Recent world events have left many of us feeling a bit out of shape. If you’re getting back out into the world and going back to the office, it may be tempting to skip the train, bus or car and take your bicycle to work. Can you drop some weight on your commute?
Strive for Changes in Intensity
Intervallic training is a wonderful way to get your heart pumping, boost your calorie burn and increase the amount of fat you’re burning. Instead of riding hard for long stretches, push yourself in the first half of your ride to hit a higher intensity a few times on your commute. Two minutes on and two minutes off are a great way to build your intensity rhythm. This will
- burn fat
- build muscle tissue
- give you time to cool down
If you have to climb long hills, go ahead and work through your gears to avoid getting extremely overheated.
Pair Your Bicycle Ride With Other Exercises
Go ahead and push yourself on the way home. In addition to cycling harder on the more intense phases of your ride, plan to combine your ride with other exercise when you get home. When you put your bike up, grab some free weights and work your upper body.
Resistance bands can help you work your core once you get to your home, or you might stop by a park on the way home and do some isometric work. If you can find a tai chi class outside, work your balance for a bit, then do more intensity training on the way home!
Investing in a heavy duty bike is a great choice, especially if you live in a region that is not always bicycle friendly. If you plan to shower and dress at work, a quality backpack or set of bike panniers can go a long way toward looking your best and feeling fresh at your desk.
The best bikes for heavy riders don’t always have a lot of hardware added for carrying additional gear, such as a front basket or a back carrying bar. Most of these bikes, however, do have fat tires and a sturdy frame. Adding the hardware you need to carry your working tools more easily can make your bike even heavier, but it will also add to the versatility.
Installing power meter pedals to your bike will help better monitor your progress. These pedals act as a power sensor for your bike, measuring your exact pedaling speed and velocity in every stroke. Its Bluetooth feature allows you to connect it to a mobile app, which records all the data so you can evaluate your performance and see what needs to be improved.
If you must commute in your work clothes, or if there isn’t a shower at your facility, there are still things you can do to make your bike commute an effective weight loss tool. You may choose to invest in an e-bike to give you some assist on the way to work. If you don’t have a spot to lock up your bike, a folding bike with a carrying case may be your best choice.
When you’re ready to head home, change into your workout clothes and don’t use the electric assist. Push yourself harder at two-minute intervals to build up to a higher heart rate and greater calorie burn all the way home, then shower and eat a healthy supper before bed.
Whether you choose to incorporate cycling as a weight loss tool in your travel plans, make sure you get the right sized bike. If you have to commute in work clothes, consider getting a step-through frame. This is critical if you plan to carry your work clothing, your workout clothes, or your computer on the back of the bike.
If it’s been a while since you’ve ridden, visit a bike shop and get your seat and handlebars adjusted to the precise height you need to ride safely. Bicyclists have to be aware of many factors on their travels. Your bike should conform to your leg length, your seat preference and your comfort level on the angle of your torso.
I Just Want to Ride!
If you just want to get some fresh air and get your body moving through space, bicycling is still a wonderful way to get to work. Even if you aren’t pushing yourself with intervallic training, your time on a bicycle will provide terrific low-impact aerobic exercise.
Additionally, riding a bicycle engages your core. Even with electric assist, you need to keep your bike balanced, and that takes the muscles of your tummy and your low back to stay stable and keep moving forward.
The more intensity you put into your ride, the more calories you will burn. However, even a low intensity ride will burn more calories than a car trip or a bus ride. Gear up with what you need to carry the necessaries, visit a professional shop and get your bike properly sized, and hit the trail to work!