The exercise bike is one of the most popular indoor fitness machines. It’s a very versatile option that will help you with several workout goals. However, most people use it to lose weight and to get ripped as soon as summer’s on the horizon.
But how effective is the exercise bike for losing weight? In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about losing pounds with the exercise bike. Have fun! ?
This Is Why Exercise Bikes Are Great!
First of all, we should clarify why you should train with an exercise bike at all. After all, there are plenty of other options such as treadmills, rowing machines and ellipticals. So, what are the advantages of the exercise bike?
First of all, working out with an exercise bike is very easy on the joints. While, for example, on a treadmill, 3-4 times our own body weight rests on our joints with every step, the exercise bike provides a low-impact alternative. Your feet will be in constant contact with the pedals, which eliminates the impact forces that are present on the treadmill. Especially for overweight people, this is a real boon for the joints! ?
In addition, the movement is very simple and controllable, making it ideal for sports beginners. The rowing machine, for example, is undoubtedly extremely effective, but the proper rowing execution requires some experience. With exercise bike training, on the other hand, you really can hardly go wrong.
As riding an exercise bike is also very easy to control, it will also be easier for you to see progress and make changes to your workout routine if necessary.
Can You Lose Weight With An Exercise Bike?
That’s all well and good, but what about losing weight? In a nutshell: Used correctly, the exercise bike is certainly a very good workout machine for losing weight.
In general, the calorie consumption is highest when many muscles are involved in a movement at the same time. On the rowing machine, for example, 85% of your total muscles are working together. Therefore, the calorie consumption is extremely high.
On the exercise bike, on the other hand, you are mainly working on your lower body’s muscles. Especially the legs are heavily targeted. In any case, fewer muscles are used than during the rowing workout, for example.
However, losing weight is definitely more than possible with the exercise bike! For many it is simply the most comfortable way to work out, because you can sit down and listen to the radio or watch TV.
The real effectiveness of using the exercise bike as a weight loss machine depends on the set watts and your own effort. This is something that you can and should vary during your workout progress. Especially doing an interval training, switching between high and low intensity periods, is something that has proven to be a real fat burner.
If you want more tips on working out with an exercise bike or would like to have a complete workout schedule to stick to, we have a whole article about this, that you should definitely check out as well. Here you will find it.
How Many Calories Do You Burn On The Exercise Bike?
There are a lot of different information about the amount of calories burned when working out with an exercise bike. When searching for information on the internet in general, it is very hard to know which data is trustworthy and which is not.
If you want to calculate the real calorie consumption of your exercise bike workout, I can recommend the following: Swiss sports physicians gave a formula for calculating the individual calorie consumption on the exercise bike (you can find the study here):
Average power (kilowatt) x number of seconds / efficiency = energy consumption in kilojoules.
Efficiency is the ratio of power to energy expenditure and varies depending on your personal fitness level. On average, it is about 25%, or 0.25.
To get from kilojoules to calories, you still have to divide the result by 4.2.
Now if you train for one hour at an average power of 100 watts, which corresponds to a comfortable cycling session, you will burn the following amount of calories according to the formula:
0.10 kilowatts x 3600 seconds / 0.25 / 4.2 = 342.86 calories.
For the fact that this is really a manageable speed and you can burn calories while simultaneously watching TV, this is a very decent value.
If you are a bit more ambitious and cycle a little faster (150 watts), you will have burned 514.29 calories after one hour.
Of course, these are only rough guidelines. The true calorie consumption depends on so many individual factors that a page-long formula would be necessary for the calculation. But don’t worry about the exact amount of calories you’ll burn. All you need to know is, that yes, the exercise bike is an excellent opportunity to lose weight! ?
Tips for Losing Weight With An Exercise Bike
The Heart Rate
The importance of the heart rate during exercise is extremely underrated. In my opinion, your heart rate is like an inner compass and an ideal training companion, which is unfortunately used far too rarely.
What many people don’t know is that working out at different heart rates has completely different effects on our bodies. While a certain heart rate zone is optimal for working on your coordination, there are other heart rate zones that’ll improve your basic endurance and again others in which we can elevate our performance level.
In order for you to understand this a little better, I have put together a small overview of exactly these heart rate zones (HFmax stands for your maximum heart rate):
Recovery Zone (50-65% HRmax)
Slowly getting used to exercise (beginners), stabilizes the cardiovascular system
Weight Control Zone (60-70% HRmax)
Improves general endurance, increases aerobic metabolism, reduces blood pressure, boosts fat metabolism, accelerates recovery
Aerobic Zone (70-80% HRmax)
Increases endurance, improves cardiovascular system/general physical condition, increases maximal oxygen uptake (V02 max)
Anaerobic Zone (80-90% HRmax)
Increases maximum performance capacity, e.g. preparation for a marathon (increases the anaerobic threshold), hypertrophy (growth) of the heart muscle
At this point, you have to decide for yourself which exercise goal you want to pursue. For weight loss, I would advise you to train at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate. Otherwise, as I said, interval training is also very well suited to lose weight.
Many exercise bikes nowadays provide an extra chest strap that helps you to keep an eye on your heart rate.
Losing weight is actually simple math! Since the very thought of any kind of math already sends shivers down the spine of many people, I will quickly summarize it in simple terms:
Your body takes stock after each day, comparing the calories you consumed by food and drinks and the calories you burned. If you have consumed more calories than you have burned, you are gaining weight. Because ultimately, you have supplied your body with more energy than it needs. This excess energy is then stored in the form of fat reserves.
On the other hand, you lose weight if you have consumed fewer calories than you have burned. In this case, the body must inevitably fall back on its fat reserves in order to be able to supply enough energy.
Pretty simple, isn’t it? ?
The exercise bike undoubtedly provides a very good opportunity to burn calories. However, if you don’t get to a daily calorie deficit, you won’t lose weight in the long run. But don’t worry, this does not mean that you should only eat 1000 calories a day from now on.
It is advisable to choose only a slight calorie deficit, because anything else often leads to the infamous yo-yo effect and also decreases your motivation in the long run. Consuming 200-300 calories less than you burn is more than enough.
In summary, we can say: In addition to your workout routine, nutrition is a key factor as well. To put it more drastically: Nutrition is the be-all and end-all!
A good diet not only helps you lose weight, but also provides you with more energy for your workout, so that you can make it even more effective.
The Best Exercise Bikes For Weight Loss
Ok, I think that now you’re ready to lose weight on the exercise bike as you already know the most important basics! ? However, we haven’t yet talked about the best exercise bikes you could use in order to put into practice what you have learned. So, let’s take a look at the best models now.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll probably have noticed that I recommend one exercise bike over and over again. It is the YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike, which I recommend for a really good reason.
The YOSUDA exercise bike comes at a comparatively low price and has a unique price-performance ratio due to its very high quality. For me this model is the proof that you really don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a Peloton in order to lose weight in the comfort of your own home.
This exercise bike is very solid, easy to assemble, comes with a 40 lbs flywheel weight and allows for a very quiet workout. Additionally, its built-in LCD monitor will let you keep an eye on your time, speed, distance and calories.
I could go on for hours talking about the YOSUDA bike but after all, I guess it’s best if you just take a look for yourself. Here you will find it.
Since the demand for home exercise equipment is constantly increasing, it might be that the YOSUDA bike is not always available. Another alternative that I can highly recommend as well is the Sunny Health & Fitness exercise bike. It’s not a Peloton either but for this price, it provides some very decent specs and will be a very good choice to lose weight. Again, I would advise you to take a look at this model for yourself. Here you will find it.
Final Thoughts On Losing Weight With An Exercise Bike
With an exercise bike you can comfortably lose weight from home while protecting your joints at the same time. Especially beginners and cycling enthusiasts will love using the exercise bike. If you know the basic rules of weight loss, eat healthy and get on the exercise bike regularly, then you will lose weight in the long run.
I hope that I could help you with this article. If however, you still have further questions, feel free to write me an e-mail or just leave a comment below.
Otherwise, good luck with your exercise bike weight loss journey! ?