Treadmill Workouts: Best ways to burn fat and get fit on the treadmill

Walking has long been hailed as one of the The best exercises For the sake of general health, but since it’s not always possible to get out of the house and up your steps, using a treadmill may be the next best thing.

About 53 million people were using it in 2017, but it was the COVID pandemic home fitness revolution that led to a staggering increase in sales with Washington Post Reporting a 135 percent increase in treadmill purchases by January 2021.

Before you hop on the treadmill and start walking at your preferred pace, consider a workout where you can vary your speed and incline, which can make for a more productive session.

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Here’s what you should know to get the most out of your treadmill workout.

Incline the pace

“Most people don’t think about using the treadmill’s incline feature,” said Dan Polay, certified personal trainer and co-owner of Zone Training Facility in Livingston, New Jersey.

“But most research will support the idea that the metabolic cost of walking on an incline will greatly increase the difficulty of the exercise.”

Creating a steeper ride is also an option, Boulay said, if you’re having trouble increasing your walking pace or transitioning from walking to running.

People exercising on treadmills in a gymnasium credit: Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd/Getty Images

For those who can vary both the walking speed and the incline of the treadmill, fitness experts recommend a type of interval training, which involves frequently switching up the intensity of the exercise and the activities you do.

There are countless interval workouts available online and on fitness apps, said Jillian Dalby, vice president of fitness at CAZ Training Club in Newport Beach, California.

If you find the options too daunting to consider, I’ve offered two easy possibilities.

First: Use the treadmill and substitute 1 minute of walking, 1 minute of jogging, and 1 minute of running for 18 minutes. “This keeps your mind engaged, doesn’t feel monotonous, and is a great way to build stamina and speed,” said Dalby.

Second: Walk for one minute without an incline, one minute at an elevation of 4 percent and one minute at an elevation of 8 percent, then repeat this sequence five times. If either exercise feels easy, double the time to 36 minutes or do both exercises together.

“The goal is to feel comfortable on the tread, and then you can play with speed and downhill together as you continue to progress,” said Dalby.

Modern exercises

The 37-minute “Taylor Swift Treadmill Strut” requires you to walk to the beat of 10 Taylor Swift songs, created by Allie Bennett, a TikTok influencer known for setting up his running workouts to popular music.

The tempo of the first song should be similar to a walking speed of about 5.4 kilometers per hour.

From there, the tempo increases on each of the next six songs, requiring you to increase your speed for each song.

The eighth and ninth notes are much faster. You may need to start running to match the tempo, although you can stay with a brisk walk. The ending, song 10, is a lull and is the slowest of the group.

“I’m a huge fan of Taylor Swift’s butt,” Bolley said.

There are many treadmill workouts online that use varying speeds and incline. credit: Westend 61/Getty Images / Westend61

“The general public can do this exercise without a lot of training experience, and it’s fun enough to keep most people consistent and engaged for its duration.”

The 12-3-30 workout, created by TikTok influencer Lauren Giraldo, uses the tilt to get fit and lose weight.

A 30-minute workout is simple: Set the treadmill to an incline of 12% and the pace to 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) per hour, and go.

An easier version geared towards beginner calls for the first 15 minutes at a slope of 2.5% and the second 15 minutes at an inclination of 8.5%.

“The 12-3-30 workout is a great workout, too,” said Boulay.

“High-incline walking at a low intensity has been a staple in the bodybuilding community for decades.”

This training style is known as Low Intensity Steady State, or LISS, Boulay said.

It’s great for those looking to burn a lot of calories while avoiding the stress and fatigue that come with high-impact workouts like running, tennis, and basketball.

Using a workout that changes along with the beat of the music can help keep you motivated and entertained while walking on the treadmill. credit: Martins/Getty Images

Non-motorized treadmill

Not in a workout group? Then try walking on a non-motorized treadmill. These new treadmills are powered by your feet, and their curved shape is the equivalent of walking at an incline of about six to eight percent.

Try this interval workout to avoid fatigue or injuries.

A study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that people who walked on non-motorized treadmills had significantly higher heart rates and oxygen uptake variables than those using motorized treadmills.

Similarly, one study published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology showed that running on such treadmills provided a significantly higher rate of muscle fatigue compared to using a motorized treadmill or running on land.

“If your gym has both types of treadmills, try both,” said Dalby. “The more fun you have working out and finding ways to challenge yourself, the more likely you are to continue your fitness journey.”

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