You don’t have to spend hours on the treadmill to lose weight. A short, fast walk can help you shed pounds in a safe and effective way.
A treadmill workout for weight loss is a great way to burn calories, boost your metabolism and improve your overall health. If you’re looking for a simple way to lose weight, try this easy treadmill workout for beginners!
How Does A Treadmill Workout Help With Weight Loss?
The key to a successful treadmill workout is increasing your heart rate and burning calories. When you walk or run on a treadmill, your muscles are constantly working hard as they fight against gravity to keep you upright while you move forward. This creates an increase in metabolism that burns off fat cells stored throughout your body.
How To Lose Weight On A Treadmill
Step 1: Warm Up Before You Begin
Warming up before any exercise helps prevent injury by making sure all of your muscles are ready for activity. Warm up exercises also increase blood flow throughout the body so that muscles can work harder during exercise without becoming fatigued too quickly or risking injury. When it comes down to it, warming up reduces risk of injury while making exercise more effective!
Best Walking Treadmill Workout For Weight Loss
Treadmill Walking Weight Loss Workout Plan
Treadmill walking is a great way to burn extra calories each day to help you lose weight. Aim to burn 300 extra calories per day with cardio exercise such as brisk walking. This is about 60 minutes per day of moderately-intense exercise, in addition to controlling the number of calories you are eating.
Tips for Treadmill Weight Loss
Throughout this program you will challenge your body by changing the workout throughout the week with harder days alternating with easier days. You can modify this schedule to fit your own lifestyle. You also can add in rest days as needed, but it is best not to have more than one rest day in a row.
If you can’t schedule enough time on the treadmill, you have a few options to reach your calorie-burn goal. These include high-intensity training, longer-duration workouts at moderate-intensity, and short-duration, vigorous-intensity workouts.
Studies have shown that both longer-duration, moderate-intensity workouts and shorter-duration, vigorous-intensity workouts are effective for fat loss.1 But research also suggests that high-intensity training is more time efficient.2
So, if you don’t have a 60-minute block of time to work out, you can choose a high-intensity workout for about 15 to 20 minutes or add time to your moderate-intensity workouts by supplementing with one or two extra 15-minute walks (on or off the treadmill) throughout the day.
Use this schedule as a basic model for your workout plan. But, feel free to modify it as needed so that it meets your schedule.
Moderate Intensity Walking Workout
Start the week right with 60 minutes of a moderate-intensity workout. You can burn up to 300 or 400 calories depending on your speed and weight. You can break this workout into two sessions of 30 minutes if you can’t set aside a continuous hour.
After warming up for 10 minutes at an easy to moderate pace, increase your pace to a brisk walk that brings your heart rate up to 60% to 70% of your maximum heart rate. Use a heart rate calculator to get your target numbers if you don’t know them.
Many treadmills have a grip pulse detector or heart rate monitor that can help you track your heart rate and exertion. An RPE scale—or rating of perceived exertion—can also be an effective method of monitoring workout intensity and it requires no equipment.3
To use the scale, simply choose a number between 6 and 20 that correlates to your workload with 6 indicating that your body is at complete rest and 20 indicating that you are working a maximum intensity (i.e., not sustainable for longer than a few seconds).
Easy Health Walk
Today, you will take a 30-minute walk at an easier pace for your cardio exercise. Aim for a heart rate of 50% to 60% of maximum or an RPE rating of 11–12. Use this workout to concentrate on your walking posture and technique.
This will help you speed up in your more vigorous workouts. Follow up your treadmill session by doing an upper body workout with dumbbells or exercise bands.
Treadmill Hill Workout
You can burn more calories per minute when using the incline feature of your treadmill. If your treadmill has pre-programmed hill workouts, choose one to use today. You can choose a steady climb or hill intervals.
Because you will be working harder, aim for 45 minutes and get in at least 30 minutes of hill work, with your heart rate in the moderate- to vigorous-intensity zone of 70% to 85% of your maximum heart rate. If you are using the RPE scale, it should feel like you are working at a 14 to 16 range, or a moderate to hard workout.
Moderate Health Walk
Walk for 30 minutes at a moderate pace. You should feel like you are working, but not working very hard. On the RPE scale, you might choose a 12 to 14. The workout intensity should feel sustainable. You want to be sure to keep this workout in the moderate range to preserve energy for Friday’s more intense workout.
After today’s workout challenge yourself with some core work at the end. No equipment is required. Simply choose 2 to 3 of your favorite ab exercises, such as ab curls, plank, and standing abdominal exercises.
Speed Intervals Workout
Most treadmills come with pre-programmed speed interval workouts. Intervals are short segments where you walk or run at a challenging pace, then slow down for a longer segment to catch your breath before speeding up. For example, you might speed up for 30 to 60 seconds, then recover for up to 2 minutes.
Choose one of the pre-programmed workouts or make up your own. If you are comfortable jogging, you can alternate jogging for your speed interval and walking for the recovery interval. If your treadmill doesn’t have a speed interval program, vary the pace yourself by manually increasing and decreasing speed.
Aim for a duration of 30 to 45 minutes for the total workout, with about 20 to 30 minutes of intervals. On the speed segments, you should feel like you are working hard to very hard (15 to 18 on the RPE scale) or about 80% to 90% of your maximum heart rate. Keep the recovery segments active but relatively easy (10 to 12 on the RPE scale).
Aim for 1 hour or more of walking at a comfortable pace. This is a great opportunity to take your walk outdoors for the day and walk in a park, along a greenway, shopping, or exploring. Track your steps and distance with your smartphone or activity tracker so you can balance how many activity calories you are burning.
If you choose to walk indoors on the treadmill, consider listening to a podcast or stream your favorite show to pass the time. Some treadmills have a screen built in so that you can watch your favorite show. You may also be able to use a tablet or smartphone to watch your program.
Active Fun and Stretching
Put your walking legs to work just enjoying an active day with friends and family. Use a warm-up stretching routine to loosen up. Research other physical activities, such as bicycling or swimming, which will exercise different muscle groups from walking. The goal today is finding joy in moving and being alive.
Repeat the treadmill workout week pattern. Explore the different pre-programmed workouts on your treadmill for variety on the hill workout day and the speed interval day.
If you haven’t been walking regularly for fitness, you may need to start off with shorter treadmill sessions and build up your time each day. Reach your time or calorie goal by adding 15-minute walks throughout the day as needed.
To lose weight with exercise, you also need to control the amount that you eat. Start a sensible diet and use a food diary so you can be honest with yourself about your calories eaten.
If you burn 300 extra calories per day with exercise and you reduce your calorie intake by 200 calories per day, you should achieve a 500-calorie-per-day deficit. By many estimates, this should result in a weight loss of about one pound per week, as long as you don’t change your activity level or food intake in other ways.
Modify the weekly schedule to fit into your lifestyle. Work on your walking posture and form, especially using tips on how to walk faster so you can burn more calories within the same workout session.
As you progress, you may improve your fitness and lose weight so that you’ll need to use more speed and incline to raise your heart rate into the desired exertion zone.
Treadmill Sprint Workout For Weight Loss
4 Ways to Lose Weight with a Treadmill Workout
The treadmill is a hugely popular aerobic exercise machine. Aside from being a versatile cardio machine, a treadmill can help you lose weight if that’s your goal.
In addition to helping you lose weight, working out on a treadmill has other benefits too. For instance:
- You can use the treadmill year-round.
- It’s possible to watch your favorite TV show while you exercise.
- The treadmill has handrails, which is ideal if you’re recovering from an injury.
- As with any heart-pumping cardio workout, it can help reduce your risk for heart disease and other chronic diseases, improve sleep, boost your mood, and improve brain function.
Treadmills are available at almost every gym, making it an accessible option for all fitness levels. Plus, if you prefer working out at home, treadmills can easily become part of your home gym, too.
Let’s explore the basics of treadmill weight loss, along with possible workout plans and tips.
1. High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves alternating sets of high-intensity exercise and rest.
According to a 2017 studyTrusted Source, HIIT workouts can be an effective way of reducing body fat and burning calories in a shorter amount of time.
The idea is to work extra hard for short periods and rest between the high-intensity bursts of exercise. This burns a lot of calories, which helps contribute to weight loss.
Additionally, after a HIIT routine, your body attempts to return to a normal resting state. It does this by metabolizing body fat for energy.
Here’s how to do HIIT on a treadmill:
- Set the treadmill so it’s flat. Walk at 2 mph for 5 minutes to warm up.
- Run at 9 to 10 mph for 30 seconds.
- Walk at 3 to 4 mph for 60 seconds.
- Repeat 5 to 10 times.
- Walk at 2 mph for 5 minutes to cool down.
For a more advanced workout, alternate between jogging and sprinting. You can also add more minutes to each high-intensity set. Ideally, your rest intervals should be twice as long as your high-intensity intervals.
2. Find your fat-burning zone
During a treadmill workout, exercising at your fat-burning heart rate can help promote weight loss. This zone is where you burn the most calories per minute.
To find your fat-burning zone, you’ll need to calculate your maximum heart rate first. This is the maximum number of times your heart can beat during 1 minute of exercise.
Your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. For example, if you’re 40 years old, your maximum heart rate is 180 beats per minute (220 – 40 = 180).
Generally, your fat-burning zone is 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. If your max heart rate is 180 beats per minute, your fat-burning zone is 70 percent of 180, or 126 beats per minute (180 x 0.70 = 126).
With this number, you’ll know how hard you should work to support weight loss. Here’s one way to do it:
- Wear a heart rate monitor on your wrist or chest. Set the treadmill to flat. Walk at 2 mph for 5 minutes to warm up.
- Set the incline to 2 percent. Jog at 4 mph for 1 minute.
- Run at 8 to 10 mph, or until you enter your fat-burning zone. Run for 15 to 30 minutes at this heart rate.
- Jog at 4 mph for 1 minute.
- Walk at 2 mph for 5 minutes to cool down.
While 70 percent is the average fat-burning zone, everyone is different. Some people might enter the fat-burning zone at 55 percent of their maximum heart rate, while others might need to reach 80 percent. It depends on various factors like sex, age, fitness level, and medical conditions.
You might also enter your fat-burning zone at a lower treadmill speed.
A personal trainer can help determine your ideal speed and heart rate for optimal weight loss.
3. Get out of a rut
Another strategy for treadmill weight loss is to switch up your routine. By doing a different workout each time, you can:
- Reduce your risk for injury. Repeating the same workout is stressful on your joints. It increases the risk of overuse injury, which can set you back.
- Avoid a training plateau. The more you do a certain workout, the less you’ll see results. Your body needs to be challenged to progress.
- Prevent boredom. You’re more likely to stick to you routine if you regularly mix up your workout.
Here’s a sample workout plan, where different treadmill workouts are incorporated into a balanced exercise routine:
- Sunday: rest, leisurely walk, or gentle yoga
- Monday: treadmill HIIT routine for 20 to 30 minutes
- Tuesday: light treadmill jog and strength training
- Wednesday: rest, leisurely walk, or gentle yoga
- Thursday: light treadmill jog and strength training
- Friday: treadmill HIIT routine for 20 to 30 minutes
- Saturday: barre class or bodyweight workout
4. Add hills
To make a treadmill routine more challenging, add hills. Walking briskly or running at an incline burns more calories because your body has to work harder.
It also activates more muscles, which contributes to building more lean muscle mass. This helps you lose weight, since muscle burns more calories than fat.
If you’d like to exercise on an incline, try this treadmill sequence:
- Set the treadmill to flat. Walk at 2 mph for 5 minutes to warm up.
- Set the incline to 1 percent. Jog at 4 to 6 mph for 1 minute.
- Increase the incline by 1 percent each minute. Repeat until you reach an 8 to 10 percent incline.
- Decrease the incline by 1 percent each minute. Repeat until you’re at a 0 to 1 percent incline.
- Walk at 2 mph for 5 minutes to cool down.
Generally, 4 to 6 mph is the average jogging speed. You can increase the speed or add more minutes to make this workout harder.
For an easier version, increase the incline by 0.5 percent each minute. Repeat until you’ve reached a 4 to 5 percent incline, then work in reverse.
Benefits beyond weight loss
In addition to weight loss, cardio activity like a treadmill workout offers many benefits. It may help:
- improve endurance
- control blood sugar
- increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels
- improve memory and cognition
- protect against Alzheimer’s
- promote healthier skin
- strengthen muscles
- decrease fatigue
- decrease joint stiffness
- relieve stress and anxiety
- promote better sleep
- increase energy levels
- boost your immune system
- improve sexual arousal
The bottom line
As a form of cardio exercise, using a treadmill is an excellent way of burning calories and losing weight.
If you’re not sure what type of treadmill workout is best suited to you, talk to a certified personal trainer. They can work with you to create a customized treadmill weight loss program.
For best results, combine treadmill workouts with strength training. Both forms of exercise can help support weight loss and overall health.
If you’re new to exercise, or if you haven’t worked out in a while, talk to your doctor before you start a new fitness routine.