You’ve been riding your stationary exercise bike all wrong and here’s why
By Clint Latham – BikeALatteCO.com – ’empowering the everyday cyclist’
You are about to hear how you can use my Ride to 75 technique on a stationary exercise bike to help you lose weight and build fitness. To learn more keep reading.
Summer is starting to come to a close. Leaves will begin to change color. That oh so familiar chill in the air will grip your face as you head out for your early morning workout. Jack Frost is getting ready to make his return and this doesn’t mean we have to put our fitness goals on the shelf. Many of us believe that we need get on our trainer or stationary exercise bike and just pedal for hours on end to see results. Almost a punishment for not being able to go out side.
Many new cyclists approach me with the question ‘What do I do when I can no longer ride outside?’
Its time to pull out your trainer or stationary exercise bike. Just because we’re not outside doesn’t mean we still can’t enjoy it. Here’s how.
Ride to 75
For any new cyclist I recommend my Ride to 75 technique to start burning fat and building fitness. If you have access to a stationary exercise bike at home or the gym you too can apply these tactics to burn fat and build fitness. Ride to 75 contains 3 basic principles
1) Ride to 75 heart rate
2) Ride to 75 mins per week
3) Reduce your calorie intake by 7.5%
Step 1: Ride to 75 Heart Rate
To determine what your Ride to 75 heart will be. We used a simple formula to determine this number. 220 – your age = Your maximum heart rate.
For example 220- 35 = 185
Then by multiplying Your Max HR x 75% gives us your Ride to 75 heart rate.
Example 185 x .75 = 138.75 or 139
Its important for us to use a heart rate monitor so that we can measure our level of exertion during each session. Now in our example we have a goal for each ride, to ride to an average heart rate of 139 bpm. We want the average of the ride to be 75% of our max. There will be times we are above or below this number. Yet, our average level of exertion should be about 75% or in our example 139 bpm.
This accomplishes 2 goals
1) Pushes us to towards the upper limits of our aerobic threshold. When our bodies are using the aerobic system we are able to use fat as one the primary fuel sources. If we push above this for our average exertion rate we rely more heavily on our ATP/CP system and the use of fat greatly decreases.
2) We maximize the effects of EPOC. EPOC (excess post exercise oxygen consumption) is the affect of our bodies returning to a state of homeostasis after a bout of physical activity. Research has shown that the primary fuel source used by the body during EPOC is fat.
Therefor our goal is to burn as much fat as possible on and off the bike. By focusing on our Ride to 75 heart rate we were setting ourselves up for the best opportunity for success.
Step 2: Ride to 75 mins a week
Our next goal is ride for a minimum of 75 minutes per week. Thats right, only 1 hour and 15 mins per week. If we can ride more, excellent, but we were shooting for a minimum of 75 mins per week. Research indicates we need a minimum of 75 mins per week at a moderate intensity, to see all the health benefits associated with exercise. This research is supported by many studies including the American Heart Association, the World Health Organization and leading obesity research scientists like Dr. Yoni Freedhoff.
Furthermore, research has indicated that performing more that 75 mins per week did not create an increase in the health benefits associated with exercise. While fitness levels will greatly increase with more exercise, general health benefits do not. In some cases excessive exercising may increase health risks! Ever wonder why the Tour De France riders are so concerned with getting sick they wont shake hands with reporters? Their body fat levels are so low this puts them at an increased risk of infection.
“Extremely low levels of body fat increases cortisol levels, which in turn suppresses the immune system. Increasing your risk of bacterial infection or contracting the cold or flu virus” Georgie Fear, R.D., author of Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss
By focusing on our Ride to 75 heart rate we were meeting the intensity requirements; next we need to focus on the time requirements. We need to accumulate 75 mins a week with our Ride to 75 heart rate in any way we can. This means we can sneak in a 15 min ride here, a 20 min ride there etc.
Diet & exercise research scientist Dr. Michelle Segar states. “So many of us are conditioned into thinking that we need to exercise for hours on end, saturated in sweat in for the exercise to be affective.” But this is not the case. Research shows that exercise’s benefits are accumulative not consecutive. Therefor we just need to accumulate 75 mins per week of our exercise to be effective.
We can hop on our stationary exercise bike spin for 15 mins before work and then maybe 10 more mins before we prepare dinner. The best part is that we just need to get to 75 mins a week and we can get there in any way that we can. We will be perusing our Ride to 75 heart rate. A pace that is hard enough to burn fat and build fitness. Yet low enough to allow us to watch our favorite TV show, read a good book or what ever else we might enjoy while spinning.
Step 3: Simple Steps for reducing calorie intake by 7.5%
Research shows us that diets don’t work. Don’t believe me? Do a little research on the hit TV show The biggest Loser to see how the contestants faired after the show had ended. What do we find…. well most of them have put all if not a little more weight back on then where they started. Diets don’t work; so we were not about to go on a diet.
We all have that one food that we enjoy a little to much. If it happens to be full of sugar and carbs. I’ll show you how you can still enjoy this food without it affecting your weight loss goals.
Lets say you love muffins. Muffins are cup cakes without the frosting. One simple change we might take is to only eat these little sugar bombs before we spin. This allows us to use the sugar to fuel our spinning session and help us burn fat. If you would like more science on why you should always eat before you workout. See my article “Fasted Cardio Myth Debunked”.
We haven’t eliminated this food. We have made a minor change to allow us cut our calorie intake by 7.5% and still enjoy this would be ‘no, no’. Your goal is find that one food you can take advantage of. So that you can maximize your fat burn and cut your calorie intake.
I use these same techniques with new cyclists all the time. I helped one new cyclist drop 2 pants sizes and 20lbs with this same approach! You can too. The key is to keep it simple and keep it fun. If you don’t enjoy it and look forward to your spinning sessions you’ll stop before you begin. Use these techniques as a guidelines to help improve your fat burn but not your purpose for each ride. Think of it as a time when you can catch up on your favorite Netflix series or read that favorite book. Research indicates the more you can associate this time as a pleasure rather than a chore, the more successful you will be.
A key component of fitness is diet & nutrition. Ride to 75 just touches the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding nutrition. Would you like to understand why you should never diet again and instead focus on building a food relationship? Sign up here to receive my exclusive 3 part series on “Building your Food Relationship”. For more scientific approaches to, Cycling for Weight Loss, see my FREE resource guide here.