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Fat Burning and Cycling

  • Training and Fitness
Fat Burning and Cycling

One of the most common New Year resolutions, every year, is to get healthy and work towards becoming fit. The one way to achieve this goal is to get on the saddle and torch as many calories as possible, by riding every day. Maybe even hit that 100km on the weekend - the longer the better, right? Now, we are nearing the end of the first quarter of the year and yet the fat is still there, despite riding regularly and our tracking apps bursting with activity. There is a reason it’s called stubborn fat - it is stubborn, and takes time, patience and the right kind of training to disappear. Read on for ways to train on the saddle to effectively torch that stubborn fat.


Studies have shown that training in a fasted state has the potential to tap into stored fat for fuel i.e. using fat reserves for energy. The logic behind this is that after a night-long fast, one’s blood sugar and liver glycogen stores are low, and thus the body uses stored fat for energy. Research has pointed out that fasted training is effective and doesn’t hinder performance, provided that one trains at the right intensity and/or duration. To begin try to figure out an optimal duration and pace by fasting for 12-14 hours and following it with a longer duration, low intensity ride. Some important points to keep in mind when it comes to fasted riding, is to keep well hydrated - drink a cup of black coffee/tea/ green tea or water before your ride and carry a bottle of water on your ride.

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When we start riding for fitness, we tend to think that regular long rides are enough to do the trick. While this can show improvements to our body fat composition while we start out, our bodies get used to the levels of activity and the same activity repeated won’t be as effective after a while. This is where High Intensity Interval Training(HIIT) can do wonders. High Intensity Interval Training, as the name suggests, is a combination of high intensity training for short bursts of time i.e. in intervals. Studies show that High Intensity Interval Training tends to work better than endurance riding when it comes to reducing belly fat. Now, not everyday has to be a high-intensity interval training ride, doing HIIT rides twice or thrice a week is more than enough to boost your fat burning capabilities while improving your performance on the saddle.


Another way to effectively torch that stubborn fat is the 80/20 Method. Simply put, the goal of this method is to spend 80 percent of your total ride duration riding at a low intensity, and the last 20 percent at a moderate - high intensity. This not only burns calories but also improves speed, power and performance.

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One of the biggest hinderers to fat burning is improper nutrition. All efforts reaped while training can be derailed by improper nutrition. Now, we are not suggesting that you jump on the ‘diet bandwagon’ and follow the latest “fad” diet. Rather, it is important to eat a healthy and wholesome balanced diet - keeping in mind to fuel your body with ideal foods based on what works best for you and your body. Eating a proper meal post your ride is important for metabolic function and recovery.


To conclude, there is no shortcut to fat burning. Consistency and patience is key to torching that stubborn fat. Hence, regular exercise combined with a healthy diet will effectively help with reducing the overall fat stored. It is important to switch up your training regime as our body adapts to a regime over a period of time. This is why interval training works well, as the body goes through rigorous training in bursts, thereby elevating the heart rate at regular intervals, which helps metabolic function and enables better fat burning capability.


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