Lose Weight Mountain Biking – Does it Work?

Lose Weight Mountain Biking - Does it Work?

I decided to write this article on whether or not you can lose weight mountain biking because of a radical change in my exercise and fitness life. Regulars to this website will know that I’m a dedicated distance runner…but all of that has changed over recent months!

I LOVE running and I love the effect it has on my overall weight – I feel good with it and I look good with it!

Unfortunately, the last decade of (rather hard) running has resulted in me seeing a lot of new injuries pop up in the leg and feet areas. Could this be something to do with the fact that I’m now in my early 40’s?

Maybe, but all I know is that I’m sick to death of the pain I’m causing myself through road running.

My most recent injury was an especially painful one, that lasted just over a month – something called metatarsalgia (and MAN did it hurt!).

The initial injury was bad enough…but as soon as I got rid of it…it returned…TWICE!

Anyway, all this pain pushed me down the road to change – I needed to put another form of cardio into my life, and the only one I liked the sound of was mountain biking.

So, is this form of exercise really any good for tackling that flab?

Can you lose weight with a mountain bike?

Let’s take a closer look…

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First Things First…

Okay, before we go any further – I really should throw a little warning out there!

In the past, I’ve considered myself a strong, strong runner. At one point – I was running over 8 miles every morning.

Now, I don’t know what it is about converting your cardio to a bike, but something’s not quite right!

bicycle riding weight loss

I’ve come to the conclusion that you are concentrating on different leg muscles with both – you’ll get a sudden shock when you get on a bike (where has all my energy gone?).

Seriously – it doesn’t matter how fit you think you are, or how far you run every day – if you haven’t been on a bike for a while – you are going to pay (well, over the first few days anyway!).


Biking For Weight Loss

Okay – after reading the paragraph above, this first step should come as no surprise to you…

Start off moderately.

Your aim is to get at least 100 minutes of riding under your belt in the first seven days, but ONLY at a pace you feel is comfortable.

Biking For Weight Loss

Gradually increase the length of your bike rides and aim for 150 minutes of bike riding a week…but if you feel you can go an extra 50 minutes or so…go for it!

As with all cardio – more is better.

Up until this point – I would stick to country/rural roads. Once you have got up to the 150 minute mark, then it’s time to challenge yourself a little further.

Choose more challenging, less developed trails and include more hills in your workouts. This may slow down your cycling, but it will increase the intensity of your workout.

Boosting the intensity like this, will eat into the calories faster.

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Biking Weight Loss Results

As a general guideline, know that a 190-pound person will burn about 649 calories in an hour of mountain biking, while a 133-pound individual will burn about 433 calories.

Now, most people reading this are going to think that mountain biking for weight loss is a magic bullet – just get on the bike and watch the weight fall off. Never the case, I’m afraid.

If you go out for a two hour ride, get a load of miles under your belt, then return to demolish a kebab and four pints of beer – you have just killed your exercise efforts!

Biking Weight Loss Results

Cardio must go hand in hand with a relatively healthy diet. You don’t have to hit up a Weight Watchers program, but you do need to eat slightly more sensibly than before.

Three decent meals a day is fine – but don’t graze, and stay away from fizzy drinks and ‘snack’ food.


Lose Weight Mountain Biking

Now it’s over to you – what are your experiences with trying to lose weight through mountain biking?

Do you have any tips you feel would benefit the readers of this article?

Please leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.

9 thoughts on “Lose Weight Mountain Biking – Does it Work?

  1. This is a fun way to lose my weight while doing the mountain biking. I would definitely consider this exercise to replace my running workout.
    I know running too often and long distance may damage my knee cap and I should cut down on running instead. In the past, I did go for cycling probably 3 to 4 hours in a single session along the road.
    I currently live in city therefore going for mountain biking will require me to cycle a long distance to reach for a mountain ride. Nevertheless, it should be a fun exercise to consider avoiding knee cap injury.

    1. Yeah the city angle will certainly make the whole exercise a lot more difficult – I for one, HATE riding around the city (you need eyes in the back of your head!). 

      But don’t forget that mountain bikes have retractable front (and back) wheels – pretty easy to get them in the car and drive to a trail! 🙂

  2. Great take on mountain biking for weight loss, and I like that you added in that without the right diet, it doesn’t really matter how far you bike! Since you have used both running and biking to stay in shape/lose weight, would you say that one is definitively more effective than the other? Im anxious to hear your thoughts.

    1. Yep – running is the best way to dig into that fat Joey (it’s always my first port of call!). I’m actually about to go out for a morning run in about an hour or so…

  3. I found this article very helpful because I need to lose about 5 kilograms and this is one very fast way of doing it. I can agree with you that losing weight only biking will not give any result. I am currently on the fasting, do you think that I could use mountain biking as a fat burner and how much would be enough?

    1. Well first things first – make sure you are eating enough to handle the cardio you are looking at Daniel, we don’t want you collapsing! 

      Fasting and cardio don’t really mix.

  4. There are so many different ways to lose weight, but never heard of mountain biking as one of them. It certain makes sense with how much effort you’re putting in towards going up the mountain. In fact, I’m used to doing trekking up the mountains and that is a huge help when it comes to weight loss as well. One thing that I would recommend when going up or biking up, always take it at your pace. Don’t let others guide you to how fast or how slow you should go. Always keep the same pace and have it constant throughout your entire time biking. This is what helps for trekking and I certainly think it is the same for biking.

    Do you recommend to have certain biking abilities before biking up the mountains? Cuz I’m sure it takes some skill to maneuver those mountains.

    1. Yeah I do Parmi – always practice on steep road hills first, before you get anywhere near the trails, otherwise you will find yourself exhausted after about 10 minutes of riding (I speak from experience there!) 🙂

  5. Hi Chris, if you move more to lose weight, and turn it into a more extreme form, so that it physically demands more of you, you also do a little bit of body building. Your muscles will develop more, so the weight moves to other parts of your body. And fat is converted into muscle mass. You will definitely feel fitter and healthier, but what you say, you do need to change your food habits too.


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