Interminable boring hours on a treadmill, especially when you think you could be doing something much more fun, is no guarantee of weight loss. But smart, imaginative workouts on your treadmill, together with a touch more variety in your exercise plan, will certainly increase your chances of losing weight.
The popular belief is that brisk walking or running on a treadmill are cardiovascular activities that are highly effective at burning calories and fat. According to the IDEA Health and Fitness Association, however, you have to run for up to two hours to deplete your carbohydrate stores enough that your body will start to use fat as energy. The increased intensity may burn more fat, but two mind-numbing hours on a treadmill is not particularly appealing even for a superathlete.
The IDEA says that low-intensity exercise burns only a limited amount of fat. Incorporate short-duration high-intensity exercise into your treadmill workout to expend more calories, burn more fat and accelerate weight loss. High-intensity interval training allows you to excercise intensely on the treadmill while spending less time on it. The bonus of HIIT is its ability to raise your metabolism postworkout, as your body expends energy and calories to restore expended nutrients and return to its preworkout state. To do intervals on the treadmill, warm up with a five-minute brisk walk, then break into a sprint or strong run for 30 seconds followed by a 60-second brisk walk. Repeat the sprint/brisk walk sequence 10 times for a15-minute fat-burning treadmill workout. Increase or reduce the sequence according to your level of fitness. If you are new to exercise, alternate between a slow walk and a brisk walk.
Frequency and Variety
You may not lose weight with a treadmill if you persist with the same routine or program each time, such as a steady 45-minute brisk walk, or a 30-minute run. Vary your workouts to maintain your enthusiasm and induce your body to adapt to different challenges. The extra effort of overcoming new challenges expends more energy and accelerates weight loss. For example, use the preset workouts featured on some treadmills, or use the incline feature to simulate walking or running uphill. To lose weight, do a treadmill workout a minimum of three times per week.
Lean Muscle Tissue
Incorporate resistance or body-weight exercises into your treadmill workouts to maintain and increase your lean muscle tissue to give your weight loss an extra boost. Lean muscle tissue elevates your metabolism long term, enhancing your body's ability to burn calories and fat more efficiently. For example, do a 10-minute brisk walk on an inclined treadmill, followed by two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions of seated chest presses, pushups or knee pushups. Rest for two minutes, then do another 10 minutes on the treadmill, followed by two sets of 12 to15 repetitions of seated leg presses or 15 to 20 body-weight squats.
Ollie Odebunmi's involvement in fitness as a trainer and gym owner dates back to 1983. He published his first book on teenage fitness in December 2012. Odebunmi is a black belt in taekwondo and holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Kingston University in the United Kingdom.