People take up cycling for a multitude of reasons, some want to build up their stamina, some just want a new hobby, some do it out of necessity, and some want to lose weight. Today, we’ll be talking about those who take up cycling to lose weight. Weight loss is a crucial part of the exercise routine because people who exercise, regularly or not, always expect weight loss, or at least fat loss as part of the end product whether they want it or not.

What Are Calories?

A calorie is a measurement of a unit of energy, usually used to measure the amount of energy the human body consumes or expels. And calories are what most look out for when they are trying to go on a diet or lose weight by working out. But not all calories are equal, a piece of chocolate weighing the same amount as a piece of carrot will have way more calories than the carrot, so people who plan on making it to the end of their workout plan have to count their calories as well.

Does Calorie Counting Really Help?

Short answer, yes. But it depends on what the entire goal of your exercise plan is, if you want to be a strong weightlifter then you should be counting calories to eat as much of them as possible as compared to a marathon runner who counts calories to eat as little of them as possible to lose weight and keep themselves light to help with their running performance.

For a cyclist, you’ll need to minimise your calorie intake if you plan to lose weight or improve your performance but you will need to up your calorie intake before you take on a long and intense cycling session. It depends on when and what purpose you are counting your calories for. Calories are fuel for the body, so if you want to keep yourself going further, you will need to keep yourself fueled but to lose weight and fat, you have to consume fewer calories so that your body will start to burn your fats, A.K.A, your fuel reserves. 

Burn Baby Burn

Calories, how do you determine how much of them you burn? Three things determine your calorie-burning capacity;

  1. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) – Your BMR is the number of calories you burn when your body is at rest, just the amount of energy your body requires to function and not perform higher functions like exercising.
  2. Activity Intensity – When your body is in motion, more calories will be burned compared to your BMR even when you are on a leisurely stroll. The higher intensity and frequency of your activities are, the higher the number of calories burned.
  3. The Thermic Effect of Food – Whenever you consume something that has calories like a soft drink or cereal, your body uses time and energy to break them down and convert them into energy. The amount of energy required to digest them is called the Thermic Effect of Food.

Turn Up The Heat

So, to increase the number of calories you burn, you will have to perform tasks at a rate that uses a lot more energy than you are able to consume. The rate your body consumes energy is affected by multiple variables;

  • The intensity of your activities

If you are a cycling enthusiast but don’t have time to cycle that often, crank up the pace of your cycling or cycle routes that take you through inclines and hilly terrain. If you have the time but not the energy, try riding further distances at your own pace, you can tackle the #TOGOSGRTI2022 challenge to make your rides more fun by exploring the routes and loops of Singapore.

  • Your gender and body

Males and females have different bone structures, muscle mass, and muscle to fat ratio. Males will usually have more muscle mass, heavier bones, and a higher muscle to fat ratio. Males have a heavier body and they need more muscles to move their body, therefore, using a much higher amount of energy to perform similar tasks. However, males will also need to consume much more calories and if you’re not careful, that might lead to obesity. People who are heavier will also consume more energy to move, so those with bulkier bodies will burn more calories while doing the same amount as someone who is lighter.

  • Aerodynamics

If you are running or cycling, you might not notice this, but you are actually pushing through air particles. Cyclists are affected more by air resistance due to the high speeds of their activity. Your build and equipment affect the energy needed to cut through the air. People with wider shoulders and bodies have a harder time with headwinds because they block more air particles when moving, thus, requiring more energy to move. There are tight-fitting jerseys and aerodynamic helmets that help smoothen out the imperfections of your hair and body to help you decrease wind resistance.

Try out all these tips on your next ride! Join the #TOGOSGRTI2022 to see how much you can improve by following this guide.