Make the most of your morning commute and shed that spare tyre with a few simple fat burning techniques

The majority of us are always looking to burn fat through cycling and one of the easiest ways to achieve it is through heading out for a few fasted rides each week.

>>> How to lose weight cycling: Six essential tips

It’s not a case of going on a hunger strike every time you hit the road, but introducing a few of these sessions to your weekly training plan can improve your body’s ability to burn fat as fuel rather than burning off carbohydrates as your main energy source

>>> Benefits of cycling: reasons to get on your bike

This can be easily applied during your commute to work and can really improve your body composition and cycling performance when heading out for longer fully fuelled rides at the weekend.

Skip breakfast

Morning ride in the sunrise

Fasted rides in the morning can be an effective way to burn fat

Fasted rides can only be achieved through skipping breakfast, this forces your body to utilise fat stores as food. So skip the porridge and just brew a mug of black coffee or drink a glass of water before you hit the road.

A word of warning, breakfast should only be skipped if you are planning on heading out for a short spin. Long multiple hour rides without fuelling will not only make you feel fatigued but will have a major negative influence on your performance.

Keep intensity low

One of the main things you must do with fasted rides is keep the intensity low.

If you don’t, you will deplete the limited glycogen stores that are present in your body and won’t be able to process fat as an energy source fast enough for the effort required.

If you want to up the rate of calories that you are burning, increase the intensity with some hard but steady intervals of five to 10 minutes towards the end of the ride.

This trains your body to go hard when you are low on energy stores. A situation you may well find yourself in during the crunch point of a race or a sportive.

Protein drink after cycling

Protein or recovery power drinks are a perfect way to recover after going on a fasted ride.

Refuel after your ride

As soon as you are back from your ride it is important to eat and refuel straight away. Whether this is with a recovery drink or a carbohydrate or protein snack, getting some sustenance back into your body is crucial for recovery.

Failing to eat after a fasted ride can leave you with a suppressed immune system, which will leave you vulnerable to illnesses as well as have an effect on your ability to recover quickly.

You only need to complete a fasted ride two or three times a week to see a real difference in your performance and on your waistline.

  • Eden Walker

    I do this most mornings between 35 and 50k between 90 and 120 minutes and then have breakfast with a ReGo shake from SiS. My bodyfat is down to 8% measured with callipers.

    According to strava i generally spend 20% of the rides at or above threshold. When i started i used to over do it and totally bonk out.

    https://thebrokencyclistblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/accident/

  • ken wolfe

    i do long fasted rides up 50 plus miles and run half marathons fasted also inteerval are fine just build your intensity over time the body adapts but your nutrition needs to be on point high nutrient check me out on strava (ken wolfe vegan 48-17)

  • rajeev dadhe

    Hi,
    Started biking about two month ago. I have only the early morning to ride. This means from 5.30 Am till 6.30 AM. Could cover 12-14 km when starting, now has gone up to 22 km per day. Covered @800 km. All these rides have been before breakfast. Surprisingly, have lost 2.5 kg in the period without making any changes to my food habits. Just getting to bed early to manage the sleep. Feel much better and energetic.
    My home is near some hills. This helps get in some climbing. @ 5000 meters climbed so far. Strava helps keep records and pace against yourself.
    Thank you for the excellent article. Has helped me a lot. Some more kg’s to loose yet.

  • Green Deane

    Twice a week I stop eating at 6 pm and don’t eat until noon the next day. At 8 a.m. of that day I ride 30 miles, which is done with a group that averages 10 mph. I also do a 24-hour fast weekly (by fast I mean water only. “Juice fasting” is not fasting.) I don’t find it difficult because I am permanently ketogenic. While fasting can be part of a weight loss program it has other benefits which is what I am more interested in.

  • James Mulholland

    Can you still do High Intensity Intervals fasted?

  • Jack Bond

    I always thought that these pre-breakfast rides should be no longer than an hour? Article seems to suggest these rides can be several hours? I suppose eating then on a several hour pre-breakfast ride would defat the object!

  • Viki Muzzarelli

    I’ve been overweight all my life and tried so many things. Different things work for different people and I was lucky enough to find one that worked for me. I lost 24 pounds in one month without any exercise and it has been a life changer. I’m a little embarrased to post my before and after photos here but if anyone actually cares to hear what I’ve been doing then I’d be happy to help in any way. Just shoot me an email at oceanflowers82@gmail.com and I’ll show you my before and after photos, and tell you about how things are going for me with the stuff I’ve tried. I wish someone would have helped me out when I was struggling to find a solution so if I can help you then it would make my day