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Do Electric Bikes Burn Belly Fat or Just Another Misconception?

Amy L

I started my cycling journey while being overweight so this is close to my heart. I found that the more I rode, the more pounds I lost. I’m not talking big rides either. I would try to combine frequent low-impact rides with high-intensity interval sessions thrown in, which worked well to increase my progress.

When you use an e-bike to exercise, you’re doing an aerobic exercise which increases your metabolism. What this translates to is your body burning calories, leading to burning belly fat.

In this guide, we’ll be answering the question "do electric bikes burn belly fat", what the best training plans are, and a few other methods to get you to your weight loss goal.

Which Is Best for Losing Belly Fat - An E-bike Or a Traditional Bike?

So, here’s the thing, there is some stigma around e-bikes. Whilst this is slowly going away, some people might think that you aren’t working as hard on an electric bike.

However,

The truth is that studies have shown that there’s only a 10% difference in efforts between riding a traditional bike and an e-bike.

Sure, hills aren’t as difficult to climb on an e-bike but depending on how much assistance you ask of the motor, you can still be putting in a lot of effort.

The real gem about electric bikes is that they give riders the confidence to take on hills or distances they wouldn’t normally want to tackle. So, they’re already doing more than they would on a traditional bike.

There is evidence to show that cyclists who own e-bikes use them more frequently, meaning that they get on their bikes more often and burn more calories.

So whilst, yes, you expend 10% more effort when you’re on a traditional bike when you weigh everything up, an e-bike usually comes out on top.

I have to say that this has been my experience too. When I hired an e-bike, I had the confidence to go further and to climb more hills than I would otherwise.

For more information on the differences between e-biking and regular cycling, check this out.

Lady In Black Jacket Riding A Cycle

Does Riding An E-Bike Increase Your Metabolism?

The belly is one of the hardest places to lose fat. It’s also one of the easiest places for fat to build up. Feels a bit unfair?

The issue with belly fat is that it comes with some potentially serious problems, so it’s good to get rid of it when you can.

What problems are we talking about?

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol

Now that may sound scary and, it is, but an electric bike is a fantastic way to tackle belly fat.

Cycling is known to boost your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories and increase the production of fat-burning hormones.

This all works because your body uses and creates energy based on how you burn calories.

The result of an increase in exercise?

Your metabolism will burn a greater number of calories each day, increasing weight loss.

What About Crunches Or Sit-Ups?

It can be easy to think that crunches or sit-ups will directly tackle belly fat. That’s something I used to believe.

However, these exercises focus on increasing your abdominal muscles, rather than tackling visceral fat. So you could have fantastic muscles but your belly will be hiding them!

That’s the difference between cycling and e-bikes. They are an effective tool for burning belly fat due to the nature of the exercise.

Cycling is an aerobic and cardio exercise. It’s know to boost your fitness levels over time, as well as your metabolism.

This is why it’s a better exercise than doing crunches or sit-ups. It’s vastly superior at reducing visceral fat and as such, works to increase how much fat you can burn.

There is no denying that strength training has its benefits, and I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do any. Just remember that this type of training is focused on building muscle. Aerobic exercises are focused on increase your overall fitness, including fat loss.

Want to know about more benefits of cycling? Read this.

Lady Parked The Cycle For A Mountain View

Do A Mixture Of High And Low-Intensity Exercises On Your Electric Bike

To maximize your training your efforts, it’s best to mix up the intensity in which you exercise.

If you switch between doing some high-intensity and low-intensity workouts, you’re going to get the best out of your training.

The great thing about electric bikes is that they allow you to create workout plans for this.

Depending on how often you plan on riding, I would suggest that you allow for a few days of high-intensity workouts and use the rest of your time to focus on low-intensity rides and rest days. This gives your body a good balance of workouts and the best chance of shifting that belly fat.

The Importance Of High-Intensity Workouts

Despite the name, high-intensity workouts are easy to do. I’m not saying that because they aren’t, but they’re easy to set up!

The importance of fitting some of these workouts into your training is that they are proven to be effective at reducing belly fat compared to low-intensity exercises.

One of the great things is that you don’t have to fill your routine with many of these workouts. Just one or two a week should have you seeing some benefits!

Once you start seeing results, it can be quite tempting to increase the number of high-intensity workouts you do. Don’t.

Many experts suggest doing these workouts once or twice a week at most.

Why?

You put yourself at risk of overexerting yourself and reducing your progress. Neither of which we want.

Woman Riding Bicycle On Road

How To Do A High-Intensity Workout On Your E-Bike

There is a basic pattern for this type of workout, so they aren’t complicated to create.

So the concept of this type of training is that you go between doing stages of very high-intensity stints, to low intensity and rest periods.

You should aim to do around two to five reps for a workout.

If you’re looking for an example of what you could do on your electric bicycle, it looks something like this:

  • Light warmup (5 - 10 mins)
  • Start to increase your speed
  • Set a target of burning a certain number of calories a minute. You want to keep your pace high but sustainable. Finding that balance can take a while so don’t be put off if it doesn’t happen straight away. For example, you might find a pace of 10mph/16kmph is good. Aim to do this for 20 - 30 minutes.
  • During this time throw in high-intensity sprints. These can be 30 seconds to four minutes. Whatever you feel comfortable with at the time. Then your rest period should be half the time of your high-intensity effort, sometimes longer, which you may find necessary in the beginning.
  • Once you’ve done 2 - 5 reps of these intervals, you should cool down on your bike. This means you slow the pace down - do this for the same time as you spent warming up.

That’s just an example of what you can do. But as you can see, high-intensity workouts don’t take a lot of time.

There are other benefits too. Doing some high-intensity training allows your body to release human growth hormones.

What are the benefits of this?

It helps you burn fat and it does impact your appetite, meaning that you’re less likely to overeat and succumb to a binge.

I can’t stress enough how important it is not to overdo interval training. You risk injuring yourself and stalling any progress of your weight loss so it won’t bring about any benefits.

How Many Calories Should You Aim To Burn On Your Electric Bike?

A solid weekly goal to have is to burn around 2000 calories every week.

Sounds like a lot?

Your average cyclist will burn around 300 - 500 calories per hour, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time on your electric bike before you hit that goal.

Don’t forget that when you throw in a few high-intensity workouts, you’re going to burn more calories. This makes it more possible to achieve your goal weight.

Let’s not forget that when you’re exercising on an electric bike, not only are you burning calories, you’re also increasing your overall fitness levels, improving your metabolism too.

Woman In Blue Shirt Riding A Bike

Is Cycling While Fasting Good For Weightloss?

This one is up for debate.

There is some evidence to suggest that cycling on an empty stomach could help increase your weight loss.

You can still drink water so don’t skimp on that but try to avoid having a snack.

The idea behind this is that your glucose levels are low, so when your body needs fuel, it looks to your fat store. This means that when it comes to burning fat, this will happen more quickly.

British Cycling is in favor of fasted rides.

Final Thoughts

Using an electric bike allows you to set realistic and achievable fitness goals.

High-intensity workouts can be fitted into your week to maximize your results.

Overall, e-bikes are a fantastic way to get to where you want to be...in more ways than one!

Amy L
About the Author
I'm Amy, A writer and when I'm not writing, I'm usually found on two wheels! I own several bikes; my favourite has to be my faithful Bianchi Infinito CV. We've been through a lot together - we've even been to Paris together...twice!. My first carbon bike. My first love. Cycling is my passion and climbing is my thing, so if there's a climb out there you think I should know about - let me know!
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