There are many ways to increase your fitness level, support your weight-loss efforts, and Lose Stomach Fat. One of the most popular is hopping onto a stationary bike. It’s easy on the joints and comfortable and convenient both in a gym and from the comfort of home. Plus, it’s a great way to strengthen the legs, heart, hips, butt, calves, core, and more. If you’re asking “does bicycle riding reduce belly fat,” the answer is unequivocally yes! What’s more, you can connect with others by joining an online or gym class or use that time to catch up on the news or your favorite show.
Proper form, however, is key. To reap the benefits to reduce belly fat on the stationary bike, you need to keep your abdominal muscles tight. As an added benefit, keeping the core tight will also help prevent back pain and other issues.
Why Burn Belly Fat?
Burning belly fat isn’t just a matter of aesthetics. Sure, you may want to look better in more form-fitting clothing by reducing the subcutaneous fat that sits just under your skin. But it’s even more important to lose the visceral fat that lies deep within the abdominal cavity. That is, the fat that surrounds the organs like the liver, kidneys, stomach, and intestine. This is the fat that’s typically referred to as intra-abdominal fat or “belly fat.”
You see, unlike the surface subcutaneous fat you can pinch (and that looks soft and feels squishy), visceral fat can have seriously negative effects on overall health. This deep fat, for example, can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health issues.
Of course, the belly is a good indicator as to how much fat you have. That is, the more fat you carry on your belly, the more likely you are to have higher amounts of visceral fat. According to Harvard Medical school, about 10% of your belly fat is visceral fat.
Losing belly fat, or fat from anywhere on the body, takes an integrated approach. That includes:
- Improving the diet (increasing nutrient-dense foods while cutting back on calories)
- Increasing exercise
- Being more active
- Ensuring you get enough sleep
- And supporting your body with the right supplements if need be.
You can’t expect results like a flat stomach without considering diet and other lifestyle factors. That said, while you can’t target belly fat with exercise, cycling can be part of the strategy to give you a flat stomach. And with moderate intensity exercise, the visceral fat goes first.
How Does Bicycle Riding Reduce Belly Fat?
One of the greatest benefits of riding a bicycle is to burn a lot of calories while being gentle on the joints. So, cycling doesn’t just give you a flat stomach, it is suitable and beneficial for beginners as well as people who are already quite fit. What’s more, getting your heart rate up on the stationary bike is a much more effective and efficient way to burn belly fat than endlessly doing crunches.
Because it’s so easy and convenient, stationary bikes can help you work out more regularly to get in the recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day or 150 minutes every week, while still taking a day or two off to allow your body to rest and recuperate.
While people vary, in general, to lose one pound of fat, you have to burn 3,500 calories more than you consume. If you increase your activity level with stationary cycling combined with modest decreases in calorie count, you can fairly easily create a 500- to 1,000-calorie deficit per day. Biking for 30 minutes in a day results in around 260 calories burned for the average person (i.e., someone who weighs around 155 pounds). While this does vary per person, this can lead to around a healthy one- to two-pound decrease in weight over a week. And if you increase the intensity or duration, you can enjoy an even higher caloric burn.
What’s more, exercise of all types, including stationary biking, helps relieve stress. And research indicates a strong link between stress and fat (due to the role of cortisol). Letting go of stress can help release fat to be burned. So, with biking, you’ll be attacking your belly fat from more than one angle!
Types of Cycling Training to Give You a Flat Stomach
You can also switch up your cycling training to Lose Stomach Fat. Here are just a few of the different ways to cycle to burn belly fat:
- Steady-State: For beginners, you can easily start out riding at the same pace and intensity throughout the workout. After a brief warm-up, shoot to get your heart rate between 50 and 70% of maximum, and maintain that pace for the entire workout until you’re ready to cool down. If you don’t have a heart-rate monitor, you can simply use the talk test. If you can talk but not sing, you are working out at a moderate pace.
- High-Intensity: Folks who already have an established routine may want to pick up the pace to burn more belly fat. Pick a session or two per week to push up to a high-intensity workout for even greater fat burning. Shoot to get your heart rate between 75 and 85% of maximum. Again, if you’re using the talk test, you’ll know you are training intensely if you need to take a breath every few words. Expect to really work up a sweat during these sessions!
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): One of the most popular types of training is to alternate higher intensity effort with times to catch your breath. For example:
- Warm-up for 5 minutes
- Sprint on the bike for 30 seconds
- Decrease to a moderate pace for 1 minute
- Repeat the sequence for 15 minutes
- Cool down for 5 minutes
Because these workouts are so intense, however, it’s best to limit them for just one or two sessions per week, so your body has time to recover between sessions and to prevent burnout.
If you’re new to exercise, start slowly and gradually increase both time and intensity. For example, start with three short 5-minute sessions as your body acclimates to the new activity. Before long, you’ll be able to easily enjoy 30 minutes of exercise 5 to 6 days per week.
To continue to get results and reduce belly fat with cycling, you’ll also want to vary your workouts. Switch it up regularly to get the most metabolic bang for your buck.
What about those days when you don’t have time? You can also split your workouts throughout the day. For example, you can do two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions.
Drink water both before and after your workout. And don’t forget to keep water nearby and rehydrate throughout your exercise session! The body needs to stay hydrated to burn calories efficiently.
In Conclusion: Does Bicycle Riding Reduce Belly Fat?
Cycling doesn’t just give you a flat stomach: it can help you transform your entire body by strengthening the muscles (especially in the legs and core), boosting endurance and stamina, and building a stronger, healthier heart and lungs. Plus, stationary cycling is lower impact than jogging, running, dancing, and many other types of cardiovascular exercise. So, it’s easy on the joints.
Finally, you can’t overlook the convenience. No need to skip your workout when the weather is bad or worry about safety in outdoor areas. And if you have a home stationary bike, you can exercise whenever it’s the most convenient for you: first thing in the morning, while watching the evening news, before dinner, over lunch, etc.
In addition to riding a bicycle to reduce belly fat, you can set yourself up for greater success by:
- Focusing on progress: choose just one thing to improve, and get a little better every day.
- Decrease sugar: begin cutting out sugary drinks (sodas, juices, and even sweetened coffee or tea) and replacing them with water.
- Change your diet: for example, embrace the Mediterranean diet, try keto, or experiment with intermittent fasting.
- Be more active: 30 minutes of exercise per day isn’t enough to combat sitting the rest of your day. Move around more often, stand as you work, fidget, and get more non-exercise physical activity (NEAT) every day.
- Build muscle: which allows your body to become more metabolically active. So even at rest, you’ll burn more calories.
- Get quality sleep: one of the most underappreciated causes of weight gain is a lack of sleep. Ensure you are getting at least seven hours of quality sleep per night.
Losing stubborn belly fat can take time and effort, but it is possible! As another added bonus, cycling, like all exercise, helps relieve stress, decrease anger and anxiety, and improve mood.
Mike Dorfman is BS in Biochemistry from the University of Colorado. Mike’s has worked as a personal trainer for Gold’s Gym and helped many clients achieve their weight-loss and fitness goals.
To health first, weight-loss second. Mike and Tetrogen are here to help you make the transition to the healthier, happier, and thinner you!
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