Can You Lose Belly Fat by Riding a Stationary Bike?
Belly fat is not just unappealing, but it’s also a serious health concern that can put you at risk of many life-threatening diseases.
The problem is that many of us don’t realize that our diet and lifestyle are slowly adding those extra inches to our waist.
There is a lot of exercises, but can you lose belly fat by riding a stationary bike? Yes, you can since it combines both aerobic and high-intensity interval (HIIT) workouts in one machine.
Also, although cycling is essentially a full-body workout, you can use it to focus on your belly fat.
What Is Belly Fat Exactly?
Belly fat can be dangerous because of its very composition. It’s made up of two types of fat: subcutaneous and visceral.
Subcutaneous fat is the fat just under your skin that you can pinch and feel. Most of the fat around your waist is subcutaneous fat.
On the other hand, visceral fat is hidden deep inside, which is why it’s also called deep fat.
Visceral fat surrounds the organs in your abdomen, including the stomach, liver, pancreas, and intestines.
This fat is dangerous since it can lead to many health problems, including heart disease, fatty liver disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
Although visceral fat is hazardous for your health, it’s relatively easier to burn than subcutaneous fat.
On the other hand, subcutaneous fat, which is actually the last layer of fat present underneath the skin, is pretty stubborn.
What Are the Causes of Belly Fat?
Before we talk about getting rid of this fat by exercising on a stationary bike, you should know what exactly causes this fat to accumulate in your abdominal area.
This knowledge will help you sustain lifestyle changes that can burn all the excess fat and bring your waist circumference back to normal.
There can be multitudes of reasons behind belly fat, including:
A diet full of bad carbs and fats is the number one cause behind belly fat or any bodily excess fat.
Today’s traditional Western diet is full of processed and sugary foods, which are high in calories.
All those extra calories from such fatty and sugary foods turn to fat, which your body stores in your belly in the form of visceral and subcutaneous fat.
Lack of Physical Activity
A lack of physical activity or a sedentary lifestyle is another contributing factor.
Not only are people eating bad food, but they also don’t get enough exercise on top of it, which exacerbates the situation.
Ideally, you should workout at least three times a week to stay active, especially if you work from a desk and chair all day.
Sometimes people are lazy, and sometimes their lives are too busy to get some exercise done.
Believe it or not, stress can increase your weight and add more fat to your waist. A hormone named cortisol can increase fat production in the body when you’re too stressed.
Mental health has a direct impact on many bodily functions, including metabolism.
Genetics may also play a role in some people with high fat composition in their bodies.
If obesity runs in your family, you’re at a higher risk of getting fat and having a large belly.
Such individuals mostly have a lot of visceral fat around their critical organs in the abdominal area.
Too much alcohol consumption, especially beer, can cause massive amounts of visceral fat to accumulate in your belly. There’s a reason they call it the “beer gut or belly“.
Alcohol can also affect your ability to choose healthy food, and you end up eating fried and sugary food items.
Overconsumption of alcohol can also cause fatty liver disease.
Can You Lose Belly Fat by Riding a Stationary Bike?
A stationary bike may look like simple exercise equipment, but it can deliver all types of workout intensities.
Some stationary bikes offer eight or more levels of resistance, which basically means you can exercise lightly or go all-out, reaching your maximum heart rate.
A stationary exercise bike targets your body fat and tones your muscles in calves, thighs, and hips.
As such, many people think that it’s only good for legs, but it’s really just great for your entire body.
When you pedal the wheel on an exercise bike, you raise your heart rate. When your heart rate goes over 70%, your body starts to burn fat for energy.
A stationary bike can give you both aerobic zone cycling and HIIT level cycling, where you run out of breath basically until you just can’t pedal anymore.
HIIT level is most beneficial for losing belly fat because, at this level, your body readily burns fat.
While your body may burn fat from all parts, it will eventually burn all that extra fat on your waist.
How long it takes depends on how much belly fat you have to begin with and how much exercise you do every week.
Also, it depends on what lifestyle changes you’re making, since exercise and diet go hand in hand.
That said, out of all the cardio machines, a stationary bike may be the best option if you specifically want to shed abdominal fat.
You can burn up to 700 calories in an hour while cycling on a stationary exercise bike.
How to Lose Belly Fat by Riding a Stationary Bike
A stationary bike offers multiple levels of resistance, so you should cycle on a level that can cause a real impact on your belly fat.
You can do both aerobic level cardio and HIIT training to lose all that fat.
You need to figure out a combination of these two levels or these two ranges of speed on a stationary bike.
Take Your Weight and Belly Circumference
First of all, weigh yourself and measure your waist because you want to achieve measurable results.
You can use a regular weighing scale or one that also tells you how much fat you have.
For waist circumference, wrap a measuring tape a little above your belly button and make sure it’s parallel to the belly button.
Have a Clear Goal or Plan
Keep your goals realistic so that you can achieve them in a reasonable period, say, losing at least two pounds a month.
Exercise Plan Example
While you can design your workout frequency and the time you spend, this is an example pattern that can help you lose belly fat.
You need to figure out the right combination of mid-range and high speeds on the stationary bike.
Here’s one way you can go about it:
- Exercise on a stationary bike for 30 minutes, three times a week
- Five minutes warm-up at light speed
- Ten minutes of mid-range aerobic cycling with varying speeds
- Five minutes of mixed-speed cycling; 60-second intervals of high-speed with 15 seconds of mid-range speed in between
- Ten minutes of mid-range aerobic cycling at a higher speed
- Three minutes of high-speed cycling with short intervals of mid-range speed
- Two to five minutes of light speed cycling
That should give you an idea of how much high-speed you can resist. If you cannot do HIIT for long, start with just a minute or two.
As you progress, you’ll see your resistance and stamina will improve.
You can adjust the HIIT anywhere within your cycling workout. Make sure to get at least 20 minutes of cycling per session.
Cycle Three Hours After a Meal
For most effective results, ride the exercise bike at least three hours after a meal.
Don’t eat anything within that time. Since you won’t have enough energy from nutrients, your body will resort to its stored fat.
You can also try intermittent fasting for even quicker results, but your endurance might drop when you’ve been fasting for a long time.
Safety Tips in Using a Stationary Bike
Here are some suggestions to keep in mind to help you lose belly fat using the stationary bike without compromising your safety:
- Don’t overdo the exercise since your muscles need time to recover.
- If distraction keeps you going, watch or listen to something on your phone and tablet while you cycle.
- Never go all-out on the resistance or speed all of a sudden, but rather do it gradually.
- Stay hydrated if you sweat a lot since you could lose essential electrolytes.
- Wear something comfortable that helps your legs move freely.
Undoubtedly, the answer to “Can you lose belly fat by riding a stationary bike?” is yes. Keep in mind, though, that you have to do it right.
The best thing is cycling doesn’t just help you lose body fat, but it can target all the extra fat in different areas of your body and get rid of it.
Also, combine other exercises from time to time to have a little variety.
Weightlifting can be beneficial for losing fat and building muscle. Speaking of muscles, make sure to get ample protein since it will also help with fat loss.
Find out what flow and speeds work best for you and work your way up. You’ll lose all that belly fat in just a few months!
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