Cycling Training Plans for Weight Loss

by Heather Hitchcock

About Heather Hitchcock

Heather Hitchcock has been writing professionally since 2010. She has contributed material through various online publications. Hitchcock has worked as a personal trainer and a health screening specialist. She graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science.


Cycling is a safe and effective method for anybody to improve health and lose weight. Cycling to lose weight can be done both indoors and outdoors, on a traditional bicycle or any type of indoor bike trainer. The best way to lose weight and improve aerobic fitness while cycling is through high-intensity interval training.

Burning Fat and Calories

It is true that lower-intensity exercise--exercising at about 50 percent of your maximum oxygen output--does burn a larger percentage of fat for energy than higher-intensity exercise. High-intensity exercise--exercising at 75 percent maximum oxygen output--utilizes a higher percentage of carbohydrates for energy than fat. However, higher-intensity exercise burns about 50 percent more calories than low-intensity exercise does, when done for the same amount of time, according to "Physiology of Sport and Exercise."

High-Intensity Interval Training

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, alternates short bursts of high-intensity exercise with low- to moderate-intensity recovery bursts. During the high-intensity bursts, your heart rate increases, and so does your calorie burn. The recovery bursts allow your heart rate and breathing to slow down, giving you a chance to prepare for the next high-intensity burst. Since HIIT workouts are extremely tasking, they generally are short in duration -- usually lasting 20 to 30 minutes. However, your body will still continue to burn more fat at a higher rate several hours after your HIIT workout is over.


Your high-intensity intervals should last 30 to 60 seconds. During these bursts, you should not be able to say more than a few words at a time. Your low- to moderate-intensity recovery bouts should last equal or up to double the amount of time as your high-intensity bursts. The recovery periods should be longer for beginners, as you progress, gradually decrease your recovery bursts. During recovery bursts, you should be cycling at a conversational pace.

Sample Cycle Plan

HIIT can be easily performed indoors on a stationary bike or outdoors on a bicycle. First, warm up for at least 10 minutes at moderate-intensity on your bike. Increase your resistance and sprint as hard as you can for 60 seconds. Decrease your resistance maintain a moderate pace for two minutes. Repeat six times. Finish with a five- to 10-minute easy cool-down cycle.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or