Now that you’re all set up with the basics of exactly how to run on a treadmill, it’s time to get more specific and use your treadmill to reach certain goals. For many of you, the number one goal is fat loss. Below are some easy to follow steps for a successful fat burning treadmill workout.
One of the nice things about treadmills is they are an excellent tool for all fitness levels, beginners to athletes. The treadmill is great for first-time exercisers looking to build endurance and lose fat, or a fitness enthusiast looking to increase their performance.
When talking about weight loss – or more specifically, FAT loss – there are two main variables that come into play: exercise and nutrition. While both go hand in hand, today we’re going to focus more so on the exercise end of things. And how your treadmill can be a great tool in helping you reach your fat loss goals.
One thing you may have noticed is that I prefer the term “fat loss” rather than “weight loss”. Unfortunately, too many people become fixated with the number on the scale. Many people are looking for a quick fix and immediate results with restrictive calorie diets. While some people may be dropping weight, often times it’s actually muscle that is being lost while the body holds on to the fat. We refer to this as “skinny fat”. Ideally, we want to find a way for the body to burn fat as opposed to utilizing muscle as a fuel source. Focusing more so on restrictive calorie diets instead of a consistent exercise program is most often the wrong way to go.
Let’s take a look instead of how to incorporate your treadmill training into your fat loss program. A fat burning treadmill workout is a perfect way to reach your goals. When combined with a well-rounded strength program and “clean eating” plan, you’re sure to notice some fat loss.
Step #1: Start Easy
If you’re fairly new to exercise or have been out of the game for a while, start with some easy workouts to get your body acclimated. Walk or jog on the treadmill for thirty minutes two to three days a week. Not quite ready for thirty minutes yet? No problem … gradually work your way up. Your body will adapt fairly quickly and after a couple of weeks you’ll be ready for more. Also, on days away from your treadmill you should be adding in some total body strength training (push-ups, bodyweight squats, planks, etc.).
Step #2: Add Incline
After your brief acclimation period, it’s time to add some incline to your workouts. Try making one fat burning treadmill workout each week a hill workout. Almost all treadmills these days are pre-programmed with a variety of workouts, so find one that utilizes your treadmill’s incline feature and get ready for a nice little challenge! Don’t use the hills as an excuse to slack off. Try to maintain your normal running or walking speed for the duration of the workout. Aim for 20 to 30 minutes of incorporating hills.
Step #3: Go Long
Once a week, add a workout that is about twice as long as your easy day. The speed will undoubtedly be slower, but keep moving for the entire workout. This throws the body a bit of a curve-ball and also increases your total caloric burn for the course of your workout.
Step #4: Intervals
You’ve heard me mention them before, but intervals or HIIT workouts are one of the absolute best ways to not only challenge your body, but also to make your body burn fat more efficiently after your workout by revving up your metabolism. Try adding intervals in just once per week to start. Those who normally walk should add some jogging intervals, if you normally jog, add some sprints. Again, most treadmills have pre-programmed workouts and should include at least a couple of interval options. Otherwise, you can easily create your own. After a ten minute warm-up, speed up for 30 to 60 seconds. After a 60 to 90 second recovery, repeat the interval again. The entire workout should last between 30 and 45 minutes, including the warm-up and a 10-minute cool down.
Step #5: Keep A Food Log
As I mentioned earlier, nutrition will also be a big factor in your fat loss journey. A great way to get a clear snap-shot of what (and when) you’re eating is to keep a daily food log. Simply write down what and when you eat & drink each day and you’ll start to take notice of how good (or bad) your nutrition program is. You can also add in small notes each day on how you feel and over time you may see a pattern develop based on the foods you eat. Take note of energy levels, soreness, attitude, etc. Many of those can be traced back to food and exercise.
Finally, be patient when it comes to fat loss. Your body does not get fat overnight, so don’t expect to lose all of your fat after just a few workouts. Make fitness a part of your lifestyle along with clean eating and adequate sleep/recovery. You’ll gradually notice some positive changes in how you look and feel, how your clothes fit, your confidence level and your overall enjoyment of life!
About the writer: Ken Grall is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and owns and operates an Edge Fitness in Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more about Ken.