When you spend a lot of time working at a desk or just sitting down, the dreaded middle-age spread can tend to spread a lot faster. There's no doubt that using a mini stationary bike -- which fits nicely under a desk or at the foot of your couch -- is better for you than doing no exercise at all, though you do have options for maximizing your calorie burn and blasting away fat. If you're serious about losing weight, set a schedule that has you doing rounds of intense exercise two days a week as well as longer, less-intense periods the other three to five days of the week.
Start out every workout by pedaling slowly for about five to 10 minutes, with the tension knob set to zero. Warm-ups are important since they allow your heart to gradually start beating faster and prepare your muscles for the work ahead. If you don't warm up, you run the risk of hurting yourself, which will totally derail your efforts at losing weight.
Do a high-intensity interval workout with your mini bike, two days a week. "HIIT," as it's often called, involves doing rounds of intense exercise followed by rounds of recovery. Set a timer for one minute, and then increase the tension on your bike to a medium level. Pedal as fast as you can for that one minute, and then reset the timer for one minute again and pedal slowly to recover. Repeat this process a total of eight times. This is one of the best ways to lose weight fast, because according to the American College of Sports Medicine, it boosts your metabolism for the rest of the day, helping you burn calories from one and a half hours to 24 hours after your workout.
Set your bike's tension level to medium-high and pedal continuously for 45 minutes to one hour, four to five days per week. High-intensity exercise is great, but you shouldn't do it more than two days a week, reminds the American Council on Exercise. Burning calories requires time and intensity, so the more time and the harder the pedaling, the more calories you'll burn. Bicycling at a leisurely pace on a standard cycle burns about 292 calories for a 160-pound person, so you can expect to burn roughly that amount.
Give yourself at least one day of rest in which you do no exercise, or only very light exercise. If you want to pedal on that seventh day, set the tension level to zero and pedal slowly and easily for 20 to 30 minutes.
- British Journal of Sports Medicine: Feasibility of a Portable Pedal Exercise Machine for Reducing Sedentary Time in the Workplace
- American College of Sports Medicine: For All-Day Metabolism Boost, Try Interval Training
- American Council on Exercise: High-Intensity Interval Training
- MayoClinic.com: Exercise for Weight Loss: Calories Burned in 1 Hour
- The Chicago Tribune: Desk Exercises: The Mini Exercise Bike
- Exercising is a great way to shed pounds, but if you want to lose weight faster, also trim calories through food. To lose a pound of fat you have to create a 3,500-calorie deficit. The exercise will take care of some of that, but also consider cutting out alcohol, desserts and sweets, sodas and other empty calories and replacing them with nutritious vegetables and high-quality proteins.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.