When it comes to getting in shape and losing weight, nothing is simpler than getting on the treadmill. A 160-pound woman burns roughly 300 calories during a 30-minute run at 5 mph, making the treadmill an ideal starting point when you're seeking weight loss. The key to any weight-loss program is to vary what you do, and your treadmill schedule shouldn't be any different. Keep your body guessing by switching up the routines you do on the treadmill to get the most fat-burning and calorie-burning potential.
Walk to Run
For those who don't quite have the cardiovascular capabilities to run yet, beginning with a walk-to-run program is a great idea. Walk-to-run programs start you off with intervals of walking and running. For example, you walk two minutes then run one minute. Most walk-to-run programs will have you doing four days of training at around 30 minutes each. As the weeks of the program progress, you slowly start walking less time and running more, until you're eventually running the entirety of the workout. Once you're running the entire 30 minutes, you'll be burning roughly 300 calories per session, depending on the speed at which you run, leading to a higher calorie burn and improved weight loss over walking.
Interval training is the next progression once you're capable of running for an extended period of time. Interval training is similar to a walk-to-run program, but there's typically little to no walking. Intervals involve alternating bursts of intense activity followed by a recovery time of lighter activity. Interval training blasts fat by increasing your heart rate, which helps to burn more calories during your workout. Interval training can replace steady-state cardio to save time. Just 30 minutes of intervals is enough to replace an hour of running at the same pace, so if you're in a time crunch or hate spending time on the treadmill, switch to interval runs three times a week over your normal run.
Incline training is an effective way to ramp up your treadmill workout and keep away any boredom. Walking or running at an incline puts the focus on your lower body, with your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves all being targeted. Since you're exerting so much more energy in order to push yourself up the incline, your body is also burning more calories than running on a flat surface. Boost your calorie-burning potential during your runs by adding a few incline intervals twice a week. For example, run for five minutes at your normal pace and incline, then bump up the incline to 5 percent for the next two minutes. Lower the incline and continue to run at your normal pace. Repeat these intervals for 30 minutes for a calorie-blasting workout that will also help shape your lower body.
Sprints are the ultimate cardiovascular workout. They burn more calories and are more effective for fat loss compared to lower-intensity cardio workouts such as running at an average pace. A sprint workout should contain sprints of less than a minute followed by a longer period of rest, which means you should be sprinting all out for that designated period of time. But because sprinting is such an intense workout for your body, it should only be done once or twice a week for roughly 20 minutes with adequate rest time between each session.
Kaitlin Condon is a holistic health coach and certified physical fitness/wellness specialist. She is a contributing health writer for the teen magazine "Miabella," as well as several online publications.