Duration vs. Intensity
The duration and intensity level of your workout will help determine how you burn kilojoules. Finding the right balance between these two factors will take practice. You want to ride at an intensity that suits your current fitness level, but also pushes you out of your comfort zone. You’ll also need to figure out a time commitment that’s achievable. If you want to get the best results, you’ll have to listen to your body and become your own coach.
Keep It Slow and Steady for Low Impact
If you’re new to cycling, I recommend starting out with a nice steady ride at a moderate intensity level. Try an intensity level of about 6-7 with duration of about 45-60 minutes.
Taking it slow is especially important, if you’re a true beginner or are just starting back after a long break. I truly believe that easing your body back into exercise with a low to moderate intensity level is a good idea. Shocking your system with an intense ride on day one may just stop you from coming back for more.
Speed It Up to Shed More Kilojoules
Increase your intensity level by adjusting your speed. The faster you go, the harder your body has to work and the more energy you’ll expend. Speed it up to an intensity level of 7-8.
Mix It Up for a Challenge
Interval training on a bike is great for burning kilojoules and improving your cardiovascular fitness level. Alternating between periods of high and low intensity offers you a challenge, especially when you’re short on time. Shorter rest periods make the workout even more intense.
Add Resistance to Build Muscle
Add some hills to your ride for increased resistance. Please note that cycling safety equipment should always be used/worn when cycling, particularly a helmet. If you’re outdoors, look for hills with a steep incline so your muscles will exert more effort. If you’re on a stationary bike, experiment with the resistance adjustment until you find a level that’s difficult but still allows you to keep moving at a good pace. Be careful not to push too hard, as you risk putting too much pressure on your knees which can cause unnecessary discomfort and strain.,. A good thought to keep in mind if you’re on a stationary bike is to imagine you’re on the road. Ask yourself ‘Would I be able to peddle up a hill without losing my balance?’ If the answer is no, reduce the resistance a little. Indoor cycling should be as close to road biking as you can make it.
Ride for Endurance
If you want to improve your endurance, ultimately you’ll have to ride for a longer period of time each time you cycle. Your duration should be relative to your current fitness level. Ninety minutes or more is an endurance ride, but if you’re new to cycling, 30 minutes is a good starting point. Build up your distance and duration over time, and aim to push yourself a little harder each time. Always remember to seek medical advice if you experience any unusual pains or aches. To avoid boredom, use some or all of my riding suggestions throughout your ride.
Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA – Vice President, Worldwide Sports Performance and Fitness at Herbalife