How to Lose Weight on the Treadmill

Treadmills are the right choice for those who want to lose weight. It may appear to be a ‘cliché’ you can find in running books or dedicated articles, but it’s true, as long as you know all the details.

Before I explain how treadmills can help you in this quest, I must tell you about the ‘target heart rate’ and ‘fat burning zone’.

The target heart rate equals 60% — 90% of your maximum heart rate. And your fat burning zone equal 75% — 90% of your target heart rate zone.

The rule is simple: if you want to lose weight by running, than you must be sure that while you exercise, your heart rate is in your fat burning zone (for minimum 30 minutes).

If you want to calculate by yourself the value of the target heart rate, you just need to know your maximum heart rate, which is based on these general formulas:

Maximum Heart Rate for men = 220 – age

Maximum Heart Rate for women = 226 – age

Or you can know your maximum heart rate and your target heart rate after you consult your physician.

Or you can buy a treadmill that allows you to insert your age and weight in the console, so it calculates your target heart rate and your fat burning zone by itself. I will get to what treadmills can do that later.

Monitoring all these details can be difficult to do while you run outside. That is why very often people say: ‘I run daily but I don’t see any difference. What am I doing wrong?’ Here is when running on treadmills can be really helpful, and extremely efficient.

As I said above, there are treadmills that monitor your target heart rate and your fat burning zone while you workout. These are the treadmills that allow you to insert your age and weight in the console before you start exercising.

More than that, these treadmills change automatically speed and incline of the treadmill so you remain in this zone without any additional hassle. All you have to do is have a heart rate reading connected (a wireless chest strap is the most recommended) and run, run, run.

If you are a beginner, you must focus first on building endurance and aerobic fitness. After 3–4 weeks of training, you should be ready to raise the intensity level and do treadmill weight loss workouts efficiently.

Beginner Workout:

Duration: 20 minutes

How often: 3–4 times a week

How long: 3–4 weeks

Target heart rate during warm up and cool down: 55% — 65% of your max heart rate

Target heart rate during exercise: 65% — 75% of your maximum heart rate.

Exercise:

Warm up: duration 2 minutes, incline 0%, speed 1mph. Add another 2 minutes at incline 0.5% and speed 1.5mph

Segment 1: duration 30 seconds, incline 1.5% and speed 2mph

Segment 2: duration 30 seconds, incline 1.5% and speed 2.5mph

Segment 3: duration 30 seconds, incline 1% and speed 3mph

Segment 4: duration 30 seconds, incline 0.5% and speed 3.5mph

Segment 5: duration 30 seconds, incline 0.5% and speed 4mph

Segment 6: duration 30 seconds, incline 0.5% and speed 3.5mph

Segment 7: duration 30 seconds, incline 1% and speed 3mph

Segment 8: duration 30 seconds, incline 1.5% and speed 2.5 mph

Repeat the segments 1–8 for 5 times. Then go to:

Cool down: duration 2 minutes, incline 0.5%, speed 2.3 mph. Add another 2 minutes at incline 0% and speed 1.5mph

If you already have endurance and experience as a runner, you can start with the Intermediate Workout.

Duration: 30 minutes

How often: 4–5 times a week

How long: 3–4 weeks

Target heart rate during warm up and cool down: 55% — 65% of your max heart rate

Target heart rate during exercise: 75% — 85% of your maximum heart rate.

Exercise:

Warm up: duration 2 minutes, incline 1%, speed 2mph. Add another 2 minutes at incline 1.5% and speed 3mph

Segment 1: duration 30 seconds, incline 2.5% and speed 4mph

Segment 2: duration 30 seconds, incline 2.5% and speed 4.5mph

Segment 3: duration 30 seconds, incline 2% and speed 5mph

Segment 4: duration 30 seconds, incline 1.5% and speed 5.5mph

Segment 5: duration 30 seconds, incline 1.5% and speed 6mph

Segment 6: duration 30 seconds, incline 1.5% and speed 5.5mph

Segment 7: duration 30 seconds, incline 2% and speed 5mph

Segment 8: duration 30 seconds, incline 2.5% and speed 4.5 mph

Repeat the segments 1–8 for 8 times. Then go to:

Cool down: duration 2 minutes, incline 1.5%, speed 3.8mph. Add another 2 minutes at incline 1% and speed 2.5mph

Now you are in pretty good shape, but you can do even better. It’s time you try a workout that increases your target heart rate to 80%-90% of your maximum heart rate (which is the most efficient weight loss target zone).

Advanced Workout:

Duration: 40 minutes (minimum)

How often: 4–5 times a week

How long: 3–4 weeks

Target heart rate during warm up and cool down: 55% — 65% of your max heart rate

Target heart rate during exercise: 80% — 90% of your maximum heart rate.

Exercise:

Warm up: duration 2 minutes, incline 2%, speed 3.3mph. Add another 2 minutes at incline 2.5% and speed 4.9mph

Segment 1: duration 30 seconds, incline 3.5% and speed 6.5mph

Segment 2: duration 30 seconds, incline 3.5% and speed 7mph

Segment 3: duration 30 seconds, incline 3% and speed 7.5mph

Segment 4: duration 30 seconds, incline 2.5% and speed 8mph

Segment 5: duration 30 seconds, incline 2.5% and speed 8.5mph

Segment 6: duration 30 seconds, incline 2.5% and speed 8mph

Segment 7: duration 30 seconds, incline 3% and speed 7.5mph

Segment 8: duration 30 seconds, incline 3.5% and speed 7mph

Repeat the segments 1–8 for 10 times. Then go to:

Cool down: duration 2 minutes, incline 2.5%, speed 5.6mph. Add another 2 minutes at incline 1% and speed 3.8mph

What else you need to know. The above workouts are examples of possible settings you can apply to your treadmill so that you follow the running weight loss formula. But each body is different. So feel free to change incline and speed according to your preferences and your body’s demands. For example, if you don’t like running fast, you can use higher incline. The level of effort is the same and you still lose weight as long as you are in your fat burning zone.

I promised I would tell you what treadmills have the target heart rate system calculations included in the console. I personally like Schwinn Treadmills and Livestrong Treadmills. They come with a decent price, good warranty, strong components and efficient weight loss workouts.

Anna Ursu is a runner and treadmill tester for RunReviews​.com, a site where you can find more details about treadmills and workouts.

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  1. Andrea says:

    So glad I found this after googling how to lose weight on a treadmill.

    I tried the intermediate workout today. It was pretty tough towards the last 5 mins, but SO worth it.

    It also made treadmill running something that isn\‘t so dreadful because of the need to switch up the pace every 30 secs. and having to keep track of time!

    Loved it! Thanks for this.

  2. Carol says:

    Just bought a treadmill and needed help! You are a lifesaver..thank you so much!!!!

    • Anna says:

      @Carol — thank you for the kind words. You\‘re very kind. If you need more help with the treadmill, write me anytime (anna @ runreviews​.com)

  3. Neil says:

    Hi, i was just having a look at your Program, when do you have your rest period in between the run\‘s, and how long is the rest period for?

    Thank you.

    • Anna Ursu says:

      Hi Neil. Thank you for the comment.

      You can slow down to a recovery pace anytime during the workout if you need to stop, or every 5 minutes of intensive run.

      The recovery duration should be 3–5 minutes. If you\‘re a beginner, decrease speed to 3 mph. If you\‘re an intermediate runner, slow down to 4mph. Take incline down to 1–2% percent in either case.

      If you want to stop at anytime during the exercise, decrease speed to the recovery pace for 5 minutes or to the cool down pace for the same period of time. After you catch your breath and your pulse returns to your regular beat, you can stop the treadmill.

      If you need more help, write me to ****@**********.***

      Happy running!

  4. Fereshteh says:

    hi! very very good subject! my language is not english but this subject is the first subject that I understand it.because my language is persian.thank you.

  5. exercise.suckz says:

    I exercise on our treadmill for about 4 days a week for about 30–50 mins, or at least 8 laps on speed 3.5, incline 2–4. Good workout! =)

  6. Brandi says:

    Just got a treadmill last week and can not wait to give this a try. Bringing sexy back!!! :-)

  7. Anna says:

    Brandi, thank you for the comment. Enjoy the treadmill and the hard workout. Commitment (always) pays off.

  8. Ida says:

    I just did the beginner for the first time. I wanted to stop after 4th time but I push through and finish all 5 times. Good workout and I am so proud of myself!!!

    Thank you

  9. SB says:

    Hi,

    I can only walk on the treadmill. I use 6% incline and speed –4. Will it help me to lose weight? Also, will it build up muscles in my body or legs? Please advise.

  10. SB says:

    Hi,

    I can only walk on the treadmill. I use 6% incline and speed –4. Will it help me to lose weight? Also, will it build up muscles in my body or legs? Please advise.

  11. USC says:

    I am a beginner on the treadmill, will this workout show results in weight loss, and if so how quickly. Thanks

  12. Julia says:

    I started the beginner program 3 weeks ago. I absolutely love it! The time goes by very quickly and after 3 weeks I have a lot more endurance. I am pushing myself further every workout. This week I am ready to start the intermediate program. I am setting a goal for a 5K mid spring. Do you think this is a good training tool to help reach my goal? Thank you!

  13. Gino says:

    I love the treadmill and now do the advanced workout which i have built up to and i feel great, i can now easily run 5k-​​12k, it has also helped my cholestorol and definently improved my well being as well as my weight which i\‘ve lost 2 stone since the middle of Dec, i recommend the treadmill to anybody.

  14. Lloyd says:

    I have been using a treadmill the last week to both lose weight and increase my endurance for ball season. Would you be able to tell me if I am doing the right things. Right now my workout is 35min long, I run a steady 4.8MPH, during which only the incline changes. I start at 3.0% and my program changes it steadily up to 7.0% and then down and up again, I usually add 2 — 2min walking periods at 3.0 MPH mixed in to breathe, usually at 5.0% incline.
    I have also recently changed so the last minute I set my speed to 8.0MPH and 5.0% incline.
    I am a 37 year old male, 5\’-10\” and 200lbs. My target weight is 185lbs at this moment. Any help you could give me is appreciated. Really enjoyed the article.

  15. Maria says:

    I have a question.… do you have to run, or walk on the treadmill to lose weight?

  16. Antho says:

    Hey I\‘m a 300 lb guy, I\‘ve been running 5 days a week, 4 weeks now. Now granted I\‘m not ur average 300 lb big guy, I\‘m a tad bit muscular, lol.

    But usually I do a speed of 3.0 and incline from 3–6

    Idk what I should do to get an effective workout. My target heart at the end of workouts are about 163–169. Max at 181.
    Please help.
    P.s. no weight has been loss via scale, people say I\‘m loosing, but I also do lift weights

  17. This article is in fact a nice one it helps new internet
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  19. Courtney says:

    I am in fact delighted to read this webpage posts which carries
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  20. Nick says:

    Just got a treadmill yesterday and I was looking for weeks for a good workout for starter and a friend told me about this site and I am happy I found it thanks :)

  21. Nick says:

    Yes I looked into memberships and it was low 65 and high 140 plus 50 fee to Join. Crazy I love my treadmill

  22. kelly says:

    thank you so much i have followed this to the letter.
    i would like to know, after doing the advanced workout for the required time what next? should i just maintain at this level?
    thanks

  23. Catherine says:

    Holy cow! What a great workout. I think I made a mistake by beginning with the intermediate workout. I’m not as ready as I thought. I do quite a bit of cardio but tend to avoid running.

    I went through the intervals 4 times (half) and walked at a 4.0 between intervals. Should I keep doing this and work my way up to more intervals or should I go back and start at the beginner workout? Can someone off input? Thanks in advance!

  24. ZENRUNNER says:

    This is good workout information– but it is hard to write an article on weight loss without a single mention of diet .I ran 70 miles a week for several years and used a heart monitor for training zones and was never able to lose any weight. I modified my diet to limit grains, sugars, processed foods, and bad fats and doing the same protocol I did for years I went from 199 to 171 in 2 months. This info will help you lose weight at the gym but it will come right back when the fork hits the hand. I am not doing an altar call for for a specific diet but just want to point out that weight loss is a function of a complete lifestyle and not an hour in the gym . Good luck to all of you in your pursuits– and remember–
    If you think you can or you think you can’t your right.

  25. Mike says:

    Great tips, thank you for sharing!

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Anna Ursu

Anna Ursu started running 5 years ago and this helped her improve her health and lifestyle in unexpected ways. At the beginning running was just a curiosity. Now she is addicted to this sport and she can not see her life without it. Her workout routine includes running on treadmills most of the time, mainly because it is convenient. But in time, as she started testing treadmills for RunReviews.com, she discovered that treadmills come also with advantages..

Through her work she wants to help people discover the benefits of running, no matter what workout type they prefer. In the end, the purpose of a runner must be to run, and have fun. The rest of a runner's story will write itself.