Exciting Fitness Tips For E-bikers
Contrary to a prevalent and ‘misled’ belief, riding an electric bike is not tantamount to cheating nor does it equate to a lazy or easy way of cycling as some people like to claim.
Only a very few people actually transition from riding a manual bike to riding an e-bike on full power every time. In this instance, there may indeed be some fitness losses. However, only very few people fall into this category.
Regardless of how or why you ride; riding an e-bike is a form of exercise.
Most of the evidence point to the fact that people who have taken to riding e-bikes often have a more active lifestyle before they began e-biking. Some of these gains come in form of riding an e-bike to work or school, rather than taking the bus or train. This encourages an outdoor lifestyle and riders are thus more active than before.
Ultimately, riding an e-bike is fun, convenient and exciting – and so is a great way to begin to burn all those excess calories.
So, regardless of what power mode you drive your e-bike at, taking it out on the road is indeed a form of exercise, which is in itself a good thing.
E-biking is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise while also giving you the motive to go out and have fun. Also, your endurance and strength will improve considerably when you take to e-biking regularly.
Once you cap it off with healthy eating – you’re on your way to becoming as fit as a horse!
Putting things into perspective, e-biking also helps to promote a cleaner and greener world by reducing the number of cars on the road, ultimately reducing the emission of harmful exhaust gases produced by various vehicles and reducing the number of fatal road accidents.
It is essential to understand why you want to improve your fitness before you get into the technical details of cycle fitness.
Are you looking to lose weight? Do you want to get healthier and fitter? Are you a professional cycler looking to improve your cycling skills? Or are you interested in the in-depth benefits of cycling? Or do you love and enjoy cycling?
Let’s go more in-depth into the science and technicalities associated with e-biking and fitness.
Just How Much Calories Can You Burn By Riding an E-bike?
Generally, riding a manual bike on a hilly road may require more energy than an e-bike. This article has proven the assertion right by actually comparing the number of calories burnt when riding both bikes (manual bike and e-bike) on a hilly road. The final result revealed that riding a manual bike burnt 552 calories as opposed to 444 calories when riding an e-bike on the same steep road.
So, the fact is that a manual bike will indeed get more exercise out of you on an hourly basis than an e-bike. However, there is much more to this than calories burnt on an hourly basis.
To begin with, with a bit of electrical aid from an e-bike, there was only a 20% reduction in calories burnt compared to a standard bike. In the grand scheme of things, 444 calories burnt is a big deal – imagine the fitness gains if this was done consistently.
Secondly, this test result is only valid if both bikes (manual and e-bikes) are ridden for the same time, however, on average most e-bikers ride for much longer than those with a regular bike.
Another study also highlights that while regular bikers may burn more calories on an hourly basis than e-bikers, they do not ride for as long and as far as e-bikers. Ultimately, e-bike riders tend to burn more energy since they use less effort per mile but ride for much longer and cover more distance.
Also, because riding on hilly terrain with a regular bike requires more energy, this may kill the motivation of some riders since they will most likely be put off by the hard work.
Although riding an e-bike on a steep road still requires a bit of energy, the amount of work and pedaling needed is much lesser, making it comfortable to ride even in hilly terrains.
A different article also did the same test and placed the calories burnt while riding an e-bike at 390 calories an hour. Furthermore, it also suggests that the difference in calories consumed per hour between a manual bike and e-bike is even more substantial.
The study later goes on to postulate that riding a regular bike is a very physical exercise – making you burn around 430 to 560 calories per hour for a 150-pound person. This is true assuming that the person rides at an average speed of 10 to 14 mph. Conversely, an e-bike or pedal-assisted bike burns almost half the same calories – about 280 calories per hour for a person of the same weight – which can be equated to the same number of calories burnt while walking briskly. Thus, the actual number of calorie burnt will depend on several factors including the weight of the bike or person, the intensity of the pedaling, and what power setting (economy or turbo mode) the bike is set at.
Tips For Fitness Riding
So, judging from the above-discussed point, a sure way to get more exercise out of your e-biking is to regularly cycle with the power setting turned down.
This way, cycling with an e-bike will make you burn more calories while also assisting you as you pedal through a headwind or steep road.
Additionally, the second article adds more credence to the fact that e-bike riders actually ride longer than those with a regular bike. Thus, they can afford to burn more calories on average.
This goes without saying that e-bike riders burn a considerable number of calories by just swapping driving or public transport for cycling on an e-bike.
However, it should be noted that pedelecs (non-throttled Class 2 e-bikes) force you to use more energy while peddling than throttled e-bikes (Class 1 and Class 3 e-bikes). Although this is not to imply that those who ride non-throttled e-bikes don’t expend energy or enjoy any fitness benefits. However, riding a Class 2 e-bike gets you to exercise more.
Again, I have since noticed that riding an e-bike with a smooth transition from assisted to non-assisted mode (usually over 20mph in the US and 15.5mph in Europe) helps you exercise more if you ride close to the cut-out limit.
Older model e-bikes abruptly stop once it reaches its cut-out speed. This means that your riding would have to adapt to accommodate the assisted-riding mode just below the cut-out speed. Not forgetting that it is challenging to ride an e-bike totally unassisted and reach speeds of 15.5mph, let alone 20mph.
Conversely, an e-bike with a smooth transition system, will permit you to cruise just before or above the cut-out limit. This way, power is steadily decreased as you approach the transition limit; ensuring that there is a blend of small electrical assistance and a reasonable amount of manual peddling.
Different brands and model of e-bikes design their transition system differently. So, if you are looking to shop for a new e-bike, it is worth testing or finding out how the transition and motor system works before making a purchase.
Keeping Fit and Monitoring Number of Calories Burnt with Technology
The best way to keep track of how much calories you burn each time you cycle with an e-bike is to integrate a bit of technology to your e-bike. There are tons of options out there that you can use.
On some Bosch e-bike model, there is a Kiox display that allows you to see how much human power is actually powering the bike. In conjunction, the Kiox heart monitor uses Bluetooth technology to keep track of your heart rate.
These extra bits of smart technology ensure that you can make the best of your e-bikes by accurately tracking how much calories you burn, while using the heart monitor to gauge the intensity of your exercise.
Knowing that you can track the number of calories you burn is great, but you also need to know the exact calories consumed, your optimum heart rate, and the power output to aim for.
Calorie-counting your way to weight loss isn’t exactly complicated. However, if you know the exact figures to aim for and use your calorie counter as a guide, with a combination of healthy eating, you will attain your weight loss goals faster and easier.
Generally, the average male requires around 2,500 calories daily to maintain a certain weight and women require slightly less at 2000 calories.
Also, it is typically believed that burning 3500 calories is equivalent to a pound of weight loss. In essence, if you ride your e-bike every day and burn 500 calories each day, you should lose around one pound in a week – this is assuming you incorporate healthy eating. Regardless, this isn’t an evidence-based assertion, as latest research suggests that it may not be entirely correct.
Nevertheless, keeping track of how much calorie you burn while e-biking is a great way to measure how much progress you are making with regards to your fitness goals.
Similarly, keeping track of your heart rate is a great way to measure the intensity of your exercise. The average heartbeat is between 60 to 100 beats per minute (bpm), depending on the activity level of the individual.
During any exercise, it is crucial to target an optimum heart rate – as it indicates that you are exercising at the correct intensity – not too high or low.
To find out, you need to work out your maximum heart rate (MHR) – MHR will vary depending on the age of the individual.
The easiest way to find out your MHR is to subtract your current age from 220. So, if you are 30 years old; 220 - 30 = 190 bpm.
Note: if you suffer from any heart problem, or unsure of the condition of your physical health, always consult your doctor before you begin any new exercise routine. Also, give adequate warm-up and cooldown time if you are engaging in any vigorous exercise.
Here, the World Health Organization lists how much exercise that adults in the age bracket of 18 – 64 are recommended to have. WHO also advises that adult in that age range engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. Alternatively, 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic physical exercise, or an equivalent physical activity weekly.
But, how do you find out if you are getting the required level of ‘moderate-intensity exercise’? Or achieving your recommended heart rate – between 50 to 70% of your MHR.
For a 30-year-old male, your target heart rate should vary between 190 x 50% = 95bpm or 190 x 70% = 133 bpm. So, a 30-year-old e-biker should target a heart rate of between 95 and 133 bpm for around 150 minutes weekly.
For high-intensity exercise, aim for around 70-85% of your MHR. Work it out as outlined above to find your target heart rate. 150 minutes is easily achievable if you cycle to work or spend a couple of hours cycling a few times every week.
Also, E-bikes can help you regulate your heart rate to your preferred target level. For instance, if you aim to cycle uphill, you would require more energy, and this might mean that you go above your target heart rate. In this case, an e-bike will either reduce or increase assisted-pedaling as required to match your target heart rate.
Upping Your Fitness Game
So, while you have learnt how an e-bike can help you get fitter, take things a step higher by finding out how to reach your fitness goals even faster and better.
- Master the three basics of correctly riding an e-bike and practice them regularly – overload, progression and recovery. Overload – push yourself a little over your maximum. Progression – Continue mastering the art of pushing yourself to the max as you get fitter and fitter. Recovery – Give your body enough time to recover. These three basic principles are the bedrock of most training principles/techniques used.
- Stretching before and after you exercise is good for your muscles as it will help you avoid unnecessary injuries. Also, you can incorporate other sports into your exercise routine that engages more parts of your body, as biking may involve you remaining in one position for a long time. Also, set up your bike correctly to avoid any injury resulting from poor form.
- Spice it up. Go group riding or challenge other amateur or professional bikers to a marathon or race to make cycling more enjoyable. Engage and enter several bike groups and join organized bike races. If you win, you get a prize, and you also get fitter. If you lose, you also end up burning more calories and having fun! It’s a win-win.
- Eat healthily. Exercise is good but will amount to nothing if you don’t cut out junk and excess sugar from your diet. Ensure you eat a balanced diet to get enough energy for your riding sessions.
If you are looking to buy your first new e-bike or looking for an upgrade on your older model, then check out this amazing variety of e-bikes that will hopefully help you get fitter and remain healthy.