A Guide To Why Cyclists Are Skinny – UPDATED 2022
If you have ever seen a professional cycling race on television or even a group of road cyclists on the road, you may have seen something they all have in common. Most, if not all of them, have skinny arms and big legs.
You may then wonder why cyclists are so skinny.
In this article, we explain why most road cyclists are skinny and why they typically have skinny arms. We also discuss if cycling actually makes you thin, or whether it is something else cyclists do off the bike, to keep their weight down.
Why Are Cyclists Skinny?
There are many reasons why road cyclists are thin.
Since road cycling is an endurance sport, road cyclists spend countless hours pedaling, sometimes up to 6 hours per day. However, the average road cyclist spends around 300-500km a week cycling. Professionals on the other hand can spend up to 1000km a week riding. Regardless of the number of kilometers ridden each week, cycling is a sport where a lot of long slow rides are incorporated into training. Because of this, cyclists spend a lot of time burning calories.
While cycling doesn’t burn the same amount of calories per hour, a cyclist will spend more time training than a runner. This means they will typically burn more calories than a runner each week, which leads to greater weight loss over time.
Another reason why cyclists are so skinny is that many cyclists have a fixation on losing weight. Typically the more weight they lose, the faster they will get up a hill. This is called improving your power-to-weight ratio. For example, if two riders both weigh 80kg and both have the same power numbers, the rider with less weight will typically win barring any tactical mistakes.
Because power to weight is so important in cycling (as most races aren’t flat anymore), many road cyclists try to reduce calorie intake or change their diet in the hope to lose more weight. When this is paired with the training volume they do, weight rapidly starts to decline.
Even though all these factors play a role in a cyclist being skinny, genetics play a major role as well. So, you may find a skinny cyclist who doesn’t train much, or doesn’t look after their diet, they may still be skinny.
Why Are Cyclist’s Arms So Skinny?
As you may have seen, it is common that many cyclists have skinny arms. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t strong.
The reason why cyclist’s arms are so skinny is because of the volume of training hours and the calories burned during these rides. This typically leads to lower overall body fat and an increase in weight loss.
Another reason is that a cyclist’s arms are not used so much in cycling, which means they don’t gain muscle mass in the arms as other sports may do.
However, skinny arms could be simply due to genetics. Some people are just naturally skinny and that may be another reason why the cyclist you see is skinnier than the average person.
Does Cycling Actually Make You Skinny?
Cycling is often lauded as a great way to lose weight and get in shape. And cycling can indeed be an excellent workout. But there’s a catch: you have to do it right.
If you’re just casually cycling a few days a week, you might not see the results you’re hoping for in terms of weight loss. But if you’re dedicated to the sport and train 4-6 times per week, you could end up shedding some serious pounds over the next few months and years
A lot of it depends on your diet and training volume. When paired correctly, the weight will slowly decline. However, if you don’t look after your diet, you may find that your weight plateaus, even if you are riding some serious mileage each week.
5 Tips To Help You Lose Weight Cycling
Assuming you are already eating a healthy diet, there are several things you can do to lose weight by cycling.
1. Ride at a high intensity. You will burn more calories riding at a higher intensity than you will at a lower one.
2. Use interval training. Interval training is when you alternate between periods of high and low intensity. This type of training is very effective for burning fat.
3. Include long, slow rides. While it is important to ride at a higher intensity to build your V02, lactate threshold, and so forth, riding long and slow will help improve your fat-burning capabilities. This will lead to greater weight loss in the future
4. Make sure you are hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is important for proper digestion and metabolism, both of which contribute to weight loss.
5. Get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep is important for overall health and well-being, but it also plays a role in weight loss. When you are well-rested, your body is better able to burn fat.
6. Train regularly. Consistent training is one of the best ways to lose weight. Sporadic training will only fluctuate your weight. So try to get on the bike 4 to 5 times a week.
By following these tips, you can too be one of those skinny cyclists riding down the road. Just remember to couple your rides with a healthy diet for the best results.