Can You Lose Weight in Your Thighs on a Stationary Bike?
Losing weight in a specific part of your body, commonly referred to as spot-training or spot-reducing, falls into the realm of other mythical ideas such as unicorns and the tooth fairy. When using a stationary bike, you don’t get to decide what part of your body you lose weight from. The good new is you can use a stationary bike to lose weight throughout your entire body, possibly including your thighs.
The Science of It All
While it may make sense to think that since you’re using your legs to pedal a stationary bike you would lose weight in your thighs, unfortunately, this is just wishful thinking. When you exercise, your muscles require energy to do their work. They get this energy from different sources including energy stored within the muscles and energy your body produces during exercise from the breakdown of carbohydrates and fats. While it is most definitely your leg muscles doing the work, they are powered by energy produced throughout your entire body that is delivered to the muscles via the bloodstream.
Thin Out the Thighs
Losing weight throughout your body and in your thighs can be accomplished a number of ways, a stationary bike being one of them. Commit to spending some time in the saddle most days of the week. In order to lose weight in your thighs and throughout the rest of your body, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends performing at least 250 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week. That boils down to about 36 minutes per day or 50 minutes five days a week on your bike.
If weight loss is your primary goal, a nice easy workout on the bike every day is not going to do you any favors. To lose weight, you’ve got to play the calorie game — expend more calories than you take in, and you should see the scale go down over time. During your stationary bike workout, the harder you work, the more calories you’ll burn. For example, Harvard Health Publications suggests that a 155-pound person will burn 260 calories riding a stationary bike at a moderate pace for 30 minutes, while that same person will burn 391 calories working at a vigorous pace. To increase the intensity of your workout, pedal at a faster pace or increase the resistance on the bike.
While primarily relying on a stationary bike to help you lose weight, you may eventually find yourself burnt out or stuck on a weight-loss plateau. In such cases, strength training can be a huge asset to get you back on track. Strength exercises will build muscle, which can give your metabolism a boost. Building muscle in the thighs can lead to leaner looking thighs, especially if you’ve managed to shed some fat with your stationary bike training. A healthy diet should also be your top priority when attempting to lose weight. Spending all day on a bike will do little if you fuel your body with an excess of empty calories. Reach for fresh, whole foods like vegetables, fruit, nuts, low-fat dairy, whole grains and lean sources of protein.
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