Myths run wild in the world of fitness. It’s common to hear things such as women should lift lower weights at higher repetitions than men or that weight lifting turns fat into muscle. Most of these myths are just plain false, but here are three that are true, but only if you apply them to cycling.
You can spot tone
With most types of exercise, spot toning isn’t possible. Doing thousands of crunches isn’t going to give you the washboard abs you may so badly want. However, looking at the leg’s of a cyclist may convince you that spot toning is possible. Cyclists are known for having chiseled calves and quads from turning pedals about 5,400 times per hour. Spinning burns fat all over the body but especially leads to toned legs. To maximize the toning potential, aim for elevation. Cycling against gravity forces you to push down on the pedals harder, which has the same effect as resistance training. Cycling in sprints, where you go as fast as you can for 30 seconds and recover for a minute, also helps to build your legs.
Low-intensity exercise burns fat
The fat-burning zone is a favorite myth in the exercise world, which posits that keeping your heart rate around 120 bpm helps you to burn more fat. For most gym goers, forgetting about the fat burning zone is their best bet, as the focus instead should be on burning as many calories as possible. However, endurance cyclists who spend a lot of their training in this zone do reap the benefits. Endurance intensity rides trains cyclists to spare glycogen needed for long rides. It also helps you to burn fat better as builds the number of capillaries in your legs, increases the size of your mitochondria and makes you produce fat-carrying enzymes and fatty-acid binding proteins.
No pain, no gain
Cycling rewards suffering. If you ride 5,000 miles a year but stick to a leisurely pace, sure, you’ll become fitter, but you won’t get any faster. Cycling at high speeds that make your insides ache and your legs burn raises your lactate threshold. Having a higher limit means you can ride for longer at a higher pace before you need to slow down. Pain also lets your brain know you can handle harder feats, so you perform faster during races. If you go harder than your body is used to, it will shut you down. To prevent this from happening, practice with intervals like under-overs.