Are you wondering how to lose weight with Peloton?
Well, it all starts with the first rule of Peloton. Tell everyone about your Peloton.
The second rule of Peloton, tell everyone about your Peloton.
I’m pretty sure Peloton is a reverse fight club. My clients, friends, and random strangers on the street won’t stop telling me about how awesome it is. And while I don’t have one, I’m certainly considering it now.
I can see the appeal. It’s like a spin class in your home with live daily classes and on-demand rides. If you’re not in the mood for something that intense you can take leisurely rides at your own pace. Plus, you get the community.
But something I hear often with new nutrition coaching clients is that they’re already working out hard and often. However, they’re not getting the weight loss results they expected or feel they deserve.
This is usually because they’re missing the nutrition part of the weight-loss equation. They don’t know how much they’re eating or are drastically underestimating it.
Today’s article is all about how to lose weight with Peloton (Or any other method of movement you prefer), and some reasons you may not be if you think you should.
How to lose weight with or without Peloton
Weight loss is pretty simple in theory but more difficult in practice.
To lose weight, you must eat fewer calories than your body needs over an extended period of time. This is a calorie deficit. Without this, it is impossible to lose weight.
There are a number of ways to create a calorie deficit but the three most important are diet, exercise, and Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). NEAT includes things like walking, fidgeting, and other non-exercise-related activities.
If you already have the exercise and NEAT parts of the equation taken care of, great. And if not, I’ve got a couple of guides to help get you started.
But let’s take a look at creating a calorie deficit through diet. You can create a calorie deficit through diet in a few ways.
- Restricting a macronutrient or food group such as cutting carbs and not replacing the calories
- Skipping an entire meal or intermittent fasting and not replacing the calories
- Keeping the same exact diet but eating less of it. Reducing portions and calories.
- Improving food quality and choosing less calorie-dense but higher nutrient-dense items.
Resource: Learn more about setting up your diet with the Getting Started Diet Guide.
What if I am eating in a calorie deficit but not losing weight?
Could it be your hormones? Insulin? Carbs? Do you need to detox?
Probably none of the above.
If you’re not losing weight the odds are you’re not in a consistent calorie deficit, even if you think you are.
Here are a few other reasons:
- Work week dieting. Creating a calorie deficit during the week and eating more than you think over the weekends. Thus, balancing out your caloric intake.
- Not accurately weighing and measuring foods if you are tracking calories in an app like Myfitnesspal
- Underestimating portion sizes and calories if you are not tracking.
- Dining out often. Meals out tend to be higher in calories and include larger portions than we would make at home.
- Assuming “clean eating” or “healthy eating” alone will lead to weight loss.
I dive deeper into 7 reasons you may not be losing weight in the video below.
Is Peloton enough to lose weight and burn fat?
Short answer, no.
The longer answer is that it gets you moving more, which means possibly burning more calories. And this can help you create the calorie deficit needed over time to lose weight.
According to Peloton, depending on your cycling speed and exertion, you can expect to burn anywhere from 400 to 700 calories during a 45-minute class.
This seems like a ton of calories until you realize what 400 calories of food looks like.
- 1 to 2 slices of cheese pizza 🍕
- 3 to 4 ounces of potato chips
- 2.5 ounces of almonds
But forget how many calories you’re burning when you exercise for a second.
There’s a psychological advantage to exercising and moving more. You may notice that you’ll want to make healthier choices the more you exercise. You might start eating better or going to bed earlier so you can get a ride in. Hell, you may even notice it helps you reduce stress. All of which can help you create a calorie deficit.
- Going to bed earlier equals less likely to overeat at night. It also means less fatigue which could lead to fewer cravings for energy and calorie-dense sugary and fatty foods.
- Less stress could mean less emotional eating
- Less fatigue could lead to more energy fr cooking and prepping meals
Riding your Peloton, or exercising in general, becomes a keystone habit by making other habits easier to develop.
When you ride your Peloton you may not be burning as many calories as you think
In a study conducted at Stanford University, different fitness trackers were assessed to check their accuracy for calories burned. The results showed that the most accurate device was still off by 27%. While the least accurate was off by 93%
These overestimations can lead to overeating. You now believe you’re burning X number of calories and have room to eat Y number of calories.
If you are using a smart device to track your calories burned try this instead.
- Use these estimations as generalizations for how hard you may be working
- Use them as a way to push yourself from time to time. Try and beat your calories burned.
- Use them as a fun metric to keep track of.
But don’t use them to determine how many calories you can eat. If you’re using food as a reward for exercise spend some time this week to see if there are other ways you can celebrate your exercise sessions.
- New workout clothes
- Watching your favorite show
- Spa day
Exercising more has become the default strategy for many when they’re not losing weight. Please keep in mind that exercise alone won’t lead to weight loss. The only thing that does is the consistent calorie deficit we’ve been talking about.
So if you generally enjoy the longer workouts, more frequent workouts, higher intensity workouts. Or the workout after the workout – go for it. But don’t feel like more is always necessary to lose weight. Before you know it you’re burned out and exhausted from grinding so hard.
You’re eating more than you think (even after making better choices)
I like to call this the “almond butter effect.” Yes, almond butter is perfectly healthy food to eat. It’s also extremely calorie-dense. Two tablespoons (30 grams) is roughly 200 calories and most of us don’t measure out 30 grams of almond butter.
Another great example is smoothies. It’s wonderful that you’re getting more fruits and veggies but often times the smoothies we’re making or ordering out are packed with more calories than we think.
One way to improve this is by creating more calorie awareness. Spend a few days this week reading labels and looking at things like calories per serving. If you eat out see if the nutrition information is listed online. And if you really want to dial it in, get weird this week and try weighing and measuring your portions, and entering it into an app like Myfitnesspal.
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Working out hard can make you hungrier
When you exercise hard your appetite may increase. Especially if you just started exercising again. Anticipate and expect this. If you’re hungrier, it could lead to more eating. Make sure you’re staying hydrated and have protein and veggie-based meals ready. These will help you keep you satiated longer.
This will vary from person to person. For some, high-intensity exercise can decrease appetite while lower intensity exercise can increase it.
You’re moving less throughout the day
There are 168 hours in a week. Let’s say you take a 60-minute Peloton class 3 to 5 days per week. That’s 3 to 5 hours of exercise per week. That leaves you with 163-165 hours of no exercise.
Often when we work out hard we feel like we deserve more rest. Hell, often our body tells us it wants more rest. And the less we move the fewer NEAT calories we’ll burn. So you could be working out more but moving far less and not creating the calorie deficit needed for weight loss.
How much weight can you lose with Peloton?
You can lose a lot of weight with a Peloton. But you can lose a lot of weight with other activities as well.
- Strength training
- Playing tennis
You can also lose no weight with the Peloton. Doing Peloton alone might not get you the results that you’re after. But it also might. Providing you create the calorie deficit we’ve been talking so much about.
Instead of focusing on how much weight you can lose with the Peloton. Focus on showing up consistently, getting in your rides, and adjusting your diet to help you lose the weight you want to.
How long does it take to lose weight with Peloton?
This is a great question and not an easy one to answer. How fast you can lose weight and body fat depends on how consistently you can, or want to, follow the method you’re using.
Weight and fat loss are often faster when first starting out and when you have more body fat to lose. The leaner one becomes, the slower the rate of loss becomes, with more frequent plateaus.
But generally speaking here is what we might be able to expect per week (credit PN):
- 1-1.5% of bodyweight
- Men: 2-3 lbs
- Women: 1.65-2.5 lbs
- .5-1% of bodyweight
- Men: 1-2 lbs
- Women: .8-1.65 lbs
- .5% of bodyweight
- Men: <1 lbs
- Women: <.8 lbs
These are not absolutes. Just projections of what we might be able to expect when showing up and consistently putting in the work.
Is Peloton a good way to lose weight or not?
Aerobic exercises are a good way to burn calories because creating a consistent calorie deficit over an extended period of time is the most critical part of weight loss (after adherence). Riding your Peloton can be a part of that.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking burning more calories is the most efficient way to lose weight. You’ll be left beat up and burned out. Instead, use your rides as a side dish to the main course of weight loss.
The most important part of losing weight is your diet. By eating foods you enjoy and adhering to the plan you can be consistent. By creating a calorie deficit with those foods you can lose weight. Make protein the most important part of your diet, plant or animal-based, wherever you prefer. And filling the rest with carbs based on your personal preferences you can be very successful.
Resource: Diet Set-Up Guide.
How to lose weight with Peloton and make it an effective part of your weight loss plan
Exercising more has become the default strategy for many when they’re not losing weight.
- More cardio
- Longer lifting session
- Extra fitness classes
Exercising more by itself doesn’t guarantee weight loss. If it helps create a consistent calorie deficit it will but it’s a whole lot easier to swap an avocado out of your diet than it is to exercise extra 30-45 minutes to burn those calories.
If you enjoy working out longer, more often, and it doesn’t affect your sleep, mood, strength, and appetite – go for it. But pay attention to how you’re feeling and adjust as needed.
We want to avoid getting to the point of burnout because as you can see, the most important part of any fitness and nutrition plan is adherence. If we can’t follow the plan it’s going to be hard to be successful long-term. If you’re burned out, exhausted, or worse – injured. It’s hard to be adherent.
Step 1: Move your body in ways you enjoy
If you love riding your Peloton, ride the hell out of it. Make it the base of your training pyramid and then stack the other things like strength training or whatever else feels a little more like a chore.
Step 2: Create a consistent calorie deficit mostly through your diet
As mentioned early there are a number of ways to do this. Weighing food and tracking macros, using your hands to estimate portion sizes, and adjusting as you go. Eating the same things but less of it. Improving food quality and choosing less calorie-dense foods.
If you need help getting started, grab the free nutrition setup guide here.
Step 3: Resistance train
Without muscle, it’s hard to develop that lean and tone look. Also, cardio alone won’t help with strength. Muscle also improves the way you process food and helps keep you lifting more and burning more calories (1) (2). If you need help setting up a strength training routine grab the free strength training guide.
And there you have it. How to lose weight with Peloton if you’re not and wondering why.
Credit: Aadam at Physiqonomics for the graphic idea
Resource: Shcherbina, A.; Mattsson, C.M.; Waggott, D.; Salisbury, H.; Christle, J.W.; Hastie, T.; Wheeler, M.T.; Ashley, E.A. Accuracy in Wrist-Worn, Sensor-Based Measurements of Heart Rate and Energy Expenditure in a Diverse Cohort. J. Pers. Med. 2017, 7, 3.