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I had the opportunity to live in Antigua for 2.5 months and I got here about 2.5 weeks ago. I decided to ride my bike back and forth to work everyday to shed some pounds while I am here. I am a 5'3", 140 lbs, and in good, general health.

The path I take is a dirt road with some small elevations throughout (enough to have me consider walking every time I go up them. :) The path is about 1.5 miles and it takes me about 12 min to get to work and 16 min to come back as it is uphill. I don't coast when going downhill, I pedal down. I have a well-balanced diet with all food groups but I try not to go over 1200-1300 calories a day.

Do you think this is enough to lose some weight or should I be adding something to my routine like strength training, or more cardio, or more bike rides? Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Also, I have been doing this for 2.5 weeks and the ride is not getting any easier... is this normal? I thought it would be a breeze by now, and I don't know if I have lost any weight yet because I don't have a scale here but I assume I lost a few pounds because my legs and belly look tighter...

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migrated from bicycles.stackexchange.com Jan 24 '12 at 16:55

This question came from our site for people who build and repair bicycles, people who train cycling, or commute on bicycles.

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Note that when you exercise you will gain muscle mass. And, in the early stages, you'll also experience some edema in your muscles as they adjust to the higher workload -- this also represents added weight. So you're not apt to immediately lose any significant amount of weight. Don't worry so much about the weight, and instead focus on eating well and exercising sensibly. Weight loss is a long-term project, not something to accomplish in 2.5 months. –  Daniel R Hicks Jan 24 '12 at 16:39
    
Daniel R Hicks: Thank you for the information, I plan on continuing my healthy diet and cycling when I come back home to the states. I was more interested in finding out if its a good plan, if it I will try to replicate it when I go back home.. I dont have any intention on loosing all the weight in 2.5 months. –  Sarah Jan 24 '12 at 16:51

3 Answers 3

Well done for getting on a bike. It's the best way I know to loose weight, as it has the added benefit of being awesome fun. Assuming all other variables have remained constant you almost certainly will have lost some weight already.

Regarding the difficulty - you should find over time the same ascents will become easier. 2.5 weeks is still early days. Your muscle mass will build up and generally your body will adjust to the workload. Although it's funny, some days you'll struggle over bumps that are usually easy.

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The path is about 1.5 miles and it takes me about 12 min to get to work and 16 min to come back as it is uphill. I don't coast when going downhill, I pedal down). I have a well balanced diet with all food groups but I try not to go over 1200-1300 calories a day

I'm 6' and 165 lb (bigger, male, older).

My exercise is 2 hours/day (36 km through city on paved roads).

An online calorie counter estimates: based on the time (for me, 2 hours), multiplied by the power (effort per time). The effort or power required to cycle (on paved roads), is a complicated function: of the rider (body weight), speed (wind resistance), and bicycle (rolling resistance).

When I input my numbers, it suggested I was burning an extra 1000 calories per day.

So to maintain my weight, adding that exercise, I need to increase my daily calories by about 1000: i.e.. to maybe 3000 calories per day.

Comments:

  • 12 or 16 minutes isn't long exercise; I wouldn't expect it to affect my diet. When I go for an hour-long ride, it takes me the first 20 minutes just to warm up.

  • A nice thing about cycling, specifically, is that: it's low-impact, and high-cardio; and you can mix aerobic (sustained) and anaerobic (sprinting) exercise.

  • 1200-1300 calories a day doesn't seem like a lot to me, but what do I know.

  • If you don't eat (self-fuel) and warm up (get started/going/pumped) then you can't do sustained work (like cycling a lot): isn't that true?

Some cyclists instead revel in an all-they-want diet: if you cycle like an hour or more a day, and get hot and perspiring while you're doing it (but there's always a nice breeze on a bicycle).

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Calories burned cycling is strongly dependent on the pace (speed) at which you are riding. Seeing how you are doing about 7 1/2 miles/hour going to work, you are likely not burning very many calories.

That said, I've always believed for overall fitness, something is better than nothing. Keep doing what you're doing and when coming home from work, perhaps add on a few extra miles here and there.

As for it not getting any easier, one of my favorite sayings is:
"It doesn't get any easier, you just get faster".

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