Mountain Biking For Weight Loss [Essential Tips]

Mountain biking is an exciting and enjoyable activity that gets the blood pumping and increases the heartbeat. But what’s even better about this activity is that you can use it as an exercise for weight loss. In fact, mountain biking for weight loss is considered the most effective out of all types of exercises.

There are so many benefits of mountain biking that can make anyone want to start biking. Even if you bike for an hour a few times a week, it can yield tremendous benefits. For example, it helps you to become healthy and improves your mental well-being simultaneously.

However, mountain biking can be hard if you’re just starting out or feel out of shape. Moreover, it does not bring instant results and might not even produce any results at all if you don’t do it properly with a strict diet.

For these reasons, we have compiled a thorough guide on how to lose weight through biking that includes steps to follow, tips, and tricks to help you achieve your weight and body goals.

Reasons Why Mountain Biking Is Ideal For Weight Loss

You might wonder why mountain biking, out of all the sports, is considered the best for weight loss. It’s probably one that gives you the best cardio workout. This is why we will be taking a deep dive into why this is so before discussing the how-to.

Mountain Biking For Weight Loss
Mountain Biking For Weight Loss

1. It’s One of The Best Cardio Workouts

Like we mentioned before, mountain biking can get your heart racing at maximum levels and lungs burning. Due to the rough terrain, you have to maintain a certain speed when mountain biking to avoid tripping or falling over rocks or logs.

This, and the fact that your mind is focused on the terrain and not your heart rate, leads you to become sweaty and breathless without even realizing it. And when this happens, you know it’s been an effective workout.

2. It Combines Strength Training As Well

For most sports that include cardio, you have to follow them up with a session on the machine for strength training. This is not the case with mountain biking, as it combines cardio and strength training.

You would be using a range of muscles in your arms, core, shoulders, legs, calves, and glutes as you bike through rough terrains. The more rugged these trails are, the more engaged these muscles will be.

That is why you would be saving your time since you would have combined two workouts. This sets mountain biking apart from other types of sport, although it is still recommended to incorporate a few sessions of strength training for maximum weight loss.

Read: Can Mountain Bikes Get Wet?

3. Almost Anyone Can Do It

Nearly anyone can start out with mountain biking for weight loss regardless of how old you are and where you live as long as you have a decent bike. Mountain biking is essentially riding your bike on unpaved roads and uneven surfaces.

This does not have to be on epic trails and mountains; it can be anywhere. Similarly, if you are old, you can also start mountain biking; just make sure you have gotten advice from your doctor beforehand.

4. Good For the Mind and Soul

Not only is mountain biking extremely healthy and beneficial for toning up your body and improving the function of your organs, but it is also therapeutic for the mind and soul. It will allow you to go out and connect with nature while exploring beautiful and scenic views.

As a result, you are likely to have reduced stress, are more productive and creative, and increased focus. Whether you bike with a group or alone, you can easily enjoy these benefits.

5. It’s Totally Fun and Not Boring At All

The great thing about mountain biking is that it is not monotonous or boring like road cycling often gets. You get a variety of trails and tracks in mountain biking with different twists, turns, and jumps.

Not to mention the scenic and beautiful views can all add to the enjoyment of mountain biking. So, it not just gets boring but gets your blood pumping while providing you with an abundance of visual stimuli.

Read How to Make A Mountain Bike Faster – Ultimate Guide

6. It Helps With Other Health Issues

Besides the above-mentioned benefits of mountain biking, it also helps to resolve any health issues. For example, research shows that biking can reduce your chances of cardiovascular diseases as it significantly improves your heart health.

It also reduces your risk of getting diabetes, different types of cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity. So you’re also likely to live for longer if you regularly bike.

How to lose weight through biking
Person sitting on a hill with mountain bike

Read: Mountain Bike vs Gravel Bike

How To Lose Weight Through Biking: Steps To Follow

Now that you know about the incredible benefits of mountain biking, you might want to get started on your mountain biking weight loss journey. Starting cold turkey is not recommended; instead, you should strategically set your plan and follow steps to increase your biking intensity slowly.

Here are the steps you can include in your mountain biking for weight loss plan:

Step 1: Set A Realistic Goal

No matter how overweight you are, you must set a realistic goal that is relatively easily achievable. Having small milestones to achieve helps build-up progress and makes it easier for you to achieve long-term goals.

Don’t set a goal of how much you want to lose, but rather of the frequency of your biking and for how long. Though if numbers matter to you, then you can set a BMI goal instead.

An important goal to set in conjunction with your biking and weight loss goal is that caloric intake goal. Make sure it is enough to allow fat loss and completely balanced so you can occasionally indulge in burgers and pizzas as well.

Step 2: Start Biking Slowly

Begin at a slower pace if you are just starting out with mountain biking. Otherwise, your muscles will get too sore, and you will be more likely to skip or leave biking altogether.

Start with biking for an hour once or twice a week and build this frequency up with each week until you biking a few times a week.

When you’re starting out, you don’t need to begin on harsh and bumpy trails either; you can just do with a flat road or surface. Ensure that the speed, intensity, and frequency are something you’re comfortable with and then build up.  

Step 3: Increase the Intensity

Then, when you feel too comfortable in one type of biking workout, slowly increase the intensity of the biking journey. You can do this by biking for longer, which is considered to be more effective than increasing the intensity of the journey itself.

If you’re looking to lose weight, make sure that you are slowly increasing the length of your biking journey.

Step 4: Start Including Workouts

This entirely depends on what your goals are and what you are comfortable with, but an added challenge in mountain biking can be considerably effective in aiding weight loss. You can do this by choosing more challenging trails with bigger hills and jumps and more bumps.

You could also begin including workouts and exercises such as those of the upper body or strength training. This will help you burn more calories in lesser time.

Step 5: Measure Your Maximum Heart Rate

Monitor your heart rate and compare the maximum heart rate during biking to your regular heartbeat per minute. To calculate what your heart rate per minute is, you can use a heart rate monitor.

Alternatively, you could do it manually by placing your index and ring fingers on the blood vessels in your opposite wrist. Count the number of beats in ten seconds and multiply it with six to get the total number of beats in a minute.

Step 6: Measure Your Caloric Intake

Once you are biking regularly and at your maximum heart rate, it’s time to focus on your diet. Based on your weight loss goals and current BMI, you can easily calculate the ideal caloric intake for you for each day.

But before you do that, you should also calculate how many calories you burn through mountain biking each time. Then compare how many calories you burn with how many you consume to determine what the ideal intake should be and aim for a reduction in the overall calories going in and an increase in the overall calories going out. This calorie deficit will yield healthy and long-term weight loss.

Step 7: Keep Tracking Your Calories and Continue Biking

The last step is to continue with your mountain biking and diet that you have come up with. By following this routine for some time, you will be able to achieve your weight loss journey. If you feel that the weight loss is too slow, you can either reduce your caloric intake or the intensity or duration of biking.

Remember that you will consistently need to check your progress and keep tweaking this plan for maximum weight loss.

Mountain biking for weight loss
riding mountain bike

Read: What is a Tandem Bike?

Tips for Managing Mountain Biking for Weight Loss

Here are some tips that might help you start off and maintain your mountain biking weight loss journey. Following these tips will help you maximize the weight loss benefits:

1. Make Sure Your Mountain Bike Is Of Good Quality

This might not seem as important, but trust us, a good-quality mountain bike can make the entire journey easier. This is especially true if you want to keep biking in the long term. It will keep you motivated in a lot of ways because riding a good bike won’t be a struggle or pain.

2. Be Mindful of What You Eat

The most important thing to remember when it comes to how to lose weight through biking is that diet plays a major role. It can truly make or break your progress. This is why you should eat less but eat healthily and have a calorie deficit.

3. Balance Your Meals

This means that you should eat in moderation. Essentially, you should be eating predominantly healthy food but can indulge in high caloric meals as long as you stay within caloric limits by the end of each week.

4. Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables

These have fibers and vitamins that will keep you full longer and give you the energy you need for your mountain biking. Snacking on fruits before and after your rides will be the perfect fuel you need while also extremely healthy.

5. Avoid Alcohol and Sodas

Alcohol can completely mess up your progress which is why it is extremely crucial that you avoid it as much as you can.

As far as sodas are concerned, these tend to be filled with just sugar and too many calories, making them extremely unhealthy. Both of these can ruin your diet and hinder your weight loss progress.

6. Get Plenty of Sleep

Sleep deprivation can drastically hinder your weight loss progress. This is because getting plenty of sleep helps to build muscle mass and allows you to lose fat. It will also help you maintain or increase your activity levels and not leave you lazy and lethargic.

7. Keep Muscle Mass In Mind

The important thing to remember when mountain biking for weight loss is that you don’t want to lose muscle mass. You have to burn fat. Therefore, make sure you are doing enough strength training and having protein so that when you do become thinner, you are not weaker.

8. Don’t Go Too Hard

Overtraining your body can lead you to burn out very easily and leave you with sore muscles and an overall tired body. Listen to your body and make sure that you are not burning yourself out too soon.

9. Follow HIIT

Adding variety to your mountain biking routine will not make it monotonous and also help you maximize weight loss. Consider using high interval intensity training (HIIT) that involves periods of slow riding and then periods of high-intensity riding. Using this cycle on repeat can help you significantly with losing pounds.

10. Use Apps and Trackers

If you plan to work out through mountain biking for the long term, consider using apps and trackers that provide you with data on your activity level and how many calories you have burned. With their help, you would easily measure progress and learn where and how you can do better.

11. Ride Your Mountain Bike To Work

Research shows that individuals who ride their bikes to work every day significantly lose more amount of weight and have lower stress levels. Their productivity and creativity are also increased, enhancing their performance at work. This is why commuting to work with your mountain bike might be an idea worth trying.

12. Drink Plenty of Water

Staying hydrated is key to maximizing weight loss when mountain biking. This is especially necessary if you are riding in heat and humid conditions.

13. Try Biking Before Breakfast

Getting in a ride before breakfast is a great way to kickstart your day. Since there won’t be any food in your system, your body will be burning the available fat in your body. As a result, you will be losing much more weight.

14. Don’t Overwork and Under Eat

When you are mountain biking for weight loss, you might be tempted to push yourself when biking or eat less. However, this is not recommended. You might lose some weight, but it will also leave you tired all the time and not be a sustainable way of losing weight for the longer term.

15. Work Out Your Upper Body

Since mountain biking mainly works on your lower body, you must maintain balance by hitting the gym and building muscle in your upper body. This will also help you get a better grip on your bike’s handle and have a smoother journey.

16. Forget Spot Reducing

Spot reduction of different parts of your body is only a myth as you can’t target weight loss to one part of your body. In order to lose fat in one part of your body, you will need to lose your overall weight.

17. Maintain The Lifestyle

The two most important things to remember when kickstarting your mountain biking weight loss journey are having fun and keeping at it even when you lose weight. This will make you lose weight and keep it off. Not to mention, biking can be an activity that saves you time and is perfect for weight maintenance.

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The Bottom Line

The best thing about mountain biking is that it is fun and never gets boring, so the best thing to do is for you to enjoy it. Even when you don’t see any considerable weight difference, in the beginning, keep at it because it takes some time. With patience, perseverance, and optimism, you can totally achieve your weight loss goals through mountain biking!