You can do bike workouts on an upright bike or on a recumbent bike. A lot of people select the normal upright bike for stationary bike workouts. But a recumbent bike is more comfortable. We recommend that you check out some recumbent models if you are going to do stationary bike workouts.
Exercise can be divided into two broad categories, aerobic and anaerobic exercise. The easy way to explain the difference is that aerobic means with oxygen while anaerobic means without oxygen.Stationary bike workouts can be aerobic or anaerobic exercise.
The simplest aerobic bike workout is just to keep on cycling at your optimal heart rate. You need a heart monitor for this, if your bike doesn’t have one, you can buy them fairly cheap nowadays. For example, the Garmin Heart Rate Monitor. Your optimal heart rate for aerobic exercise is not constant, it changes all the time. But the standard formula gives you useful target rate.
First calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. Now you can calculate a number of different zones, anaerobic exercise starts at 80% of your maximal heart rate. So if you are 40 years old, your maximum heart is 220-40=180. Your anaerobic heart rate is 80% of 180, 180×0.8=144.
Several exercise zones have been defined:50-60% Warm-up Zone60-70% Fat-burning Zone70-80% Aerobic Zone80-90% Anaerobic Zone
Just remember that these are approximate values, your optimal heart changes all the time.
If your main goal is to burn fat, then you should exercise in the fat-burning zone. In this zone you burn the highest ration of fat. But if you want to lose weight, you should train as hard as you can safely do. The harder the training, the more calories you will burn. The ratio of fat burnt will go decrease the more intensive the exercise gets. But the total number of calories burnt will increase. You are burning more carbs, instead of fat. But when it comes to weight loss, a burnt calorie is a calorie less, regardless if it is fat or carbohydrate.
So first decide why you are exercising, is to decrease body fat, lose weight or getting fit. Your primary goal decides how you should exercise to get maximum result. Note that as a rule a thumb, try to keep a high pedal rate and use low gears, rather than the other way around. This is better for your knees. As with all exercises, don’t eat just before the workout and remember to drink plenty of fluids, before, during and after your stationary bike workouts.
If you want to lose body fat, the easiest way is to choose a level and pace that keeps your heart rate within the fat burning zone. Then you just keeping on peddling for as long as possible. Note that in the fat burning zone you are not many burning calories, so don’t expect to lose weight. Since it is low intensity exercise, your fitness will not improve much.
Let’s use some numbers to make it easier to understand. Let’s say you do fat-burning for 30 minutes. You burn 100 calories and 65% of them are fat. You have burnt 65 calories of fat. If you increase the intensity, you will burn more calories but a lower percentage of them will be fat. Let’s say you stay in the aerobic and anaerobic zones for 30 minutes, you burn 250 calories, 35% is fat. That means you burnt 250 x 0.35= 87.5 calories of fat. So thanks to the higher intensity, you have burnt both more calories and more fat, although the percentage of the fat was lower.
If you want to lose weight, you need more intensive exercise than the fat-burning zone. Here you will burn more calories, a higher ratio of them will be carbohydrates instead of fat. But often you can also burn more fat than what you would during a fat-burning workout. This is because the workout is more intensive, you are burning much more calories. The easiest stationary bike workout is once again to select a level and pace that keeps your heart rate in the aerobic zone. But you can also use the pre-defined programs on your exercise bike.
If you want to improve your fitness, you need to push yourself. You want to get into the anaerobic zone. This can be dangerous if you are not fit, so start slow and increase the intensity over time. For this kind of training, interval training is an excellent choice. You push yourself for a short time, then you go slow for a while and recover, then once again increased intensity and so on. Most bikes have pre-defined programs, making interval training easy. Always remember to warm up before and cool down after the workout.
The advantage of a stationary bike is that you can watch TV or read while doing exercising. And it does not matter if it is raining during your stationary bike workouts.