Have you ever wondered how many calories you could burn off by riding your bike more often or farther or faster? Or better yet, how that extra expenditure of energy would translate into losing unwanted pounds? Well of course the answer varies depending upon how much you weigh, how long you ride, on what kind of terrain, how fast, etc. But here are some general guidelines to go by. (These figures were arrived at by averaging the figures from 4 reputable sources.) Okay, so how does that translate into weight loss? Well, every 3,500 calories burned equals one pound lost. So say you weigh 130 pounds. If you add three hours of “Moderate Effort” bicycling into your schedule each week without adding or subtracting any calories from a diet upon which you have been maintaining a consistent weight, you should lose almost a half a pound per week or two pounds per month. Just from tooling around having fun! If you add five hours of vigorous cycling, you should lose almost a pound per week or four pounds per month. If you weigh 190 and add in that same 5 hours of vigorous cycling each week, you should lose closer to 5 pounds per month. Here’s the formula:
Select the number of calories under your weight category for the kind of riding you will be doing. (If your weight falls between categories, split the difference and add it to the lower figure.) Multiply the number you get by the number of hours per week you intend to add to your routine. Divide the new number by 3,500 and you will get the number of pounds you should lose per week from the added exercise. Multiply this new number by 4.3, and you will get the number of pounds per month you should see disappearing.
Of course, this doesn’t count all the additional health benefits cycling has to offer. Nor does it take into account the fact that, as you lose fat and gain muscle, your metabolism functions more efficiently, so that you burn more calories all the time — even while you sleep. Good luck!