Most of the time when you first hear the words weight loss the first thing that you are probably thinking about is that you are going to have to cut all of your food intake down to the point of starvation and never eat any of the foods that you like. However, this is not always the case.
How You Actually Lose Weight
So, let us take a quick look a how weight loss happens. Simply put, weight loss happens by expelling more calories then what is being taken in. So, if you find an exercise program that is enjoyable and burns more than is being taken into the body then it is actually possible for you to lose weight without having to cut back on any of your favorite foods.
However, depending on what you are eating and how long your mountain bike rides are, this is something that could take a really long time to do if you do not cut down on any of the calories that you are eating.
You still won’t need to completely give up the foods that you enjoy though, especially if you plan on doing some of the really difficult trails and going on some multi-day trips. This can actually be a great motivation for you to do this kind of thing if you only allow yourself to cheat on your favorite foods when you are going to be on the trail literally all day long.
Benefits Of Mountain Biking
There are a lot of benefits of mountain biking, with weight loss being only one of the benefits and the one that you are possibly the most interested in. A mountain bike is different from a road bike in that has a sturdier frame, deep treaded tires, and is made to be durable on the off-road trails.
The act of mountain biking is considered a sport where a specialized bike is ride off-road. The sturdier frame allows for mountainous terrain to be able to be crossed without the bike getting bent out of shape.
Features can be added to a mountain bike to allow for more durability and better handling no matter the experience level of the rider. Experience level of the rider will dictate the upgrades and features needed.
The benefits of mountain biking include weight loss, but it is also something that helps you to get better sleep and increased brain functioning. These are just a few of the benefits of engaging in mountain biking.
Another great thing that mountain biking is good at helping is to combat depression. This is something that exercising in general is good to help, but exercising outside and getting fresh air and sunlight is even better for depression. This is especially true for the season SAD syndrome that many people experience in the fall and winter due to there being less light.
While weight loss is difficult, picking a workout program that is enjoyable as well as effective is something that is very important. Under these conditions an individual is less apt to quit and the program has all the more potential to succeed where other, less enjoyable programs would be given up after a comparatively short amount of time.
Mountain biking is something that gives you a total body workout both inside and out too if you are interested in building up the muscles all over your body. Our body has internal muscles that can become stronger by using mountain biking as a workout. All in all, there are benefits from legs to your lungs.
While the most obvious thing that mountain biking affects is your legs, it is also something that effects your arms, back, and all of the muscles in your torso as well. Your arms and back holding the handlebars and when you make a turn the primary body parts controlling this function is your back and arms.
Your back, stomach muscles, and arms are also responsible for helping to keep your balance and control of the mountain bike. However, you have several vital organs that are nothing more than a muscle and these are benefited as well from mountain biking.
Even your brain and lungs are benefiting from this outdoor workout. There are very few workout programs that give a total body workout and which give you enjoyment while doing it. Let’s be honest, exercise is boring, repetitive and we lose interest fast especially if we are not enjoying ourselves.
This causes us to start missing workouts and putting exercise off and eventually we stop working out altogether. But, if we are having fun while getting fit, we will potentially keep the trend up. There are four popular forms of mountain biking and they are cross country, downhill, trails, and all mountain terrain.
With so many forms you can constantly change the environment and it doesn’t become a boring form of exercise. You can make it into an outing with friends, significant other or just another who does the same thing you are.
While you are switching the type of mountain biking you are doing you can also change your experience level as well. A new atmosphere can be chosen each time you work out so, the same environment is not always used. This will replace the feeling of boredom and repetition with adventure and new scenery.
Not all exercising is the same. Some exercises work different parts of the body and when you come across a workout that works the whole body you should gravitate to that and stick it out for the long haul.
Mountain biking tones muscles and not every weight training program will tone muscles. Toned muscles are actually an important part of losing weight since this will help to tighten your skin as you lose those extra pounds so that your skin won’t looks so flabby. Toned muscles will also use less oxygen and give you a flexibility that you did not previously have.
While some exercises will just tone part of the body making you look a bit uneven, mountain biking will give a more overall tone. This is great for another reason as well. Your joints are an important feature when picking an exercise program.
Many exercise programs puts pressure on your joints such as running. Running creates jarring features on your knees and hips with every step that is taken. This jarring creates stress on the joints and over time can result in arthritis.
Mountain biking does not do this as you are a majority of the time in the seated position and mountain biking is considered a low impact activity. Actually mountain biking is beneficial to your joints due to the constant position. This increases the flexibility of your joints and keeps your joints healthier than most people who run on concrete.
Perhaps the most important reason that you should at least consider using mountain biking as your weight training program is because it is good for your brain. We make up to 35,000 conscious decisions every day, and that does not even count the ones we are not aware we are making.
Mountain biking can aid in supplying our brains and lungs with fresh oxygen which will help you sleep well and which in turn will grow brains cells. That does not even count the factor of the actual act of exercising.
We need to look at the bigger picture of the effects of exercise on the inner and outer body. Our bodies need to be treated like a temple and therefore give it the best and most healthful opportunities and one of those is mountain biking.
Getting Ready And Rainy Days
Now that we have talked about the health benefits to mountain biking, let’s get into getting ready and getting fit to start the mountain biking process. The first thing that you will need to do is to get a mountain bike.
If you are really overweight then you will want to make sure that the mountain bike you get has an extra sturdy frame so that it can support you weight. The other thing that you will want to make sure of is that you get a bike that is the right size and that you can be comfortable riding for a number of hours.
The next thing that you will need to do in order to get ready is to find trails near you that you will enjoy riding on. No matter where you live there is sure to be at least a few trails near you, so try them all out if you want to or, better yet, plan out a schedule of some kind so that you take turns riding all of them so that you never get tired of riding the same trail over and over.
Another thing that you should do to help make sure that you stay faithful to mountain biking is to join a group of other mountain bikers in your area. If you can find a group of people who, like yourself, want to lose some weight by mountain biking, then that is even better. Doing either one though can provide you with some much needed accountability.
If you are not physically fit enough to even get on a bike, or maybe it is in the middle of winter and there is too much snow on the trails right now to go mountain biking, then you will need to have a backup plan already in place for these occasions.
In either of these cases, having a workout program that you can do in your own home is something that can be very useful for you to have. Mountain biking has the potential to overwork specific areas of the body depending on the kind of the trails that you will be going on, so being ready for this type of program is very useful even as a warmup that you can do some of before you go on your ride.
Mountain biking is all about counter forces and being able to pedal to keep speed, but it is also about being able to have the strength to hold on to your bike and not lose your balance in case rough terrain is encountered. This will reduce the injury and will help you to have the stamina and strength that you need.
There are five main exercises that are really good for you to do to compliment your mountain biking, and you could pick only one of these or do a few sets of all of them on the days where you know that you cannot hit the trail.
1. The Overhead Squat
The overhead squat is a full body exercise that focuses on the shoulders, core, and the legs in particular. For it you will need a barbell which you will hold so that your elbows are at a 90 degree angle. Once you are in this position you should push them up over your head so that you’re holding the barbell with straight arms.
While you are doing this, squat down as far as possible while holding in your stomach and keeping your arms up. Repeat this until you have done a complete set of overhead squats which can be anywhere from 10 to 20 depending on how out of shape you are when you are starting this.
This is another full body exercise but focuses on the core, hamstrings, and the gluts muscles which are found in your hips. This one uses a barbell too which you should have just in front of your legs to start with.
Bend down by pushing your buttock back and while keeping your back as straight as possible. Grab the barbell with your hands, push your shoulders back, and face forward. Then lift the bar up as close to your body as possible and put it back down again. Remember to keep your core and back equal lifting up and setting down.
3. Side Plank
While there are a number of variations to the side plank, the one that you should try to do is a banded side plank with leg lift. This is a very strong core exercise and it focuses on your obliques while strengthening them.
Put on a resistance band just above your knees and get into side plank position. Make sure that you are straight and not leaning forwards or backwards. Raise your outer leg straight up as far as possible and then lower it back down again. Focus on ‘lifting’ your core the entire time, so that your waist and shoulders don’t slump down, and keep your hips from rotating.
4. Jumping Lunges
While you may be cringing at the thought of these, these are a fantastic strength and core exercise and you will not be sorry you added this to your pre-mountain biking workout. You can start by bending straight down so that your rear leg is at a 90 degree angle.
Make sure that the knee on the front leg is in line with your toes, the jump up and swap your legs so that you land in the same position but with your back leg forward. Keep your core tight the whole time so that you can keep your hips and knees as straight as possible.
5. One Legged Push Up
A one legged push up is a very strong core and arm exercise that you might find useful. This strength training exercise will help dramatically when you hit the trails as it will help you build up the strength in the arms and overall core which you will need while on rough terrain.
Get into push-up position on your hands, or if you have wrists issues you can always use your knuckles as it will give more stability to the arms. Raise one leg while keeping your hips as level as possible. Keep your leg raised while you lower your chest down and then push back up again. Now switch legs and repeat till a complete set of these is done which can be once again anywhere from 10 to 20 of them.
Let’s do a recap of what we have learned. Mountain biking will aid in the functionality of the body. We can get a full body workout and not just the legs. It is enjoyable as well, which makes this into a fun activity to share with other like minded individuals.
It is a beneficial to the outer body as well as the inner body. Even our muscle organs are getting a workout such as our heart and lungs. The fresh air is beneficial to our lungs and our overall sleep due to the increased oxygen.
However, let’s not forget that mountain biking is considered a sport and as with any sport we need to work for it and prepare if we want to do other fun things like participating in competition. So working out in your own home is something that will help prepare for the actual start of the mountain biking.