Does cycling and cycling make you lose weight?

Does cycling and cycling make you lose weight?
Does cycling and cycling make you lose weight?

Does cycling really make you lose weight? Veronica Tagliabue, a dietician of the CDI, answers, who also explains what to eat before pedaling

Does cycling make you lose weight? And what should we eat before getting on the bike? These and other questions are answered by the expert of the CDI (Italian Diagnostic Center).

The cycling tradition is deeply felt in Italy and cycling is a very widespread sport, as it is a pleasant and healthy pastime in the open air, easily practicable – who does not have a bike in the garage or cellar? – with no particular contraindications at all ages: both children and the “over” can pedal safely and calmly. However, it is good to make a distinction, since there are two types of cyclists: the more athletic and competitive ones, who practice this sport all year round – even facing the winter cold or training on rollers or stationary bikes – and seasonal cyclists who – maybe pushed by feeling of the belt too tight – they dust off the bicycle when the weather conditions are more favorable, the days are longer, also attracted by the various associations that organize cyclorunners.

Does cycling and cycling help you lose weight? –

Of course physical activity, together with a healthy and balanced diet is the only way to lose weight and cycling can be more enticing, for those who are a little “rusty”, than other aerobic activities, such as running or fast walk. To avoid that a potentially beneficial behavior can, on the contrary, become harmful, in the presence of pathologies (osteo-articular, dysmetabolic or cardiovascular) it will be more prudent, before undertaking any type of sport, to consult with your doctor and, if the degree of overweight were relevant, it will be advisable to consult a specialist in order to obtain a personalized food program.
Once you have ascertained your suitability, you can start using the bicycle for daily commuting, for example, to go to work or school: according to some studies, in fact, using the bicycle regularly in the city allows you to lose up to 5 kg in a year without changing other habits.
For those who, on the other hand, had goals of consistent weight loss, the commitment must be greater, providing for a more intensive training (at least 40 minutes 2-3 times a week), so as to be able to burn more calories than are introduced. Obviously, from a health and prevention point of view it will be important to adopt a balanced diet not only on the days when you play sports, but daily, taking all the nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and lipids) in the right proportion, dividing the caloric intake into at least three meals – and possibly two snacks -, avoiding excesses, especially sugars and fats.

What can I eat before cycling? –

It is not only important what to eat, but also when to eat. A good rule, valid for both adults and children, is to eat a meal at least two hours before exercising to prevent the digestive process from compromising sports performance. If you want to pedal in the morning you need to get energy from breakfast; a good choice could be: bread (complex carbohydrates = “gasoline” for our muscles), milk or yogurt (proteins with essential amino acids and fats), a fruit and jam (simple sugars ready to use), in quantities proportionate to the energy necessary for the performance you intend to face.
If you are a bit of a late riser and you are unable to respect the time interval or, even worse, you are part of the category of those who do not have breakfast, it is still a good rule to never leave on an empty stomach. If you train in the afternoon, the energy must be given by lunch: pasta (carbohydrates) – better if wholemeal – simply seasoned, meat (proteins) or fish (proteins and polyunsaturated fats) – cooked with few added fats -, vegetables (minerals and vitamins) and a fruit (simple sugars and vitamins) .

And while I ride a bike? –

If the duration of the ride falls within two hours, it is not necessary to feed, but essential, especially in the summer period, especially if the bike ride is prolonged and takes place on particularly hot days, it is to provide the body with adequate hydration through the intake of water, which, in case of profuse sweating, can be added with mixtures of mineral salts and sugars (maltodextrin) available on the market or simply by taking a homemade preparation of water, citrus juice and a pinch of salt. .

What to eat after pedaling? –

The primary objective is to restore hydrosaline stocks, drinking plenty of water and / or consuming fresh fruit, smoothies or extracts, excellent for quickly recovering vitamins and mineral salts. If you are still far from meal times, you can have a snack based on carbohydrates (to restore muscle glycogen consumed during activity) and proteins (to regenerate muscles). An example? Bread or crackers with a little cheese or lean sliced, or a fruit smoothie. If, on the other hand, after the ride you sit at the table you can have a complete meal (first and second), without overdoing it! A tip for cyclists on Sunday, whose first and last stop is the restaurant of the farm: remember that then you have to return home by the same means!

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