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7 tips to get more calories burned by stationary bike workout

Effective strategies to raise calorie burn on an exercise bike include introducing interval training, experimenting with exercise intensity, adding more resistance, and keeping your training plan diverse.

A stationary bike is a primary choice for many people to lose a few inches off their waist. One of the appealing sides of this cardio training is that you can easily adjust the intensity of your workouts. You can increase the calories you burn riding by experimenting with the intensity, duration, and resistance of your exercise bike workout. These strategies are easy to incorporate into your stationary bike workouts and will help you to lose weight faster.

The factors influencing your calorie burn

There are two groups of factors that determine your calorie burn rate.


The first group is related to your overall metabolism. This includes your age, gender, the amount of lean muscle mass, medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, and genetical factors. These factors will determine how much work it will take for you to lose weight, however most are hard or impossible to influence.


The second group of factors directly relates to your exercise bike routine:


Workout intensity


Interval training such as HIIT and REHIT burns substantially more calories than a steady-state exercise bike workout of the same length, as demonstrated by this study.




Higher resistance requires more power output and strengthens your muscles. Hill rides incorporate various types of resistance levels during intervals.




Cadence is your pedaling speed—the faster your pedal, the higher your heart rate becomes and the more calories you burn. All-out sprints like REHIT require you to pedal at your maximum capacity leading to a massive caloric expenditure in just a few minutes.


Workout length


Contrary to popular belief, your workout length isn’t directly correlated with the total number of calories you burn from a workout. For example, you’ll burn more calories on a 15-minute CAROL ride than a 30-minute run due to a phenomenon called EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption). At the same time, workout length is important when it comes to low-intensity Zone 2 riding. You need to exercise at least 60 minutes ata moderate pace to get substantial benefits from this type of training.


Workout frequency


It’s important to stay in your sweet spot when it comes to workout frequency. You need to find the pace that you can maintain to burn calories in the long term. Exercising too often may lead to overuse injuries and fast burnout. For most beginners, 2-3 training sessions per week are an optimal solution. Remember to have at least 1 day of complete rest per week.

7 tricks to get more calories burned on your stationary exercise bike

1. Add short all-out sprints

Short maximum-intensity sprint workouts increase your metabolic rate for hours. This type of training contributes to a significantly greater excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) during which your body keeps burning calories to pay off the “oxygen debt”. EPOC may last for up to 48 hours being an effective means of body fat loss.


While there are many sprint interval training protocols that you can try, research demonstrates that Reduced Exertion HIIT (REHIT) is the shortest, most effective option. REHIT can be completed in as little as 5-minutes and consists of just 2×20-second sprints. It’s designed to offer the most time-efficient and accessible way to exercise. Studies show that just 2×20-second sprints are enough to deplete glycogen stores to a level that triggers important metabolic events—leading to the longest EPOC effect lasting for up to 48 hours after exercise.


CAROL Bike is the only bike fully optimized for REHIT. You’ll burn more calories on a 15-minute CAROL ride, than a 30-minute run. In fact, 66% of calories will be burned in the hours following CAROL Bike’s REHIT.


With AI-personalization built into the bike, CAROL workouts are suitable for any age and fitness level. And just 3×5 minutes workouts per week are enough to get substantial benefits.

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

2. Go for high-resistance hill rides

Cycling uphill is another effective way to multiply the number of calories burned during the training. It’s not unusual to burn up to 1,000 calories in one hour in some cases. The larger gear you use when riding an exercise bike, the more power it requires.


While you may not be able to endure uphill cycling for a prolonged amount of time, you can include it in your interval training sessions. If you are a beginner, you can start with 5-6 1-minute sprints at 80 rpm with a 2-minute rest in between.

3. Stand up when riding

An out-of-saddle ride is harder to perform—it requires an additional upper-body effort to support your body and move the bike resulting in a higher metabolic cost. Generally, a higher metabolic cost means lower efficiency—you produce less power for more energy which is good for losing weight but not helpful for your athletic performance.


At the same time, a 2016 study notes that the difference in cycling economy diminishes when cycling intensity increases. This means, the harder you ride (either in terms of speed or resistance), the more efficient it becomes to ride out of the saddle. That’s why out-of-saddle sprints are often combined with hill workouts because they allow you to have a higher power output when cycling uphill.


It’s easier to start with an out-of-saddle ride by increasing cadence, not resistance. To get started, try doing 4×30-second out-of-saddle sprints cycling as fast as you can, with a 1-minute rest in between.

4. Alternate long steady rides with interval training

When your body adapts to your exercise routine, it starts burning fewer calories with the same level of exertion. Diversifying your training schedule is pivotal to moving through a weight loss plateau which occurs for the majority of people after several weeks of training.


The easiest way to bring more diversity to your training is to alternate between REHIT, hill rides, and long steady rides. Different exercise bike workouts will help you train different aspects of your performance including speed, endurance, or strength.

5. Do cross-training

Cross-training is another solution to diversify your training routine. This is a common practice of alternating your main physical activity with other types of training. The main cross-training advantage is that you can use your rest days to train complementary muscle groups and burn calories without the risk of overuse injuries. The best cross-training options for cyclists include strength training, swimming, yoga, pilates, and stretching.


Strength training is particularly important to build more lean muscle mass and improve your cycling performance. Muscles burn more calories at rest and help you perform more intense workouts contributing to the overall number of calories burned.

While cycling puts the most load on your lower body, a strong core and upper body are important to maintain the right posture and to be able to endure long rides. To achieve better results opt for classic full-body strength training with a focus on upper-body exercises such as plank, crunches, and push-ups once a week.

6. Take breaks in your exercise routine

Not only does your body burn fewer calories during routine training but it also compensates the number of calories burned at rest.


Weight loss programs normally recommend aiming at a 500-600 calorie deficit through exercising and dieting to lose weight. However, they don’t take into account that our body compensates for the calories burned during exercise. According to the research, a long-term increase in exercise leads to a 28% reduction in calories burned by the body during basic activities like sleeping. This reduction is proportionally higher for people with a higher BMI making it even harder for them to lose weight.


Periodically changing your exercise routine and diet may help diminish this compensation effect. In addition to new exercise bike workouts, take a complete week off from training and change your nutrition when you hit a weight loss plateau.

7. Choose the right time for your meals

You can eat before or after your training session—depending on the training time, workout intensity, and overall feeling. To perform a HIIT session at full force, it’s important to stay well-fueled. That’s why it’s not recommended to schedule an all-out training session in pre-breakfast hours. Instead of burning more calories, you may underperform your training, feel lightheaded, and even increase the risk of injury. Low-intensity Zone 2 cycling is a more suitable option for fasted morning training.


Nutrition time is very individual, and you need to cautiously try all options yourself. If you are an advanced athlete, short fasted HIIT training may be suitable for you. Include a balanced mix of carbohydrates, lean protein, and fats in your diet. Remember to stay hydrated before and after your stationary bike workout.

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