Lose Weight, Ride Faster: 6-Week Training Plan

Whether you’re needing a nudge to get off the couch, have a race coming up you need to train for, or trying to drop some extra kilos, this six-week training plan is guaranteed to help you shed weight, get stronger, and feel happier. – By Selene Yeager with Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD

Photo: Michael Darter

Photo: Michael Darter

Millions of people own bicycles, and just about everyone who has one knows how to pedal it around the block. But surprisingly few people take full advantage of all that riding has to offer. For those who haven’t yet tapped into cycling’s benefits, the list is long: It burns calories at a steady clip, helps reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, improves your memory and brainpower, and makes for deeper and more recharging sleep. It’s gentle on the joints. And maybe most important of all, riding is fun.

So, how can you reap this windfall of good health and a slimmer waistline? We created a plan, then we recruited a panel of real people—from beginners looking to trim some weight to fit riders who wanted to get leaner and stronger—to try it out.

This six-week, step-by-step blueprint is a combination of riding, core exercises, and stretching. The programme works regardless of whether you’ve spent much time pedaling a bike before. The workouts are designed to challenge your muscles and cardiovascular system and build your abilities on the bicycle in a carefully calibrated but relatively short amount of time. The more you focus and follow along, the greater the results. About those results: You’ll see real and lasting change on the scale. You’ll feel stronger, more energetic, sharper at the office, and happier. So, let’s get to it. Pull your bike out of the garage and join the ride.

The Plan

Follow this weekly schedule for rides and core workouts. The other days, stay active, even if it’s just a walk, and do the stretches on last page daily. One tip: If you can’t remember the details of the rides, write notes on some masking tape and put it on your bike’s top tube.

Core Workouts

Never heard of a Crank Plank or Tipping Bird? To learn how to do these core exercises.

The Plan

Weekly Schedule
Monday The week’s designated ride and core workouts
Tuesday Off or cross-train
Wednesday Designated ride and core workouts
Thursday Cross-train
Friday Off or cross-train
Saturday Designated ride and core workouts
Sunday Pleasure cruise

Intensity-Level Guidelines

What the zones mean
Zone Intensity Typical Speed* How It Feels
1 Easy 13-20kmph Nearly effortless pedaling. Light tension in your legs. Steady breathing, but no huffing and puffing.
2 Moderate 20-25kmph Pedaling with purpose. More (but manageable) tension in your legs. Steady, heavier breathing; can still carry on brief conversations.
3 Hard 25-32kmph Jamming. Legs and lungs are working near their capacity. No talking.
4 Max 32+kmph Full throttle. Legs are at full tilt. Huffing and puffing. Can’t stay here long.**
**These are rough estimates. So many factors affect speed (wind, terrain, bike type) that it’s impossible to take them all into consideration. Don’t get hung up on the numbers; effort is what counts.

The Plan (Week-by-Week) | Core Exercises / Stretches

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One Response to Lose Weight, Ride Faster: 6-Week Training Plan

  1. Desiree Wilcox October 21, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

    Loved those ideas.

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