Are exercise bikes good for weight loss?
Are exercise bikes good for weight loss? Yes.
Why are excise bikes good for weight loss?
Technically anything that gets your body moving vs being in a sedentary chair / couch position is good for weight loss. You lose weight when you either take in less calories than your body needs to burn (through dieting) or you burn some of the calories you took in through movement putting you in the same caloric deficit as through dieting….
Instead of getting into what’s a diet or good foods vs bad foods or 12 ways to lose weight fast or any of that buzzy jazz, let’s stick to exercise bikes and how to optimize your use of them to maximize your weight loss results.
But before we get into that, why should you listen to me? I’m a certified NASM Weight Loss Specialist (amongst other things.)
Now that we have that out the way, lets rock and roll.
Exercise bikes for HIIT training
HIIT training would be your interval training typically seen on things like the AirDyne or Assault Bike. HIIT training would be my personal go to training methodology for anyone looking to lose weight on a bike.
HIIT training works by allowing you to cram a lot of energy into a specific period of time. As your body adapts to the exercise, you can increase your intensity to continually see results.
The human body is really good at adapting to its daily requirements. 30 minutes on the bike peddling at a “high rpm” for you on day 1 is going to require a different amount of energy than you peddling for 30 minutes at the same rpm 90 days after you use the bike (if you use it regularly.)
If you go the HIIT method or any sort of heart rate training modality, you’ll be able to continually put in “more work” to keep getting results. You focus on your level of effort on the bike vs the amount of time you’re spending on the bike.
Slow Steady Cardio on an exercise bike
This would be the people you see at “Cardio Theatre” in the gym… They’re on a bike, they’re peddling, and they’re watching TV at the same time. I would not recommend this type of activity as your main if you’re looking for weight loss on an exercise bike.
Eventually your body is going to adapt to that level of stress, and you’ll either need to spend more time peddling at that speed or you’re going to have to adjust other activities in your life.
That’s not to say slow steady state cardio on a bike doesn’t have a place in your training route….
IF you’re looking to improve your overall aerobic base to do something like a mud run (and you in general hate running) then this could be the perfect program for you. The same would apply for building up an aerobic base for something that’s calorie intense and requires a ton of endurance like Muay Thai.
Reducing injuries on an exercise bike
It’s out of my scope of practice to diagnose any particular injury or say “if you do this it’ll fix you”, although the stretches / foam rolling / muscle building exercises personal trainers typically tell their clients to do are the same ones a physical therapist or chiropractor will tell you to do.
Tight hip flexors, IT bands, psoas muscles, etc along with low back issues tend to follow cyclists. The bike puts your body into awkward positions (similar to sitting in a non ergonomic chair for 8 hours a day) that creates prolonged stress to these parts of the body.
Look to a fitness professional to put together a laundry list of warm up and cool down activities for your particular needs to ensure you address your needs. I could give a generalized idea here, but that would take $ out of the pockets of hard working personal trainers who are live and in person available to help you out… even if its just for a few sessions to help you on your fitness journey.
Places to buy an exercise bike
Craigslist / Facebook Marketplace. This is where you should go if you’re a DIYer looking for a deal. I picked up an older Airdyne for free off the marketplace, but it required a lot of clean up. I took the whole thing apart, got rid of all the cobwebs and dust, oiled it up, then jumped on eBay to buy some bolts to replace the ones on the pedals that didn’t work quite right. I think I replaced the pedal arm as well, I can’t remember anymore. Just know that free is never actually free, you’ll need to put in time, buy some cleaning supplies and potentially add some parts on.
Amazon or other big box internet stores. I have links above for both the Airdyne and Assault bike on Amazon. The good part is they’ll ship it right to your door. The bad news is you’ll have a giant box you have to get rid of and you’ll (probably) have to put at least some of it together yourself.
Costco or fitness stores. They might deliver to your house or you might have to drive this thing home. I like going into stores to look at things, you’ll get a sense of the size / weight when you take a look in person. And if you’re on their mailing list you’ll get a heads up on when they’re running a sale so you can pick up a deal for yourself.