By Laurel-Lea Shannon
Did you know that carrying extra weight has a detrimental effect on your health and your cycling? Imagine how much more difficult it is to climb hills when you’ve got a few extra pounds riding along in the caboose. If you’re like me, those extra pounds land on your hips, adding weight at the wrong end when you’re gasping up a long hill.
What’s the best way to trim down fast? Cycling. If you’ve add a few pounds on over the winter, no worries, you can cycle your way back to your normal weight. There’s another benefit to dropping those unwanted pounds. It’s the easiest way to improve your on-bike performance. Lightening up may even help you hang onto the pack this spring.
Why is cycling such an effective weight-buster? It’s fun—making it easy to do for long periods—and it burns a truckload of calories. Here’s a quick, low-tech way to figure out how many.
A 130 pound woman cycling at 25 kmh (15 mph) burns 10 calories per minute. For every 15 pounds below 130, decrease the calories burned by 1.2. For every 15 pounds above 130 pounds, increase the calories burned by 1.2 (Exercise Physiology, 5th edition, p.1106). For example, if you’re 145 lbs you would burn 11.2 calories a minute. Women weighing 115 lbs burn 8.8 calories a minute.
But if you want to keep the weight off, you need to eat like an athlete too. That means putting your body and your fitness first—eating foods that build your health and fuel your exercise—so every day you’ve got the energy to cycle, run or swim your way to your fitness goals.
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