Treadmill Workouts for Weight Loss

Using treadmill workouts for weight loss can have you burning up to 500-600 calories an hour, increase your cardiovascular fitness, and boost your metabolism. The key is to do it consistently and to follow a plan.  

Today's treadmills offer a wide collection of pre-programmed running plans to help you reach your fitness and weight loss goals. The monitors will display your speed, the distance you run, and the calories you burn. 

If you are a beginner, it's a good idea to start out slowly to build some endurance. Don't worry, it won't take long before you start raising the intensity level.


 Exercise Target Heart Rate

In order to understand how to maximize the treadmill workouts for weight loss, it's important that you understand target heart rate calculations. This simple calculation will enable you to get the most benefit from your treadmill workout. 

We all have a maximum heart rate which is found by taking the number 220 and subtracting our age. So if you are 40 years old, your maximum heart rate would be 180. Your target heart rate zones will be anywhere between 50% to 90% of your maximum heart rate.

Here is an example of a 65% and 85% target heart rate for a 40-year-old. You’ll notice that for a target heart rate of 65%, this individual will want to keep their heart rate at 117 beats per minute as they exercise.


65% Intensity: (220 − (age = 40)) × 0.65 → 117 beats per minute

85% Intensity: (220 − (age = 40)) × 0.85 → 153 beats per minute


If you are a beginner you should keep your target heart rate in a range of 55% to 65%. As your cardiovascular condition gets better you can slowly move to a 70% - 75%.

It's important to note that the target heart rate is recommended for individuals that don't have any health problems. Please take the time to check with your physician to be sure this type of intense exercise is ok.


** A recent Danish study found that individuals that run a few times every week can increase their life expectancy by years. For men, it could add up to six years, and for the women, five and a half. Their data showed that you only need to run for about 20 minutes 3-4 times a week to receive those amazing benefits.



Treadmill Workouts for Weight Loss


Walk & Jog Workout

If you're new to running or have been inactive for an extended period it is a good idea to start out by walking and running together. By varying the intensity, you can cut down on the initial aches and pains that frustrate many new runners.

Beginners can add slow jogs to into their walks and adjust them to match their own fitness levels. If you feel like the workout is too easy or hard, you can dabble with the intensity. Just make sure your body will be ready for the change.

We have included a free printable 7 week jog & walk training plan to help you get started.


Treadmill Jog & Walk 7 Week Chart with Free Printable Chart


Interval Training Workout

We all know that running on a treadmill can be a highly effective cardio exercise, but it can become repetitive and dull for many. Interval training can spice up your runs and provide a new fitness challenge at the same time.

What is interval training?

Quite simply, interval training is a combination of both high-intensity and low-intensity cardiovascular exercises.

A high-intensity interval (known as a Sprint Interval) will be followed by a lower-intensity interval (known as a Rest Interval). During rest intervals, you will not stop your activity, but rather slow it down to allow your body time to recover from the challenge of the sprint interval. 

The length of the intervals will depend on your fitness level and the type of sprint activity. If you are new to interval training, it's important to prepare your body for the harder speed intervals. Begin by running at 3/4 of your top running speed for 30 to 60 seconds followed by 3 to 4 minutes at a slow jog.

Once you feel sufficiently recovered, repeat the intervals. Try and do 4-6 reps when you first start. As your interval training workouts progress, you can increase the number of reps and also reduce the time of your slower recovery intervals. We have included a free printable interval training chart for you to track your progress.

printable treadmill workout

Treadmill Interval Workout Plan with Free Printable Chart


Eat Like a Runner

"Now that I'm running, do I get to eat more?"

Running burns roughly 100 calories per mile. So if you're running a few miles 4-5 times a week, that's not a lot of extra calories. A number of new runners compensate with their running by eating more and actually end up gaining weight.

The best thing you can do is try and stay with the same number of calories you were eating before you started your running plan. Make sure you are eating healthy nutritional foods that keep your energy levels high. This can motivate you to run and is also a great way to keep your metabolism ramped high. 


Treadmill Tips

  • Warm up carefully - Start walking or jogging slowly for 4 to 5 minutes to get warmed up and to get comfortable with your running form. It's important for instance not to lean forward. The treadmill is pulling your feet backward, so if you are leaning forward your upper and lower body are going in different directions. Make sure to keep your body upright.

  • Keep a short stride - A short stride will accomplish a couple of things. It will keep you balanced and make sure that you are concentrating on landing on your mid-foot. It will also cause less stress on your legs.
  • Don't hold on to the handrails - The handrails are there to help you get on and odd the treadmill. It is important that you keep your arms at a 90 degree angle and move them back and forth just like you would do running outside.

  • Make sure to run at an incline - It is important to run at a 1 to 2 % incline for at least part of your running exercise. The incline will add a little extra workout to build strength and power while your flat workout will build stamina and foot speed.

  • Cool down - Take the time to slow things down for 4 or 5 minutes at the end of your run to let your body recover.


Other pages that might interest you:


I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.




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