Whether you're just starting to work out or if everyone at the gym check-in desk knows your name, make some tweaks to help you get more out of your treadmill workout. The best way to burn body fat on a treadmill is to ramp up the intensity, which will help you build muscle and burn more calories. Today's treadmills have versatile control panels that let you customize workouts to meet your goals. If you are unsure whether you are fit enough to add intensity to your regimen, check with your physician before beginning a new training program.
Warm up by walking at a comfortably brisk pace -- typically between a 15- and 18-minutes-per-mile pace, depending on your personal fitness level. You should be able to carry on a conversation easily at this pace but still feel like you're moving with purpose. Continue at this speed for three minutes.
Using the speed controls on the treadmill, increase your speed every 15 seconds over the course of the next minute until you have reached a comfortable jogging speed. Aim for between a 10- and 12-minute mile. You should still be able to converse at this speed, but it should definitely take more effort and concentration -- think of trying to carry on a conversation on your cell while unloading groceries from the car. It's not the easiest thing you've ever done, but it's not so hard that it's prohibitive. Hold this speed for one minute.
Increase your speed by 15 percent. This is your speed interval. If you were at a 10-minutes-per-mile pace, increase to an 8 1/2-minutes-per-mile pace, and if you were at a 12-minutes-per-mile pace, increase to a 10-minutes-per-mile pace. You might have to work hard to maintain this pace, but the increased and longer-lasting calorie burn is well worth it. Hold this pace for 30 seconds.
Reduce your speed to your jogging speed for a minute and a half. This is your recovery interval.
Repeat the speed-recovery intervals four more times. Don't skip your last recovery interval.
Reduce your speed to your brisk walking pace and hold it for two minutes. It's not nearly as easy to carry on a conversation at this pace as it was at the beginning.
Reduce the speed even further -- to a nice leisurely stroll. Your body will appreciate the break after all of those bursts of speed.
Continue at your walk-in-the-park pace for two minutes or until you feel comfortable stopping.
- Stretch before and after your workout.
- If you get tired of increasing your speed for 30 seconds, try increasing the incline instead. If you get really ambitious, try a combination of both.
- Most treadmills have preset programs -- intervals, hills and random.
- Hydrate before, during and after workouts.
- Know where the emergency stop button or pull string is located on the machine you are using.
- Stop if you feel dizzy or lightheaded while working out.
Ari Reid has a bachelor's degree in biology (behavior) and a master's in wildlife ecology. When Reid is not training to run marathons, she is operating a non-profit animal rescue organization. Reid has been writing web content for science, health and fitness blogs since 2008.