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Bicycling burns calories and reduces body fat.
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A flat stomach is often seen as the pinnacle of fabulous fitness, and cycling can help you get there. A flat tummy looks good in your bathing suit, but it also promotes better health. Too much fat in your abdomen can be increase your risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions. Combine strategic cycling workouts with a healthy diet and weight training, and you've got a recipe for a flatter stomach.
The bike is an awesome tool for helping you to scorch calories and promote fat loss. Plus it offers you the ability to visit a variety of intensities, which promotes good fitness and a flat-bellied physique. Start pedaling to slim down and get closer to the washboard you're after.
Interval training is a proven way to reduce both types of belly fat: subcutaneous fat that lies just under the skin and visceral fat that surrounds your organs. A meta-analysis of 39 studies published in a 2018 issue of Sports Medicine concluded that HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is a time-efficient and effective exercise method to reduce total body fat and belly fat.
HIIT involves alternating bouts of very high-intensity effort with bouts at a lower intensity. For example, after you warm up on an outdoor (or indoor) bike for 10 to 15 minutes, pick up your effort to a hard level. Take your ride to a point at which you're breathing heavy and really challenging your heart rate. Keep the hard effort for 30 to 60 seconds and then reduce your intensity to an easy level for about one minute. Repeat these intervals for five to 10 bouts and then cool down.
A study published in Diabetes and Metabolism in 2016 found that an interval workout performed just twice per week for 16 weeks notably reduced abdominal fat in postmenopausal women with diabetes. It's likely that a similar schedule can help most people reduce belly fat, too.
Take Easy Days
Going too hard, too often can boost your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that impedes the loss of fat. So while you may do a couple interval workouts per week and maybe a race pace on one other day, on most days that you ride, go at a controlled pace. You should feel able to talk to a riding partner, which makes the ride a little more fun, too.
Slower rides burn fat and equate with active recovery. You build stamina and burn calories, without putting your body into overtraining mode.
Complement Cycling With Other Workouts
Cycling alone can help you burn fat, but you'll build more pedal power and lose fat faster if you do strength-training workouts, too. A 2014 study published in Obesity found that combining weight training with cardiovascular workouts - like cycling - can prevent age-related belly fat gain and may also reduce existing abdominal fat.
A weight-training workout doesn't have to be complex. Aim for a 20-minute session most days of the week. Target different muscle groups each time you hit the gym floor. For example, lift for your chest and arms one day, your legs and abs the next, and on the third day sculpt your shoulders and back. Take a day off and repeat the pattern.
Exercises such as presses, rows, pull-ups, curls, dips, crunches, squats and lunges are good options. Use heavy weights that bring you to fatigue in fewer than 12 reps. Work your way up to three sets of each exercise.