HIIT Cycling: SECRET to Quick Weight Loss

Do you also hate the monotony of slow and steady cardio that last hours? Is there a better way to burn more calories in the least amount of time?

If you are wondering the same thing, then you are in luck today!

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is the current rage among fitness enthusiasts around the globe. It has proven to be the most effective way to lose weight and build endurance.

In this guide, I’ll share with you the most effective HIIT Cycling Workout, benefits of HIIT and common mistakes to be avoided.

hiit cycling

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a type of cardio that alternates between high intensity and low-intensity activity.

The best thing about HIIT is that you don’t need to be a pro athlete or require a professional instructor to do these workouts. These workouts are quite easy to follow and don’t require many variations.

HIIT cycling provides a much greater fat burn as compared to other forms of HIIT workouts.

Here’s everything you need to know about high-intensity interval training, the benefits, and how you can incorporate HIIT cycling in your weight loss quest.

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What is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

A HIIT workout suggests short intervals of exercise at a max-effort level followed by periods of moderate activity (aka recovery periods).

When it comes to HIIT cycling, there are so many ways to experiment, with each routine offering different benefits.

The duration of max efforts could be from a couple of seconds up to a minute or more. One of the simplest ways to explain HIIT cycling is “You just need to be cycling hard with maximum intensity, on and off for 15 minutes. 

You could follow a set pattern (which is given further in this article) or you could just have fun with the process and do as you like, still burning calories along the way.

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HIIT Cycling Benefits

study published in the American Journal of Physiology claims that HIIT gives you ALL the health benefits of moderate-intensity activity(such as long-distance running) in a MUCH shorter time period.

On the other hand, HIIT cycling greatly suppresses your appetite, leading you to eat less throughout the day, ultimately losing more weight.

2011 study, published in the Journal of Obesity, suggests that HIIT burns fat at a much higher level than the traditional cardio, and the benefits last for hours following the workout.

When it comes to training for endurance, nothing beats the unconventional HIIT cycling. A 2015 analysis found that HIIT is more effective than endurance training when it came to gains in VO2 Max, a metric of how well your body utilizes oxygen.

That’s vital because your muscles need proper oxygen when you work out, otherwise they may cramp up, leading to a potential injury.

cycling workout outdoors

Performing any sorts of HIIT gives you a great sense of accomplishment because you push your limits with each workout. Doing it repeatedly over time will stretch your limits as your body becomes used to making optimum use of oxygen.

And if you are someone who loves greatly built legs and calves, you might want to ask “Does hiit cycling build muscle?”

The answer is yes. Just like any other workout, you are tearing your micro muscle fibers during cycling, which will come back stronger. Stationary bike HIIT workout for fat loss will significantly boost your endurance while toning your legs at the same time.

The main muscles worked during cycling are quadriceps and hamstrings in the upper leg, and the gastrocnemius and soleus in your calves. These muscles contract in a manner that creates the pedaling motion. 

Provided you take sufficient protein and good nutrition, you’ll definitely build muscle with HIIT cycling workouts.

HIIT Cycling for fat loss is one of the most effective weight loss method out there.

HIIT Cycling: Indoors vs Outdoors

I personally prefer to perform HIIT indoors as its super convenient!

My stationary bike is setup and ready to go, without wasting any time. Doing HIIT cycling outdoors can disturb your intervals and negate the time effectiveness of the workout.

For example, your high intensity interval might be disturbed if you come across a hurdle on the road, or traffic on your path.

While HIIT training can be done both indoors or outdoors on the open road, all the peers I spoke to leaned towards an indoor session on a turbo trainer or smart bike.

cycling outdoors

If you do opt to train outside though, I highly recommend going for a workout that is either flat or uphill.

You don’t want it to be too steady and yet be in total control of the movement. That’s where a hilly terrain comes to our rescue, going 3-4 minutes on the incline (with max efforts) and then recovering back on your way down.

If you have some free time, you can go outside with your bike and try all the random crazy stuff, such as sprinting to a signpost, then recovering slowly. Or heck, you might even race a car (with due caution!).

HIIT Cycling Workout

Warm up for 5 minutes: Keep the resistance at half of the maximum level. If its on a 1-20 scale I keep my warm-up and recovery time at around 10-12.

When going in with full capacity, I turn up the resistance in the range of 15-18. However when starting out, you should start from 10 and work your way up the chain. It should be challenging enough but not exhausting at the same time.

After the warm up, follow this intense pyramid that’ll turn you into a fat-burning beast!

  1. 30 seconds high intensity, followed by 60 seconds low intensity (repeat 4 times)
  2. 40 seconds high intensity, followed by 60 seconds low intensity (repeat 4 times)
  3. 30 seconds high intensity, followed by 60 seconds low intensity (repeat 4 times)

A 5-minute cool down is vital after each HIIT routine, to ensure that your body cools down from the hyperactivity phase.

Depending on how much time you have, you could go for 1, 1.5 or 2 circuits in your workout.

Each high-intensity interval should be in zone five if you are training with a power meter.

You could also try 30-30 interval training cycling to mix things up, but remember to go in with maximum intensity.

hiit stationary bike weight loss

I have given you my tried and tested blueprint for HIIT cycling, but feel free to mix and match things as per your requirements. There are no rigid guidelines while designing your own HIIT cardio workouts.

HIIT Mistakes to Avoid

I’ve always been a fan of HIIT ever since I began my fitness journey.

Whether you are trying to lose weight, or you are an athelete wanting to maximize your endurance and performance, HIIT cycling is the best way forward.

Unfortunately, high intensity intervals are also easy to mess up, so make sure you’re not making these mistakes:

No Warmup

When you don’t do the recommended 5 minute warm up before each session, you risk turning the first high-intensity intervals into a warmup itself.

It makes so much sense logically: You can’t just go all-in with maximum intensity, right after getting up from the couch, hence warmup is necessary. HIIT already has a low time (approx. 10 mins) for the actual high-intensity workouts, and if you waste all that time with lower performance, you’ll hardly reap any benefits.

The much talked about benefits of HIIT cycling is based on hitting those high power outputs and pushing your cardiovascular system to its limits.

A one-minute effort that’s “almost” really hard isn’t going to do it. Worse yet, you might simply be wasting your time.

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Lacking Focus

If you are cycling outdoors, it is common to drift away with thoughts, feeling like you are riding for leisure.

You could go out for a ride and think through that work or relationship problem you’re facing. (In fact, those long rides can be really helpful for mind storming!)

But when it comes to HIIT cycling, you can’t be distracted with wordly thoughts, and you need to go with a focused mindset. Stay disciplined and set rules like not taking any calls during the workout.

Long and Frequent HIIT Sessions

Your greed for losing more weight quicker, or building the endurance of a bull might make you perform HIIT more than required (I’ve been there myself!)

You need sufficient recovery time to adapt to the training stress and fatigue so that your next HIIT workout is better and more intense.

Two HIIT workouts a week is plenty for beginners. Three per week is suitable for intermediate people. And four in a week is doable for only advanced athletes.

You need to keep your traditional workout norms out the door when turning to HIIT.

A conventional long and steady cardio workout lasts for up to 45 minutes but that is not the case with HIIT cycling. Limit your sessions to no longer than 20 minutes at max.

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Risking Dehydration

In an indoor HIIT cycling session, you could sweat up to 1.5 liters of fluid, or even more if the room is warm. The result is often a large pool of sweat on the floor.

Going into your workout well hydrated is the best strategy to avoid any risks, while ensuring optimum performance at the same time.

Drink enough water in the hours following your workout, to replenish the lost fluids from your body.

Conclusion

Boost your fitness game with this HIIT stationary bike weight loss workout that hardly requires 20 minutes per session. If you are a busy professional or simply want the most output from your inputs, HIIT cycling is the way to go.