How To Lose Weight Mountain Biking

Losing weight is something that can be very hard to do for any number of reasons, one of which is feeling like exercising. Mountain biking is a great way to lose weight since instead of doing the same exercise routine every day, which easily gets monotonous to make you easily decide to miss a day, you get to ride different trails every day if you want to so that exercising is almost always different and exciting.

Each trail had its own unique routes for you to conquer, and as you become more and more skilled you can use these skills in order to further enhance your training and strengthen your physique. On top of all of that, you also make sure that you get plenty of Vitamin D by being outside in the sun, which is something that you don’t get inside your house, or even on the inside of a gym.

How Can You Use Mountain Biking In Order To Lose Weight?

There are a number of aspects of mountain biking that actually make this hobby more enjoyable and natural for losing weight rather than simply hitting up the gym. In order to lose weight while performing this activity there are a few things that you can do in order to get the best results.

Ride Trails That Take At Least 20 Minutes To Complete

Let’s be real for a second. Do you think that you could run for 20 minutes without any pauses to catch your breath? Probably not, but on the other hand you might be able to ride your bike at a fairly good speed for 20 minutes without having to stop.

The reason for this is because it is easy for a person to maintain their endurance for 20 minutes on a bike versus 20 minutes on their feet because with every step we take with our feet we are creating a shock which takes up a lot of energy.

Biking on the other hand, does not make such a shock due in part to most bikes being equipped with shock absorption technology, like bike shock pumps and tubeless tires. This means that your endurance will not be as much of an issue when you are mountain biking, and that you will be able to complete your mountain biking exercise more easily.

As for why 20 minutes is an important number, this is because it takes at least 20 minutes for your heart to reach an optimal heart rate. If you complete one small trail you are most certainly warmed-up, and if you can complete your 20 minutes’ worth then you will have trained enough to start losing weight.

The View Of The Trail Provides Entertainment And Motivation

Mountain biking is an aerobic exercise, but one that can be far more entertaining than all other aerobic exercises. There is a reason why gyms install TV’s deliberately right in front of the track, cycles, or running machines: in order to prevent people from getting bored while they’re running.

However, if you go outside and just start cycling through the trails in the forests all over the mountain side, then you should not need a TV. The view of the trail and the potential to see wildlife will provide you all the entertainment that you need to keep your interest and all the motivation that you’ll need to keep you going and focused on the trail.

Once you get used to the trails you will even be able to associate specific sections to certain degrees of progress that you have made within your workout. For example, let’s say that there are 4 hills within a route that you choose to take.

It may take 15 minutes to get to the top of the first hill, but when you see it you will know that you are a quarter of the way through with your cycling and that you just have 3 more hills to go. You can use these types of landmarks to track your progress during your ride through the trails.

There is a lot to think on when you are mountain biking. Your mind will be focused on maintaining the proper gear, aligning your wheels, keeping the right body posture, and so much more throughout the ride. Even better, if you are planning a long off-road quest throughout the mountain then chances are that you will also be carrying a map with you too.

No Coasting

When you run, you have to pace yourself to make the distance, causing you to find your comfort zone. However, when you mountain bike there is no “Cruise Control” like in your car and no comfort zone because there are rocks and twigs strewn all over the place on the trail – as well as other obstacles like rocks, branches, and roots.

Because of these you have to constantly shift your speed, movement, and direction in order to adjust to the terrain and the obstacles within. This means that you can’t be complacent while mountain biking and it prevents you from being able to coast through the trails.

This can be one of the biggest differences between road riding and off-road riding. Mountain biking forces you to adapt and change to your surrounding environment, and this helps to increase your coordination and to keep your mind engaged on what you are doing.

If you lose focus in a gym it is no big deal. On the other hand, on the trail this could cause you to trip, get dislodged from your bike, or blowout because you could not keep your eyes on the trail. Therefore, you must stay focused and alert while mountain biking. But this is actually really good for you mentally as well as physically.

Be Honest With Yourself

If you are overweight and you want to lose weight by mountain biking you should know that mountain biking is not the one-stop solution to all of your weight loss needs. However, you can use mountain biking as a supplement to help aid in your honourable quest for fitness, and if you ride often enough and faithfully enough you will lose weight.

If you are truly overweight, then you must first acknowledge that there is something about your lifestyle choices that might be causing you to be overweight, and that correcting this behaviour first will ultimately lead you to weight loss.

Mountain biking is something that can be used to help you shed some additional pounds – as long as you do it right. However, if you are eating a ton of calories still then you might not really get much of a difference just be mountain biking. You should also know that increasing the amount that you exercise is something that will make you feel hungrier.

As a beginner mountain biker, the best way to start your day is for you to have your 20 minute ride before you have breakfast, having some juice or a piece of fruit if you know that you won’t be able to wait until after before you eat your breakfast.

Raise The Intensity And Frequency Gradually

If you are a beginner mountain biker, than stick to the easy trails even if these are so short that you have to ride them twice in order to get in your 20 minutes. Advanced trails can be intense, but you should work your way up to that level.

You should not start at that level since you would be both more likely to crash and to burn yourself out by making mountain biking something that is not as enjoyable to you since you did not have the experience needed to enjoy the trails.

After you feel comfortable doing 20 minutes per mountain biking expedition for a couple of weeks, then you can start adding more minutes and more routes as the weeks go by. Also, make sure to bike regularly, and at an increased speed compared to your last ride when you can.

Your goal should be to get up to around 100 minutes, but 150 minutes or more may be ideal for losing weight. Another thing that you should know about is how to use interval training in order to help you to lose weight.

This is the concept of using short bursts of extreme physical effort, with a short recovery period in between. You can use this same concept in mountain biking. To do this, the moment you spot a hill don’t just climb it like a normal rider would. Instead, pedal really hard up that hill for your intensity period, and then glide down that hill once you’ve reached the peak as your recovery period.

How Far Should I Bike To Start Losing Weight?

If you are mountain biking to lose weight, then the distance actually does not matter so much. The duration of your mountain biking trip and the amount of energy the trail takes from you is what matters most. For example, a short trail with a really big, steep hill in it is going to take more energy than a longer trail that is almost perfectly flat.

It is for this reason that it is better to go with an amount of time instead of a certain distance when you are mountain biking. That steep hill in my example would take more time for you to go up and would be a more accurate thing to go by than the amount of miles. As mentioned before, you should bike for around 150 minutes for an ideal workout for losing weight.

When Cycling Through Trails: How Fast Is Fast Enough?

Your speed, just like your distance, is not something that matters very much. What matters more is your intensity. Intensity represents how hard you work, and speed represents how fast you travel. You can easily travel at speeds clocking in at over 40 Miles Per Hour (MPH) going downhill while barely pedalling.

However, you will burn more calories traveling at a speed of 5 MPH uphill while pedalling as hard as you can. If you want to measure how well you are maintaining your intensity levels, then instead of investing in a speedometer you should try purchasing a heart rate monitor.

Make a goal of working at 75% of your maximum heart rate for a majority of your rides. If you can’t afford a heart rate monitor, then simply go by how you are feeling during the exercise. Use the perceived exertion scale and aim for an exertion level of at least 13-15 with every workout.

Every time you exert yourself when you bike, you should feel like you are breathing extremely deeply, but not to the point of exhaustion or running out of breath. Ideally, you should feel like you are just short of running out of breath for your whole ride.

The Science Of Mountain Biking

When you go into a gym the first thing that you are likely to see are the any different machines that are lining the floor. They are all over the place, and each and every one of those machines can provide you with a method for targeting a specific muscle with a specific exercise.

Instead of going from one machine to another in a gym, you can use practically all of your muscles on a mountain bike. This is because you will be making various types of movements as you continue to pedal and shift your body while you are biking, so you in turn can use mountain biking to exercise various parts of your body in the same manner.

It is a lot easier to put more effort into mountain biking than it is to put effort into a gym workout, in part due to how natural, entertaining, and thought-provoking mountain biking can be. And, if there is a muscle that you feel that you are not working on by mountain biking, there is usually some trick that you can do on a bike that will use it.

The other part of how mountain biking can help you to lose weight is – in case you didn’t know – whenever your body has an excess amount of energy it will store that energy into fat to be broken down into energy later on.

However, if the fat is never burned by the body but instead keeps getting piled up over time, this is when you will become overweight. Since you usually are not burning any calories after you eat your last meal of the day, your body burn the energy it gets from that meal before you eat breakfast the next morning.

This is why it is so important that you should either eat a really light supper or to go out and hit the trails before you eat, or even to do both. Eat an extremely light breakfast only if you need it bright and early in the morning and save your fist meal until after you have mountain biked instead.

Just know this, your body will be burning that excess fat for energy for a short time after that bike ride, so in order to get the full effects of the 20 minute ride you took you’ll need to stop eating for an period of time after your bike ride too.

This is because the moment you eat your body will then switch from fat as a fuel source to the newly received food as a fuel source. To make mountain biking the most effective for losing weight even if you can’t schedule you ride for the first thing in the morning, do not eat right before a ride or right after a ride.

You should schedule a couple of hours before and after your ride as a time period in which you won’t eat anything. During these times make sure not to consume more than you need, only just enough to supply your body with some energy to make it through the day.

Calories – With Mountain Biking

An average person weighing in at 190 lbs can burn over 600 calories after mountain biking for an hour. If you are close to 130 lbs, then over 350 calories can be burned. An average healthy person should consume anywhere between 1,200-1,500 calories daily.

So let’s do some simple math. Suppose you consume 1,200 calories a day, if you are 190 lbs then you will only start losing weight after approximately 2 hours of mountain biking. However, that is only if you finished eating your meals for the day and you rode your bike at night.

Now, let’s say you ate only a light breakfast that had perhaps just 200 calories. If you are 190 lbs then you will start losing weight after only 20 minutes.

Let us take a moment to apply the same calculations to someone who is 130 lbs. A late-night rider after eating 1,200 calories throughout the day, would start losing weight after about 3.5 hours. If they were a morning rider that just ate a 200 calorie breakfast, then they would start losing weight after about 35 minutes.

Mike Rausa

I'm a 42 year old married father of 3 that fell in love with mountain biking late in life. Mountain biking quickly became my go to fitness activity. I created this blog to help beginners to advanced riders with tips and strategies to improve your riding experience. More About Me...

Recent Posts