Ride It Off: Your 2-Week Weight-Loss Plan

Jump-start your weight loss by training your body to become a fat-burning machine with this two-week cycling weight-loss plan. By Selene Yeager

cycling weight-loss plan

Photo: Jason Gould

Before you embark on this cycling weight-loss plan, work out your ideal cycling weight. Now it’s time to plot how to get there. The following two-week plan from coach Hunter Allen will jump-start your weight loss by training your body to become a fat-burning machine. “It combines intense efforts with on-bike fueling strategies to teach your body to burn fat more effectively,” he says. “It’s not about drilling it every day. It’s about becoming a strong, well-rounded rider and an excellent fat burner.” You’ll get noticeable results fast.

How It Works

The program assumes you hop on your bike (or a stationary bike at the gym) four or more days a week. If you’ve been riding less than that, take the easy days as full rest and begin with the fewest number of intervals indicated on a given day.

Keep your calorie intake in check by limiting snacks on easy and rest days. (Here’s a weight-loss eating plan to follow) On days that include hills, intervals, and/or other hard work right after your warm-up, have a pre-ride snack. For endurance rides (Days 6, 7, 13, and 14), when you’ll pedal at a lower intensity, roll out the door on an empty stomach, ideally in the morning before breakfast or a few hours after a meal later in the day. But take plenty of food with you. You can fuel up after the 90-minute mark before you drain your glycogen stores and bonk. “The idea is to train your body to become an efficient fat burner while still properly fueling your ride,” Allen says. At first, it may be difficult to wait this long to start eating. Remember to ride at an easy to moderate effort. You should be able to carry on a conversation easily. If you’re really flagging, have a bite or two at the one-hour mark and extend from there on subsequent rides.

Your 2-Week Plan

Day 1 Lengthen your planned ride by 30 minutes and add one to three 10-minute intervals at an effort close to what you could maintain in a 60-minute time trial, or a rate of perceived exertion (RPE) of 5 on a scale of 1 to 10. Pedal lightly for 5 minutes between each.

Day 2 Include two to five 3-minute intervals in your planned ride, maintaining the hardest steady effort you can. Pedal lightly for 3 minutes between each.

Day 3 Lengthen your planned ride by adding 45 minutes, structured as one 8- to 10-second sprint every 2 minutes at 80 percent of your all-out effort (RPE 8), maintaining a moderate to somewhat strong effort in between, or RPE 3 to 4.

Day 4 Include five to ten 1-minute intervals in your planned ride. Do these aggressively (RPE 7 to 8) and attack so that you’re fading (but still pushing) in the final 15 seconds. Pedal lightly for 2 minutes between each.

Day 5 Spin easy for an hour or take a rest day.

Day 6 Endurance ride. Aim for 2 hours at an easy to moderate effort (RPE 2 to 3). If you haven’t done a ride of this length recently, extend your longest recent ride by one-third.

Day 7 Endurance ride. Aim for 3 hours at an easy to moderate effort (RPE 2 to 3), or extend your longest recent ride by one-third.

Day 8 Spin easy for an hour or take a rest day.

Day 9 Include two to four 10-minute intervals in your regular ride at an effort close to what you could maintain in a 60-minute time trial (RPE 5). Push yourself hard during the last 2 minutes. Pedal lightly to recover for 5 minutes between each.

Day 10 Include five to ten 15-second all-out sprints (RPE 10) in your regular ride. Pedal lightly to recover for 4 minutes between each. Alternate between small- and big-ring sprints.

Day 11 Include the following anaerobic intervals in a regular ride: three 2-minute intervals at RPE 7 with 2 minutes of easy pedaling between each. Ride 5 minutes easy. Then do three 1-minute intervals at RPE 8 with 1 minute of recovery in between. Ride 5 minutes easy and finish with three 30-second intervals, going all-out, with 1 minute of easy pedaling in between.

Day 12 Lengthen your regular ride by 45 minutes today and pedal that final stretch at nearly your time-trial pace, or upper-tempo pace (RPE 4).

Day 13 Endurance ride. Aim for 2.5 to 3 hours, easy to moderate effort (RPE 2 to 3), or extend your longest recent ride by one-third.

Day 14 Long endurance ride. Plan to pedal for 3 to 4 hours at an easy to moderate effort (RPE 2 to 3), or extend your longest recent ride by one-third.

Rate of Perceived Exertion
0 Very Easy
1 to 2 Easy
3 Moderate
4 Somewhat Strong
5 Strong
6 to 7 Very Strong
8 Extremely Strong
9 to 10 All-Out

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