8 Tips to Help You Ride Strong, Stay Healthy, and Slim Down

  • Eat before you ride. Contrary to what you may have heard about the benefits of exercising on an empty stomach, it’s smart to provide your body with the energy it needs to ride hard and get maximal benefits from the workout.. This could be a small banana, a slice of toast with jam, or a handful of whole-grain cereal.. Also drink water before, during, and after the workout. Your body needs a sufficient water intake to keep your metabolism humming and burning calories efficiently.

  • Vary the pace and difficulty. With most forms of exercise, interval training can pump up your metabolism more than exercising at a steady state—and the same is true of indoor cycling. Think of it as a way of tricking your body into burning calories faster. By alternating bursts of harder pedaling (meaning, a faster cadence against heavier resistance) with a more comfortable pace, you’ll burn more calories during the workout than you would have at a steady, moderate pace. This will also trigger greater exercise post oxygen consumption (the afterburn effect), causing you to continue to burn more calories for a few hours after cycling.2

  • Revamp your cycling workouts. Do the same type of ride day after day, and your body will adapt to the activity and you won’t get as big a metabolic bang for your effort as you did initially. The solution is to regularly switch up the types of rides you do (alternating between (Rhythm, Performance, Dugout, etc.), and vary the intensity, to coax your body into burning calories faster during and after the workout.

  • Do resistance training. The more lean muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate (RMR) will be and the more calories you’ll burn 24/7.3 To build muscle outside the cycling studio, perform at least one set of strength-training exercises for each major muscle group two or three times per week, advises Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., director of exercise science at Quincy College in Quincy, Massachusetts, and author of "Get Stronger, Feel Younger." This way, you’ll add muscle mass and crank up your RMR in the process. At Dig, you can accomplish this in our TRX Sculpt classes which employ free weights, kettlebell, bands, Bosu Balls, Slam Balls, etc.

  • Replenish your muscles properly. Within an hour after your workout, consume a combination of carbohydrates and protein (such as 12 ounces of low-fat chocolate milk or a small handful of walnuts with a pear) to replenish your muscle glycogen stores and provide amino acids for muscle repair and building. This will keep your muscles and your metabolism operating smoothly and prepare your body for your next workout.

  • Don’t give yourself a dietary free pass. Some people make the mistake of thinking that since indoor cycling is such a high-intensity exercise, they can eat whatever they want and still lose weight. Not so. The reality is that even if you ride your heart out, you’re unlikely to burn more than 500 or 600 calories in 45 minutes. You need to burn an extra 3,500 calories to lose one pound of body weight so if you treat yourself to a piece of chocolate cake, you’ll consume 537 calories, essentially eliminating the calorie-incineration you did in cycling.

  • Keep moving. If you’re exhausted after a hardcore cycling session, don’t give yourself permission to become a sofa spud for the rest of the day. Do this and you’ll end up compromising the calorie-burning effects of your cycling workout and your progress toward your weight-loss goal. A better approach is to move more to lose more.

Nabil Mardini