Written by James Cooper
Last Updated

A treadmill is a piece of exercise equipment that can be used for either fat loss or muscle gain. It’s important to watch your form while on the treadmill, as well as what resistance level you are at. There are also workout programs that come along with some treadmills, making it easier to stay motivated. A little research into all these things will go a long way in helping you get the most out of your workouts!

Since you’re here, we’ll help treadmill users like you understand a few things about treadmill workouts and health benefits. Treadmills have workout options that can be used to lose weight or gain muscle, depending on your approach. Many people don’t realize it, but the treadmill has two main functions:

  • Fat burning
  • Endurance training

You can utilize one or the other, switching off between them for maximum results. Remember that you shouldn’t focus on one exclusively, and you should stick to a healthy diet to achieve your goals.

Fat Burning

If your goal is fat burning, you will be looking for maximum calorie burn in your workout. For this reason, it’s best not to use the treadmill at all – do some road work instead (running or jogging). Resistance should be low, and the treadmill should be set at a pretty steep uphill angle. Your goal is to push yourself as hard as you can for 25-40 minutes during the workout. An excellent way to help reach this goal is with interval training – push hard for 2-4 minutes, then slow down and recover for 1 minute. Repeat this process 8-12 times, and you can burn a lot of fat in an instant!

Another great workout is the incline treadmill workout. Start at a low speed and low resistance, then increase both every minute for 12 minutes (so 1 min:3.5mph & 3% grade; 2 min:4mph & 6% grade; 3 min:4.5mph & 9% grade; 4 min:5mph & 12% grade and so on). On the second minute, go 5mph and 15% grade and push hard. On the third minute, go 6mph and 18% grade. The last 2 mins should be 7mph 20-25%. This will help you to burn fat fast.

How to Use a Treadmill to Eliminate Belly Fat

Treadmills simulate walking or running, and according to studies, like running, walking helps in weight loss and has a “protective effect on weight gain,” which translates to long-term weight maintenance. However, doing simple walking or running does not help eliminate belly fat faster than you want to. There are keys to getting the best result: intensity and how you vary this intensity. These could be achieved through treadmill running.

Running on a treadmill is not only a good substitute for running outdoors, but it is also a good way to lose belly fat and help keep it at bay. You can start at a slow pace and try for at least thirty minutes a day for beginners. Seems pretty easy? Hold on just a minute! You have to start paying attention to some aspects you have to consider before seeing optimal results:

Calorie Intake

Just because you’re constantly using a treadmill does not mean you can ignore your food intake. When you start your treadmill session, you have to watch your calorie intake. The fewer calories you take, the more belly fat you will lose.

Avoid Injury

Some may underestimate how to use a treadmill, but if you’re new to it, remember to start at a slow pace to avoid injuries. Don’t forget to do a warm-up before using a treadmill.

Heart Rate

Always be mindful of your heart rate. The optimal fat-burning heart rate is at 60% to 85%. If it’s not pumping at that range, your fat is not burning.

Know When to Stop

Thirty minutes is enough for a beginner treadmill workout. As you progress, you can increase the time walking or running up to a maximum of 45 minutes; the fat-burning slows down above that mark.

Endurance Training

The other option for the treadmill is endurance training. Here you will want to increase your body’s ability to use energy over time, which can help you train longer and harder when it comes time to run a race (the more long-distance runners tend to do this more than sprinters). For this reason, your treadmill workout should be up in the 6-12 mile range, 60 min or more. A good workout to try is 1 min at 6mph, then 1 min at 3mph (repeat 12 times). Or, you can go for a one hour walk (you could even put the treadmill on an incline if you want) and keep pushing yourself to increase your speed throughout the hour.

You may also read: Training and Preparation for a Half Marathon

 

Treadmill Session to Build Endurance

For beginners, you can use a treadmill for programmed workouts by warming up for 5.5 minutes at 3.5 mph, then jog at 5 mph for 5 minutes, then for the next 9 minutes, jog at 6 mph, then jog again for 5 minutes at 5 mph. After this, you can cool down for 5.5 minutes at 3.5 to 5 mph; that’s a total of 30 minutes.

Additional Tips
  • Set your treadmill to a slight incline of 1% to get the wind-resistance effect from running or walking outdoors.
  • Avoid overexertion and start at a beginner’s pace so you can assess your condition; work your way up gradually.
  • Once you get familiar, you can start adjusting the speed and introduce your body to the incline variation, which helps burn more calories.

For Muscular Development

If your goal is muscular development, you will need to use the treadmill with resistance work. An excellent way to do this is by alternating between periods of heavy strength work and short, intense treadmill sessions every couple of days. So, for example, on Mondays, you can lift weights for 60 min concentrating on significant movements like squats, deadlifts and bench presses. On Wednesdays, you do a treadmill workout like the one above. If you’re looking to increase your sprint speeds, try this: on Mondays, lift with maximum weight for five reps; Tues-Thurs light weights for 15 reps; Fridays sprints.

An excellent way to use the treadmill for muscular development is through interval training – when you alternate between periods of heavy strength work and short, intense treadmill sessions every couple of days. So, for example, on Mondays, lift with maximum weight for five reps; Tues-Thurs light weights for 15 reps; Fridays sprints.

Another great workout is to do it in a pyramid format: start at a low speed and resistance for 1 minute, the increase both every minute for 10 minutes (so 1 min:3.5mph & 3% grade; 2 min:4mph & 6% grade; 3 min:4.5mph & 9% grade; 4 min:5mph & 12% grade and so on). Then decrease both backs to 1 for another 10 minutes. On the second minute, go 5 mph and 15% grade and push hard. On the third minute, go 6 mph and 18% grade. The last 2 mins should be 7 mph 20-25%. This will help you to burn fat fast.

Conclusion

Now that you know how the treadmill works, it’s time to pick the right one. The treadmill is one of the most popular pieces of fitness equipment – it combines elements of running and weightlifting into one piece, so it’s great for fat burning, building up endurance, or gaining muscle mass.

Since treadmills are becoming more popular than ever before, there are plenty available to suit all budgets. The more expensive ones usually have several workout programs available, which can help to keep your motivation high.

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