Friday, May 16, 2014

Lose weight the Cycle way

Raman Garimella is regular at national level cycling races . Dr Vignan runs a sports clinic and coaches on fitness and weight loss. Gokul Krishna is a fitness enthusiasts who believes there is no short cut to fitness. Gokul is also  cofounder of The Bike Affair. Here, they collaborate together to help you loose weight on the bike.


We need energy for any and every kind of work that the body does, be it carrying weight, walking, running, cycling, sitting, breathing and even sleeping. This energy comes from the food we eat. Excess weight is accumulated when we eat more than what is required for the work we do. Excess carbohydrates and fat get stored as fat in the body and this is first visible in the mid-riff and then the limbs. If you want to lose weight, you must access these excess reserves first and then bring back balance to the equation of calories consumed and calories burnt (there is really no accurate way of measuring the number of calories that we eat and burn).
There are two approaches here: eat less, literally starving yourself and wait for the body to eat into your reserves but this is a very risky and unhealthy proposition that is NOT advised at any cost. The other approach is to keep a check on what you eat, eating the right food and working out. The best form of exercise for weight loss is endurance sport, where the level of intensity is moderate and the heart pumps in the endurance zone, enabling the body to tap into the fat reserves.
Thus the key components to fitness include
  1. Right Exercise
  2. Eating Right
  3. Sleeping well
Yes it IS that simple!

Here are some fun tips that will help you lose weight quickly while riding your wheels.

Cycle whenever you can

Surveys have shown that daily distances covered for personal purposes are well within reach on a cycle. Avoid using your vehicles, because apart from losing the pounds, you save fuel, save money, and yes... save time! In our urban spaces, riding a cycle has proven to be much faster than commuting in cars. So, whenever you can, every chance you get, whether it is commuting, running errands or local work, ride your two wheels.

Hit the hills

A hill workout is a good way to shed those extra pounds. Apart from that, hills have a quality that brings out your best efforts whether you are riding an MTB or a hybrid or a road bike. Find the nearest incline and make it your training ground. Find a hill that takes a good 2 to 5 minutes to climb (Whisper Valley, Movie Towers, Financial District and hills at Rajendra Nagar). Ride up the route at a low gear and cadence between 85 and 100. Turn around and recover your legs down the hill and repeat till your times drop drastically.
Climbing hills are more fun with smartphones. There are quite a few apps; most famous being "Strava" that have brought gamification to bike riding. If you are a smartphone owner, you should surely install them. There are bragging rights and local honour at stake for almost every incline in town.

Sprinkle intervals

Intervals make you strong, add juice to your cycling and make you sweat buckets. Here is a sample one hour workout you can try.
Warm up
10 mins easy riding, gradually building up to a sweat
5 mins of low gear and high cadence spinning (>100 RPM)
5 mins of easy riding
1 min of 95% max effort followed by 1 min easy riding (Start with 5 sets and move upto 10 sets)
Cool down - 20 mins of easy riding

Try a Brevet

A "brevet" is a self-supported, time-restricted ride that is equal to or longer than 200km which has to be done continuously on a cycle, alone or in a group. Sign up with Hyderabad Brevets for the next 200km ride. Find other participants, give yourself enough time to train, and get in shape for your first cycling medal. There is no doubt that riding 200km is no mean feat, the gratification you feel at the end is truly unmatched and very few moments in life come close to this feeling. The idea of riding a brevet is not speed, but a long, steady effort that is almost meditative in its essence. Riding at that low-medium intensity for long hours is really good for the cardiovascular system and the fat reserves of the body get used up. More than the event itself, the rewards of weight loss are reaped in the training for the event, when you are logging hundreds of miles week in and week out.

Register for a race

Racing is a primal instinct that we all possess and it brings out a side of you that you probably never knew existed. Whether you are a beginner, a pro, underweight or overweight, a hard race is a hard race is a hard race. Everybody feels the same burn and glory of being in a race and competing. Stay tuned to Hyderabad Racing League ( to sign up for their latest race around the corner.

Sign up for tours


Touring and tourism are another underrated pleasure of bike riding. For losing weight, multi-day cycle tours are very effective. Riding in your endurance intensity for days together over long distances can do wonders. Of course, bike tours come at a price, but the experience is priceless. Imagine taking a holiday to the hills, where the sceneries are breathtaking, the weather is better, there is no traffic, the roads are inviting, you are away from the stress of the city and your job, it is a fully supported holiday and the only thing you are expected to do is ride your cycle at your own pace, soaking in this magical atmosphere. Some famous road tours are the Tour of Nilgiris, Tour of Tamil Nadu and Tour of Tigers. Famous off-road tours are The Great Malnad Challenge and  MTB Himalaya.

Mix it Up

As we know, cycling doesnt do much for the upper body (arms, shoulders, chest). Include swimming or pushing weights once a week. Start getting into a push-ups, crunches, back flexes routine after your rides.

Healthy Eating

Nutrition and Hydration during cycling is as important to shedding the extra kilos as riding the cycle itself. What you eat, when you eat and how much you eat before, during and after the ride are very critical to losing weight.
  • Eat small portions, but eat more often throughout the day. This will improve your rate of metabolism to a great extent.
  • Except for when you are riding a cycle, dont eat foods that are high in sugars (high Glycemic Index).
  • While riding, eat once in 60-90 mins and that too only small portions of high energy food
  • All the sweating will help in detoxing the body and this means you have to keep pumping your system with water all the time. Drink lots of water throughout the day
  • If you are riding for around 60 mins, at any intensity, you do not need any food or energy drink. You want to force your body to use the fat reserves. At lower-endurance intensity, you can easily go for 90-120 mins without any food
  • Post workout, have your protein rich food, preferably a shake, as soon as possible. Within 30mins is the best time. This is when the body craves for replenishments and most efficiently ingests the food. Remember at this point that you must get into the habit of pumping your body with premium, high-octane fuel. Gone are the days of junk food

Prolong your workouts
If you want to lose weight, you must make sure that you don
t eat anything in the last 30 mins of your workout. This enables your body to use the fat reserves efficiently. The best way to remember and implement this 30 min rule is by prolonging your workouts.  There are quite a few ways to do this. Gokul, for instance, swears by lifting his bicycle up 3 floors of his apartment building after his commute and this adds to his upper body strength as well. Only after you have done 30mins of work without eating or drinking sugars, should you proceed to have your post workout meal.

Dont forget the zZzZz

You have done all your workouts in the week, so it
s time to reap the benefits. But do you know that sleep is as important as riding? Good sleep will allow your muscles to recuperate and be ready for another ride another day. Resting every 3 days (meaning no cycling) is also important so your body recovers and you are ready to burn more the next day. Strict adherence to the above workouts and strict adherence to continuous, unbroken sleep will allow a weight loss like you have never seen before.

Plan, Do, Check & Adjust Cycle(PDCA)

Fitness is a long term goal and you need to have realistic intermediate goals to tick off frequently to keep you motivated. You could use anything from a simple notebook or an excel sheet to websites like to plan your routines and track your personal milestones. Do log it in whatever way you like.

Keep your Bike & Posture Healthy

If you intend to spend long hours on the bike, it is important you get the right bike, have the right fit and ensure your bike is well maintained. Take care & have fun!


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