Belly fat can easily creep up due to a lack of exercise and poor nutrition. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to accumulate but tricky to get rid of. It’s not uncommon for guys to try a bevy of different exercise regimes in hopes of dropping the inches around their waistline. Belly fat isn’t just a cosmetic issue. It can lead to a host of health issues the more it collects, including a growing risk for heart disease. So how do you get rid of it?
One of the best ways to shed pounds off your belly and improve your overall health is by hopping on a mountain bike. Mountain biking is a unique activity that pushes the entire body. While your stomach muscles may not receive the brunt of the workout, it can increase your metabolism, kick fat-burning hormones into gear, and so much more. Here are three ways to ditch the belly fat on a mountain bike.
Three Ways to Burn Belly Fat on a Mountain Bike
1. Take an Extra Step
Generally, mountain biking is considered to be an aerobic exercise. It increases your heart rate to maximize the body’s fat-burning potential. Ideally, you’ll want to raise it to about 80% of the maximum heart rate. Of course, mountain biking has the added challenge of obstacles, turns, and inclines. As a result, you will experience periodic increases in intensity throughout the ride.
While you may be tempted to relax on that last stretch of the trail, you should always push yourself to finish on a high note. Not only will this make you feel great, but it will ensure that your body continues to burn as many calories as possible throughout the day. During your ride, the body is going through the muscle food reserves. It’s not until the end of the ride, when you start feeling tired, that the body is started to burn actual fat cells.
By taking that extra step and pushing hard at the end, your metabolism will see a lasting increase. Normal activities you perform throughout the day will burn more calories than normal, allowing you to see results much faster.
2. Interval Training
Interval training is a highly effective way of burning fat. It includes short bursts of high intensity followed by short periods of rest. This constant back and forth will burn more calories than just prolonged periods of moderate activity. In fact, it’s been known to be effective in burning abdominal fat.
As mentioned earlier, mountain biking already comes with its own built-in periods of intensity. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim for set intervals. It’s not uncommon for mountain bikers to relax on hills and only push hard where they have to. To see the most results, try to plan and time intervals.
One example of interval training on a mountain bike is to ride intensely for two minutes followed by 30 seconds of moderate riding. During this intense period, you should push yourself to work hard without overdoing it. You’ll feel your heart rate increase dramatically as you breathe harder, but you should never be gasping for air.
Interval training should be performed once or twice a week. While it may be tempting to increase the frequency of interval training, it may do more harm than good. Constant workouts with high intensity will keep your muscles sore, which could actually lead to fat being stored in your belly.
3. Set Goals and Challenge Yourself
Getting rid of belly fat and living a healthy life isn’t about making a temporary commitment to a handful of workouts. It takes continued dedication and a lifestyle change. To ensure that you stay on track and don’t gain back any pounds, it’s important to continually set new goals and challenge your body further. After doing the same training session day after day, your body will get used to the stress. You won’t see any more improvement, so always aim to push harder and ride longer.
In addition to working out, losing weight takes proper nutrition. There’s a fine balance between exercise and nutrition. Your body needs the fuel to burn fat, but the wrong kind of fuel will only set you back. Stick to a nutrient-rich diet that’s low in calories. Slow-burning carbs, junk foods, sugar, and “low-fat” foods should be avoided. With plenty of healthy foods and constant hydration, your body will thank you.
With that being said, it’s also important to set realistic goals to see results. One of the biggest reasons that people fall off their diet and exercise plan is because they don’t create this lifestyle change around their schedule and what they can realistically do. Keep in mind that change takes time and dedication. Start off small and introduce changes that you know you can stick with.
Calories Burned: Regular Riding vs. Mountain Biking
One of the reasons that mountain biking is a great option for burning fat is because it requires much more effort than biking on a road. Sure, cycling down a paved road is effective, but these trails lack the few things that make mountain biking so tough: the obstacles and terrain.
The unique terrain itself can be harder to maneuver compared to smooth pavement. Whether it’s mud, dirt, leaves, or grass, you’ll find that mountain biking requires much more effort to get going. Not only that, but most mountain trails feature a variety of different terrains throughout, requiring you to constantly adjust. On average, it requires around 30% more effort than road biking. Furthermore, mountain bikes are equipped with thicker and more robust tires to get over the terrain. They require more effort just to accelerate and keep steady.
Getting over obstacles on a trail is one of the more thrilling parts of mountain biking. Obstacles can include everything from fallen branches to steps. Road biking also has it’s set of obstacles, but nothing compares to the variability of a mountain trail. You have to stay alerted and think critically to get through. Most experienced mountain bikers have an arsenal of complex moves to get through anything, which requires more muscle power and effort.
Mountain biking requires constant power to get through. It’s a great alternative to road biking that provides periods of intense exercise. The activity puts your body in prime condition for burning calories throughout, including your belly. Because it’s so enjoyable, you can drop the pounds without even knowing it. With a continued dedication to regular workout routines and a lifestyle change, mountain biking can help you live healthily and get the body you’ve always wanted.