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By some estimates riding an electric bike could help you burn 400 calories an hour under the proper conditions. So it is clear that getting on your e-bike is a good way to shed unwanted fat.

Electric bikes are also fun. They can be a very enjoyable alternative to some car trips, and they sure beat spending all day indoors at a desk or watching Gunsmoke reruns on TNT. In fact one of the big benefits of choosing an electric bike as your medium, if you will, for weight loss, is that you are, perhaps, more likely to actually ride an e-bike then say run a mile or slide on lycra shorts and head to the local gym.

What follows are five tips to help you lose weight riding an electric bike. Also, it is always a good idea to see your doctor and ensure you’re fit enough for cycling. Your doctor may also be able to recommend dietary changes.

Tip No. 1: Your Diet Matters

To lose weight you need to burn more calories than you ingest. You can do this by increasing your physical activity — this is where riding an electric bike comes in — or reducing how much you eat.

You will probably be most successful if you do both — eating less and exercising more.

Eating less doesn’t, however, mean you have to be hungry. Often you can be just as full eating healthy foods like fruit and vegetables and avoiding processed foods, fast food, and fatty foods. You can speak with your doctor for specific dietary recommendations, and here are a few diet suggestions.

  • Eat four or more servings of fruit and vegetables daily.
  • Replace refined grains with whole grains.
  • Reduce fat intake, but do eat avocados and nuts.
  • Reduce or eliminate sugar.
  • Cut back on dairy products, since these cause inflammation.
  • Reduce meat consumption.

Tip No. 2: Aim to Lose 1 or 2 Pounds Each Week

“It may seem obvious to set realistic weight-loss goals. But do you really know what's realistic? Over the long term, it's best to aim for losing 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) a week,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “Generally to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, you need to burn 500 to 1,000 calories more than you consume each day, through a lower calorie diet and regular physical activity.”

For your electric bike weight-loss plan, take the Mayo Clinic’s advice and give yourself a reasonable weight-loss goal.

Tip No. 3: Ride for 300 Minutes

It is going to take more than a casual trip around the block to burn fat and lose weight. Our recommendation is that you try riding for about 300 minutes per week.

You should break your time up into three or four rides. If you commute to work, try taking your e-bike a couple times each week. If you watch the grandkids on the weekend take a two-hour ride through your local park system or greenbelt.

If you need to start with 45 minutes per week and build up to 300 minutes that is fine too.

“Electric bikes offer riders a high degree of control over the level of physical exertion required to ride, making them particularly helpful for anybody who would like to become more fit, but who may need to gradually and carefully ease into increased physical activity,” wrote Boris and Yevgeniy Mordkovich in Chapter 3 of The Complete Electric Bike Buyer’s Guide.

Tip No. 4: Find Reasons to Ride

You will need motivation. If you’re going to ride your way to fitness, you will need a reason to get on your electric bike.

For example, you can commit to riding to the grocery store instead of driving. You’ll save money, improve the environment, and have a reason to ride. If you need almond milk, get on your e-bike. Want to pick up some cauliflower, zucchini, and eggplant for a Thai green curry? Get on your bike.

Maybe you have a family vacation coming up at the beach. Imagine your fit, thin self wiggling your toes in the sand as you pose for a group photo. Think of how good you will look on Facebook. Or imagine the opposite. How will it be if you don’t lose the weight? Your picture will still end up on Facebook, there will just be more of you.

Tip No. 5: Ride Year Around

Fitness is a year around activity. Many folks ride electric bikes in all sorts of weather and at all sorts of temperatures. Be one of these folks. You may need a little extra gear, and you will want to make sure you plan your rides, but don’t be afraid to ride in all sorts of weather.

Yes. Regularly riding an electric bike should help you lose weight.

There are many examples of e-bike riders who have lost significant amounts of weight riding with pedal assistance, including Rhonda Martin who famously used an electric bike to lose 270 pounds.

In general, riding an electric bike burns about as many calories as walking briskly. But the pedal assistance and speed can make riding your e-bike a lot of fun. When something is fun, you are more likely to do it.

Many Aspects of Weight Loss

Of course, riding your electric bike is not a panacea. Weight loss often comes as the result of several behavioral changes. You need to change how you think about your body composition. Change the food (fuel) you consume, and change what you do (how you exercise).

Change How You Think

Tony Robbins, the famous life coach and motivational speaker, describes what he calls “The Six Master Steps to Change.”
  1. “Decide what you really want and what’s preventing you from having it now.” If you really want to lose weight, make that your priority. List out all of the things that are stopping you from achieving your weight loss goals.
  2. “Get leverage: associate massive pain to not changing now and massive pleasure to the experience of changing now.” When you think about the behaviors that are stopping you from losing weight associate them in your mind with painful situations. When you think about actions that will help you lose weight, like riding an electric bike, think about the fun you will have riding, being outdoors, and spending time with friends.
  3. “Interrupt the limiting pattern.” If it’s your habit to sit down and watch three hours of Fox News every night, stop. Actually scream out loud when you start to turn the television on.
  4. “Create a new, empowering alternative.” After you have screamed, go get on your electric bike and take a 45-minute ride. Replace your tv-watching habit with a behavior that will help you achieve your weight loss goal.
  5. “Condition the new patten until it’s consistent.” Here you want to form a habit of your new, weight-loss friendly activity.
  6. “Test it.” Does your new behavior actually help you drop pounds? If not, modify it and try again. You will be programming yourself for weight loss success.

Change What You Eat

It will be almost impossible to lose weight without changing your diet. But you need to be careful. There are many fad diets that will help you lose weight short term, but which may not be the best health choices overall. Take a little time to research health eating. Talk to your doctor about a healthy diet. And ask hard questions about the diet plans you are presented with.

Change What You Do

Finally, you also need to get more exercise. This is where riding an electric bike can help. You don’t have to treat your rides like a vigorous workout to be successful, rather ease into exercise. Commit to taking a three bike rides of 45 minutes each every week. Just enjoy getting out. Build a passion for riding, and the weight will come off.