How to Increase Calories Burned on a Recumbent Bike

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Recumbent bikes are becoming an increasingly popular piece of exercise equipment for use around the home. This isn’t that surprising. Not only are they affordable, but the number of calories burned on a recumbent bike can rival many much more strenuous exercises.

In order to get the most out of recumbent bike exercise sessions, you’ll need to ensure that it’s a ‘proper workout’. While this type of equipment offers somewhat of a low-intensity workout, you still need to ensure that you’re breaking a sweat. If you aren’t breaking a sweat, you aren’t burning calories.

Here, we want to look at the factors that can influence how many calories a recumbent exercise bike can burn off. We also want to give you a wealth of tips on ensuring that you can increase the number of calories burned per workout session.

How Many Calories Are Burned on a Recumbent Bike

It’s impossible for us to tell you the exact answer to the question how many calories do you burn on a recumbent exercise bike, simply because it will differ from person to person. However, there are a few factors at play here.

Workout Intensity

Your calories burned on a recumbent bicycle will be heavily dictated by how intense your workout is. The more pressure you’re putting those muscles under, the more calories will be burned off.

As we said at the start, you need to be breaking a sweat to be burning off calories properly. At this point, your muscles are getting a solid workout.

A decent workout will also see your heart rate rise considerably. This is why many recumbent bikes will have a heart rate monitor built into them.

Your Weight

The heavier you are, the more of a workout your body gets. This means a higher amount of energy (i.e. calories) will need to be burned off.

So, expect somebody that weighs 200lbs to burn off a higher number of calories than somebody that weighs 100lbs. This is all due to heavier people requiring much more energy to move their bodies.

To give you an example, these are rough estimates for how many calories are burned on a recumbent bike based on a 10-minute medium-intensity workout.

  • Somebody that weighs 200lbs would burn off around 112 calories.
  • Somebody that weighs 100lbs would burn off 42 calories.

Obviously, you won’t have any control over your weight. However, as you start to lose weight from all that cycling, you’ll have to remember that you’ll require a lower amount of energy to cycle. This means that you’ll have to push yourself harder to keep losing weight at the same rate or you would need to consume energy gels for cycling.

Duration of Workout

This one should be fairly self-explanatory. The longer your workout is the more calories you’ll be burning off.

When you’re using a recumbent bike, it’s important to get the right balance between workout duration and workout intensity. After all, an intense workout that lasts 5 minutes will probably end up burning fewer calories than a medium-intensity workout that lasts 10-20 minutes.

How to Increase Recumbent Bike Calories Burned

So, by now you’ll know that there’s no one answer to how many calories does a recumbent bike burn. In fact, it’s pretty tough to measure how many calories you would be burning during a single workout session. It would all be guesswork because there are just too many factors at play.

What we can do, however, is give you a few tips to help increase calories burned on a recumbent bicycle. We can assure you that by following these tips, you’ll be able to get a whole lot more out of your workout session.

Eat Before Biking

There are some people that eat after they are done using their recumbent bike. This is fine. It’s a great reward if you eat something healthy.

However, it doesn’t really help you when it comes to working out. It just helps to restore your energy levels after an intense session.

About 10 to 15 minutes before you work out, we recommend that you eat an energy bar that’s rich in carbohydrates. By doing so, your body will have easy access to ‘simple’ energy that it can burn off during the workout session.

This extra fuel ensures that you will be able to work out harder and for longer. This means more calories burned.

Have Water Easily Accessible

Whenever you’re working out, you need access to water. Working out burns through a lot of water, not just in terms of sweating either.

This means that it’s not uncommon for people to get dehydrated during workout sessions. If you get dehydrated, then your muscles won’t be able to perform properly. This means that you’ll be burning off far fewer calories.

When you’re working out, make sure that you take a few sips of water from your bike water bottle every now and then. You shouldn’t be downing gallons during a workout session. That would be deadly. However, getting through a small bottle of water during an hour session is about where you need to be.

Increase Intensity of Workout

As we said before, workout intensity is going to be playing a major role when it comes to increasing calories burned on a recumbent bike.

Honestly, if you aren’t breaking a sweat, then you’re probably not going to be burning off that many calories. You’ll be burning off a few, but probably no more than if you were doing a light amount of walking.

Working out isn’t supposed to be ‘leisurely’. You really do need to feel as if you’re pushing those muscles further than they have ever been pushed.

Practice Interval Training

Perhaps one of the best ways to boost the number of calories burned during a workout session is to practice interval training (sometimes known as HIIT). The idea is that you’ll be doing short bursts of intense exercise, followed by something that’s a lot more leisurely.

Time and time again, interval training has been proven to burn off more calories. This is, partly, because you tend to be working out harder and, partly, because interval training allows you to work out for longer periods of time.

How you do your interval training will be dependent on what you are comfortable with. However, we find that the following times work well:

  • 1-minute of leisurely cycling on the recumbent bike
  • 30 seconds of pushing your body to the max

All you need to do is loop that around for 30 minutes to an hour. We promise you that 1-minute of leisurely cycling is going to be great as it gives you a nice little rest from the more intense cycling, but it won’t be enough of a rest to cause your heart rate to slow down. This means that you’ll be burning calories even during that one-minute of ‘downtime’.

Increase Duration of Exercise

Finally, you should increase your workout time. Honestly, we wouldn’t recommend that you work out for anything under 20 minutes. You wouldn’t really be burning off many calories if your sessions are too short.

As we said before, you’ll need to try and balance the intensity of the workout with the length of time that you are working out.

Our suggestion is that you try and aim for a workout intensity that will allow you to work out for between 30 minutes and an hour. If you can’t hit 30 minutes, your workout is too intense. If you go over an hour, then your calories burned on a recumbent bike will be on the low side of things.

Final Thoughts

A recumbent bike is a brilliant piece of exercise equipment. In the right hands, it can help you to burn off a huge number of calories in the comfort of your own home.

This means that you need to plan your workout sessions properly. If you don’t, then your recumbent bicycle calories burned won’t be that high.

If you aren’t breaking a sweat while you’re using your recumbent bike, then the number of calories that you’re burning will be low. Increase the intensity and duration of your workout sessions and, we promise you, you’ll be burning calories faster than you have ever burned them before.

James Mattis

James Mattis

James is a passionate bicyclist who has done about every kind of biking there is. He loves the wind in his hair, the sun over his shoulder and maybe even the bugs in his teeth. No, just kidding about that last item. He isn’t crazy about road burns, either, but acknowledges that to have the good there is the occasional tumble. James feels that his bike is the place where he can unwind, leave troubles alongside the road, meet new people, go new places, and live the life of adventure that he loves. He is ready to share the ride with you.

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