Losing weight is a very common goal amongst cyclists, not just for the health benefits, but because it’s one of the best ways to improve performance on a bike.
Our club has members of all shapes and sizes and many of us struggle to be the weight we would like. Yes, some of us are built like whippets, but many others are built more ‘powerfully’ (think Bull Mastiff or, occasionally, overfed Labrador…).
Losing weight is simple: eat less, move more. Cycling helps you with the moving bit. Get out there and ride, enjoy the fresh air and countryside of Sussex, alone or with friends. Losing fat (rather than muscle) is an effective way to ride faster and for longer. Read more about how your power-to-weight ratio improves as you slim down. And if you don’t believe that article, read this one from Dave McCraw on why a lighter bike makes bugger-all difference, compared to being a lighter rider.
Generally, you’ll lose more weight off the bike than on it (unless you cycle eight hours a day). Bear in mind the ’70/30 rule’ – you can lose weight mostly through changing your diet, reducing your calorie intake to be less than the amount you use (that’s the ’70’ bit). Exercise increases the calories you burn (the ’30’ bit), but it matters more what and how much you eat (and drink, if you like a beer).
British Cycling has a safe weight loss for cyclists page that provides a good overview of the basic principles. It advises getting a skin-fold test to accurately gauge your percentage of body fat, but for most of us we know, do we not, if we need to lose a pound or two…
Finally, GCN has produced a video that shows you how to lose weight through cycling, offering ‘five quick and easy tips’ to help you lose weight. Just goes to show that no-one has a monopoly on good advice – do what works for you.