How many days a week should you ride your mountain bike is a question all beginners ask. This is a loaded question, and there are many factors that we need to consider before we can answer this question. Let’s have a look.
For health reasons, you should ride at least 75 minutes a week, and for losing weight you need at least 200 minutes. Your goal and fitness level will further influence this amount, setting a goal will allow you to determine how many days a week you should be mountain biking.
In this article, we will discuss the various factors you need to consider when trying to determine how many times a week you should be riding your mountain bike. These factors include, what you want to achieve, setting goals, fitness levels, weight loss, and external factors like work and family obligations.
How many days a week should I mountain bike?
It would be helpful if you begin by taking into account your current level of fitness and then the level you want to achieve or consider any goals that you would like to accomplish with mountain biking.
Every individual is different regarding these factors, so we can not explicitly say you should ride X times a week if you are struggling to ride for 30 minutes in one go. However, if you consider these factors, and we will break them down for you, you will then be able to determine how many times a week you should be riding to achieve the results you want.
We can say that mountain biking is a battle between fitness and fatigue, and the more fatigue takes over, the more likely you are to run the risk of injury and overtraining. Overtraining and fatigue can even result in lowering your immune system, which can and will leave you open to getting ill.
Hence, there are many factors we will need to look through for you to get a clear picture of where you are and where you would like to go, but if you want a starting point consider the table below:
|Times /week [minim]||Session length [minim]||Times /week [recommended]||Session length [recommended]|
|For health||One time||75 min||2 times||60 min|
|Lose weight||3 times||70 min||4 times||90 min|
|Compete||at least 5 times||Push your body to the limit||at least 6 times||Push your body to the limit|
What do you want to achieve?
What do you want to achieve by riding a mountain bike? Is it for fun? Do you want to take part in an event, whether it is for fun, an obstacle course, a semi-pro race, or a pro race? Perhaps you want to go on a weekly trial that you and your partner or friends enjoy. Another scenario is that you would like to get fit or lose weight and prefer mountain biking to other forms of exercise.
Set a goal
Once you have figured out what you want to achieve by mountain biking, you can set your goal. Your goal will help you understand in some way how many times a week you should be riding. Your goal will also set the benchmark for the level of fitness you should ascertain and the level (proficiency) of the rider you have to become.
For example, if you are planning to compete in a national event with challenging courses that you have to complete in a certain amount of time, you should be prepared as any other athlete would.
That is to say, you would probably be riding every day, eating correctly, and pushing your body, fitness levels, and skill levels to their boundaries to break past any plateaus. This is so you can get to a specific level that you deem good enough or a level that is in line with other riders of that caliber.
Conversely, if you only go on trail rides once a month and would like to be fit enough to compete with your buddy at work who keeps beating you by 5 minutes, you would opt to train for that in a specific way by riding a certain amount of times a week to achieve that goal. The training regiment would be different from that of a national level.
Setting your goal and having a “deadline” will help you understand what level of fitness you need and what skill level you should be at.
As we said, it’s no good saying you need to ride X times a week if you are a beginner, overweight, have a low fitness level, etc. If we remove all other external factors (which we will discuss last), fitness is the main factor that will impact how many times a week you can ride, even when trying to achieve your goals.
You have to consider your fitness level and the amount of time your body will need to recover for you to ride again without sustaining any injury, burning out, or overtraining.
Every individual is different when it comes to fitness levels, but we will give you general recommendations and then an understanding of what you should be doing.
According to the American Heart Association, you should be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, of which 75 minutes should be a vigorous aerobic activity that should preferably be spread throughout the week.
This means that if you are mountain biking for exercise and trying to stay healthy, you should be riding at least 75 minutes a week. This could equate to one or two riding sessions.
Anything more than this, you start to increase your fitness levels and health to a degree depending on how much aerobic exercise you do.
We now understand what we should be doing at a minimum to keep ourselves healthy, but we still need to take into consideration your current fitness level and your current health situation.
If you are looking to lose weight, you should aim for at least 200 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise. Keeping in mind to losing weight requires you to exercise and burn calories, which will help your body utilize the stored energy (fat) in your body. It doesn’t matter what exercise you do, although aerobic (cardiovascular exercise) is the preferred method for weight loss.
Mountain biking can definitely be classified as a form of aerobic exercise, so with this in mind, if you what to lose weight you should be riding at least three times a week if your riding sessions are 60 minutes.
If you are a complete beginner, then you obviously can’t just jump onto the bike and try to accomplish these tasks right out of the gate. The best thing to do is to start slow (20-minute rides), pushing yourself a little harder each time and going for a little bit longer.
Your recovery period is when you feel good enough to ride again. This could be a day or a week. The key here is consistency, and you will build up the fitness levels to take you further.
Considering external variables
The last factor you have to consider is anything that can prohibit you from riding, and this could be work, getting to the course on the weekend, and so on. These factors will impact how many times a week you can ride, and once again, they are relative to each individual, so you will have to consider your own.
The main thing you want to remember is that you must strive to achieve a good balance all around. That means that you should keep your riding at a level and consistency where it is enjoyable and fits in with other aspects of your life.
We discovered that no one answer fits all for how many days a week you should ride your mountain bike. It will essentially be different in all situations depending on certain factors, such as what you would like to achieve and what goals you have set in terms of increasing your fitness levels, completing a specific course, and so on.
Other external factors will also contribute to how many times a week you will be able to ride, such as work and family obligations. In any event, you should determine what level of fitness you are, and what you wish to accomplish, set your goals, and work towards them at a moderate pace. This will allow you to determine how many times a week you should be riding.
I started mountain biking many years ago to improve my overall health state. After my first ride, I fell in love with the sport. Now I spend dozens of hours a week researching and training to compete in local XC and Enduro events.