Moderators: melkor

Is riding my bike enough cardio?

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I ride my bike about 4 times a week for at least an hour up and down hills, riding into the wind and away from the wind all at a pretty steady pace.


is that enough cardio?

or should i be doing a variety of things?


5'2 143

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enough cardio for what?

for effective weight loss

Weight loss is a function of two factors, how many calories you consume and how many calories you burn.  Exercise will contribute to the total number of calories you burn but only accounts of a portion of your total calories burned.

You could sit on your couch all day every day and lose weight, or you could ride your bike for 18 hours a day and gain weight, how many calories you eat in relation to you many you burn is what matters.

yes i know that, what im asking is if im following the calorie thing in relation to my exercising is riding a bike a good enough cardio work out, or would i need something like running, or the elliptical?

 Effective fat loss depends on your diet; assuming that's under control any exercise you do will enhance your fat loss results.

 However, contrary to popular myth, cardio is not particularly effective for fat loss.

 Don't get me wrong, it does help, but it's a distant second to resistance training when you consider the effects.

 However, what you're doing will help with the desired results. The bike is fabulous cardio, and anything that gets you moving is a good thing as far as exercise goes.
Original Post by makeupbykaitlyn:

yes i know that, what im asking is if im following the calorie thing in relation to my exercising is riding a bike a good enough cardio work out, or would i need something like running, or the elliptical?

 100 calories burned bike riding is the same as 100 calories burned running which is the same as 100 calories burned on the eliptical.

Original Post by melkor:

 However, what you're doing will help with the desired results.  

Unless it's causing your deficit to get too big.

you are so helpful sugar. thank you :)

i have been doing resistance training. i just hope its enough

 Good point - you don't want to have a deficit past the 31cal/lbs fat mass/day limit either :)

Weight training is an awesome addition to cardiovascular excercise because at rest, the muscle that you have accumulated thru weight training is burning more calories than a person with less muscle mass. 

Your cardiovascular workouts are also improved with higher muscle mass due to the ability of your body to work harder with the extra muscle which in turn leads to bigger losses of calories. 

Make sure when you are weight training that you are adding more protein and calcium to your diet to support your muscle gains as well as replenish the calcium which can be lost due to exercise and diet- strong bones support strong muscles!

Original Post by melkor:

 Good point - you don't want to have a deficit past the 31cal/lbs fat mass/day limit either :)

 So for every pound of extra fat you want to have a 31 calorie deficit a day? I've been wondering how to figure out my ideal deficit! Now the question is... how do I find out how many pounds of extra fat I have? Find what would be my lowest healthy weight and subtract that from my current weight?

Good $DEITY, skip the formulaic crap. It's really simple:

* 500 calories/day deficit = 1 pound of fat loss per week.

* 1000 calories/day deficit = 2 pounds of fat loss per week.

Larger deficits are generally too unpleasant to maintain and are therefore unsustainable. Too-large deficits can also lead to "starvation mode."

While keeping the above deficits in mind, do not go below 1200 calories per day for women or 1500 calories per day for men.

Keep it simple.


I ride my bike pretty much every week day for about an hour total (to the train... roundtrip), most of the trail is hilly but for the most part it's a sustained flat grade.  The important part of the workout you want to keep in mind is your heart rate staying right in it's ideal fat burning range.  I've been told that if you feel winded, red hot, sweating up a storm then you are working too hard and your bodies fat burning efficiency is not where it should be.

Think of the difference between running a car at 85mph and 55mph, sure you're going faster and using up more fuel, but at some point the engine just passes it's max efficiency mode. 

Your body will work the same way (minus the transmission and tires) where if you can keep a steady pace where you feel like you're working but not giving it 110% then your body will burn it's fat much more happily and willingly.

Please note that i'm not a professional nutritionist or exercise guru... i'm just a guy that likes to ride his bike.

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Well, I'm not very scientific, but...

I've lost about 55 lbs thanks to my bicycle.  But, while I started at 1-hr rides, I ride for 2 hrs on normal days and 3-5 hours each day on weekends, and have gotten much faster too.

Get a computer for your bike- it's great feedback and then you won't have to do math.  If you are currently at, say, 10 miles in 1 hour (or 10 mph!)  try to push yourself to maybe 12 mph for the next week.  And go farther from time to time, too.  You'll want to gradually increase your distance and intensity over the season.

Save the elliptical for when the weather won't permit you to go outside and ride.  It's great because it'll keep you in the rhythm and uses the same muscles when you ride.

Count me in on the bike cardio thing, 40 lbs in one summer of biking (and keeping my calories in check). And the best part is biking is fun, none of that sitting in one spot stuff ( oh, sorry if you need to do the stationary bike thing, did some this winter its boreing).
I love to ride the bike.... but how do you find a comfortable seat??? I rode my bike 7 miles.... and I couldn't walk well after that because my cheeks were numb!  ha ha  I am totally serious too!  Anyone else have this issue?  For you avid riders... what brand of seat do you have on your bike???
coppertop_4, while I understand finding a comfortable saddle is important it is also specific to you.  Saddles come in a variety of sizes and shapes so there is bound to be a model out there that will fit you but finding it requires some trial and error.  What you are looking for is a saddle that will support your "sit bones", the bones of the lower pelvis, while not putting any pressure in the soft tissue area between the sit bones or rubbing the upper thighs.  Also, any saddle will cuase discomfort at first so finding the right one requires logging a lot of mile on it; i.e. you can't just take a spin around a bike shop parking lot and know for sure that you've got the right saddle but you can get an idea of whether or not it fits the above criteria.  FWIW, I ride a Sella Italia Flite and have for over ten years but if I haven't ridden for several months or more it will take at least a week for my backside to get re-accustom to riding.  My bottom has to "get in shape' just like the rest of me.



what a great explanation! and was extremely helpful. thank you very very much

coppertop, my bike has the #1 worlds most uncomfortable seat (i'm sure that is how it's marketed).  I didn't want to get a new seat (it looks so badass) so i got a pair of bike shorts with a super padded maxi pad type thing sewn into the seat.

Since wearing it when I ride i've never had a sore behind since.  Changed my life.

A little clarification: if you ride faster, you are still burning just as much fat as if you are riding comfortably. You are also burning glycogen from your muscles, however, as you are using energy at too fast a rate for lipolysis to keep up. Riding faster requires taking it easy in between rides to allow for recovery, but it is a great way to boost your fitness. You need to replace the glycogen, though, and that means eating some carbs within 30-60 minutes after finishing your ride.

Saddles that look comfy, aren't. You sink into them and then they exert pressure on the soft tissue in your crotch, in your butt, and on your inner thighs. A firm saddle, of appropriate width to support your sit bones (ischeal tuberosities), but narrow in the nose, is best. It will take some getting used to. Bicycle shorts help, not only for the pad, but for the lack of a seam for you to sit on.
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