Many health associations worldwide recommend at least 30 minutes of aerobic workouts per day or 150 minutes per week. This aerobic activity promotes cardiovascular health, bone health, muscle toning, and general wellbeing.
But most people exercise because they want to look better.
There’s no shame in wanting to show off your six-pack or, at the very least, your flat-ish stomach.
Besides, visceral abdominal fat has been linked to a slew of health issues, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, and even endocrine disorders.
That means you could definitely stand to use a few inches along your waistline. Let’s see which equipment is best for this task.
Disclaimer: This article may provoke emotional distress because you won’t like the final answer. You won’t even like the partial solutions we unbury along the way.
So, keep reading at your own peril.
Treadmill or Bike to Lose Weight
Research shows that both treadmills and exercise bikes are excellent tools for weight loss. However, you have to use them to challenge yourself.
Take this study, for example.
Participants using a treadmill noticed significant weight loss, but they had to walk 20min/day, 5day/week for 12 weeks.
The same observations can be done for stationary bikes. You can lose weight only if you’re working hard enough for your fitness level, doing it regularly, and eating healthily.
Should You Care About Weight Loss Anyway?
You may need to shed some pounds before seeing a trimmed belly if you’re overweight. If your weight is normal or underweight, you can add some pounds and still sculpt your abs. Skinny fat is a real thing, and it affects more people than you realize.
Even if your BMI says you’re in the healthy weight range, you could still have unhealthy visceral fat.
We told you you wouldn’t like the things we’re digging up here.
That means there are two possibilities:
1. You’re in the normal/underweight range.
In this case, you shouldn’t focus on weight loss. Instead, pick an equipment and workout type that helps you build muscle and don’t limit your calorie intake. Continue eating at least 2000-2500 calories/day, but focus on healthy, nutritious foods.
No fast food, processed sugars, and saturated fats!
How can you build those muscles, though? Choose the correct type of equipment and workout:
- Instead of running on the treadmill, focus on incline walking to activate your core.
- If you’re at a low enough speed, you can also try walking backward and sideways on the treadmill to target your core from different angles. However, you need good balance and stability for this and a low enough speed.
If you’re in this weight category, a treadmill is definitely better because you can increase the challenge without increasing the calorie burn.
If you prefer exercise bikes because they’re friendlier on your knees and lower back:
- Remember to eat enough healthy, nutritious foods, and:
- Do HIIT. High-intensity interval training is scientifically proven to burn more deep-tissue fat than steady-state cardio without depleting your body of calories.
2. You’re in the overweight/obese range.
In this case, keep reading the sections below. The first thing you want to figure out is which equipment burns more calories.
Calories Burnt on Treadmills vs Indoor Bikes
Because Google algorithms aren’t exactly friendly for in-depth argumentations, we’ll start with some numbers:
- Running on a treadmill: 8.18–10.78 calories/ minute
- Stationary cycling: 7.98–10.48 calories/ minute
We could just spew out – ahem, cite – these numbers here and move on, but that would be useless for you. Instead, we’ll teach you how to think to make the best choice for your needs.
The calories burnt on treadmills vs indoor bikes depend on several factors:
- Personal variables (current weight, age, height, biological sex, endocrine issues, and other preexisting health problems)
- How hard you’re exercising compared to your fitness level
- The type of workout you’re choosing
Obviously, spinning at high intensity burns more calories per minute than walking leisurely. Running at 12 km/h burns more calories than jogging at 7.5 km/h.
You already know that. Here’s what to consider:
Workout Duration & Frequency
Remember: Choose the equipment that helps you exercise the longest, hardest, and smartest.
For example, some people have bad knees/backs. Others simply hate running. If that’s you, don’t choose a treadmill or a spin bike.
You can also find plenty of fat-burning workouts for recumbent or upright bikes.
So, disregard the numbers that Google makes us recall to rank better. Listen to your body and pick a machine you’ll actually like to exercise on.
Type of Workout
If you don’t have any preexisting conditions or preferences (which is hard to believe), here’s what will burn the most calories:
- High speed on an assault bike (you can even reach 80 calories/ minute if you push hard enough)
- Running at an incline on the treadmill
- Spinning on a spin bike at high resistance and especially while standing in the saddle
You may not have the fitness level for that. Therefore, you should alternate the high-intensity interval with lower-intensity ones. This exercise is called HIIT and is shown to:
- Ward off visceral abdominal fat for longer
- Help you avoid weight loss plateaus so that you can keep up your weight loss plan
Warning: HIIT is more challenging than steady-state cardio.
- You’ll lose your breath faster. Those high-intensity intervals keep you at 80-90% effort. By comparison, steady-state cardio keeps you in the 60% effort range throughout your workout.
- You may see less calorie burn on the monitor. That can scare you off if you’re planning to lose weight quickly. However, remember that HIIT accelerates your metabolic rate and keeps you burning calories even after your workout is done. Besides, HIIT helps you avoid weight loss plateaus.
Treadmill or Bicycle for Belly Fat Loss
We finally arrived at the sore point for the day. Does a treadmill or an exercise bike help you get rid of that abdominal fat? Again, you may not like the answers, but this is the section where you get all of them.
Here’s what we learned from the previous section:
If you’re in the normal/underweight category, calorie reduction is detrimental to your belly fat loss. In this case, you need muscle increase through:
- Incline walking 3x per week, or:
- Spinning 3x per week, and:
- Strength training
If you’re in the overweight/ obese category, remember this:
You can’t lose targeted belly fat. You need to burn overall body fat, and for that, you need to lose weight. The quickest piece of equipment to lose weight is an assault bike, BUT you have to keep the effort up.
Assault bikes are the best at this because they:
- Activate your entire body
- Increase resistance when you’re pedaling faster
Basically, it’s you against you on an air bike.
- You’re walking/running at the highest speed you’re comfortable with. That can be 4 km/h for you today, and that’s okay, as long as you’re progressing.
- You’re walking/running at the highest incline you’re comfortable with. Studies show that even a 1% incline increase can help you burn 12% more calories and body fat.
The third on the list is the spin bike.
Spinning works for visceral abdominal fat loss because it builds muscle, burns calories, and activates your midsection. However, spinning may be dangerous if you have lower back issues and bad knees.
In this case, walking on a treadmill is much safer and gets you an even bigger calorie burn.
But, if your health issues prevent you even from walking on a treadmill, choose another type of stationary bike.
Upright bikes burn more calories than recumbent bikes. However, a recumbent bike is better if:
- You’re mobility-challenged and can’t step onto an upright bike.
- You have chronic/acute back pain or hip pain.
So, there you have it. The best machine for belly fat burn is an assault bike, followed by treadmills and spin bikes. Just remember to do the right type of workout for this goal and eat correctly.
Incorporate strength training in your routine to burn more overall body fat, eat healthily, and focus on HIIT. And remember: if you choose the wrong machine for your needs or one you dislike, you won’t lose any belly fat – because you won’t be using it.
So firstly, consider all your personal variables, and only after that choose the indoor fitness equipment that suits you.