Cycling for weight loss: Why interval training kills weight loss goals for new cyclists

Cycling for weight loss: Why interval training kills weight loss goals for new cyclists

Stop listening to the local racer

Food R


If you want HIIT to be affective you need to get your heart rate into the upper echelons of your limits. This means during the ‘sprint’ period you will be pushing as hard as your body can go and it will be painful. You may only perform 20 mins or so of HIIT but it will be some of the hardest 20 mins of your life.
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By Clint Latham – Get Free updates of new posts here

Let me start by saying yes, intervals are a great way to increase anaerobic threshold, fine tune VO2 max, build speed and stamina on the bike……….if you’re considering racing. HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is a very effective method for reaching maximum potential.

If HIIT is so affective why do we want to stay away from it?

HIIT is hard, really hard. Don’t believe me? Give a go and let me know your how you felt during your all out sprints.

University of New Mexico Study

According to the researchers at the University of New Mexico in their study on the aerobic affects of continuous endurance training and HIIT concluded: “Since both HIIT and continuous aerobic exercise programs improve all of these meaningful physiological and metabolic functions of the human body, incorporating a balance of both programs for clients in their training is clearly the ‘win win’ approach for successful cardiovascular exercise improvement and performance. “

Thats right continuous aerobic exercise programs improve all of the meaningful physiological and metabolic functions of the human body just like HIIT. Therefor if we Ride to 75 we will improve all of our meaningful physiological metabolic functions and enjoy the ride.

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If we are new to cycling the most important thing we can do is enjoy the ride. If we don’t enjoy being on the bike we are less likely to ride. While the local racer does have a point, HIIT is not a one size fits all approach to cycling performance. If you are just getting started going full bore on HIIT is only going to result in injury. You’re putting so much stress on the body thats just not used to. Again if your rides result in pain and injury how likely are you to get back on the bike?



The Decline of High Intensity Training

High intensity training used to dominate the endurance sports world. Endurance coaches pushed athletes to the max with every training session. It was in the 19050’s that a New Zealand runner and coach, Arthur Lydiard, switch to high volume and low intensity training. Thus increasing the over all time of run for each athlete but at much lower intensities. Lydiard turned New Zealand into a running powerhouse. To prove this wasn’t just luck, Lydiard took his training approach to Finland, which became the next running powerhouse. Trainers every where began copying Lydiard’s approach and high volume was out. In fact the modern professional cycling team roughly follows the 80/20 rule. 80% of training at lower intensities with 20% at higher intensities. Most endurance coaches that consider themselves “intensity” trainers may shift this to 75% low intensity with 25% high intensity.

Professional level endurance athletes know that the less body fat they carry the faster they will be. Why? Less extra weight to carry around means less energy that is expended to move the body. Thus as you shift into higher heart rate zones the percentage of glucose to fat ratio that is used for fuel, goes up. That means in the upper limits of our maximum heart rate we are burning almost pure sugar instead of fat. Our goal is to lose weight not boost VO2 max. VO2 max is also limited by our genetics. There is only so much VO2 training we can do before we would reach out genetic ceiling.

Furthermore if we stick to Ride to 75 we are working in our fat burning zone, enabling EPOC post ride and most importantly……Enjoying our bike ride!


The Take Away

At Bike-A-Latte my goal is to get you on the bike and to keep you on the bike. While HIIT does have its place and as you increase your endurance you may want to consider adding it to your training. Until then let the local racer rant and rant about how you have to hit the HIIT and let him suffer on the bike; while we hit the trails have fun, burn fat and pedal to better health!


What are your thoughts on HIIT? Leave me a comment below and tell me why you either love HIIT or Hate it.

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