8 Advantages of Using an Indoor Bike Trainer to Lose Weight

Bike Riding to Lose Weight

 

Updated: July 8, 2015

Have you ever taken a close look at the people in the stands of an American football game? I mean really looking. As in looking to see who’s filling their seat with a healthy body mass index, and who would be making better use of their time doing some exercise…rather than watching someone else exercise.

What I see when the cameras scan the crowd are round-faced citizens of a country leading the world in obesity.

Bike Riding to Lose Weight

 

While ‘going on a diet’ is all the rage these days (just take a look at all of the diet websites), interest in regular exercise lags somewhat behind. But without the exercise part of the weight loss equation, you’ll merely transform yourself from a big, spongy person to a smaller, spongy person.

I make good use of a bike trainer to get in healthy exercise year-round, regardless of the seasons.

 

What’s A Bike Trainer?

One of my friends read a headline I’d written for my blog…’Get Cheap Thrills By Maintaining Your Bike Trainer’, and wondered what kind of crazy stuff I was into now. After-all, the gal who is her Personal Trainer didn’t need ‘maintenance’.

But my indoor bike trainer does need a bit of maintenance (a couple of drops of oil now and then) because it’s a handy machine that I attach my road bike to, not a guy who alternates yelling at me and affirming me at the local gym.

My bike trainer is a machine, not a guy named Jeremy.

 

Some Bike Trainer Perks

Let’s get going with some of the advantages associated with using a bike trainer as a tool to lose weight.

1. If you live anywhere in the world that doesn’t experience perfect year-round weather, you’ll find that most forms of outdoor exercise take a hit during certain parts of the year. For some of us it’s due to rain, snow, and ice during the winter months. For others its sweltering heat during the summer. By having the option of doing a focused indoor workout on a bike trainer, weather is eliminated from the ‘I can’t exercise today’ excuse list.

2. Not having to go to a gym for exercise makes better use of your time. When you have to factor in the time it takes to load up and get to and from the gym, there will be days when there’s no time to exercise. Jumping on your bike trainer can consume as little as 20 minutes.

3. Sometimes going to the gym can include making sure you’re obeying an agreed upon set of fashion standards. At home on your bike trainer, just about anything goes in the ‘what should I wear’ department.

4. A bike trainer has a very small footprint. Unlike a stationary bike, a rowing machine, an elliptical, or a treadmill, a bike trainer doesn’t take up a lot of floorspace. In fact, when not in use, it is folded up and stuffed into a small closet.

5. Bringing your workout indoors is the only sane place to be for those who live in highly congested areas. From a cyclist’s perspective, fighting traffic can be both frustrating and dangerous on busy streets. Riding indoors during the bulk of the week, and then transporting your bike outside of the crowded city for week-end rides is a pleasant way to get in your exercise.

6. Riding a bike is easy on the joints, provided you’re pedaling at a high enough cadence and not putting too much strain on your knees. A smooth pedaling stroke spares you the shock inherent in a lot of other forms of exercise.

7. A bike trainer is perfect for the type of exercise that strips the weight off fastest…interval training. Although it has long been the domain of endurance athletes, interval training (alternating hard efforts with easy efforts throughout the workout) has now hit the ‘fitness consciousness’. By doing interval training you can count on your metabolic rate to be elevated as long as several hours after your workout. You get all of that fat burning time for free, which is a great deal for your efforts.

8. A bike trainer makes interval training possible for those who wouldn’t normally be able to put in short bursts of hard efforts. One of the more interesting videos I watched recently demonstrated a short, but sweet workout which entailed a 10 minute warm-up…followed by 10 minutes of alternating 10 second bursts of intense effort with 10 seconds of easy pedaling…followed by 10 minutes warm-down. It occurred to me that people who have a lot of weight to lose would find it impossible to go to the local high school track and do wind sprints for ten minutes.

Because there’s no shock involved with pedaling a bike trainer, this type of effort is possible to anyone who’s been cleared by their doctor for more than mild workouts.

 

Use A Bike Trainer To Get The Body You’re Seeking

We’re a country benefiting from too much of a good thing. Not only is our food packed with too many calories, but having to burn off what we do eat isn’t a part of our ‘natural day’. We have so many labor saving devices around that we have to invent ways to keep ourselves slim and trim.

One of the exercise devices that’s been an important part of my fitness arsenal is my trusty bike trainer. I keep it maintained with a bit of lubrication now and then, and it keeps me physically fit.

It’s a good trade.

About the author: Ron Fritzke is reviews cyling gear for his website, Cycling-Review.com. His latest focus has been on indoor bike trainers. A former 2:17 marathoner, he now directs his competitive efforts toward racing his bike…and looking for good cycling products.

 

Gera

Gera is a techie & foodie passionate about how to succeed in social media. He focuses also on successful blogging tips and food connections. You can connect with him on Google +. Subscribe to his Free WPulsar Newsletter about WordPress Plugin & Theme Reviews, Blogging and Social Media.

Rosa

An interesting article! My apartment is too small for that, but I love to ride my bike in the countryside…

Cheers,

Rosa

Ron Fritzke

Hi Anita,

It is my opinion that an interval style workout is the most effective for losing weight.

Here are a couple of hard workouts that I do to get into racing shape…so you may want to cut the durations of each one in half since they can be pretty intense.

Here’s what a Pyramid workout would look like-
15 minute easy spin warm-up.
Two minutes hard effort, followed by two minutes easy spinning.
Three minutes hard effort followed by three minutes easy spinning.
Four minutes hard effort followed by four minutes easy spinning.
Five minutes hard effort followed by four minutes easy spinning.
Four minutes hard effort followed by three minutes easy spinning.
Three minutes hard effort followed by two minutes easy spinning.
Two minutes hard effort.
15 minute easy spin warm-down.

Here’s what a Descending Ladder workout would look like-
15 minute easy spin warm-up.
10 minute hard effort, followed by five minutes easy spinning.
8 minute hard effort, followed by four minutes easy spinning.
6 minutes hard effort, followed by three minutes easy spinning.
4 minutes hard effort, followed by two minutes easy spinning.
2 minutes hard effort.
15 minute easy spin warm-down.

A less complicated ‘interval style’ workout would be to alternate very hard 10 second efforts with 10 second easy efforts for a period of 10 minutes. Of course, you’d do a warm-up and a warm-down before the 10 minute ‘core’ of the workout.

Best wishes on getting your weight to where you want it.

Ron

    Anita

    Thank you very much Ron. I’ll give this a try!

    Kayla

    Awesome, thanks for sharing. I have heard that doing these kind of energy bursts followed by an active rest is one of the best ways to get in shape.

Ron Fritzke

If you already have a bike, an indoor bike trainer can be good because…

1). There is no shock to your joints.

2) Putting a bike and a trainer away when not in use is easier than getting a treadmill out of the way.

3) And of course, I’m biased since my site is about cycling, rather than running 🙂

Ron

Ron Fritzke

purabi,

I agree…my bike trainer has been invaluable in keeping me in reasonable ‘racing shape’ even in the bad weather of the winter.

Ron

Joanne

My husband got his trainer for Christmas and set it up in our formal living room (afterall, it wasn’t being used…or so was his reasoning). He did get a lot of use out of it and I hope to get one this year.
I’m terrified of the traffic when riding by myself so I think the trainer would be great for me.
Also, if we could find two or three good cycling videos to watch as we ride the bikes on the trainer, that would help the time go by faster.

redkathy

Hey Ron,

The comment about extreme weather hit home for me. Living in SW Florida the “sweltering heat during the summer” is a huge exercise deterrent!

My father is 83 and lives with us. He uses those exercise foot pedals to help with his circulation since his mobility is somewhat limited.

Thanks for the insight and inspiration!

    Ron Fritzke

    I live in snow country, so my focus is on poor weather in the winter. A while back my wife pointed out that for a lot of people the ‘adverse’ weather happens in the summer.

    Sounds like you’re in that boat.

    Ron

Norma

Thank you so much for this post. It answered all the questions

Shelby

We have been going to the gym now for the last two months….and use all the machines there (including the bike) on a rotating basis. What a great feeling it is when you finish a workout!

Fran the Online Writer

Hi Gera and Ron:

Wonderful post about fitness. Bike training and bike riding and bike fitness, are are familiar terms, but Ron you are an expert in bike fitness.
Your detailed post can make someone an expert in bike riding for fitness right here.

Keep up the good work and enjoy your weekend.
Fran A

    Ron Fritzke

    Thanks for the kind words Fran. I’ll be enjoying the week-end…wait for it…watching the Tour de France. Who would have thought?

    I got some good ideas from reading your “Blog Writing Tips to Take Your Blog To a Higher Level” post.

    Ron

Dewi

Ummmm, just in time 🙂 Perfect article to remind me as I have to find a time to squeeze in here and there to start exercise after all of this summer grilling. Thanks Gera.

Ron Fritzke

You aren’t alone. That’s why when I wrote that blog post, ‘Get Cheap Thrills By Maintaining Your Bike Trainer’ there was a certain amount of confusion.

After all, if it was a ‘personal trainer’, how would you ‘maintain’ them?

All in good fun.

Ron

OysterCulture

I am willing to give it a try, but I struggle to do aerobic exercise indoors, much prefer running, biking and exploring.

    Ron Fritzke

    I’m with you on preferring to exercise outdoors.

    When I’m on my bike (both indoors and outdoors), I’m ‘wired’ with a heart rate monitor, a power-meter, and a host of other measuring devices.

    When I’m outdoors, with the extra stimulation of things whizzing past me, I can maintain a heart rate about 20 beats per minutes higher than I can when I’m indoors…with the same perceived effort.

    Similarly, I can’t maintain the same wattage readings indoors that I can outdoors.

    But when there’s no alternative, it’ll have to be indoors or nothing at all.

    I like the exploring part you alluded to. My most pleasurable times are riding my mountain bike on yet-to-be-discovered forest service roads.

    Ron

Chef Dennis

you are so right about Americans we do tend to overeat and certainly don’t exercise enough if at all. I have a treadmill that’s in my TV room I have been trying to do an hour 5 x a week, just to lose some weight and get back in some kind of shape.
Thanks for such a timely post!

    Ron Fritzke

    One hour five times a week is quite ambitious. Good for you! If you get to a plateau and can’t seem to lose additional weight, try some light intervals in your protocol.

    Ron

Belinda

Guess there really is no excuse! Amazing how here in Europe, it is still rather common for folks to be relatively fit.

    Ron Fritzke

    It may be due to a couple of factors. Here in the USA some of us are so concerned about convenience, that we’ll drive around the parking lot a few times looking for a parking spot that is as close to the store as possible (wouldn’t want to walk an extra few steps)…even if it means getting our doors dinged by parking too close to the other cars that are crammed as close to the entrance of the store as possible.

    I hear that in Europe walking is pretty common.

    Also, in the USA people prefer large portions. My chiropractic office is next door to a ‘fine dining’ restaurant. When there’s any talk about the menu, invariably the conversation digresses to how the customers don’t leave the restaurant feeling ‘full’. The objective seems to be on the quantity rather than on quality of the food.

    Just a few ideas.

    Ron

Deuce

Hey Ron:

What a timely blog.
Just bought my bike and trainer this weekend. I’m ready to hit the circuit. I’m a pretty big person and haven’t been active in awhile. I need to lose some significant weight. Should I start off doing the interval workout you suggested or gradually work my way up to it? Any good sites you can recommend for nutrition plans & tips?

    Ron Fritzke

    Congrats on the bike and trainer purchase. Which trainer did you buy?

    I think that in getting started you should start slow. Save the intervals for later.

    I’m also a chiropractor, and when I give my patients exercises to do, I’m more concerned that they’re doing them a year from now rather than that they did them too ambitiously and then pooped out.

    Slow and steady wins the ‘optimal weight loss’ race.

    This site has some good nutrition tips, and a Google search should reveal a lot more sites. Of course, that may be the problem…too many sites to choose from.

    Ron

wan maznah

what a great way to lose weight, can do this at home.. so that after the exercise, one can quickly open the notebook and do some blogging work, while cooling off the body before a shower.
no wasting of time in traffic jam.
have a nice to you gera

Ron Fritzke

I think very highly of Kurt Kinetic trainers and CycleOps trainers.

Riding without hitting a tree is a splendid idea!

Zaman

This is so fine and informative content, appreciated it a lot. Secondly, most of the people wound really wondering of the fact that such a slow machine named cycle bike would be so speedy in losing weight,amazing. Though you get all this indoor, no worries about working out kits now, now this really sounds awesome. Anyhow, thanks for the post. Keep it up and healthy.

Ben

I really like indoor bike training. It’s such a good way of taking a stagnant activity, like reading or watching TV, and exercising while doing it. I live in an area with pretty good weather year round, so I don’t have to worry about that factor, but it’s just nice being indoors and killing 2 birds with one stone, by biking and doing another activity at the same time.

    Ron Fritzke

    My wife ‘treats’ herself to a recorded episode of a detective show by getting on the bike trainer while she’s riding. Guilt-free TV watching!

Ron Fritzke

Any particular reason for not using it anymore?

Ron Fritzke

What country are you in? I’m curious regarding how available bike trainers are in various countries.

Ron Fritzke

Darn, what’s the world coming to when we can’t even use the rain excuse? 🙂

You’ll be healthier and happier for it!

Erica

This is great for a stay home mom with 2 kids like me!!!!!I don’t have time to go the gym anymore!!!Thank you for sharing!

Luke

For now i use indoor “legs”. I just run in place. I tried the bike but i weight 110 kg (220 pounds) and with uphill-downhill of my zone it wasn’t the best idea. Also i can listen to music in my house, while outside it a bit dangerous. Cant hear the cars.

    Ron Fritzke

    “I tried the bike but i weight 110 kg (220 pounds) and with uphill-downhill of my zone it wasn’t the best idea”
    -that’s the point of the indoor riding.

    “Also i can listen to music in my house, while outside it a bit dangerous. Cant hear the cars.”
    -that’s the point of the indoor riding.

    Happy to hear that the indoor running in place is serving you well. Stay fit!

Ron Fritzke

Cycling does develop your quadriceps, so I suppose your legs may get larger.

As with just about any form of exercise, if your heart isn’t taking it very well…reduce the intensity.

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