Cycling for weight loss: Would you like to learn why shorter rides are the fat loss secret?

Cycling for weight loss: Would you like to learn why shorter rides are the fat loss secret?

You don’t have to spend endless hours on the bike each week to receive great health benefits

Food R

By Clint Latham – Get Free updates of new posts here

Thats me. I lost 45 lbs while working two jobs and attending law school
Thats me. I lost 45 lbs while working two jobs and attending law school

Do you feel like you have to put in hours upon hours of time on the bike to see results?  Your doctor is telling you to get active, you love riding your bike but it’s just been collecting dust. Well I’m here to tell you that its possible to be busy and I mean really busy and still lose weight. I worked two full time jobs all while attending law school and still managed to lose 45 lbs. It doesn’t take a lot of time on the bike to see great health benefits. In fact I will show you why you only need 75 mins a week! 

When you hear stories like the interview Geraint Thomas of Team Sky gave to The Guardian about his training schedule, its no wonder we feel we have to make cycling a full time job to get into shape. Thomas told the Guardian that he spends on average of 35 hours per week on the bike. Thats a lot of time! But heres the biggest difference between you and Thomas, he’s a professional. Thats right Thomas gets paid to ride his bike. So for the rest of us how do we use the time we have available to get the most out of each ride?

The answer just might surprise you.

Research from the American Heart Association
American Heart Association

The American Heart Association recommends three 25 mins sessions per week at a moderate intensity to see all the health benefits of exercise. Thats right just 75 mins a week! 

You know my motto by now, Ride to 75. You are going to ride to a heart rate of 70-75% of your max for a total of 75mins per week. Thats it.

But you might say, no way is 75 mins a week is enough? Thats nothing, that can’t be right!

Diet research scientist and author Traci Mann performed a study on the affects of weight loss and exercise. In it they found that the participants that met the min 75 minutes per week guidelines had better success with not only losing weight but also keeping it off. Mann attributed this largely to a shift in the participant’s mind set. However, there were also a large number of health benefits associated with such a short amount of exercise. One such example, the cell has a aging indicator called a telomere. The length of this telomere gives us an indication of the cell’s health and age.  These telomeres bookend the cell and protect it from damage. The longer the telomeres the better the cell protection. The better the cell protection the ‘younger’ the cell appears. When you exercise for a min of 75 mins per week; this lengthens the cell’s telomeres. Thats right you can look younger by simply Riding to 75!

Now I know you want to know. Should I do one 75 min ride or shorter rides spread throughout the week to total 75 mins?

Studies from Oregon State University

Researchers at Oregon State University analyzed data on physical activity and markers of health such as cholesterol and blood pressure for more than 6,000 people ages 18 to 85, who had participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) from 2003 to 2004 and from 2005 to 2006. NHANES is a program of studies that regularly assesses the health and nutritional status of American adults and children.

They found that the participants that lived an active lifestyle were receiving the same health benefits as that of structured exercisers. Candice and Hobbs-1The active lifestyle participant was defined as a person whom for no more than 10 mins at a time would reach the 65-75% of maximum heart rate during a bout of physical activity. These active lifestyle participants would hit these 10 mins bouts  2-3 times per day. Where the structured work out participants were exercising for 30 mins or more in a single setting and not focusing on heart rate intensity.

Not only did the people in the active lifestyle group meet federal guidelines, but also they fared as well as people who exercised for longer stretches in key measures of health, such as C-reactive protein, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, waist circumference and metabolic syndrome.

Dr Michelle Segar, is advocating through her research that any amount of activity no matter how short is beneficial. It can be a quick ride to the mail box or a quick ride to the corner store to grab milk. The simple act of being active all adds up. Segar has found that exercise’s benefits are cumulative not consecutive. On those days when you work later than expected, which for most of us is almost every day. Squeeze in a 5 min ride around the neighbor hood. Sure it’s not a good 30 or 45 min stress relieving ride that you look forward to. But that 5 mins puts you closer to reaching better health at 75 mins per week.

The Take Away

The take away….. every little bit counts. Even a 5 min ride will help you achieve the same health benefits as a more structured ride. An easier way to think about it, accumulation exercise is just as affective as consecutive exercise when it comes to your overall health. Just focus on your Ride to 75 each week.

For business professionals the hardest obstacle we face is just finding time to get on the bike. Next time you think I’m not going to ride today because I just don’t have the time. Now you have no excuse. If you can get just 10 mins on the bike and spin around the neighbor hood that will go a long way in helping you to reach your health and fitness goals. It will also help to shift your mind set as well. Help you destress and help you make better food choices. All of these little pieces add up to one big result! 

I would love to hear how you have adjusted to shorter rides to help you achieve happiness and health on two wheels. Leave me a comment below and tell me how shorter rides have affected you?

Like this information and think someone else could find it useful? Be sure to use the share buttons located on the left side of this post to share it with someone you think it will help. My goal is to help 1 million business professionals find happiness and health on two wheels.

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  1. This is amazing. It’s so refreshing to hear you don’t have to work out for at a min of an hour a day!!! I had no idea, thank you!

  2. I started to ride again and my butt is really sore. What seat do you recommend?

    1. Author

      This really is a two part question.

      1) If you’re just getting back into riding it is likely that your muscles near your sit bones are just sore from being worked. Just like if you went to the gym and did squats for the 1st time in a long time your quads would get sore. But this will go away with more riding.

      2) If you’ve got a number of rides under your belt and your experiencing pain or numbness this could then be a fit issue. Meaning saddle height, tilt or distance from your bars is off and needs to be corrected. If you’ve got a good fit then I would look the saddle. It might be to narrow for your sit bones placing a lot of pressure between your legs resulting in pain.

      Hope this helps!

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