Can You Lose Belly Fat by Cycling?

Reviewed on 2/2/2021

Elliptical exercise
Cycling is a kind of aerobic exercise that burns fat.

Yes, cycling can help lose belly fat, but it will take time. A recent study showed regular cycling may enhance overall fat loss and promote a healthy weight. To reduce overall belly girth, moderate-intensity aerobic exercises, such as cycling (either indoor or outdoor), are effective to lower belly fat. Along with this, the following benefits of cycling may enhance the spot fat reduction process:

  • Overall body weight management: Regular cycling is included in several workout plans because it is a good option to lose overall body weight. It burns calories and affects the basal metabolic rate and muscle mass. Meeting resistance while pushing down or pulling up the pedal will help build muscles.
  • Lowers belly fat and increases good fat: A 30-60 minutes of cycling (which is a moderate-intensity aerobic exercise similar to exercises, such as jogging, hiking, and swimming) and a healthy protein-rich diet is an effective way to lower belly fat and increase good fat (high-density lipoprotein) levels. This has been proved to lower many health risks and help in the weight-loss process.
  • Lowers insulin resistance: A study (Boutcher) has found that regular cycling may significantly lower insulin resistance. This means regular cycling makes cells in the body absorb the glucose in the blood better. Therefore, people with diabetes may also benefit from cycling.

It is not that difficult to lose fat from the belly through cycling. However, it should be consistent and determined. It may take time, but it is possible with enough effort.

What are the best ways to lose belly fat while cycling?

Tummy muscles do not stretch during cycling as much as they do during other high-intensity exercises. However, cycling is a kind of aerobic exercise that burns fat. Consider the following steps to lose belly fat while cycling:

  • Begin with moderate intensity: When you choose cycling to burn your belly fat, start riding at a moderately intensive pace. You need to ride 80% of the time at a moderate intensity and the other 20% of times at moderate to high intensity. With the incorporation of the 80/20 method of high-intensity intermittent exercise, you can effectively burn fat and calories. Over time, as your fitness and endurance increase, you will burn calories and cut belly fat.
  • Bicycle type: It does not matter which bicycle you are using for exercising and whether it is indoor or outdoor cycling. Weight loss entirely depends on you and how you are riding the bicycle. However, a road bike, mountain bikes, or hybrid bikes are easy and comfortable for regular exercising.
  • Fasted cycling: Cycling with an empty stomach is another method to burn belly fat effectively and faster. You can consider the 8-hour interval between the last meal and the time to start fasted cycling. It can give very impressive results. However, it can be hard to continue and tiring. Therefore, you should avoid practicing fasted cycling daily. You can have a cup of water or coffee before starting if you need to. Carrying some high-energy food and water is a good option for a long ride. Start with low intensity. Your body will burn more fats as fuel since you are fasting and have low glycogen levels. Go steady but stay focused. After cycling for about 2 hours on an empty stomach, you can eat. Avoid starving yourself after cycling.
  • Off-bike exercise: You can incorporate different off-bike exercises that may aid in weight loss, such as lying down bicycle, planks, yoga, and Zumba. This will strengthen and benefit your core exercise (cycling). This will also improve your endurance level and strength. By exercising more your fitness level will also increase. This will allow you to do more cycling and you can burn off more belly fat.
  • Trips to work: Traveling to work on the bike regularly is a great way to burn calories when you have no time for exercise. It will not show a great difference immediately; however, it may improve your basal metabolic rate (BMR) periodically. This will, in turn, let you lose plenty of hidden body fat.
  • Diet: Any workout regime including cycling requires the right diet to provide the best results. Avoid eating foods, such as cheese, sugary foods, foods with high saturated fat, butter. Add more lean proteins (eggs), leafy greens, lean beef, chicken, beans, potatoes, and salmon to your diet.
  • Rest: Adequate rest after cycling is essential to losing weight effectively. Many studies state that you may likely to gain excess weight if you are sleep deprived. Therefore, get good rest after a long day of cycling.

Also, never compare your weight loss achievements to others. Even if you do not see quick results, do not get discouraged. Motivate yourself towards your goal every single day; you will achieve your desired weight loss goal.

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References
WebMD. Indoor Cycling. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/indoor-cycling#2

Bostonbikes.org. Is Cycling Good for Weight Loss on the Stomach? https://www.bostonbikes.org/advice/is-cycling-good-for-weight-loss-on-the-stomach/

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