Losing Weight on a Treadmill: Your Guide to Success

Treadmills aren’t just elaborated torture machines – which they actually were in 19th century Britain. But back to our modern-day “fun,” slim-inducing equipment.

Treadmills can help you lose weight because they help you move.

The goal is to maximize that caloric burn for long-term, continuous effects without plateaus or getting bored of your routine.

And that’s precisely what this article will tell you. Keep reading more below!

Are Treadmills Good for Weight Loss?

Treadmills are excellent for weight loss because they get your heart pumping, which helps your body burn more calories. 

Here’s an interesting factoid you can notice if you wear a basic fitness watch:

Most (moderately fit) people will sweat and huff and puff in a gym class, but look at your heart rate and calorie burn afterward.

Chances are your heart rate is lower than when simply walking on the treadmill at 4 mph. That means even walking – not to mention jogging or downright running – on the thing helps you lose weight faster.

The other problem with exhausting gym workouts is they leave you sore for days. That means you’re less likely to stay active for the next 48 hours, thus reducing your caloric burn. And that means you’ll be more tempted to reduce your caloric intake when you stop noticing results, further slowing down your metabolism.

It’s a vicious circle.

Instead, treadmills (and a well-thought-out resistance training program) can accelerate weight loss. Unless, of course, you’re misusing them.

That’s what the next section is for:

How to Burn More Calories on a Treadmill?

how to lose weight on a treadmill

The better question here is, how can you avoid burning fewer and fewer calories once you get more used to running on a treadmill?

The answer is simple:

Listen to your body and vary your workouts.

  • If you’re too sore after yesterday’s workout, don’t push a new strenuous routine on yourself today. Instead, focus on upper body resistance training or simply walk on your treadmill.
  • Try all the programs. Running can get pretty addictive. Jogging steadily at 5 mph, then at 6 mph next week, then 7 mph next month can skyrocket your confidence – and plummet your resting metabolic rate. So, you should also incorporate HIIT and walking programs (especially using the incline on these). That brings us to the next bullet point:
  • Increase the speed. However, don’t simply increase your stride to keep up with the running belt – that’s just your body trying to conserve energy. Instead, take smaller steps and increase their frequency. The key to burning more calories is having your body move more, not less.
  • Increase that beautiful incline. Even a 1% incline has been proven to accelerate caloric burn by 12%, but you can read more about the weight loss benefits of using an incline here. Basically, the slope helps you torch more calories, strengthen your muscles, and avoid plateaus – all of which contribute to long-term weight loss.
  • Don’t neglect your other muscles. If you want to lose more weight on the treadmill, keep your upper body moving, pumping those arms. Your treadmill may come with incorporated resistance bands – use these during your walking workouts or after your run. Alternatively, you can exercise your upper body and core on your treadmill rest days. (Read more about all the muscles you can work on a treadmill here.)
  • Take rest days. But make them active; don’t become a couch potato when you’re not on the treadmill. Get up and move around your home, play with your kids, go salsa dancing with your beautiful self or start a vegetable garden. Studies show these activities help keep your metabolism up; otherwise, your body simply starts compensating for the calories you burn during exercise.

Does Treadmill Burn Belly Fat?

Yes, treadmills can help you burn belly fat – we discussed that at length here. Whether walking, jogging, or running, using a treadmill can rid you of that deep-tissue abdominal fat.

Research after research proves that assertion because:

Treadmills Help You Burn Overall Body Fat

walking on a treadmill for weight loss

When you’re using the right routine (a mix of HIIT, steady-state jogging, and incline walking), your metabolism accelerates during and after the exercise. For example, you’ll notice your heart rate increase considerably towards the second half of a HIIT routine, although you had plenty of rest during the low-intensity intervals.

That helps you burn calories after your workout.

By comparison, steady-state cardio maximizes calorie burn during your run. Incline walking can torch more calories during your workout, but it also strengthens your muscles, turning them into fat-burning machines in the long term.

Thus, the key is mixing it all up.

Treadmills Engage Your Core

You’ll notice your core muscles tightening instinctively when running or walking on the treadmill. That happens because your abdomen works harder to: 

  • Keep your balance 
  • Stabilize your arms and legs as they’re pushing through the air
  • Prevent flailing your limbs

Treadmills Target Belly Fat

Although that assertion sounds like a marketing gimmick, it’s not. Several studies found that keeping up your running routine long-term can reduce belly fat by 33% more than simply dieting.

Even walking on the treadmill can help you burn visceral abdominal fat, but the secret is to increase that incline.

Treadmills Get Your Heart Rate Up

And the bonus is they do it at a low perceived effort. Walking briskly while intentionally pumping your arms, walking briskly on an incline, or running at 6 mph can get you in the anaerobic or VO2 max zone.

Those zones are where the fat-burning effect starts to happen.

Treadmills have this effect because they help you use your entire body, as long as you move intentionally and don’t let the running band carry you along.

How Can You Burn More Belly Fat on a Treadmill?

If you’ve read so far, you’ve already caught some tips on maximizing your belly fat burn. The key is to:

  • Maximize your calorie burn, so follow all the advice in that section.
  • Increase incline – even 1% counts towards torching your belly fat.
  • Incorporate HIIT workouts into your routine.
  • Get your heart rate in the anaerobic or VO2 max zone.

Another practical thing you can do is to engage your core muscles intentionally:

  • Don’t simply squeeze them tight. Instead, take a deep breath in and do a tiny fake cough. Now, keep your abs in this position throughout your workout. Remember to keep breathing, though! If you lose the squeeze, repeat the fake cough.
  • Try walking backwards or sideways on the treadmill. Doing this targets your abs and lower back muscles from different angles, strengthening them more.
  • Use weights. One solution is holding onto hand weights while walking on the treadmill, exaggerating your twisting motions. Another solution is to use your treadmill’s incorporated upper body bands for extra resistance.

How to Lose Weight on a Treadmill

how to lose weight on a treadmill

Losing weight on a treadmill is more than simply burning calories and fat stores. It starts there, sure, but there’s more to it than that.

The main thing is not to get lost in the same routine.

When you’re using the treadmill purposefully:

  • You are paying attention to your movements. That means you are actively contracting your muscles to tone them faster. You aren’t lengthening your stride when you increase the treadmill’s speed because you’re mindful; instead, you’re pumping your arms and legs faster to keep up with the new pace.
  • You are listening to your body. That means you can intentionally increase or decrease the workout difficulty based on objective reasons. You’re not afraid to try new programs and challenge yourself, but you also know not to torture yourself on the running belt.

If you focus on meeting these two goals, the rest will follow, aka:

  • Increasing the speed – when it’s right
  • Increasing the incline – when it’s right
  • Doing HIIT – but not every day
  • Doing steady-state cardio – but not to exhaustion
  • Walking on the treadmill – but not sluggishly just to pass the time
  • Wearing wrist weights or using upper body bands – but keeping your posture strong

And remember, weight loss is a lifestyle. You can’t just hop onto the treadmill for 10-20-30 minutes daily and keep your bad habits.

You should also lower your general stress levels, sleep well, and eat healthily. Yes – some of that feels cliché and downright impossible some of the times – but you should explore the tools that bring you onto the correct path.

If you can eat healthily just once per week – do that. If you can’t get rid of what stresses you but can do calming breathing exercises two minutes per day – do that. It all helps and matters more than you think.

Treadmill Walking for Weight Loss

Treadmill walking is a great way to lose weight. It’s low impact, so it’s easy on your joints and a great cardio workout. Plus, you can walk at your own pace and tailor your training to your fitness level. 

Related: Benefits of Walking on a Treadmill

And, if you’re looking for a little extra motivation, there are plenty of great walking programs out there that can help you burn even more calories. 

Here’s why walking works:

  • Walking increases your heart rate without very much perceived effort. That means you can burn calories without sweating or losing your breath from the comfort of your own home.
  • Walking briskly can bring your heart rate into the fat-burning zone so that you can shed those pounds faster.
  • Walking at an incline is proven to increase caloric burn by 12% for just 1% of the extra rise.
  • Walking is mild enough for your body so that you can use wrist weights or resistance bands without dangerously jerking them around. That means you can further work out your body and burn more calories.
  • Walking at a moderate pace doesn’t leave you feeling sore. Therefore, you can walk on your treadmill every time you have the time – even ten times per day. That will put you into an active lifestyle, thus helping you burn more calories and accelerating your metabolism.

How Long on Treadmill to Lose Weight?

treadmill running for weight loss

The current official recommendation is that people exercise 30 minutes per day or 150 minutes per week and lead active lifestyles as much as possible.

That’s what you should aim for too.

However, the issue is how you will use your treadmill:

  • As exercise equipment, or:
  • As a machine that keeps you active daily

The answer is important because it will tell you how long and often you should be on that treadmill to lose weight, depending on your goals and lifestyle.

  • If you’re using your treadmill for exercise, aim for sessions that last at least 20-30 minutes and up to 45-60 minutes without interruption. This duration will give you plenty of time to warm up and cool down while also getting you into the fat-burning zone and toning your muscles. You should see results in two to four weeks. 
  • If you’re using your treadmill to increase active periods, the length of your sessions is not as important. Even a few minutes multiple times per day is better for your body than slumping on the couch checking your TikTok. You will see significant results in about four weeks as well, maybe even faster if you’re also doing other exercise routines.

Treadmill Benefits for Weight Loss

New Year’s resolutions are often broken by February, if not sooner. One of the most common resolutions is to lose weight, but sticking to a workout routine can be difficult. 

Treadmills are a great way to get in shape and lose weight because they are easy to use, and there are many different ways to use them. 

  • You can walk or run at different speeds, incline the treadmill, or even do interval training. 
  • You can burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time, which is essential for weight loss. 
  • Walking/running on the treadmill has a low perceived effort compared to other aerobic activities.
  • Walking/running exercises your entire body, thus increasing weight loss.
  • You can keep your motivation up easily through different virtual workout programs or by listening to your music.
  • You can follow your stats in real-time. Of course, higher-end treadmills allow you to monitor your numbers more accurately, thus adjusting your workouts according to your progress.

Read more: 8 Treadmill Benefits (and 3 DISADVANTAGES)

Treadmill 30 Minutes a Day Weight Loss

If you’re like most people, the thought of working out on a treadmill for 30 minutes a day is probably enough to make you break into a cold sweat. 

But what exactly happens to your body when you subject it to this kind of torture? 

First, your heart rate will increase, and you’ll start to breathe more heavily as your body strives to pump oxygen-rich blood to your working muscles. You’ll also begin to burn more calories as your body burns through its stored glycogen. Eventually, you’ll reach a point where your body starts to break down fat stores for energy. 

So, if you’re looking to lose weight or improve your cardiovascular health, hitting the treadmill for 30 minutes daily is a good way to go about it. 

30-Day Treadmill Weight Loss Results

treadmill weight loss results

Let’s say you’ve decided to commit to working out on the treadmill for 30 minutes a day, every day, for one month. What can you expect? First of all, you’ll probably be pretty sore for the first week or two. But after that, your body will start to adapt, and you’ll find that you have more energy and stamina. You may also notice that your weight changes as you burn more calories and build more muscle. Over time, you can expect significant improvements in your cardiovascular health and overall fitness level. 

That means:

  • You’ll be stronger.
  • You’ll sleep better.
  • You’ll be leaner.
  • You’ll be more productive and creative at work.
  • You’ll have more energy for your family.
  • You’ll feel happier with yourself and more motivated overall.
  • You’ll slowly slip into a new, more active, and healthier lifestyle.

Treadmill Workouts for Weight Loss

Losing weight can be tricky, but the right workout routine can make things easier. Check out this treadmill workout that is perfect for those looking to shed some pounds: 

  • Start by warming up with a light jog for five minutes. 
  • Then, increase the speed to a moderate pace and run for two minutes. 
  • After that, it’s time to pick up the intensity and run at your fastest pace for one minute. 
  • To recover, lower the speed back down to a moderate pace and run for two minutes. 
  • Repeat this cycle eight times.
  • Cool down with a light jog for five minutes. 

Here’s an example of a fun and effective treadmill workout that will help you build endurance and burn fat:

  • 5-minute warm-up.
  • Walk at a moderate pace for 3 minutes.
  • Increase the incline to 2% and walk for another minute. 
  • Repeat this sequence (3 minutes at a moderate pace followed by 1 minute at a higher tilt) for 20 minutes. 
  • Finish with a 5-minute cool-down session.

This type of interval training not only helps you build endurance but also burns more calories than steady-state cardio. So don’t be afraid to mix things up and get creative with your treadmill workouts – your body (and your bathing suit) will thank you for it!

Wrap Up

Treadmills are excellent weight loss tools, but remember that you need to stay intentional and listen to your body during your workouts. You also need the right machine – one with correct stats, incline, and speed levels, plus plenty of programs for a varied routine.

Mary D. Brown

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