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How to Lose Weight on the Treadmill

Treadmill fitness

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.

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.

Related Topics

Running and Cardio Workouts
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