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Bettybryan
05-20-2011, 03:48 AM
Summer is coming and it is the time to lose weight every year for me. :-(
In the past years, I prefer to swim. But this year, some friends suggest me to go cycling. It seems cool. But will cycling help with losing weight? What parts of body will it affect, legs? There are also some suggestion on running.

PotomacCyclist
05-20-2011, 04:57 AM
You can do all three. That's what I do (triathlons).

If you decide to go with swimming or cycling, I'd also suggest that you add a modest amount of strength training to the program. It doesn't need to be anything hardcore, maybe 20 min. a couple times a week of some compound movements. Swimming and cycling are both great for aerobic exercise. But since both are low-impact, they tend not to develop good bone density. Bone density is good just for general fitness and health. Running strengthens the bones in your lower body, but the upper body not so much.

Any of the three will help you lose weight if you do it on a regular basis. Just ease into the sport, no matter which one(s) you choose. Especially with running, it's important to start off easy. Don't try to do too much, too soon. Don't try to run too fast either, at the beginning of your program.

When you burn fat in aerobic exercise, you burn it all over. You don't spot-reduce fat. However, some people tend to burn fat more easily in particular areas and store fat in other areas. I don't think the type of exercise that you do has a major effect on this. For weight loss, a combination of exercise and proper nutrition is the best approach.

Muscle development is a different story. Exercising particular muscle groups WILL strengthen those muscles. Cycling will build up your legs, especially your quads and calves. It only has a limited effect on your upper body.

All of these sports can be fun, but some people seem to enjoy some more than others. You could alternate among the three and see which ones you like the most. Or continue to do all three. The variety can help the exercise from becoming stale and mentally fatiguing.

JimF22003
05-20-2011, 05:13 AM
I find cycling is good to maintain my weight, but it doesn't really help me lose weight by itself. I ride a lot (8500 miles last year) but I can easily "out-eat" my riding. Over the course of the summer I might slowly lose 5 to 10 pounds. But to really lose weight I think you need to control your food intake. I doubt any exercise on its own can make up for too many Big Macs and the inevitable fries with that.

Can't compare biking to swimming. I do know that I can ride a bike for 8 hours a day. I used to be able to run for an hour at the most till my knees gave out. I don't know how long the average swimmer swims, but it's probably not 8 hours, or even 1 hour. So for long, sustained effort, which uses up a lot of calories, I think biking may have an edge.

brendan
05-20-2011, 07:26 AM
I find cycling is good to maintain my weight, but it doesn't really help me lose weight by itself. I ride a lot (8500 miles last year) but I can easily "out-eat" my riding. Over the course of the summer I might slowly lose 5 to 10 pounds. But to really lose weight I think you need to control your food intake. I doubt any exercise on its own can make up for too many Big Macs and the inevitable fries with that.

Can't compare biking to swimming. I do know that I can ride a bike for 8 hours a day. I used to be able to run for an hour at the most till my knees gave out. I don't know how long the average swimmer swims, but it's probably not 8 hours, or even 1 hour. So for long, sustained effort, which uses up a lot of calories, I think biking may have an edge.

Yes to all of that above...and add to the bonus that every hour I'm biking is an hour I'm not sitting on the couch...esp. sitting on the couch snacking. One caveat about out-eating a ride: I find it's nearly impossible to eat enough to keep up with the output of an all day ride and you can work up to doing that once every week or so if you've got time on your schedule. Way easier than working up to all day running/swimming... :)

Also, a rule at home is: movies and TVs only when I'm on the treadmill (treadmill is directly in front of the TV). I do, however, work and waste time on the internet while sitting, which is definitely problematic.

Still: down from nearly 270 to 185 over the past three years though modified diet (with inevitable backslides) and biking/treadmill. 16 more to go to the target.

Brendan

OneEighth
05-20-2011, 11:25 AM
Bettybryan,
If you are trying to lean out, there are several things that may help. Sorry if I'm telling you something you already know.
Eat less but much more frequently. I'm talking every few hours.
Try to build exercise into more than one part of the day---this is where commuting by bike can be very helpful because you burn calories at both ends. Trick is to not increase your intake more than necessary. Also, only put back what you absolutely need at the end of the day so that you can recover enough to do it again the next day.
Find something that you really like, can/will do regularly as well as frequently, and can/will do for the long haul. Again, commuting by bike can be helpful here.
While biking does engage your core and arms, it is clearly leg heavy. If you are looking for something that hits your upper body as well as your legs and can absolutely rip weight off, I would suggest rowing---many gyms have Concept II indoor rowers. But, you need to have someone who really knows what they are doing teach you proper technique or you risk injury and/or wasting your time. The better your technique, the harder it gets. The Concept II site should have information on proper technique. That'll hit your arms, back, legs, and core, though you'll still want to do something additional to balance out all the pulling/back exercise.
Good luck. I hope whatever you decide on is fun!

DaveK
05-20-2011, 11:32 AM
Just want to echo someone earlier in the thread - most people don't realize just how important strength training is for losing weight. Lean muscle burns more calories than fat when you're just sitting at your desk. Plus the only way to "tone up" as a lot of people say is through strength training. You won't get bigger unless you make an effort to do so, but you will feel stronger, look better, and burn more calories in all your daily activities.

If you have the option of swimming or biking I would say do both. Alternate so your body doesn't get too used to one or the other. Changing the tasks your muscles are asked to perform will improve your strength and endurance.

Also it is very important - biking must never, ever be immediately preceded by a swim or followed by a run. These are the rules (http://www.velominati.com/blog/the-rules/) (see Rule 42) and must be obeyed without question.

Good luck!

PotomacCyclist
05-20-2011, 12:16 PM
Ha! I just looked at those rules. Apparently they only apply to bike "races". Swim/bike/run in training is perfectly fine.

acc
05-20-2011, 12:35 PM
I swam for years but prefer biking. I like looking at scenery, the black line on the bottom of the pool gets old. It is easier to put on bike clothes than a bathing suit. I have to drive to the pool. I have to remember the schedule. I have to share a lane. I spend a lot of time getting changed into and out of my bathing suit. Sometimes the pool is closed unexpectedly for "accidents." The roads are not closed because someone has um, relieved themselves. The water temperature is slightly warmer than the North Atlantic during the winter.

I believe that either activity is great, it depends on your personal preference. I can ride for several hours, but become bored in a pool after 45 minutes. As long as I am on the bike I am not eating. And usually I am too tired to care much about food afterwards. But I agree about combining these activities with lifting. The weightroom has made my riding fun because I have power to get up hills and upper body strength to control my bike. There are about 40-50% women lifting in the Fairfax County Rec Centers so there is no reason to feel awkward in a weightroom.

The most important thing is to do the sports you enjoy, then it feels like fun and not work.

Best wishes,
Ann

UrbanCyclist
05-20-2011, 01:15 PM
I don't think anyone mentioned it but if you're trying to lose weight incorporate interval training into your ride. Go one minute really hard and fast, then the next minute drop to moderate exertion. Then another minute of hard and fast. And repeat. Or, I sometimes pick segments of the trail for my fast intervals and other segments for the moderate ones. Don't do this every ride but try to do it several times a week. Of course you can apply interval training to running and swimming too. Google bike interval training and you'll get some better suggestions for interval regimens.

I bike to work and swim on the weekends. The most important ingredient for weight loss in my case was diet. The exercise helped, and being in better shape is great, but food was the biggest factor for me. Was 236#, now around 180.

Good luck!

Scott

StopMeansStop
05-22-2011, 05:43 PM
One great thing about biking is the transportation factor. Get a nice comfy hybrid and install a rack on the back and some bungee cord. I do almost all my grocery shopping with my bike. You can carry a lot, but not THAT much, so you will have the added benefit of having to be selective in your shopping.

Mark Blacknell
05-24-2011, 07:45 AM
Also it is very important - biking must never, ever be immediately preceded by a swim or followed by a run. These are the rules (http://www.velominati.com/blog/the-rules/) (see Rule 42) and must be obeyed without question.


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