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Does Cycling Burn Belly Fat (According to Science)

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: June 25, 2023

Cycling is a top-notch cardio activity that works all of the major muscle groups.

But just how effective is it in getting rid of belly fat?

We researched the science behind cycling to see if it can actually torch body fat, specifically around your midsection.

Here’s what we discovered.

Quick Summary

  • Cycling burns belly fat, promotes waist trimming, and weight loss, but it takes time for the results to be visible.
  • Regular cycling has been proven to burn calories fast when compared to some workout routines.
  • To increase weight loss through cycling, occasionally adjust the intensity of your workout.

Can You Lose Belly Fat By Cycling?

A man holding his belly fat

Cycling is a great way to burn more calories while being low impact, making it a great way to burn belly fat. You can lose belly fat by cycling, but it will take time before you see results.

However, with enough effort, it’s possible. But you must regularly engage in moderate-intensity aerobic exercises like cycling to reduce overall belly fat, promote a healthy weight and a trim waistline.

Indoor or outdoor, riding a bike is a beneficial physical activity for everyone. Biking is a great exercise that can help you burn belly fat and overall body fat, making it an effective method to lose belly fat while enjoying the benefits of cycling.

Related articleDoes Stretching Burn Fat?

Here are some of the many benefits of taking a long ride on your bike.

Burns Calories Fast

According to research, you should burn at least 8,400 kJ (2,000 calories) a week through exercise to efficiently shed extra weight.

“Even after cycling for 30 minutes, you could be burning a higher amount of total calories for a few hours after you stop.”

- Mark Simpson, Sports Physiologist 

Steady cycling burns about 1,200 kJ (300 calories) per hour. So as you work harder with your cycling, the more you’ll appreciate its fat-burning result.

Raises Your Heart Rate

Getting on your bike not only raises your rate of heart; it can also torch calories.

If you do more cycling, as a way to be physically active, your body will use more calories and burn fat, including abdominal fat as fuel, thereby helping you achieve weight loss.

Helps You Lose Overall Body Weight

To eliminate belly fat, you must aim to reduce overall body fat instead of just targeting a specific area for fat loss.

Thankfully, regular cycling is an excellent option. In fact, there's scientific evidence proving that it's as effective as working out in the gym as it boosts your metabolism and builds muscle mass while efficiently burning pounds off your entire body.

A health study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that riding the bike to work was just as good for weight lose as going to the gym five days a week [1].

How To Lose Weight With Cycling

A group of cyclists

Your stomach muscles don’t stretch with cycling as much as they do with high-intensity exercise. Still, this aerobic exercise can help you reach your weight loss goals faster.

Here’s how you can losing weight by cycling.

Adjust The Intensity Occasionally

A man riding bicycle outdoors

First, ride your regular or stationary bike at a moderately intensive pace and increase it as your endurance improves.

The recommended practice is riding at low intensity to moderate, 80% of the time and moderate to high-intensity for the other 20%.

High-intensity interval training workouts burn more belly fat and this fitness workout can be done in only 30 to 45 minutes.

Stationary bikes or indoor trainers are good choices as they are safe, even at high speeds.

Plan most of your workouts at about 70% of your maximum rate of heart for about two hours. As your fitness level improves, take longer rides to three hours or more for maximum calorie burn.

Try Off-Bike Exercises

Most people tend to concentrate on stomach crunches and sit-ups to get rid of belly fat. Although strength training can help build muscle and improve core strength, they won’t eliminate unwanted fat.

Aerobic exercises such as yoga, planks, jogging, and Zumba are some of the most effective methods to remove fat.

Related: Top-Rated Smart Exercise Bikes

Ride Fasted

A man relaxing near a bridge beside his bike while holding a coffee

The benefits of cycling on an empty stomach includes maximizing your fat burn, as your body is encouraged to use fat to power your workout instead of carbohydrates and glycogen stores.

Riding fasted in the morning can be exhausting.

So, have a cup of black coffee or water before starting and keep it under two hours.

Avoid Stress

You might find yourself binge eating to deal with your emotions, it is a habit that can keep you from achieving your weight loss goals — so, aim for less stress.

Cycling is effective at combating stress, anxiety, and tension. which are all related to high blood pressure. This form of exercise can also boost your mood.

Maintain The Right Diet

A healthy low carb diet

To lose fat, you must burn calories, more than you consume.

You should be extra mindful of your calorie intake, or food that causes high blood sugar, or diabetes, but be sure you get enough food to function at your best.

But more important than a calorie deficit is eating a healthy diet. You should eat foods rich in lean proteins (eggs, chicken, salmon), leafy greens, beans, and potatoes to see weight loss results.

Also, you should avoid sugary treats and foods high in saturated fat like cheese and butter.

Get Adequate Rest

Losing weight also requires getting enough sleep, so get some good rest after a long day of cycling.

Studies suggest you’re more likely to gain weight if you’re sleep-deprived. Therefore, getting at least six to eight hours at night is a must, especially after going on tedious rides.

Sleep is also essential for post-exercise recovery and injury prevention.

Related Articles:

Are You Going to Include Biking in Your Routine?

Outdoor or indoor cycling can help you shed a few extra pounds, lose belly fat and strengthen your core muscles, but do it on a regular basis and supplement it with a healthy diet.

This total-body workout gets your heart pumping thus preventing health risks such as heart disease.

It also speeds up your metabolism, making it an effective strategy for losing fat, including belly fat.

Cycling is an effective way to burn calories and lose belly fat while enjoying the benefits of cycling, as it helps burn belly fat by increasing overall calorie expenditure. Add cycling to your fitness regime today for overall health. Feel free to share your weight loss results in the comments below.


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