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3 cycling training plans to burn calories

These 3 cycling training plans will help you burn calories and reduce body weight in a few weeks of regular training.

Stationary bikes torch a massive amount of calories and can be very effective in helping you lose weight. For consistent results, you need to follow a structured training plan adapted to your routine, fitness level, and goals. Overcommitting to an intense schedule can be tempting but may lead to burnout instead of helping you achieve your fitness goals faster. Moreover, it’s much safer to stick to several workouts per week and gradually raise intensity, rather than going too hard at the start. In this article, you will find 3 cycling training plans for different levels optimized to maximize calorie burn.

Cycling plan training zones

To follow any cycling training plan, first you need to determine your training zones built around your target heart rate. You will find a training zone reference in most workout examples as this is the easiest way to determine workout intensity. Interval training alternates high and low-intensity training zones.

 

These are the 5 training zones used in aerobic workouts:

 

  • Zone 1: (50-59% of HR max) – A warm-up pace or recovery ride.
  • Zone 2: (60-69%) – Endurance zone, used in steady-state cardio workouts to build the cardio base.
  • Zone 3: (70-79%) – Aerobic tempo zone, used to build up on your endurance and lactate tolerance. For high-intensity interval training, your heart rate should be in Zone 3 or higher.
  • Zone 4: (80-89%) – Lactate threshold zone or race pace.
  • Zone 5: (90-100%) – Above the threshold zone is usually used for short sprint intervals such as REHIT. Zones 4 and 5 are the most effective for burning calories.
 
 

Some workout plans feature a functional threshold power (FTP)–a fitness metric considered to be more accurate than a training zone. FTP indicates the amount of work (average power) you can sustain for long durations, measured in watts per kilogram. Your FTP increases with practice, and you’ll need to regularly adjust your training regimen and reset your training zones based on your FTP level.

 

You can ascertain your maximum heart rate and FTP through the test offered on CAROL Bike. After you perform a rigorous 20-minute session at your maximum effort, your average heart rate from this session will be reduced by 5% to give you your threshold heart rate (this is the peak heart rate that you can maintain for an hour–a more practical measure than HR Max for defining training zones).

 

One more indicator that you can come across in a stationary bike workout plan is the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). This is a completely subjective feeling of how strenuous your efforts are, measured on a 1-10 scale.

Types of workouts for your training plan

Usually, a balanced training plan includes different types of workouts: HIIT workouts, moderate-intensity endurance rides, and low-impact restoring workouts. According to research, how many calories you burn during a workout mostly depends on exercise intensity, not duration. Interval training has shown to be the most effective for weight loss so it should be the foundation of your training plan. Schedule 1-3 HIIT workouts per week allowing at least one day of rest between them. If you can do more training sessions, schedule endurance rides or active rest for other days.

How often should you work out?

Proper rest between your training sessions is crucial because your body builds muscle and gets extra calories burned when you recover from physical activity. Non-professional athletes are recommended to have no more than 5 workouts per week, with no more than 3 of them being HIIT workouts.

 

You can still do some low-impact workouts on your rest days such as a yoga session, walking, or stretching.

Training plan 1: 8-week most effective cycling training plan on CAROL Bike

This training plan combines the 2 most effective CAROL Bike workouts designed to help you burn more calories than regular training and effectively reduce body fat in the shortest possible time. Studies show you will see significant improvements in just 8 weeks.

 

REHIT and Fat Burn Ride

 

CAROL Bike’s Reduced Exertion HIIT (REHIT) and Fat Burn Rides are short, intense interval workouts that create a long-lasting afterburn effect. Research shows that more than 50% of total calorie burn happens after these workouts. Thus, participants burned 66% extra calories for 77.4 mins after completing a REHIT workout and burned up to 196% calories during 167.4 mins after completing a Fat Burn Ride.

 

REHIT is the shortest, most effective workout proven to deliver superior health and fitness benefits in 90% less time compared to regular cardio. Within a 5-minute workout, you work hard for 2×20-second maximum intensity sprints only. As well as a high afterburn effect, REHIT on CAROL Bike is proven to significantly improve your cardiorespiratory fitness and cardiometabolic health. 

 

CAROL’s Fat Burn Ride is a 17-minute HIIT session consisting of 60×8-second sprints. A larger volume of shorter sprints allows your body to work out for a longer period promoting fat loss. This challenging and effective workout triggers a massive calorie burn during and after exercise.

 

For the most optimal results, it’s recommended to do 3x REHIT workouts per week complemented by 1-2 Fat Burn Rides. The number of training sessions should gradually increase from week to week so that your body can adjust to the exertion level.

 

Weeks 1-4

 

Monday – REHIT

 

Tuesday – Active rest day: Yoga, stretching, or Zone 2 cycling

 

Wednesday – Fat Burn Ride

 

Thursday – Active rest day

 

Friday – REHIT

 

Saturday – Complete rest

 

Sunday – Fat Burn Ride

 

Weeks 5-8

 

Starting from week 5, you can increase the number of REHIT workouts to 3x per week.

 

Monday – REHIT

 

Tuesday – Fat Burn Ride

 

Wednesday – Active rest

 

Thursday – REHIT

 

Friday – Fat Burn Ride

 

Saturday – Complete rest

 

Sunday – REHIT

CAROL burns over twice as many calories, minute-per-minute vs. traditional exercise, largely thanks to afterburn.

Training plan 2: 6-week intense Tabata training plan for increased calorie burn

This advanced workout plan includes 3x intense Tabata sessions that may help you burn up to 15 calories per minute. One round of this effective workout consists of 8 cycles of 20-second intense cycling and 10-second rest in between. Complete training usually consists of 5 rounds and takes 20 minutes. If Tabata is too challenging for you, you can replace it with another HIIT workout such as 30/30 intervals, Hill ride, or Pyramid training.

 

This plan also includes 1 strength training session per week which is important to preserve lean muscle mass and increase resting metabolic rate.

 

Monday – 20-mins Tabata session

 

Tuesday – Active rest

 

Wednesday – 20-mins Tabata session

 

Thursday – Complete rest

 

Friday – 20-mins Tabata session

 

Saturday – 45-mins endurance ride

 

Sunday – Strength training

Training plan 3: 12-week weight loss plan for beginners

If you are just getting started with indoor cycling, it’s important to gradually increase the training intensity. This training plan starts with a low-impact exercise and introduces more intense training in later weeks.

 

Weeks 1-4

 

During the first month, you get your body used to a regular low-impact workout to build endurance and prepare for longer rides.

 

Monday – 30-mins ride at a moderate pace (Zone 2)

 

Tuesday – Active rest

 

Wednesday – 30-mins ride (Zone 2)

 

Thursday – Complete rest

 

Friday – 30-mins ride (Zone 2) or Strength training

 

Saturday – Active rest

 

Sunday – Complete rest

 

Weeks 5-8

 

During the second month, you can introduce one interval training and a longer endurance ride to increase your calorie burn rate. 30/30 intervals are one the easiest HIIT to start with.

 

Monday – 45-mins ride at a moderate pace (Zone 2)

 

Tuesday – Active rest

 

Wednesday – 25-mins 30/30 HIIT:

  • 2 mins – Warm-up (Zone 1)
  • 30 sec – Intense cycling (Zone 4)
  • 30 sec – Rest (Zone 1)
  • Repeat 20 times
  • 3 mins – Cooldown (Zone 1)

 

Thursday – Complete rest

 

Friday – 1-hour endurance ride (Zone 2)

 

Saturday – Active rest

 

Sunday – Complete rest

 

Weeks 9-12

 

In the last month, you add a Pyramid interval ride increasing an overall number of training sessions to 4.

 

Monday – 45-mins ride at a moderate pace (Zone 2)

 

Tuesday – Active rest

 

Wednesday – 25-mins 30/30 HIIT

 

Thursday – Complete rest

 

Friday – 1-hour endurance ride (Zone 2)

 

Saturday – Active rest

 

Sunday – 25-mins Pyramid workout

 

  • 5-mins – Warm-up
  • 20 seconds – Intense cycling (zone 5)
    20 seconds – Rest
  • 30 seconds – Intense cycling (zone 5)
    30 seconds – Rest
  • 40 seconds – Intense cycling (zone 5)
    40 seconds – Rest
  • 50 seconds – Intense cycling (zone 5)
    50 seconds – Rest
  • 60 seconds – Intense cycling (zone 5)
    60 seconds – Rest
  • 50 seconds – Intense cycling (zone 5)
    50 seconds – Rest
  • 40 seconds – Intense cycling (zone 5)
    40 seconds – Rest
  • 30 seconds – Intense cycling (zone 5)
    30 seconds – Rest
  • 20 seconds – Intense cycling (zone 5)
    20 seconds – Rest
  • 5-minute cool down

Conclusion

Get started by choosing one of these training plans and put it into action. Just as with any other exercise, indoor cycling requires consistency to burn calories and improve your body composition. Remember that your weight loss results depend on various other factors too, including your nutrition, sleeping habits, and stress levels.

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