Slimming and Losing Weight With Indoor Cycling

The endorphin-pumped exercise, the pool of sweat, the fast-paced trainings, the energetic instructor — indoor cycling, also called spinning, is one exciting and rewarding exercise! It isn’t hard to see why it is the go-to activity for fitness aficionados and devotees. Given the intensity of the activity itself, you would naturally assume that spinning is a surefire ticket to weight loss. Well, your assumption may be partly correct and partly wrong. How so? Indoor cycling for weight loss is not a means to an end; the end being weight loss. Indoor cycling can help you lose weight in addition to a diet and other regimented exercises. In other words, you can’t depend on this sole activity to eliminate all the unhealthy fat in your body. Capisce?

How Can Indoor Cycling Help with Weight Loss?

Spinning engages and activates the muscles in your lower body including the quadriceps, calves, glutes, and hamstrings. These body parts tend to “burn” during intense cycling sessions with high resistance levels.

Indoor cycling torches calories like fire burns paper, and this calorie deficit can aid weight loss, combined with a healthy dietary plan. And the more consistent and committed you are, the better your chances of losing weight.

Additionally, cycling boosts metabolism which is another factor that plays a vital role in weight loss. In addition to burning calories, it also improves your cardiovascular function and cognitive development. In a nutshell, indoor cycling can help you lose weight by creating a calorie deficit, which works best when combined with a healthy diet and other physical activities.

How Many Calories Can You Burn with Indoor Cycling?

Good question! You can burn anywhere between 400-600 calories in a 45-60 minute session. How much or how few calories you burn is entirely dependent on your effort; that is, the intensity of your sessions. Your weight can also determine whether you burn calories fast or not. However, fitness enthusiasts looking to lose weight with indoor cycling are advised to take three to four spin classes or sessions every week. Adhering to this routine typically translates to about 1200 to 4000 calorie burn per week.

Coupled with a regimented diet, you could lose a pound per week. Unbelievable but true! But before you push yourself harder than you can bear, remember to set realistic goals. It is not a do-or-die affair, cycle as much as your body is willing to, don’t go overboard in the name of weight loss. If you can only handle one or two sessions per week, that’s fine. If you can do the recommended three or four, that’s awesome too. Stick to the routine that’s best for you and your body and don’t forget to factor in nutrition and other activities like yoga and strength training.

Weight Loss Tips for Indoor Cycling

Now that we’ve figured out how indoor cycling can play a vital role in weight loss, the next question is; “how do you make the most of it?”. The answer is as straightforward as incorporating the following 5 tips:

1. Load up on nutrients before and after a spin session

Your body needs energy and nutrients to take you through one spinning session to another. It is somewhat unwise to exercise or spin on an empty stomach, as you may not perform to your maximum best which can make you lose some of the indoor cycling benefits. Eating before your workout can also eliminate extra calories through the thermic effect of food— the digestive process in itself can lead to calorie burn.

You don’t have to eat large meals or portions. You can eat something as small as a banana or a portion of cereal before your workout and your body will be fueled and pumped to ride hard. Do the same after your ride and in between sessions. Combine protein and carbs for maximum effect. Remember to drink water as well because your metabolism rate will thank you and those bad calories will flee.

2. Do Lots of Interval Training

It is no secret that interval raining can put your metabolism in high gear faster than steady-paced exercises. Alternate high-intensity pedaling with moderate paces and watch the calories melt off your body like butter. Go hard and then go easy. Wash, rinse, and repeat until you are satisfied with your calorie consumption. Varying pace and intensity also stimulate post-workout oxygen consumption, commonly known as the after-burn effect. The after-burn effect maintains calorie burn for a few hours post-exercise, which is good for weight loss.

3. Switch and Split Your Workouts

It is very easy to get bored when you do the same workout day in day out. But here is the thing, monotonous workouts aren’t just listless and boring, they decrease your metabolic “coins” which leads to less calorie burn and deficit. To avoid this pitfall, you should alternate different types of workouts. Switch between interval, strength, and endurance training rides to encourage your body to lose extra calories. With different workouts, you will also look forward to your time in the saddle.

If you can’t handle 45-minute spin sessions or classes, split it into two 25 minute sessions and get the same results. Plus, you may burn more calories in split 25-minute sessions than you would in a single 45-minute session. One major advantage of split sessions is that you gain two after-burn effects in one day!

4. Perform Resistance Training

Resistance training equals greater lean muscle, and greater lean muscle equals a higher resting metabolic rate (RMR). Resistance training helps build muscle mass which maximizes RMR for calorie burn. If you want to accumulate enough lean muscles to torch a massive amount of calories, you should perform resistance and strength training exercises for your muscle groups ( two or three times a week). Each muscle group should get its dose of strength training, on or off the bike. You can use resistance bands, kettlebells, and free weights to achieve this.

5. Don’t over-eat

Indoor cycling is not an excuse to eat like a glutton. You may think you are burning a ton of calories via spinning, so there’s no harm in stuffing your body with meals. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that juicy hamburger can cost you the 400-500 calories you lost in a 45-minute indoor cycling session. Here is the maths; junk food can contain as high as 600 calories which is beyond the number of calories you can burn in a single spin class. So what happens to the extra calories? You accumulate them and keep adding weight, that’s what! Better safe than sorry.

Final Thoughts

Indoor cycling can aid weight loss as part of a routine that involves diet and other physical activities. This is to say that indoor cycling is not a stand-alone weight loss activity as other factors like nutrition are critical to weight loss. However, it holds an impressive weight loss value by creating a calorie deficit and hastening metabolism. While this is extremely good news, you should take into account certain tips that can help you maximize its weight loss benefits. These include eating proteins and carbs before a workout, switching and splitting your workouts, performing interval training amongst others. If you follow these tips dutifully, along with a nutritious diet, you can lose all those extra calories and fat.

Robbie Ferri
Robbie Ferri

Robbie Ferri from “Riding with Robbie” has been cycling for almost ten years. In that time, he has broken World Records, Bikepacked all over the World, and also raced ultra distance at a top-level. Robbie picked up a bike and started cycling when he was about 25 years old and said it was the best thing he ever did. The experiences and the fun he’s had have given him a huge passion for helping inspire others to ride further, farther, and get fitter.