If your tummy is pudgy, you're not alone: It's a place the body just loves to store fat. But you can blast away at the bulge by bicycling. Cycling is an awesome calorie-burning exercise -- a 130-pound woman can burn almost 600 calories during one hour of vigorous riding. Follow a program that includes a variety of riding intensities and durations and you'll be well on your way to uncovering toned, sexy abs.
Do low-intensity steady state rides to burn belly fat. As you exercise more intensely, your body uses more fuel from glycogen and less from fat. During steady-state cardio sessions, you'll burn more fat. It's easiest to do these rides on flat surfaces when there is minimal wind, because hills and winds can morph these rides into intervals. Ride at an intensity in which you can still barely hold a conversation. The length of steady-state rides depends on your goals and how fit you are to begin with, but you can typically achieve fat burning in under an hour.
Add high-intensity intervals to your cycling training plan to keep your body from hitting fat-burning plateaus. While steady-state cardio is great for burning off belly fat, you're bound to hit plateaus that will slow progress if that's all you ever do. You can do intervals during hill or speed workouts. Before you start, decide how many intervals you will do, and how long and hard you'll perform them. A simple flat interval workout could include 10 intervals, each consisting of a 60-second sprint and a 60-second recovery.
Focus on holding your abs tight when you ride. Many cyclists slump over and allow their arms to hold their upper bodies up instead of using their core. Think about holding your abs tight throughout your rides -- not only will this reduce pressure on your neck and shoulders, but it will strengthen and tighten your stomach, too. Whenever you perform standing climbs, use your abs to help you pull the bike side to side with each pedal stroke. When you're in the saddle, think about using your abs to help pull the pedal up with each stroke.
- Ride Your Way Lean; Selene Yeager
- To maximize your efforts for achieving a flat tummy, pay close attention to your diet. To burn belly fat to flatten your stomach and reveal your abdominal muscles, you must burn more calories than you consume. A poor diet can cancel out all the effort you put into a bicycle training program. Stick with fresh produce and lean protein for most of your diet.
- Consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program. Make sure your bicycle is properly fitted to your body. Adjustments that are off, even just a few millimeters, can cause injuries over time.
Jessica Bell has been working in the health and fitness industry since 2002. She has served as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Bell holds an M.A. in communications and a B.A. in English.