Whether your goal is weight loss, weight gain, or improved performance and recovery, it can be extremely useful to understand your calorie requirements for cycling at a range of different speeds.
Keeping track of calorie intake and output is very popular with those seeking to lose weight. Being aware of the calories required for cycling different distances at different speeds can help achieve goal calorie deficits and ultimately weight loss.
Overcompensating and undercompensating for exercise is quite common, so it's really useful to have an idea of how to balance your nutrition and diet appropriately.
If your goal is weight loss then it's best to aim for small calorific deficits in order to avoid a drop in performance or adverse effects on your health.
If you're seeking to gain weight while cycling a lot then it's crucial that you ensure you're well fuelled and that you compensate appropriately after sessions. Planning ahead is key.
In order to recover optimally it's necessary to refuel both during and after cycling sessions. Doing so will optimise performance and recovery time.
How much you need to pre-fuel before cycling will depend on the duration and intensity of your session. For times up to a couple of hours at moderate speeds no particular energy loading is necessary (although it's worth experimenting to see how it affects performance). For longer and more-intense rides increasing your intake both the day before and on the day of your training is much more important.
How It Works
This calculator is based on the concept of METs. MET stands for Metabolic Equivalent of Task. METs are used to calculate how much energy is expended for a particular task, taking a person's weight and the duration of the activity into account. A single MET is roughly the amount of energy required to sit down and do nothing. METs for other activities are determined with reference to this baseline. For example, cycling at 15 mph/ 24 kph requires approximately 10 times more energy than sitting still and doing nothing. So, this cycling speed is equivalent to 10 METs.
METs and Calories (kcals)
Conversion from METs to Calories (kcals) is achieved with the following formula:
Calories/kcals = activity (METs) x weight (kilograms) x duration (hours)
So, the number of Calories/kcals required for a 7 MET activity performed for 2 hour 30 minutes by a person weighing 65 kilograms is:
7 x 65 x 2 = 910 calories
To calculate the METs for cycling at various speeds, we use values provided by the 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities Reference List for Cycling
Where these values offer a range of speeds for a single MET value, we take the midpoint of that speed range and assign it to that MET value.
Where METs are not available or suitable for a specific speed, we use linear interpolation to derive a suitable MET value.