Having worked as a certified fitness trainer for 21 years, I’ve long since come to the conclusion that if you’re looking for the best exercise to shed a few pounds—and keep them off—nothing beats cycling. Over the years, I’ve seen clients shed half their size and heard from readers who have lost more than 100 pounds by adding cycling to their weight loss arsenal, which, yes, must include a healthy diet. (But you already knew that.)
So what makes cycling so special? In short, it makes you happy, says Jimmy Weber, of Enid, Oklahoma, who at 6’2” and 260 pounds is not a small rider, but is now 150 pounds lighter than his max weight of 410 pounds seven years ago. He initially shed weight through bariatric surgery and walking—a lot of walking. But walking his usual seven miles a day got boring and running was out of the question—“I’m too big and the impact would damage me more than benefit me,” he says. Although he has a membership to the Y, he says he has a hard time making himself go. The bike, however, is another story entirely.
Weber bought his first bike in more than 20 years in 2011 and has clocked more than 20,000 miles in the five years that followed, including numerous club and charity rides along the way.
“Bike riding is diverse when it comes to weight management,” he says. “You can go hard and fast and burn a lot of carbs, or slow and steady to burn a lot of fat. Plus I would not be as happy if I had to maintain my weight with diet alone.”
Weber speaks the truth. In case you need more convincing, here’s more great reasons why cycling rules for weight loss.