Thursday, 2 August 2007

Cycling for weight loss

Over on the Tredz blog, from a cycle shop in Cardiff, one of their employees, Mark is using cycling to work as part of a weight loss program. His starting weight was over 21 stone (134Kg) and his target is 16 stone (101 Kgs). Reporting after two weeks, he's recorded a total mileage of 111 miles and time in saddle of 9hrs 40 minutes. At this stage, the hours in the saddle is probably the important thing as fat burning works best when pedalling gently over a longer period of time. He's managed to lose 12lbs so far. Keep it up Mark!

Around this part of Lancashire it is difficult to maintain the gentle pace required to burn fat. The target would be a heart rate of 100-120. There are far too many hills to keep within that range but, with the right gear and the knowledge that you don't have to try too hard, people shouldn't be put off getting started and taking a lower gear for the hills. It's surprising how much easier it becomes after the first few outings on the bike. You notice this by the lack of puffing and progressive migration to higher gears.

I'm lucky weight loss is not a real concern for me, though that may be as a result of cycling (small distances) regularly for years. Hours in the saddle is though. Last month I totalled about a 100 miles over about 35 outings. Not much by most standards. I supplement the commute with other rides since it typically only takes 12-15 minutes each way to work. I don't push it too much either since it's barely long enough for a warm up. Today though, must be somewhere near a record for the shortest time, due to less traffic in the school holidays and two green lights. I covered the 2.6 miles in 10 minutes (9'36" moving time). That included slowing up behind a bus and avoiding a car that cut me up - good reasons for not going too fast.

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