The truth is, a treadmill workout is perfect for weight loss! You get a great kick-butt cardio workout and by adjusting the speed and incline on your treadmill you can create intervals that burn more fat in less time. In short, a treadmill helps you reach your weight loss goals a little faster.
There’s nothing wrong with winging it on the treadmill but you can get so much more out of a workout when you have a plan. As a CPT and treadmill junkie, I’ve created 4 different treadmill workouts that will help you burn fat, lose weight and keep your workout interesting!
Related: Elliptical vs. Treadmill: Which Is A Better Workout?
Benefits of Treadmill Workout
While strength training is essential to build strong muscles and keep your metabolism revved, you also need cardiovascular exercise. The CDC recommends individuals get at least 150 minutes of heart-pumping cardio each week. You can divide that number up however you like; do five 30-minute cardio sessions per week, three-hour-long sessions per week, or do 10 or 20 minutes here are there throughout the day. The treadmill offers just one awesome way to get your cardiovascular exercise in for the week, and there are so many things that make it a viable option for pretty much everyone. Working out on a treadmill…
- Allows you to walk or run no matter the weather
- Helps you train for your first 5 or 10 k
- Allows you to work in intervals by adjusting the speed or incline
- Makes cardio workouts accessible to all fitness levels
- Offers a low-impact alternative to running or walking on pavement
- Helps you track your progress by seeing calories burned, miles logged, and more
Thinking the treadmill still, means boredom? Think again. Read on to learn the secret to maximizing your treadmill workouts…it has a little something to do with swapping intervals in place of steady-state cardio.
How Intervals Help Maximize Your Treadmill Workouts
Many people automatically assume that the treadmill equals steady-state cardio alone.
First of all, there’s nothing wrong with steady-state cardio. Walking or running at a brisk pace is great for your heart.
But if you want to lose weight, you do need to incorporate higher intensity intervals in order to jumpstart your weight loss.
Intervals require you to up your intensity for short bursts of time in order to get your heart pumping and fat burning, before returning to a lower intensity and repeating the cycle again.
With a treadmill, you can create intervals by adjusting both the speed of the machine and the incline. You can really get your heart pumping when you increase your speed and force yourself to work harder than simply going at a comfortable pace.
Plus, when you adjust the incline it not only helps you burn more calories but it can help you target different muscles—your glutes and thighs in particular get targeted when you work at an incline. Toning your legs and glutes while you get your cardio on? Yes, please!
Trainer Tip: Perceived Exertion
Each of the treadmill workouts below is designed for you in terms of your own perceived exertion. What does that mean? Perceived exertion is how hard you feel you’re working. By tuning into how hard you’re working, you differentiate between when something feels easy, comfortably hard, or difficult.
Of course, it would be impossible (and inadvisable) to try and stay at a high intensity for a prolonged period of time. This is why intervals are such a smart way to work out. You push yourself, then you come back down to a more comfortable pace, continuing this cycle. These workouts are more than just a walk in the park!
4 Treadmill Workouts For Weight Loss
Alright, now that you’re hopefully abandoning your preconceived notions about what a treadmill can do, let’s get down to the fun part! These four treadmill workouts were designed to help you bust through a workout rut, challenge you, and help you burn more fat in less time. Whether you’re a walker, jogger, or runner, these four treadmill workouts will all work for you. Do one of them a few times and then move to the next or mix and match throughout the week to keep your body guessing. Either way, you’ll be glad you did!
PS: We made all of the workouts printable! You can get them by clicking the button below. Just print and take it with you to the gym or your home machine.
20-Minute Speed Intervals Treadmill Workout
This quick workout focuses on changing up your speed, which will give you more of a calorie burn than working on the treadmill at a moderate pace for an hour. You’ll do 4-speed intervals at 1 minute each, with 2 minutes of lighter work in between. You’ll bookend your workout with a 5-minute warm-up and cool down. Your incline will not change, so you don’t have to worry about that in this one.
The “feeling” column is helpful in identifying how hard you should feel you’re working, or your “perceived exertion.” This workout is great for anyone looking to up their calorie burn, or runners who are looking for a little speed work. Hit your stride and have some fun!
30-Minute Hill Climber Treadmill Workout
Get ready to work with inclines in this 30-minute hill-climber workout! This workout provides a 5-minute warm-up and then takes you on a series of speed and incline changes that give you the feeling of hiking on a mountain. Your speed will vary a little in this workout, but the focus is primarily on raising your incline.
The varying heart rate and aerobic/anaerobic combination will torch calories and fat and really increase your fitness level! Not to mention, anytime you raise the incline on your treadmill you target different muscle groups to mix things up and give your glutes and thighs a run for their money. Consider it the next best thing to hiking an exotic mountain somewhere—no plane ticket required.
30-Minute Interval Treadmill Workout
This workout is all about getting a solid 30-minute interval run. It provides you with a fairly steady jog/run combination so you’ll alternate between jogging at a lighter pace and running a little more intensely. This 30-minute workout is great for anyone looking to prepare for a 5k or those of us who want to get some nice cardio exercise in that can help us lose weight. Your incline will stay the same throughout this workout, it’s just the speed that will vary.
The Walker’s Butt-Burner Treadmill Workout
For all of you walkers who want to lose weight, this 15-minute workout takes your typical walk in the park and upgrades it into a calorie-burning, butt-building workout. Not only will getting your heart rate up help burn up extra fat, but the incline challenges are a great way to shape up your glutes. You’ll start with a 5-minute warm-up and then walk a steady pace, changing the incline and speed throughout. Remember to use your arms and keep your abs tight as the hill increases; you can even engage your glutes too to boost the toning effects of this workout.
Give these four treadmill workouts a try to beat boredom, mix up your workout routine, and burn more fat in less time. Machines like the treadmill don’t have to be boring or ho-hum; they can actually be the perfect way to use intervals to get fit and lose weight.
Jean on May 6, 2023 at 1:30 AM
Love tread and shred with Sam, it's a sweaty one but leaves me with a huge feeling of accomplishment. Never did I think I would be running at this age!
Chris Freytag, CPT on May 17, 2023 at 8:11 PM
That is awesome - great job!!
flagle on August 25, 2022 at 10:59 PM
Thank you for the workouts on the treadmill. Can't wait until tomorrow to try them!
Diane Campbell on July 6, 2022 at 7:13 PM
I've been wanting to get a treadmill! Do you recommend any particular one? Thanks!
Chris Freytag, CPT on July 7, 2022 at 9:28 PM
Hi Diane - Oh goodness there are SO many treadmills out there :) I would start with something like the Nordic Track Treadmill or any of the treadmills with a little extra cushion or sturdiness to them. You can really break the bank on treadmills or you can go a little cheaper, totally up to personal preference but the Nordic Track has some good options!
Natasha on April 21, 2019 at 3:51 AM
Are the speeds in mph or km per hour?
Chris Freytag on May 31, 2019 at 9:16 AM
Natasha - Great question! These speeds are in miles per hour (mph).
beth on February 5, 2019 at 10:11 AM
I cannot print your "free downloads" and there is no place toggle you an email....so, this is not helpful!
Chris Freytag on February 19, 2019 at 11:20 AM
Hi Beth - Within the article of 4 Treadmill Workouts To Beat Boredom there is a photo of the 4 downloads placed at the beginning of the article as well as at the end of the article. On that photo you are able to click directly on it and a new box will pop up, allowing you to enter your email address to download the 4 workouts together. Please let me know if you are having issues still. Thanks!
Amy on January 16, 2019 at 6:50 PM
This is a great selection of workouts. I’m a big fan of treadmill workouts for all the reasons you listed. Especially in the winter. Bonus for short HIIT workouts. Thanks for sharing.
Katie on March 22, 2017 at 8:48 AM
I did the 3 mile workout with modifications to speed for more challenge and it fixed the distance. Overall, the pattern was great though! As written it would definitely be well under 3 miles in length. The changes made it about 3.1 miles in 32 minutes for me. Here are the changes. 0-2 mins - 4.0 2-5 mins - 5.5 5-7 mins - 6.0 7-8 mins - 6.5 8-11 mins - 5.5 11-13 mins - 6.0 13-14 mins - 6.5 14-16 mins - 4.0 16-19 mins - 6.0 19-21 mins - 6.3 21-23 mins - 6.8 23-29 mins - 6.5 29-31 mins - 6.8 (end of this was about 3.05 miles) 31-32 mins - 4.0
Amy on September 20, 2016 at 11:29 AM
I am trying to print the treadmill workouts, but your site keeps wanting me to sign up for your emails. I already receive your emails and I am a prime member. Is it something in my settings that won't allow me to print?
Chris Freytag on September 20, 2016 at 12:56 PM
Hi Amy - sorry about that! If you're trying to print one of our downloads, then you will need to enter your email - even if you already get our emails - as that's the only way we can send it to you. But don't worry you won't get duplicate emails! If you're just trying to print off a blog post/workout, you should be able to hit the print button by clicking the top gray box. Hope that helps!
Shana on June 16, 2016 at 2:22 AM
The prior posts are more accurate on the 3 mile 30 minute run. 6.0=10min mile. You would have to run at 6.0 the entire 30 minutes to reach 3 miles.
Julie Krinke on April 19, 2016 at 9:02 PM
Thank you for the treadmill workouts! Can't wait to start trying them tomorrow! ?