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Why am I not losing weight cycling anymore?

Why am I not losing weight Cycling anymore

Unfortunately, in this article, I won’t be selling you a magic pill that can fix this issue, but I can tell you why it’s happening and how to get around it. I have been a cyclist for eight years and have used it as a tool of enjoyment and to live a healthier lifestyle. When people think about living a healthier lifestyle, it usually comes with some changes in your body. These can be increased energy, weight loss, muscle gain, and there are many more considerable advantages from just exercising a few hours a week. One of the questions I get the most as a very experienced cyclist and a personal trainer is why am I not losing weight cycling anymore? It’s very common, and I see it all the time, even in myself. It’s simple. Let’s start with the basics.

Why do we lose weight by Cycling?

Let keep it simple. Cycling burns calories, and the fewer calories we eat and the more we keep exercising and burning calories, the more weight we will lose, simple. This is very common and known as a Calories Deficit. Eating less than your body requires to function means the body will hit the muscle and fat stores and start reducing your mass. Yes, you read me right there. We can consume our muscles.

We all require calories, roughly 2500 a day for men and 2000 a day for women. This figure can alter depending on a few factors, such as having a larger muscle mass or an increased or decreased metabolism, but that’s an article for another day. When we cycle, we add to this requirement, and again depending on the activity’s intensity, it can be 300 calories up to about 800 calories. So, for example, John is looking at losing some weight, he decides he’s going to do it cycling five hours per week at a medium intensity. A bit of personal advice is to look at your calories over the week, not the day. It helps you live a much more normal life.

John’s Daily Requirement for a day


Weekly Requirement


John’s Calorie burn each hour Cycling


Five hours Cycling


Total Calories per week required


So anything under 20000 Calories and John will be moving in the right direction for his goals and will lose weight. They say roughly 3500 calories is a pound of fat. So if he were only to eat 16500 calories over the week, he would lose about a pound. Yes, weight loss is that simple, don’t ever complicate it. If you are not losing weight, I’m 95% sure it’s probably due to consuming too many calories. The way I track my calories is through an application on my phone called myfitnesspal, it has a free version, and you can literally scan or type in what you’re eating and the quantity, then it will give you the total. If you are not losing weight, it’s more than likely due to an overconsumption of calories, and there are many reasons why this happens to a cyclist. In this article, I want to go over reasons that might be making you overconsume.

Reasons for overconsuming Calories as a cyclist

Increased Appetite

Unfortunately, the more we ride, the more our appetite will increase, and our body will crave fuel, more than likely rich in carbohydrate foods too. Dieting and losing weight isn’t easy, and managing your food can be difficult. On a two-hour ride, you could have a flapjack (300 Calories), a gel (100 Calories), and then when you get home, a protein shake (150 Calories). Then for dinner, a more considerable portion and a beer (500 Calories) as you have worked hard and feel you deserve it. Unfortunately, you have just undone the excellent work from Cycling and only maintained your weight.


When you’re low on water, it’s expected that you will feel hungry. Cycling does require us to consume a lot of water. Make sure you don’t mistake feeling thirsty for being hungry. If you get home, have a snack, and are still starving, try drinking more water and give it 15 minutes to see if that fixes the issue.

You have got lazy

Maybe the fitter you have got, you are finding yourself not working as hard for the same speed you were producing before, maybe your riding with a buddy, and he’s much slower. The difference in about 20 beats per minute in your heart rate is the difference between hundreds of calories per hour being or not being burnt. Ensure the intensity is still there, or maybe you need to be riding further to burn off the beers from the night before.

How to return to losing weight

Start tracking your Calories.

As mentioned before, getting an application on your phone and starting to track again will help you. Be honest with yourself and stick to it for at least two weeks to see if you are overeating for your work.

Invest in equipment to track Calorie burn

Calorie trackers are usually pretty awful unless you have some form of data coming from your body’s vital systems. If I use my Garmin without a heart rate monitor, it will tell me I’m burning 1000+ calories per hour on an endurance ride. When I wear my Heart rate monitor, it’s 500 Calories. That’s a massive difference and can lead people to think they can get away with eating more.

Stop looking at your riding and focus on your diet.

It’s easier to eat fewer calories than it is to ride more. Honestly, put more time into your diet and focus less on going out and burning more calories. It’s much easier to lose weight this way and will teach you to be much more disciplined. High protein meals will help your recovery and make you feel fuller. Drinking lots of water and switching to fibrous food will also help you feel fuller.

Be Realistic with Dieting

Try not to be too many calories down each day. I aim for 300-600. Any more than this, and I’m stuffing my face and calling it a cheat day which is an awful habit and will lead you to have an unhealthy relationship with your food.

A Final Note

Remember, it is all down to calories in and calories out when it comes to losing weight. It is that simple. Eat less food and burn more calories, and the weight will go. Managing being in a deficit is the tricky bit. Just take small steps and enjoy the process. If you can't manage yourself join my online training program!

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