There is some excellent research for men and women on losing fat with HIIT bike workouts. In this guide I’m going to go over the workout, the research results and also provide an HIIT MP3 to help you with your workouts.
HIIT on a bike is effective for weight loss, aerobic and anaerobic fitness, lean muscle mass and lower insulin levels. HIIT cycling is exceptional for burning fat especially over legs, trunk, visceral and abdominal fat, but isn’t effective for removing arm fat.
Before we get into the research and what happened to the respondents, let go through how to do the workout.
Here are the details of the HIIT bike workout for weight loss.
|8 Seconds||12 Seconds||15 – 60 Sets|
Cycling was done three times a week. The exercise bike that was used for the hiit workout was a monark cycle ergometer.
It consisted of 8 seconds of sprinting at full intensity and 12 seconds of rest for a maximum of 60 sets. The woman in this research did this for 15 weeks, the men did it for 12 weeks.
The woman set the resistance to 0.5 kg initially, it wasn’t clear what the men sit there resistance at initially, it was probably based on their maximum heart rate to make it an intense exercise.
The resistance stayed the same for the whole hiit workout, so for the sprint and the rest phases the resistance wasn’t touched.
For the rest phases the woman were cycling at around 30 revolutions per minute, while the men were cycling slightly faster at 40 revolutions per minute. In the sprint phase the men and the woman both cycled at 120 revolutions per minute to 130 revolutions per minute.
They needed to keep the intensity on the bike at around 80% to 90% of their maximum heart rate.
This isn’t necessary all out effort but it is still intense. If their heart rate started to fall below that, their intensity was increased by 0.5 kg until they were within that range again. (The respondents averaged 88% of Max heart Rate)
You can work out your 80% to 90% of your maximum heart rate would be below.
Heart Rate Calculator
For both the men and the women they started with a workout of around five minutes and gradually worked up to 20 minutes. Everyone was doing 20 minute HIIT sessions after six sessions (two weeks).
The session started with a five minute warm-up and ended with five minute warm down with the resistance was set to zero. After the warm down was completed, all the participants did stretching for the quads, hamstrings and calf muscles.
Choosing the right exercise bike for this workout
Not many of will have access to Monark cycle ergometer so I would choose a spin bike over a stationary bike or recumbent bike.
I would take a guess at the resistance I would need, and then after five minutes use a heart rate monitor to see if I’m in the 80% to 90% range. I would check every five minutes and just adjust accordingly.
Here is what the researchers learnt about HIIT Bike workouts for fat loss
The information for this research was actually gathered from two experiments.
Although not all data was similar, enough of it was to compare the two.
So lets get into the results.
Summary of research
- Losing Fat: body fat loss by the men was around 2 kg and the woman 2.5 kg. This was in first quite substantially by how much fat the respondents had when they started.
- Losing Weight: What you wait for the men did not change until week nine, but after that it was significant.
- Adding Lean Muscle Mass: Men added a significant amount of lean mass onto their legs, woman kept the lean mass that they had.
- Lower Resting Heart Rate: Participants had a lower resting heart rate after weeks of exercise
- Cardio Fitness: VO2 peak increased by 50% for the men and x for the woman
- Spot reduction in weight was not thought be possible, but this research seems to indicate that interval training may achieve this.
Both Men and Women had significant fat loss
Men and women both lost a significant amount of fat, with men losing 2kg and women losing around 2,5kg.
There are two elements to pay attention to.
Firstly, although everyone on the interval training lost fat, it was a lot more significant for those who had more fat to lose. There were four women who were already lean. When these four women were removed from the results, the fat loss jumped up to nearly 4kg.
Secondly, and more importantly if you are doing this hiit bike workout specifically for weight loss. Neither the men or the women changed their diets. This whole HIIT cycling workout was done with no calorie deficit. They ate exactly the same. They did this to ensure that they could measure the direct effect of the HIIT training on weight loss.
If you have spent any time in fitness you would have heard the saying that fat loss is 20% exercise and 80% food. This is true. In a recent study participants either did exercise, alternate day fasting or both. Those who did exercise lost 1kg, those who did the diet lost 3kg and those who did both lost 6kg. So although diet is important, diet + exercise is the winner. It gets better results than each individually added, its almost like 2 + 2 = 5.
Men put on lots of new lean muscle, the women put on a little
While the women added an insignificant amount of lean muscle, the men added 0.5kg of leg muscle.
This seems to be perfect for both genders as men would always appreciate a little extra muscle, while women are always asking for a fat loss workout that doesn’t end up bulking them.
What is relevant is that the lean muscle is important for keeping your metabolism high. In the women’s group who did steady state exercise, they lost an average of a kilogram of lean muscle
With regards to lean muscle added on the trunk, both men and women added around 0.5kg
Anaerobic training improved aerobic fitness for both men and women
The researchers measured V02Peak during this exercise. V02Peak is the how much oxygen the body can use during exercise, essentially your aerobic capacity.
It is a measure of your aerobic fitness level.
V02Peak increased by XXX% for the men and ##% for the women. This actually surprised the researchers as there isn’t a lot of aerobic exercise done in these workouts.
It does appear that an HIIT workout can improve both Anaerobic and aerobic fitness, so you get double fitness benefits.
Bodyweight only changed at week 9 for the men
This is important for those who get mad when the scale doesn’t change.
So many people give up because they don’t see results in the first few weeks. So they give up because it isn’t working.
What they miss is that there is lots changing, lot improving and your body is adjusting itself to start giving you the results you want.
The men lost no weight at all in the first six weeks, then started losing weight rapidly after that.
It wasn’t clear if this happened with the women, but anecdotally I have heard this happen with both gender quite often.
Interestingly, while bodyweight didn’t change after 6 weeks, other measurements like the measurement around his waist certainly had decreased.
Spot Reduction may actually work if you do HIIT
Is it possible to lose leg fat and not lose elsewhere. In this research all the participants lost weight in their legs, trunk, visceral and abdominal fat but didn’t lose in their arms at all.
It appears that an HIIT workout has a direct effect with regards to fat loss in the areas that are being exercised
Thoughts and Conclusions
Firstly, I would love to see this kind of research done with the inclusion of a quality low calorie or weight loss diet, I believe the results would be considerable! When you do the workout, let me know what the results are like for you!
Secondly, this high intensity interval training workout is different because of the shortness of the intervals. Having so many interval will make it an intense workout with a difference. If you plan to do this after a strength training workout i would reduce the workout to five minutes only.
Using the HIIT MP3 above it would be an easy HIIT workout to implement. The best part is that you know what kind of results you can expect.
If you found this bike workout intriguing, why don’t you give it a go. Don’t forget to let me know how it went.