To lose 20 pounds, you must burn more calories than you consume. The best way to do this is to combine exercise with a low-calorie diet. Cardiovascular exercise burns fat and elevates your heart rate, making riding a stationary bike an ideal option. Add strength training to tone your muscles and create definition. Eating a healthy diet fuels a riding session and ensures adequate nutrient intake. Talk to your doctor before starting a new stationary bike routine, particularly if you are new to exercise or have any health conditions.
Engage in 150 to 300 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each week. You'll likely need times at the higher end of the scale if you want to drop 20 pounds. Use up the entire time on your stationary bike or mix it up with other forms of exercise to create a well-rounded routine. Other good options include walking, swimming and dancing. Spread your exercise time out through the week to keep your metabolism going. You'll burn between 300 and 400 calories per half-hour at a 14- to 16-mph pace.
Add interval training to your cycling routine. Intervals increase calorie burn, build your endurance and reduce the amount of time you need to exercise at one time. MayoClinic.com suggests riding at a moderate pace for three minutes, alternated with 30-second intervals at a vigorous pace. Continue this pattern for 30 to 45 minutes.
Strength train for 20 to 30 minutes two or three times each week. This type of exercise strengthens your muscles, making your cycling sessions more effective by increasing your endurance. In addition, building lean muscle mass boosts your metabolism, making your calorie burn more efficient, both on the bike and at rest. Choose moves that work your arms, core, back and legs, which are the major muscle groups involved with bike riding. Planks, pushups and squats are easy options that don't require any equipment.
Cut 500 to 1,000 calories from your diet each day in combination with your stationary bike routine. This helps you lose 1 to 2 pounds in a week. At this pace, you'll lose 20 pounds in three to five months. The best way to achieve this is to fill your plate with a variety of foods from each food group, including fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy. Avoid high-calorie items like frozen meals, fast food, chips, soda and candy, which are choices that could hinder your 20-pound weight-loss goal.
Record your biking sessions in an exercise journal. This allows you to track your progress and find aspects of your routine that may not be working. Writing down each workout is also a good way to stay personally accountable.
- American Council on Exercise: What You Need to Know About Group Indoor Cycling
- Good Housekeeping: Lose 20 Pounds Fast
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
- MayoClinic.com: Counting Calories: Get Back to Weight-Loss Basics
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- MayoClinic.com: Rev Up Your Workout With Interval Training
- Health Status: Calorie Burn Calculator
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.