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Belly fat can often feel like an unwanted visitor that just doesn’t want to leave no matter what you do. Belly fat is the easiest to put on and the most difficult to shed, and you’ll need a combination of exercise, diet, and commitment to coax it to leave and tone your stomach.
Exercise bikes are one of the best ways to get a toned stomach free of belly fat. Below, we explore how tummy fat works and how an exercise bike helps you get rid of it.
How does abdominal fat work?
There are two types of abdominal fat: subcutaneous fat and visceral fat.
Subcutaneous fat is the squishy fat that’s stored just under the top layer of your skin. You can feel it by lightly pinching your belly.
Visceral fat, on the other hand, is a type of hidden belly fat that’s found deep within your skin and surrounds several of your vital organs such as your liver, pancreas, and intestines. In general, visceral fat should only be 10% of your body fat. It's the more harmful type of fat out of the two and puts you at risk for several illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and dementia.
What does a toned stomach mean?
Toning your stomach means reducing belly fat and increasing muscle definition. Reducing your belly fat alone won’t give you a toned look; you also need to strengthen and grow your abdominal muscles.
Does an exercise bike tone your stomach?
Yes, riding an exercise bike will help tone your stomach because riding is a form of cardio—a great way to burn calories and lose fat, including tummy fat.
It’s worth noting that you can’t spot-reduce or target belly fat alone. You’ll need to lose weight overall, some of which will come off your stomach.
Aerobic exercises, such as pedaling on a stationary bike, increase your heart rate to 65-75% of its maximum rate, known as the fat burning zone. This is the heart rate at which you start burning calories and shedding excess body fat…provided you stay consistent, follow a proper diet, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Does cycling tone your lower stomach?
Yes, cycling helps you lose belly fat and tones your entire stomach, including both the upper and lower portions. Remember, an exercise bike won’t help you burn belly fat alone; it’ll burn fat everywhere, including your abdominal fat. Cycling on a stationary bike also relieves stress, which is one of the causes for belly fat, especially the more harmful visceral fat.
How does an exercise bike help you reduce tummy fat?
Since riding an exercise bike is a cardio exercise, it elevates your heart rate, burning calories. An average person weighing 155 lbs can burn 252 calories in 30 minutes while cycling at a moderate pace.
In addition to burning calories, riding a stationary bike increases your resting metabolic rate. This means you'll burn more calories at rest.
When riding on an exercise bike, you activate and engage your abdominal muscles to keep you stabilized throughout your workout, making them tighter and firmer.
How to maintain proper form on an exercise bike
When working out on an exercise bike, it’s important to have proper form to avoid injury and maximize the effectiveness of your exercise. Here are a few tips that will help you maintain good posture when cycling:
- Keep your spine neutral.
- Keep your feet flat so as not to put any pressure on your knees.
- Hold your head up to prevent dizziness.
- Don’t lean on your handlebars as this will put pressure on your wrist and forearms.
Techniques for strengthening your core while working out on an exercise bike
Once you’ve mastered your form, use these techniques to strengthen your core and get those abs that you’ve always wanted.
Engage your core
Engaging your core basically refers to contracting your abdominal muscles and is important to tone your belly. This is because when you tighten your ab muscles, you’re ensuring that it’s your abs that are doing the work instead of passing on the responsibility to other muscles.
To tighten your core, take a deep breath and contract your stomach muscles and keep them that way. When you breathe, only your ribs should move in and out.
For an added benefit, incorporate ab crunches by alternating between tightening your abs and releasing it every minute.
Use one arm
Using one arm and switching between hands will help you challenge your balance, forcing you to use your core to stabilize. Tighten your core and lift your right arm to place it behind your back. Switch arms after a minute.
Standing up instead of sitting on the saddle adds to the intensity of your workout, engaging your abs further. You can either stand up for short intervals or try standing up throughout for a challenging exercise session. Another option is to stand up for 30-60 seconds, followed by sitting for 30-60 seconds.
Learn about how a stationary bike compares to an elliptical: Elliptical vs. Stationary Bike
Different types of training on an exercise bike
To reap the full benefits of working out on an exercise bike to lose belly fat and tone your stomach, you need to vary your routine by switching up the intensity of your exercises. This prevents you from falling into a slump.
Here are a few different types of training you can do on exercise bikes:
Steady-state cycling refers to riding your exercise bike at the same moderate-level intensity throughout your workout without changing your pace. During a steady-state biking session, your heart rate increases to about 50-70% of your maximum heart rate. Your breathing will become a bit more difficult than normal, but you should be able to hold a conversation.
Steady-state cardio is a great stationary bike workout for beginners as it doesn’t tire you out too much. It helps you build endurance and improves your body’s ability to use fat as a source for fuel, promoting weight loss.
For beginners, we recommend starting with 30-minute cycling sessions for 2-3 days a week. You can gradually increase the frequency to 4-5 times per week after training for 3-4 weeks.
After 4-6 weeks of training at a moderate pace, it’s time to turn up the heat with some high-intensity cycling where you train for shorter periods of time, such as 15-20 minutes, with a higher resistance. During an intense workout session, you push your body out of its comfort zone and your heart beat jumps up to 80-90% of your maximum heart rate.
When you cycle at a higher resistance, your body utilizes a greater amount of energy, which means you burn more calories than you would while working out at lower resistance. This helps you reduce belly fat more effectively.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
Instead of steady high-intensity workouts, you can also opt for HIIT workouts where you alternate intensities by pedaling at maximum effort for short intervals such as 30-90 seconds and following it with short periods of rest of around 60-90 seconds. In short, you alternate between short bursts of very intense intervals followed by short rest periods.
A HIIT cycling workout will look like this:
- 30 seconds of pedaling as fast as you can at a high resistance
- 60-90 seconds of rest where you cycle slowly at a low resistance
- Repeat for 8 intervals
HIIT cycling is excellent for burning lots of calories in a short amount of time. Apart from utilizing fat as a fuel for energy, it also induces Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), which keeps your metabolism engaged, burning calories even after you’re done with your workout.
According to research, when you cycle on an empty stomach, your glucose stores are low, forcing your body to use fat as fuel for energy. This leads to a higher fat burn than performing the same exercise after food.
Start with 1-2 days of low-intensity fasted cycling for 30-45 minutes. If you feel dizzy or weak, get off the bike and eat a banana or dates to boost blood sugar levels. You can also have a cup of black coffee before your fasted training.
How long should I cycle to tone my stomach?
If you’re a complete beginner, start with 30-minute sessions twice per week. After a 3-4 weeks, increase the frequency and duration to 45-minute sessions 3-5 times per week.
After 4-6 weeks, crank up the heat by increasing your workout intensity.
Aim for 2 HIIT sessions per week so that you give yourself enough time to recover. Add in a session of fasted training, and you should have enough variety in your routine to burn belly fat effectively and tone your abs.
Here’s a sample of a weekly exercise bike routine once you’ve built up your strength and endurance:
|Fasted cycling at a steady-state
Pro Tip: Always warm-up for 10 minutes with some dynamic stretches before you hop on your exercise bike, and end your sessions with 10 minutes of static stretching.
Find out how an exercise bike compares to a rowing machine: Stationary bike vs. Rowing machine
Cycle your way to a toned stomach
To achieve your fitness goals and lose abdominal fat, stay consistent by cycling at least 3-4 times per week, maintaining a proper diet, and getting at least 8 hours of sleep.
Be sure to follow a proper diet so that your calorie expenditure is more than your calorie intake. This means reducing your alcohol consumption, swapping sugary foods such as chocolate bars with fresh fruits, and eliminating junk food. You’ll start to see results in as little as a few months!
Ascend exercise bikes help you achieve a toned stomach right from the comfort of your own home. Shop now