Why You Should Lose Weight For Regular Cycling

(Last updated on March 18th, 2024)

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Cycling has become a widespread phenomenon in the United States, with millions of enthusiasts pedaling their way through urban streets and rugged mountain trails. It’s believed more than 40 million currently cycle on paved surfaces, and many more are heading along rougher trails. From leisurely rides along the coast on your electric bike to adrenaline-pumping mountain biking adventures, the attraction of cycling is undeniable.

However, as the popularity of cycling continues to soar, so does the seemingly unconnected prevalence of overweight and obese individuals in the country. According to recent statistics, one in three people in the United States are classified as overweight, and two in five are obese. With so many people suffering from weight-related issues, there’s bound to be a crossover with cyclists. Indeed, cycling is seen as a good way to lose weight, but it’s not always considered something you need to lose weight to do.

However, as cycling becomes an increasingly popular activity, shedding excess weight becomes a crucial factor for those seeking to improve their experience, whether going up mountains, down hills, or along the road.

Why You Should Lose Weight for Cycling

Losing weight can significantly enhance your cycling performance. Carrying excess weight puts strain on your cardiovascular system, making it harder to sustain prolonged physical activity, including cycling. As it is an aerobic exercise, pushing those pedals relies heavily on a healthy cardiovascular system. Shedding extra pounds can improve your heart health, enhance blood circulation, and increase your stamina, allowing you to conquer challenging terrains with greater ease.

Weight loss can lead to increased power-to-weight ratio, which is a critical factor in cycling performance. The less weight you carry, the more efficiently you can transfer power to the pedals and enhance your speed and hill-climbing power. This is especially crucial in mountain biking, where tackling steep inclines and navigating technical descents require a delicate balance of power and control.

Finally, losing weight can alleviate stress on your joints. Cycling, particularly on rough terrains, can be demanding on the knees and hips. Carrying excess weight exacerbates the impact on these joints, potentially leading to injuries and chronic pain. By shifting some excess fat, you reduce the strain on your joints, allowing for a more comfortable and sustainable cycling experience.

Weight Loss Tips for Cyclists

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If you wish to lose weight for cycling, these tips will stand you in good stead.

Improving Diet

Your diet is the cornerstone of weight loss, and as a cyclist, it plays a crucial role in fueling your rides and aiding in recovery. A good weight loss program won’t restrict your diet to a specific food group. Instead, it should allow you to focus on a balanced diet rich in lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. However, you should also be able to enjoy some of your favorite foods with the right plan, as it’s all about moderation rather than complete abstinence.

If you’re planning on getting out on your bike, try to opt for complex carbohydrates to provide sustained energy during long rides and include lean proteins to aid in muscle recovery. Perhaps consider incorporating cycling-specific nutrition, such as energy gels and electrolyte drinks, into your regimen to support your performance. Don’t be tempted by energy drinks either, as they can hinder your weight loss goals and negatively impact your cycling performance.

Do remember that hydration is also key both in the saddle and in the kitchen; ensure you’re drinking enough water to stay well-hydrated on a ride, but also to satiate your hunger during the day, meaning you are taking fewer calories on board by snacking. 


While cycling itself is a fantastic exercise for weight loss, incorporating other forms of exercise is vital if you wish to drop a few pounds. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training can help burn calories, build muscle, and improve overall fitness. Engaging in activities that target your core and lower body muscles can enhance your cycling-specific strength and stability.

In the saddle, try to vary your cycling routine with different types of rides, including interval training and long, steady rides. This variety not only prevents monotony but also challenges your body in different ways, promoting overall fitness and weight loss. Additionally, cross-training activities such as running or swimming can provide a well-rounded approach to weight loss while supporting your cycling endeavors.


As cycling continues to captivate the hearts of millions across the United States, the importance of maintaining a healthy weight becomes increasingly evident, especially for those venturing into the sort of cycling that places heavier demands on your body, such as off-road.

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