Stationary bike weight-loss success story

Sumit sez, "This is the wacky story of how I biked across the country on my exercise bike and lost a lot of extra pounds in the process - complete with charts and graphs of calories burned vs. weight loss and bullet points and all sorts of other happy mutant happiness."

Sumit is also "the Seattleite who brought you 'Rope Bondage for Laptops' and 'Putting a Wood Floor on Carpet.'"

My VRATUS - How I Rode My Exercise Bike Across the Country (and Lost 20 lbs Along the Way) (Thanks, Sumit!)


  1. Before and after picks look a tad odd. Not really in the realm of a “lot of extra pounds” lost from cycling. The photographer employs some classic bodybuilder tricks in the 2nd photo that aren’t present in the first. Tighter clothing, better lighting, turned torso, obvious ab and pectoral flexing, lower shot angle, leg forward. Note the flexed neck muscles. 

    Good for Sumit who’s obviously quite fit. But the difference in before and after shots seem more attributable to camera and presentation techniques than thousands of miles on a bike. That kind of exercise regime would strengthen the legs and cardio system, while causing upper body muscles to atrophy. It seems from the shots that didn’t really happen – if anything the opposite.   

    1. That kind of exercise regime would strengthen the legs and cardio system, while causing upper body muscles to atrophy

      Yeah after seven years of cycle commuting I have a lot of weakness with my top half. Last week I pulled a muscle in my chest while climbing a fence because there wasn’t space to use my legs. This level of specialisation is not good for the body.

    2. Not sure if this is snark or not. I was debating whether to qualify my comment. That kind of exercise regime would cause the upper body to atrophy assuming it was the only exercise regime. Given the scale of the undertaking that’s a valid assumption. And even if Sumit engaged in upper body weight resistance training on top of his bike routine, it would be challenging to get that definition because the energy spent on the bike would take away from muscle development. 

      In any case the guy’s story about being out of shape and getting a miracle body during an exercise bike “ride” is highly suspect. 

    3.  He says in the youtube comments that he has been going to the gym multiple times a week for the past few years (“mostly upper body work, lats, shoulder presses, pull ups, some ab work”), but that he really started to notice a change once he added in biking.

    4. Isn’t the point of cycling (and other cardio excercise) primarily weight loss and stamina building, with muscle gain being a tertiary aspect?

      He doesn’t seem to have gained significant muscle, more so that what muscle he has appears more defined because of his reduced body fat?

      Well, that and the man-polish.

      1. Actually, cardio-vascular training will make it *harder* to build and maintain muscles as you are taking energy away from the process of muscle building. I’m not a physiologist but this is a pretty basic tenant among serious weight lifters. At a basic level if you’re tired from riding a bike your weight workouts won’t be good. If you’re tired from weights your biking won’t be good. It’s not a tertiary benefit, it’s more of a zero-sum trade off. 

        The story is still quite fishy. So he’d been going to the gym multiple times a week for years (obviously). But then he added in a whole ton of cycling? His weight loss between the two photos is really quite minimal not even close to the claimed 20lbs.  It would be difficult to work out that much (cycling + the weights to maintain muscles), and get that small of a change in physiology.

        Oh, and he has classic body builder legs. His quads look small compared to his upper body, and utterly unchanged. 

    5. Furious Pete has a video in which he shows how to exaggerate body changes (short version: he pumps up, does the “after” picture first, then uses a lot of deliberate water-retention tricks to make himself look flabby). I’ve seen other tricks documented. And, really, standard competitive bodybuilders have numerous tricks to make themselves look ripped and cut at the exact time of competition. That’s not to say that no system is worth anything or that Sumit didn’t improve his health remarkably, but yeah, before and after pics are basically a workout system marketing trick.

    1. Indeed. Loosing weight is the easy part. Keeping it off is the challenge, with 80% or more gaining it back and then some.

      1. That´s what happens if you resort to a fad diet for weight loss. It doesn´t happen if you just change to a healthier lifestyle with regular exercise.

        1. But if you’re losing the weight by doing heroic amounts of exercise, as seems to be the case here, that’s no better, as you can’t turn it into a regular, consistent regimen.  Or you can, but it becomes your entire life.

  2. This is absolute rubbish….his body fat went from 1.8% to 0.3%.  He had barely anything to lose.  I am also dubious of the tanned body after shots…wtf?  Also, why is this on BB?

    1. 1.8% to 0.3% is laughably *not* legit. It would be extraordinarily unhealthy and *well* below that of most olympic and professional athletes. 

      There is something fake about this claim. Not sure what, but his claims of loosing 20lbs while cycling are quite, quite unlikely based on the photos. 

      1.  It’s called hyperbole….I have absolutely NO IDEA what his current (or past) body fat reading were….

  3. You will develop some abdominal strength riding a bike… But yeah Adonis- with a dramatic transition to Adonis+ also even though you coast when you ride a real bike you also climb hills and his thighs dont look anything like a real bike rider’s thighs.

  4. He also starred in this commercial for Microsoft Songsmith!

  5. Well, in answer to those calling bullshit on this because he went from fit to extra-fit, I can say first hand that cycling works well, and did far more for me.

    I’m 5’11”, and several years back weighed about 255Lbs.  Then I took up cycling (not as a weight-loss plan – solely for the enjoyment).  After two years of that, my weight was down to a healthy 180Lbs.  That number doesn’t account for muscle gain either, which was significant (albeit primarily in the legs).  I probably lost at least 80 pounds of fat.

    To be fair though, I did bike a lot.  As much as 6000km a year, or about 700km in a peak summer week.  On top of that, I know I drank a lot more water as a result, and my diet got a bit better too.

    1.  This is true. Actually 20 lbs wouldn’t take very long either. Took me maybe 2 months with approx 1/hr a day (on real bike with real terrain- stationary doesn’t feel the same at all). And keeping it up is easy- no ride no get to work. Simple.

  6. The biggest mistake I made was quitting my job as a pedicab operator. Now that the instant cash reward is gone, I feel like there’s much less incentive to exercise.

  7. I’m not sure, (I’ll look it up), but this may be the lamest, most “so what” story I have ever seen on Boingboing. 

  8. As far as all the skepticism goes, he’s probably not any stronger in the after shot than he his in the before shot.  He’s just lost enough body fat that the muscle he already had really stood out.

    Anyway, good for him.  He’s in way better shape, even if he already was in pretty good shape to begin with.

    And why is it on boing boing?  Because exercise machines are super boring, and he had a pretty clever way of getting past that with the whole coast to coast trip.  I for one have never been able to run on a treadmill just because of the sheer monotony.  I just have to be outdoors, even in winter.  But think — you’re not running on a treadmill today.  You’re going to run the last five miles to Gary, Indiana.

    Although, come to think of it, if I was to plot a virtual cross country route I’d probably do a detour around Gary.

  9. some people like to look good – he shows how to achieve that :)
    having gained quite some extra weight due to stress, job and kids (and lack of time for things that make me move) I am now looking for inspiration how to get myself to work out again. I don’t want to look like an anatomy textbook model but I definitely got inspired to get back into shape.  the “do it first in the morning to prevent having it hang over your head all day” seems like a good thing to employplus the “you can’t watch movies on a real bike” – after having fixed my laptop to my workout device I am now re-running Star Trek TNG at the moment while working out – then there is still DS9 and then Voyager.. and then I can still watch Battlestar Galactica – by that time I should look like him ;)
    The perfect workout would be a bike connected to a generator producing power for the laptop that allows me to watch.. (thanks to “ready player one” for that idea.. will develop it further…)
    In your next video please tell us how to look like that at the age of 38 as I am slowly approaching that age  ;)

  10. I have the old Schwinn Air-Dyne with the moving handles, and it’s definitely an aerobic multiplier as well as providing a little (but significant) upper body exercise.  I ride for 30 minutes with 25 minute pedaling and 5 minutes of break.  When pedaling I keep the speedometer  at 6 out of 7.

    Last year I wore the crank set right out it and had a machine shop ream out the bottom bracket to accept a new cartridge style crank set.  Should be good for another decade. 

  11. God, riding all those miles on a frickin exercise bike, its like masturbating yourself into shape. Why not just go on a bike trip and get some adventures in? Even one week on a bike touring does wonders for the body, especially if you factor in a few training rides beforehand, and is super fun to boot. 

    1. I’m with you on this. The main point of cycling is to have fun going from one place to a new place, not to sweat a puddle onto the floor whilst boring yourself to death.

      1. Put on a porn movie while you’re cycling. Trees and grass….. or fucking? Is there really any choice?

Comments are closed.