Tag Archives: exercise

Bicycling booty

There’s something I’ve been meaning to post about here for some time: The “riding makes you thin!” meme. So many times I see it mentioned on bike blogs that so and so can eat whatever they want because they bike.

my homemade macarons

It is true for some people, I’m sure. But I have actually had the opposite experience, and I feel like I can’t be the only one. When I first started cycling in April 2008, I lost a few pounds. Then, as my cardiovascular fitness improved and my commute was no longer a real workout, that weight came back — with a little bit extra, probably due to a combo of increased muscle mass, age-related metabolism slowdown, and the fact that cycling makes me hungry. On someone who is 5’2″ (optimistically!) even a small amount can be noticeable.

That said, bicycling has made other, more important changes in my body. I can run (well, OK, jog) 3+ miles now without being seriously sore/tired the next day, when previously one mile on the treadmill made me feel like dying. My ride to work takes a couple minutes less than it did 3 years ago, and I can ride across town without breaking a sweat (figuratively; this is Tennessee!). I have cycled 30 miles in a day without my legs being sore. It is seriously awesome.

In some ways it it frustrating to feel so healthy and fit, and yet not be the Cosmo-approved width (at least, I assume I’m not—I gave up reading Cosmo at least 5 years ago). But I am short with a medium/muscular build, my legs especially. Cycling doesn’t do a lot to work against nature in that area. Maybe if I gave up sweets and alcohol (not gonna happen), I could be back to the weight I was when I was 23. But the fact is, cycling is a rather efficient form of exercise. You just don’t burn that many calories riding 30-40 minutes a day at a moderate pace, like I do.

In short, I can’t promise you that riding your bike means being able to eat an unlimited amount of cupcakes, or croissants or whatever your treat of choice might be. It might even make your butt bigger. It is more likely to give you T-Rex arms than Michelle Obama arms (tm Elisa!).

But I can promise you that it will give you more energy, build your stamina and get your heart in better shape. And oh yeah, it’s fun. Most days, that’s enough of a bargain for me.

What has your experience with cycling and weight been?

{ Dottie’s take on bicycling and self-esteem is here. }

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