Treadmills are a convenient and effective way to burn fat and get fit, but just plodding along on a treadmill can get a bit monotonous. Walking on a treadmill burns more calories than walking around the block, but you don't have to sprint like an Olympian to burn more fat on a treadmill. Spice up your treadmill workout by adding some hill interval workouts. You'll get more out of your treadmill cardio workout with hill intervals by burning more calories and strengthening your muscles.
Advantages of Treadmills
If you haven't used a treadmill before, you are missing out on a tremendous fitness opportunity. One obvious advantage of a treadmill is that you can use one at home as well as in the gym. When the weather is too hot, too cold or stormy, you can still get your daily run or jog in on the treadmill. Unlike your boss, the kids and your significant other, you can make a treadmill do what you want it to do. You can set the speed, incline and decline to do an interval workout or hill climbs. You don't have to worry about obstacles in your path that could trip you up and cause a devastating fall. Best of all, if you have a treadmill at home you can use it any time of the day or night. Listen to your favorite tunes or watch television while you climb and walk away the pounds.
Tempo training on a treadmill can help get you ready for that 5k race your best friend talked you into entering. Tempo training teaches your body to maintain a pace so you can go the distance. If you want to finish a 5k race, which is about 3 miles, in 20 minutes, you need to run at an average pace of about one mile every six minutes. Start out with a slow to medium walk to warm up. Increase the speed slowly until you reach your target heart rate pace and run at that pace for eight to 10 minutes. Slow down for five minutes to rest and then go back to the faster pace. Soon you'll be ready for that 5K run and leave your friend in the dust.
Remember that 5K race your friend talked you into entering? The course has some hilly terrain. How can you prepare to run a hilly course? Hill repeats not only prepare you for real-world terrain, but also get your heart pumping for a good cardio workout for fat loss and building strong muscles. Hill repeats are an interval-training session. Start out walking at a normal pace and gradually increase the incline to about 8 to 10 percent. Increase your speed as the treadmill incline increases. Sprint all out for about 90 seconds on the incline and then slow down as the treadmill declines to a flat running surface. If you have any energy left, repeat the hill run for three or four rounds.
You'll want to run at a steady pace when doing rolling hills. Rolling hills on a treadmill simulates the kind of uphill and downhill situations you might encounter when running outdoors. Start at a slightly slower pace than you normally run. Increase and decrease the incline of the treadmill randomly or set it to simulate an actual race course. The incline of the treadmill should roll or go up and down at different grades throughout your workout. You might run at a 2 percent incline for one mile before leveling off. You could then run at a 5 percent incline for a half mile before leveling off. You'll be relieved to know that the rolling up and down movement of the treadmill shouldn't cause motion sickness.
Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and professional writer. She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College.