How to Lose Weight on a Stationary Bike?

How to Lose Weight on a Stationary Bike?

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Are you aiming to lose weight on your exercise bike? Burn these damn calories? Get rid off these unwanted kilos and fat? We will reveal you EVERYTHING! And more: How many calories should you burn to lose 1kg of fat? Which training is more efficient to lose weight? Why is it important to burn fat but also refine legs, thighs and buttocks and strengthen your muscles?

1) How many calories should you burn to lose 1kg of fat?

​1 gram of fat is equivalent to 9 kilocalories so you need to burn 9 000 kilocalories to lose 1kg of fat. Our body however burns calories for digestion, about 2 000 kcal for 1kg of fat. You thus need to burn 7 000 kilocalories to lose 1kg of fat.

Calories or Kilocalories ? We often hear people talking about calories but it’s actually wrong. We should indeed say kilocalories. If you look on the packaging of food products, you’ll see the kcal unit (kilocalories).

The good and the bad news! We humans are very good fat store keepers but also very poor fat sellers! For some of you, this will sound like two bad news… Our body does get rid off fat only if it is forced to do it. The good news is that it happens! Especially when you are exercising and doing sport.

2) How many calories do you burn by working out on a stationary bike?

Exercise or physical activity (1h)Calories burnt
Walking (5km/h) 207 kcal
Exercise Bike, moderate intensity 413 kcal
Exercise Bike, vigorous intensity 620 kcal
Exercise Bike, very high intensity 738 kcal

In order to lose 1kg, you need to exercise three times a week for 1h on your stationary bike, that is approximately 13 hours of exercise per month (620 x 13 = 8 060 kcal). 30 minutes of stationary bike 3 times a week will enable you to lose 0,5 kg per month. Here is the next question: Isn’t it more efficient to do an interval training (HIIT) than a cardio workout to lose weight?

Lose 1kg per month. 1h of stationary bike 3 times a week will allow you to lose 1kg per month.

Cardio vs Interval Training: Which is the most efficient workout to lose weight?

This question has been debated among researchers and many studies have been carried out about that! The interval training is for sure more intense but also shorter than a cardio workout. During a cardio workout (in the aerobic zone in which your heart rate reaches 70 to 80 % of your maximum heart rate), your body uses fat reserves to produce energy while it first draws on sugar reserves during a high intensity interval training (see How to exercise on a stationary bike?).

However, our body continues to burn calories and fat several hours after exercise.This is known as the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) 1 or the afterburn effect. This scientific study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences suggested a relationship between the exercise intensity and the duration of the EPOC.

Researchers from the Florida State University showed that the people who had done an interval training were burning 10 % more calories over the 24 hours after exercise than those who had done a cardio workout, the calories burnt during exercise had been the same for the two groups of people.

Another study published in the Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2 showed that people who cycled for 45 minutes at a vigorous pace burned 190 kilocalories after the exercise in the following 14 hours, which represent 37% of the calories burned during exercise.

What you should know. After an interval training (HIIT), your body continues to burn calories during 24 hours!

Recent studies tend to show that a combination of cardio workout and HIIT would be more efficient and have greater benefit than each individual training separately! Practicing both types of training, cardio and interval training, would be the best solution to lose weight.

What you should know. The idea that muscles are much heavier than fat (5 to 10 times) and therefore sport, resulting in muscle gain, would prevent you from losing weight and even make you gain weight is a myth! Muscles are slightly heavier than fat: only 15 % heavier. Really no reason to worry! Moreover, you won’t gain 1kg of muscle when you lose 1kg of fat.


3) The fat / muscle ratio: more important than calories!

Starting from 25 years, we lose muscles and if we don’t do anything to compensate, our muscles will melt and our fat increase over the years. It is therefore extremely important to exercise and do sport regularly. The stationary bike is a very good way to exercise and it also strengthens your thighs, legs and buttocks. But that’s not all!

When you are not doing sport (and that’s a real good news!), your body still burns calories at rest, all the more since your muscle mass is important! 1kg of muscle burns 12 kcal per day at rest, while 1kg of fat only burns 4 kcal per day. Muscles burn 3 times more calories at rest than fat.

It is therefore important to have sufficient muscle to naturally burn ingested calories. Working out on an exercise bike will help you to increase your muscle mass and burn calories at rest as well! Having a regular physical activity results in a virtuous circle: less fat, more muscles, more calories burnt, etc.

What you should know. Another myth has been circulating for a very long time and you will still find it on websites and magazines: Muscles would burn 50 times more calories than fat. This is unfortunately not the truth… Muscles only burn 3 times more calories than fat, which is already not too bad, isn’t it?

How can you calculate your muscle and body fat mass?

You need a smart scale or a body fat scale (like this one or that one from the brand Nokia). The body fat scale will tell you exactly what percentage of muscle and fat your body is composed of.

Once you know how many kilograms of muscle you have, you can multiply that number by 12 in order to know how many calories your muscles burn at rest each day. You will easily see that the more muscles you have, the more calories you burn at rest and the easier it is to maintain your weight. The body fat scale will help you to follow your body fat and muscle.

The Body Fat Percentage (BFP)

IMG < 25% Too thin
25% < IMG < 30% Average
IMG > 30% Fat percentage is too high
IMG < 15% Too thin
15% < IMG < 20% Average
IMG > 20% Fat percentage is too high

To lose fat and not muscles, that’s key! That’s why sport is essential in a diet. The exercise on a stationary bike is a very good way to reduce body fat and strengthen your muscles. Strengthen your muscles is important as it gives you a good silhouette. But regular exercise is not enough to lose weight, you should also find a balance between calorie consumption and calorie intake.

What you should know. Men are naturally and generally more muscular than women: muscle mass in men is about 35 % and in women 28 %. This explains why men lose weight faster than women for a similar diet.


4) Which balance between calorie intake and exercise?

Daily Calorie Needs

25 to 51 years 2 700 kcal 2 200 kcal
51 to 65 years 2 500 kcal 2 000 kcal
65 years and above 2 300 kcal 1 800 kcal

The daily calorie needs represented above are those of people having a light physical activity during the day (30 minutes a day). These values may vary according to the physical acitvity (time and frequency): about +10 % for 1 hour of daily physical activity and -10 % for no physical activity at all.

A 40-year-old woman taking 2 200 kilocalories per day will be well balanced. However, if she has a regular physical activity (on average 2-3 times a week during 1 hour), then she will strengthen her muscles and lose weight in ideal conditions.

You’ll find below other practical tips and advice to help you lose weight on your exercise bike. If you follow these advice, no doubt you’ll get rid off these unwanted kilos!

- Set yourself a reasonable objective that you are able to reach. For example: losing 1kg per month on your stationary bike, which makes 8 000 kilocalories to burn each month. By taking too ambitious a goal, chances are high you will lose motivation pretty quickly. Moreover, by trying to lose too much weight too fast, you may regain weight in the mid-term, which is known as the yo-yo effect.
- Create an habit : workout every Monday and Thursday at 6:30 pm for 1h and never miss one session! You can for example use the Vescape Exercise Bike App, create trainings and name them « Monday 6:30 », « Thursday 6:30 », which is going to help you to follow your training plan!
- Acquire a body fat scale so that you can follow your muscle and body fat mass..
- Make sure you have a balanced diet and you cover (not exceed!) your daily calorie needs.

1. Effects of exercise intensity and duration on the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. LaForgia J1, Withers RT, Gore CJ. Journal of Sports Sciences, 2006 Dec. 24(12):1247-64.
2. A 45-minute vigorous exercise bout increases metabolic rate for 14 hours. Knab AM1, Shanely RA, Corbin KD, Jin F, Sha W, Nieman DC. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2011 Sep. 43(9):1643-8. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182118891.

Clara Miller