I think one of the most effective methods for calorie burning is cycling , but I'm not sure can cycling actually cause muscle loss?
I mean cycling for 1 hour a day , 1 or 2 months regularly and with medium or high average speed.


  • There is (basically) one way to lose weight: being in a caloric deficit. Cycling will only cause muscle loss on it's own if you really overdo it. But the question is: will being on a caloric deficit lose you muscle mass? Yes, obviously, in most circumstances. how much will depend on your body composition, training, nutrition, sleep, genetics, testosterone level and more. If you are untrained, you can gain muscle on a small caloric deficit and enough protein intake and so on. So, as it stands, this question is lacking context because a lot of things contribute here
    – Raditz_35
    Commented Mar 12, 2020 at 23:08
  • 1
    Your question is rather vague, what do you mean by muscle loss? Overall body, specific areas? What is "medium to high" average speed? My average speed is nowhere near what a regular cyclists would be, but is also faster than most peoples because of history. Context as @Raditz_35 says needs to be added.
    – JohnP
    Commented Mar 13, 2020 at 13:39
  • Thanks to @Raditz_35 , I convinced that the answer depends on a lot of factors that need to be measured accurately to even say a "Yes" or "no" . let alone "How much".I thought there was a general answer , but for now , I try to not "Overdo" it. Commented Mar 13, 2020 at 16:22
  • @JohnP I meant medium to high with respect to the maximum ability , but it sounds like that couldn't be answered precisely here without those measurements even if I add those contexts. Commented Mar 13, 2020 at 16:25

1 Answer 1


If controlling for diet and resistance training volume and intensity, no, cycling shouldn't cause muscle loss.

In other words, if you're lifting weights with regularity and you're eating to account for the caloric expenditure of cycling for an hour a day, you probably won't lose any significant amount of muscle.

Having said that, it's a pretty tall order. Food logging can get very meticulous, especially when trying to accomplish two or more fitness goals simultaneously. In addition, strength CAN be affected by cardio post-resistance training (not necessarily, however, on "off-days"). Since strength is often (but not always) an indicator of hypertrophy (again, assuming diet is in check for growth), your strength gains might take a hit, thus your muscle growth/retention may as well.

If you're dead set on cycling and adding/maintaining muscle, I'd recommend:

  1. Your diet is tight, and in accordance with your goals
  2. You incorporate a resistance training program
  3. You begin by limiting bike workouts to NON-lower body resistance training days. Start there, and see how your body responds

Concurrent training: a meta-analysis examining interference of aerobic and resistance exercises

The Role of Intra-Session Exercise Sequence in the Interference Effect

  • Thanks for your detailed explanation.But what does "tight diet" actually mean? And you said "strength CAN be affected by cardio post-resistance training" , what affect does it have? Positive or negative? And why does my strength take a hit? Commented Mar 20, 2020 at 14:59
  • Sorry, "tight diet" just means follow a diet that lends itself to growth or maintenance; track your weekly/monthly progress and adjust as needed. I use Avatar nutrition myself, but you can use a free service like TDEECALCULATOR.NET as well. With regard to strength being affected, it's NEGATIVE. Most likely, it's due to the mode of cardio (lower body work like jogging or cycling), and not due to aerobic training itself. Commented Mar 20, 2020 at 15:07
  • I got curious about why should lower-body work cause strength drop ? Commented Mar 20, 2020 at 15:10
  • Yeh, I'm curious too! I found those meta-analyses in a strength training review I'm subscribed to (MASS...highly recommend it). The reviewers weren't exactly sure either, but that's definitely what the data show. Lower body intensive cardio did NOT affect upper body strength/hypertrophy. I think they hypothesized that reverse logic would also be true (e.g., doing an upper body cardio mode like battle ropes wouldn't affect "leg day" gains) Commented Mar 20, 2020 at 15:25

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