Beat the Bulge

If you’re still trying to shift those last stubborn pounds before your next big ride, beat the bulge with these belly-busting tips…

Keep it steady
Although your stomach muscles aren’t working as hard as your glutes when you’re riding, cycling’s aerobic nature means you are burning fat. Work at a moderately intensive pace, so that it would be a struggle to maintain conversation (less than 80 per cent maximum heart rate) three times a week for about two hours. This trains your body to use fat as a fuel, and will burn a lot of calories, preventing them from turning into new fat.

Feel the fat burn
To really push the calorie burn, add in some interval training. At the end of your long ride, or if you only have a short amount of time to train, do six sets of all-out efforts each lasting two minutes with 30 seconds rest in between. As you improve you can keep going for longer. You’ll burn loads of calories in a short amount of time, and your metabolism will be up for the next 12 hours, meaning you burn extra calories over the course of the day. You’ll soon be rid of that spare tyre.

Off the bike
Your natural instinct is to concentrate on stomach crunches and sit-ups to remove belly fat. In reality, although these will help to tone and build muscle, they won’t remove fat. You need a more holistic workout that tones and burns calories to get the fat going. Try an aerobic muscle workout like the lying down bicycle exercise. Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and raise yourself up so that your shoulders and your legs are off the ground at a 90-degree angle with your knees bent. Then touch your right knee to left elbow while extending your left leg, followed by left knee to right elbow extending your right leg. Repeat this, at a controlled speed, in sets of 20 with 30 seconds rest.

Eat right
In theory, losing fat is simple: you need to burn more calories than you consume. The bigger the calorie deficit, the greater the fat loss. Be careful to fuel your exercise with slow burning carbohydrates (whole grain pastas and breads) and lean proteins (turkey) and avoid eating much of anything high in saturated fat, like cheese, butter and sugary sweets.

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