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How Many Miles Should I Bike to Lose Weight?

guide on how many miles should i bike to lose weight

Losing weight is a goal many people take on, and it can be very difficult. It takes discipline, and incorporating exercise into your normal routine is a challenging task. A question we are often asked is about how many miles you should cycle to lose weight. In this article, we’re going to answer this.

The Bigger Picture

Losing weight comes down to many different things, and before we start speaking about the miles you need to ride, it’s vital to understand the basics of weight loss and the changes you need to make to ensure you lose weight on your journey.

Calories in and Calories out

When losing weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat. So you can cycle as many miles as you want. If your diet is not controlled, you will struggle to lose weight. The calories could come from fresh vegetables or fast food, no matter how they come. It’s important to keep them under control.

Age, Height, and Body Composition

Depending on who you are, you will burn calories at different rates. A young 25 year old who is 6ft tall and has a muscular build will burn calories much faster than a 50 year old with a less muscular build. This has to be taken into account when losing weight.

Work Rate

Another thing to take into account is how hard you’re working while you’re on the bike. You can go for a leisurely bike ride and burn 300 calories an hour, or you can go to a spinning class and burn 600 calories an hour. If you work hard, you will hit your goal much quicker and get much fitter.

How Many Calories Does Cycling Burn?

how many calories does cycling burn

Cycling can burn 300 to 800 calories an hour, depending on your body composition and work rate. It’s valuable to know roughly how many calories you’re burning, and an easy way to find this out is using a few tools.

Activity Trackers

Many cyclists and sports enthusiasts use smartwatches and activity trackers to understand better the calories they are burning. This gives them more of an insight into how high their heart rate is and also how challenging the ride is.

Heart Rate Monitor and Cycle Computer

Another way to go is to use a heart rate monitor and cycle computer. This could be a Garmin and a Wahoo Heart rate monitor. It will not only log your ride and the hills you climb, but it will also tell you your heart rate. With all this data, it can give a fairly accurate estimation of calories.

How Many Calories in a Pound of Fat?

There are roughly 3500 calories per pound of fat, so if you were to burn 500 calories per hour, you would need to cycle 7 hours to lose a pound. The best way to lose weight by cycling is a mix of riding and managing your diet.

How to Lose Weight Cycling Properly?

how to lose weight cycling properly

If you want to lose weight while cycling, you must think about a few things. It is not how many miles you ride but how many calories you burn. In this next section, we will run through what you need to think about when it comes to losing weight. The main focus we need to be on is calories. So to ensure we lose weight, we need to ensure that we are burning more calories than eating, so with that in mind;

Diet

The first thing you will need to do is manage your diet. So for males, you are going to want to aim for 2500 or fewer calories. For females, 2000 or fewer calories. You can track this with an application like Myfitnesspal. You will lose weight faster if you can eat less than this each day alongside cycling.

Workouts

Using high calorie workouts is going to be great when it comes to cycling and weight loss. You could go cycling for 2-3 hours and burn 1000-1500 calories at an endurance pace, or you could go for short, very high-intensity workouts, which will burn 700 calories in an hour. If you’re curious about how long it takes to bike long distances like 10 miles, click here.

Tracking Diary

Then the final thing to do is to track. This will be a combination of tracking diets and workouts and could look a bit like this. So let’s use an average male as an example;

Fred

Calories to Maintain weight needed

2500 per day

2500 per day x 7 days in a week = 17500 calories

Anything below 17500 calories in a mix of dieting and exercise will lose Fred weight.

DayMonTuesWedsThursFriSatSundayTotal
Calories200020002000200015002500200014000
Workout5005001500050050003500
       Total10500

This is Fred’s Diary above. Calories are what he ate, and the workouts are what he burnt. So when we take what he ate and subtract what Fred burnt, we have a total input of calories which was 10500. If Fred’s body required 17500 calories to maintain, if he only took 10500 after applying workout calories, he was 7000 calories down in total.

7000 calories = 2lbs in weight

How Many Miles Should I Bike to Lose Weight?

how many miles should i bike to lose weight

It’s very difficult to say how many miles you need to cycle to lose weight. A better way to look at it is how much of a calorie deficit I need to be for my body to burn its own fat. The best answer isn’t a certain mileage but to ride to put your body in a calorie deficit. The bigger the deficit, the quicker you will lose weight.

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Robbie Ferri

Robbie Ferri

Robbie Ferri is a cyclist living in Norfolk in the UK. From breaking World Records to competing in some of the hardest Bikepacking races in the world he is not shy of riding the miles. He has been lucky enough to work at some amazing shops and with some big cycling brands. Alongside this he even had input in designing bikes and has also been a tester for unreleased products. He absolutely loves cycling and believes everyone should have a bike.