there is virtually no specialized workout for belly reduction.
Although abdominal exercises help strengthen the muscle corset, they do not eliminate the fat layer in the abdomen. For example, when working on the arms and legs muscles, you can quickly get a slight relief and traced muscles. To see the cubes on your stomach, you will need to completely burn body fat – pumped up core muscles will not help you with this.
So, will an exercise bike be effective at reducing your belly? Yes, because cardio training gives you additional calorie consumption, which means, together with proper nutrition, it helps to burn fat, including belly fat. Are there any more effective exercise machines for belly reduction? This question cannot be answered unequivocally.
On the one hand, the treadmill and ellipsoid use more abdominal muscles than an exercise bike. But on the other hand, this does not play a significant role in the formation of a flat belly, since the muscles are strengthened under the fat layer and do not in any way reduce the belly.
10 Tips for Exercising on a Stationary Bike
- Always start your stationary bike workout with warm-up exercises and end with stretching to avoid joint and ligament injuries and clogged muscles and soreness after exercise. Pay special attention to stretching your legs.
- Do not force your workouts; start on a stationary bike with 10-15 minutes a day. Add 3-5 minutes for each subsequent session. If you want to lose weight, then it is desirable to end up with a workout duration of 50-60 minutes and a frequency of 4-5 times a week.
- Avoid stagnation in your workouts: Set goals for increasing time, distance traveled, calories burned. After each session, you should feel the load; training should not come easy for you; otherwise, there will be no progress.
- At the same time, do not overdo it: you should not feel dizziness, nausea, or fatigue after training. If you cannot recover after class and feel unwell for a long time, you have overdone the load.
- Exercise in interval mode to maximize your performance and burn calories. That is alternate between high-intensity intervals and low-intensity intervals (more on this below).
- You can exercise on a stationary bike at any time of the day at your discretion based on your biological clock and time availability. Some feel comfortable to train in the afternoon; others, on the contrary, feel a surge of energy in the morning.
- If you exercise on a stationary bike in the morning on an empty stomach, then your workout duration should not exceed 40 minutes. In the evening, your workout should not be later than two hours before bedtime.
- Train in a well-ventilated room in comfortable natural clothing and sneakers. You cannot use a stationary bike with bare feet.
- Contrary to popular belief, wrapping films and warm fabrics around problem areas is ineffective for losing weight on an exercise bike. This does not help you burn fat more intensely – you will simply lose water. The body will then restore water balance, so your efforts will be in vain. TO.
- If you want to train at home as comprehensively as possible, add dumbbell exercises for the upper and lower body muscles to the exercises on the stationary bike.
Heart Rate While Exercising on a Stationary Bike
Another important factor for significant weight loss on an exercise bike is your heart rate during exercise. If you want to activate the fat burning process, you need to calculate the maximum heart rate (HR). To do this, perform a simple arithmetic operation: HR max = 220 – your age. For the most efficient fat burning, train in the 65-80% HR zone. That is, to calculate the allowable heart rate range, you need to subtract 20-35% from the HR max.
How to measure your heart rate during exercise? You can listen to the number of beats on the carotid artery or wrist: timed 10 seconds, count the number of beats and multiply the resulting value by 6. This will get your heart rate. Some exercise bikes have an automatic heart rate monitoring system, usually located on the handlebars. Alternatively, you can purchase a heart rate monitor or fitness bracelet, useful gadgets used to measure physical activity.
Stationary Bike Workout Plan
The training frequency and training time are determined individually, depending on the availability of time and physical capabilities. Of course, the more often and more intensely you exercise, the faster the result will be losing weight and improving physical fitness. However, you should not drive yourself too hard with sports, exercising, for example, twice a day or seven days a week. Perhaps you can withstand a month or two in this mode, but physical and psychological fatigue will inevitably come, forcing you to give up training altogether.
How often to exercise on a weight loss stationary bike:
- For beginners: 3 times a week for 15-20 minutes
- For an intermediate level of training: 4 times a week for 30-40 minutes
- For advanced training: 4-5 times a week for 45-60 minutes
How often to exercise on a stationary bike to keep fit:
- For beginners: 2 times a week for 20 minutes
- For an intermediate level of training: 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes
- For advanced training: 3 times a week for 45 minutes
At one time, the best option for losing weight was considered to be a cardio workout at an average pace and maximum duration. But in the future, numerous fitness studies have shown that interval training is most useful for burning fat. First, you can burn more calories for the same duration of the exercise. Second, after interval training, your body will burn calories for 48 hours after a workout. Thirdly, training in interval mode does not destroy muscles, which means that your body will not only decrease in volume but will also remain fit and elastic.
What is the essence of interval training? You should alternate between short intervals of high intensity and longer intervals of moderate intensity. How to determine the level of load? By heart rate. Intervals of medium intensity are at a heart rate in the 60-65% zone, high-intensity intervals with heart rate in 80-85%. Determine the duration of the intervals based on your physical capabilities.
For example, there may be such spacing options:
- 5 minutes medium intensity and 30 seconds high intensity (for beginners)
- 4 minutes medium intensity and 1-minute high intensity (for medium level)
- 3 minutes of medium intensity and 1 minute of high intensity (for advanced level)
That is, for example, you pedal for 4 minutes in medium speed mode, then 1 minute in high-speed mode, then again 4 minutes in medium speed mode, and so on throughout the session. Note that in the case of interval loading, both short and long workouts will be effective. Forget about the common rule “fat starts to burn only after 20 minutes of class. ” In the case of interval loads, the duration of the workout can be arbitrary.
Interval stationary bike plan (for burning fat):
- First 10 minutes: light riding at an increasing pace (heart rate in the 50-60% zone)
- Main part: alternating intervals of medium and high intensity
- Last 5 minutes: Riding slowly to restore heart rate
If you do not want to burn fat, but primarily develop endurance and strengthen the heart muscle, then instead of interval training, pedal in the 60-65% heart rate zone throughout the entire session. In this case, the session should last at least 40 minutes to develop endurance and strengthen the cardiovascular system.
What is More Effective for Weight Loss From Cardiovascular Equipment
The bike trainer is one of the most popular products in the fitness equipment market. But how effective is it compared to other cardiovascular equipment? And which trainer is better to choose if you want to lose weight, adjust your figure, get rid of problem areas and, at the same time, maintain health?
Exercise Bike or Treadmill
Probably the most obvious alternative to an exercise bike is a treadmill. Firstly, treadmill workouts are more intense and burn more calories, so they are more effective for weight loss. Second, running engages the muscles in both the upper and lower body in an almost even manner. Thirdly, the treadmill is variable in terms of load – you can change the running speed, walking speed, and change the angle of incline, simulating the rise to a hill. The treadmill is suitable even for experienced athletes as a home exercise machine.
But the treadmill also lacks cons. This is a rather bulky exercise machine that takes up a lot of space in the apartment. It is also quite noisy, so classes in the early morning or late evening are difficult. Another negative factor is the severe stress on the joints, which can harm even healthy knees and ankles. Also, the treadmill is expensive than other cardiovascular equipment, and cheap models are prone to frequent breakdowns.
Exercise Bike or Ellipsoid
The ellipsoid is gaining wide popularity in the range of home cardiovascular equipment. What is its main advantage over an exercise bike? The elliptical trainer is ideal for rehabilitation after injuries and those who are not allowed to load the knee joints. The ellipsoid also provides an even load on the upper and lower body, unlike an exercise bike. And in terms of load and intensity, the ellipsoid will give odds to the exercise bike.
Of the minuses of an elliptical trainer, it is worth noting that it is bulkier than an exercise bike. On average, the cost of an orbit track is lower than that of a treadmill but significantly higher than that of exercise bikes. Another drawback noted by the trainees is combining training on an ellipsoid with watching TV and reading books. It is very easy to combine training on a stationary bike with a parallel activity.
Exercise Bike or Stepper
A stepper can hardly be seriously considered as a full-fledged alternative to an exercise bike. Yes, this is a convenient and compact fitness equipment that does not take up much space in the room. Also, it provides good exercise based on normal walking, which is useful and accessible to everyone. The stepper is an inexpensive sports equipment; it can be your great aid in losing weight.
However, compared to an exercise bike, the stepper provides a very uniform and low-intensity exercise. The monotony of movement characterizes classes on the stepper, so they usually get bored quickly. Also, walking on a stepper puts a heavy load on the ankle joints and can injure them. The stepper is more suitable for beginners in fitness; experienced practitioners can use this simulator only as an add-on.
Exercise Bike or Rowing Machine
A rowing machine is not a pure cardio machine, and it can hardly be considered an alternative to an exercise bike either. The rowing machine and the stationary bike can be called complementary fitness tools to pump your entire body. The rowing machine uses the upper body, especially the arms, shoulder girdle, chest, back and abs. At the same time, the exercise bike engages the muscles of the lower body.
A rowing machine is comparable in price to an exercise bike, but the exercise bike has the advantage of being compact. It is important to note that the rowing machine is more suitable for men and girls who want to strengthen their upper body muscles.
Why Can’t You Lose Weight While Exercising on a Stationary Bike?
Buying an exercise bike is not always a 100% weight loss guarantee. If you are on a stationary bike but do not see any results, there may be several reasons.
- You are not in a calorie deficit. Therefore, even taking into account regular training, your body does not consume subcutaneous fat – it already has enough energy from the outside.
- You only analyze changes in weight. But when losing weight, you need to pay attention not to the numbers on the scales, but changes in the body’s quality. Measure volumes and take comparative photos.
- You expect results too quickly from stationary cycling. However, the first noticeable changes can come only after a month of regular exercise. The higher your initial weight, the faster the results will be seen.
- You do not exercise regularly. If you exercise 2 times a week for 15 minutes, this is not enough to lose weight and get rid of body fat.
- You are not training hard enough. An exercise bike should raise your heart rate and exercise. If you pedal without much enthusiasm, you should not expect high-quality results without feeling tension and fatigue.
- You are not progressing in terms of stress. Each new workout should be a challenge for you; you should improve your performance in terms of speed, distance covered, or duration. Without progress in the load, there will be no progress in the results.
- You have some kind of disorder in the body that prevent weight loss. This could be a problem with hormones, kidneys, thyroid gland, etc.
It is important to note that the fastest kilograms go away in the first days of losing weight. Usually, you see minus 2-3 kg on the scales in the first week. This removes water from the body due to a decrease in the consumption of foods that retain fluid. Do not be alarmed that the extra pounds will not melt before our eyes. With a lot of excess weight (more than 90 kg for women and more than 120 kg for men), the normal weight loss rate is 4-6 kg per month. The thinner you get, the slower you lose weight. With an average and low weight, minus 2-3 kg per month is normal.
How to Choose an Exercise Bike
Suppose you have analyzed all the features of an exercise bike and decided to purchase this valuable fitness equipment for exercising at home. In that case, we offer you the main types and criteria for choosing an exercise bike. Before purchasing, be sure to analyze the characteristics of the bike trainer and read the reviews.
Types of Exercise Bikes by Design
- Recumbent exercise bikes. This type of exercise machine is suitable for people during rehabilitation and people with spinal problems. Recumbent exercise bikes allow you not to strain your back and provide a lightweight and safe load for the joints. Of the minuses, it is worth noting the bulky design, the more expensive cost, and the absence of loads for the upper body’s muscles.
- Upright exercise bikes. This is a classic exercise bike that mimics a track bike. This type of exercise bike assumes a proper position of the legs, due to which a large number of muscles are involved in the work. A vertical trainer will be more effective for weight loss than a horizontal one, and its size is more compact. However, it puts a lot of stress on the spine.
- Portable exercise bikes. This type of exercise machine is suitable for those who move a lot, travel, or simply do not have a lot of free space in the apartment. Also, such an exercise bike has a low cost. It is worth noting a little functionality and an uneven distribution of the load of the minuses: the upper part, abs and buttocks will hardly be involved.
- Hybrid exercise bikes. The Hybrid Exercise Bike combines the horizontal and vertical types’ advantages as you can adjust the seat position. This is a versatile and very convenient design. It allows you to use such a simulator in different conditions and by other people (for example, both trained athletes and the elderly). But the hybrid exercise bike is still the least popular due to its bulkiness and high cost.
For weight loss and effective workouts, the vertical and hybrid trainer is more suitable. The horizontal trainer provides a lighter load but is also suitable for recovery from injuries. A portable trainer is a perfect choice for anyone looking for a lightweight, compact and affordable trainer.
Types of Exercise Bikes by Resistance Type
- Exercise bike with mechanical resistance. This is a simple and inexpensive version of the simulator. It is also called the belt type of resistance. The loading system is similar to a conventional bicycle: movement is carried out by a belt that provides resistance when exercising on the simulator. The load level is regulated by the degree of tension. Of the minuses of a mechanical exercise bike, it is worth noting low wear resistance, noise, ride stiffness and the absence of a number of additional functions.
- Magnetic resistance exercise bike. Such simulators can be attributed to the average price category. Built-in magnets provide the loading system next to the flywheel: changing their position changes the load level. Magnetic exercise bikes are more functional, comfortable, quiet, and durable. Due to the smooth running, the load on the joints and ligaments is reduced.
- Exercise bike with electromagnetic resistance. These simulators are the most reasonable and practical for training, but their price is also higher. The loading system is fully automatic through the use of a functional computer. The resistance level is adjusted according to the built-in programs, thanks to which you can train as efficiently as possible. Electromagnetic simulators already have a number of ready-made programs; in addition, you can supplement them with your own. These simulators work from the mains.
If you have the financial ability, then it is better to opt for an electromagnetic exercise bike. It is the most functional and practical for weight loss, which will take place with maximum benefit and quality.
Other Criteria for Choosing an Exercise Bike
After you have decided on the type of construction and type of resistance, you should pay attention to the exercise bike’s other characteristics.
- Display data. First, see if an actual display on the exercise bike will display your progress as you exercise (mechanical exercise bikes usually do not have a display). Secondly, clarify what specific data will be recorded on display. It’s good if the screen displays the current speed, calorie consumption, distance traveled, cadence, workout time in the target zone.
- Heart rate measurement. More advanced models usually have a built-in heart rate sensor on the steering wheel. When you hold on to the handles, the sensor reads your heart rate and, based on this, calculates the intensity of the exercise and the number of calories burned. Such counters are not very accurate and can have significant errors. Some exercise bikes models come with a chest strap that reads your heart rate and syncs with the receiver on the bike. The chest strap measures heart rate data much more accurately than the handlebar sensors, so it makes a great addition to your fitness machine. If you don’t have a chest strap, check to see if a wireless chest strap is available, in which case you can purchase it separately.
- The number of load levels. The characteristics always indicate how many levels of loads a given model of simulators offers. Usually, there are eight levels of loads in magnetic models in electromagnetic models 16-24 levels of loads. Accordingly, the more levels of loads offered in the exercise bike, the more varied and varied your activity will be.
- Built-in programs. Electromagnetic exercise bikes have pre-built programs. Pay attention to their number, and what types of programs are offered (for example, by time, distance traveled). Also, check if you can add and save your programs. Additionally, see if this model has heart rate-dependent programs that will be the most effective way to burn fat.
- Weight Limit. Be sure to pay attention to the maximum weight the exercise bike can support. As a rule, this is 120-150 kg, but there may be a limit of 80-100 kg on inexpensive models. If you plan to work with the whole family, then do not forget to consider the weight of each of the household members.
- Flywheel size. The exercise bike’s characteristics always indicate the weight of the flywheel, which ensures the entire movement of the exercise bike. The greater the flywheel’s weight, the smoother the ride and the less stress on the joints. But a model with a very heavy flywheel weight (more than 15 kg) should not be taken. Other things being equal, it is better to choose a simulator with a flywheel weight of 7-8 kg, although this is not the primary criterion for selecting an exercise bike.
- Additional accessories. Some exercise bikes have other useful features to make exercising on the machine more comfortable. These can be pedal straps, a stand for books and bottles, transport wheels, steering wheel angle adjustment, seat adjustment, floor uneven compensators. More advanced models may have a fan, speakers, Bluetooth, audio jack for headphones, etc.