Burn Fat and get Fit with these 10 Treadmill Workouts

Girl on treadmill

​Good treadmill workouts not only help with fat burning and weight loss, but numerous studies show that improved fitness from running improves heart health.

So, whether you’re trying to lose weight, train for a 5K race, or just need an excuse to get out there and stay active, there’s plenty of evidence showing that running is one of the most beneficial ways to exercise available.

Benefits of Treadmill Workouts

  • Treadmills are easier to use than other gym equipment
  • You can program the workout into the treadmill, so you can just set it and go
  • You can easily keep track of the progress you are making over time
  • You only need to set aside as little as 10 minutes of your time each day
  • A motorised treadmill will force you to maintain the right pace – hard to do outside.

Recommended Treadmill Features

There are some key features that will help you get the most of out of your treadmill workouts.

While fancy LCD touchscreens and patented shock absorption systems are nice to have, I recommend you get a treadmill with at least the following features:

  • A decent motor with enough horsepower for speeds of 10km/ hour or more
  • At least one user defined workout program available
  • Power incline (so you don’t have to get off to change the incline level)

Before you buy a treadmill check out as many treadmill reviews as possible and get the best advice on selecting a treadmill that fits your needs and budget.

Tracking Your Progress

Most treadmills have a LED display that can help you track your progress during your workout. If not, be sure to keep a journal and log all your times, speeds, incline levels, and distances so you can clearly see how much progress you are making as you advance.

Keeping track of your progress can also help you calculate how many calories you are burning during each session.

Best Treadmill for You?

If you don't have your own treadmill yet check out our buying advise, recommendations for overweight beginners, and price comparison table to pick the best treadmill for your needs and budget.

Variety is the Spice of Life

When incorporating treadmill exercise as part of your exercise routine make sure you add in some workout variety.

If you stick to doing the same routine every time, then the number of calories you burn will become reduce over time as your body adapts to the movements and your muscles become more efficient - making the workout both easier and less effective.

Not only do regular changes keep your body challenged but it will also keep your mind engaged and help you stay motivated.

Measuring Intensity

Most of the programs below use an intensity level instead of an actual speed. This is how hard the effort feels. Called “rate of perceived exertion (RPE)” if you want to get technical.

I think this is more helpful as everyone is starting at a different level of fitness.
So just jump on the treadmill and manually increase the speed until it feels about the right match for the level of intensity and amount time you need to run.

​Intensity Level
(out of 10)

​Description

​2

​Comfortable Walking speed

​4

​Power or Fast Walking​ (almost jogging)

​6

Slow-Medium Jogging (can just still hold a conversation)

​8

Running (a pace you could hold for only 5-10 mins)

​10

​Sprinting Hard (in 2 min you’ll be gasping on the floor)!

​Once you get a handle on a particular workout you can program your speeds into the treadmill for next time. As you get fitter and the workout gets easier just nudge the speed (or incline) up until to get back to the right intensity level.

And when you put the speed up it means you’re fitter – congratulations!

Moving up the incline

Some treadmills only have 3 incline levels available, some have 20. Some use percentages, some use arbitrary numbers like 1 through 5.

I use low, medium, and high in these workout descriptions – so you can more easily fit the workout to your model of treadmill. Again, play around with the incline until you hit the right intensity.

How to use this guide

In this article I give you 10 great workout routines to help you torch fat fast and get you back into shape quickly without having to spend hours slogging away. Who doesn’t want that!

Jump straight to the workout you want from the table of contents below or read through this article and see what takes you fancy.

​Depending on your workout plan (how long you run and how often), it's possible to lose weight quite quickly. 

Let’s get started!

Treadmill 500-Calorie​​ Workout​

If you want to lose weight fast, then try this treadmill routine designed to burn 500+ calories in just over half an hour. 

Everyone’s metabolic rate differs but the calculating the calories you burn when running depends mostly on your weight and running speed.

You can get an estimate for your own specific calorie ‘burn rate’ when running from the handy myfitnesspal calculator.

This routine is based on an average person who burns 500 calories in 35 minutes of moderate intensity running.

​Time (mins)

​Intensity

​Incline

​Description

​0 - 5

​4

​Low

​Warm up

​5 - 10

​6

​Low

​​​Up the pace fast walk/ slow jog

​10 - 15

8

​Low

​​Running pretty hard here

​15 - 20

4

​Low

​Active Recovery Walking    

​20 - 25

6

​Low

​​​Up the tempo

​25- 30

​8

​Low

​Get after it!

​30 - 35

​4

​Low

​Cool down

This a ‘ladder workout’ where you slowly increase your speed, then back off and do it again.

​The warm-up and cool-down are built-in with a low intensity.

​10-M​inute ​Treadmill Workout​

If you only have a small amount of time to squeeze in a workout, try this treadmill routine.

It uses intervals to up the intensity, so you get the most out of your 10 minutes.

Start by maintaining a consistent pace as you slowly climb to the top of a moderate hill. As you decrease the incline, steadily increase the pace and end in a flat one-minute run.

This treadmill workout plan is designed with intermediate users in mind and includes incline changes.

​Time (mins)

​Intensity

​Incline

​Description

​0 - 2

​6

​​Flat

​​Get in the groove

​3 - 4

​6

​Low

​​​​ Turn it up  

​5 - 6

​6

​​Med

​​​Go hard

​7 - 8

​8

​​High

​​Climb the mountain

​9 - 10

​8

​Low

​Sprint down the hill

​You’ve only got 10 mins so the warm up is built in to the program. You’ll need to warm down walking to your next activity for the day!

20-Minute Treadmill Workout​​

This killer twenty-minute workout mimics a tough outdoor run. Your incline will vary from a flat road to a steep hill. 

This workout alternates raising your heart rate (during the tough hills) and dropping your heart rate back down (a little) during active recovery periods on lower inclines.

​Time (mins)

​Intensity

​Incline

​Description

​0 - 2

​3 - 4

​Flat

​Warm up

​3 - 4

​​4

​Flat

​​​​Active Recovery

​5 - 6

​6

​Low

​Power Walking

​7 - 8

4

​Flat

​Active Recovery

​9 - 10

​8

​Low

​​​​Running

​11- 12

​4

​Flat

​​Active Recovery

​13 - 14

​9

​Low

​Flat out sprinting!

​15 - 16

​4

​Flat

​Active Recovery

​17 - 18

​6

​Low

​Jogging

​19 - 20

​3 - 4

​Flat

​Cool down

​Beginners may want to start slower with no or only a slight incline. You will then increase your speed and incline slightly in 2-minute intervals as you progress.​​​​

​30-Minute Treadmill Workout​​

This is the perfect thirty-minute treadmill workout. It will introduce you to endurance, speed and incline training in one workout! 

It can also be adapted to more advanced runners by increasing the speed and incline of each interval.

​Time (mins)

​Intensity

​Incline

​Description

​0 - 10

​5

​Flat

​Warm up/ endurance/ jogging

​10 - 12

​8

​Low

​Fast Running

​12 - 14

​4

​​Flat

​​​Active Recovery

​14 - 16

​8

​Low

​Fast Running

​16 - 18

​4

​​Flat

​Active Recovery

​18 - 20

​8

​Low

​Fast Running

​20 - 30

​​5

​Flat

​Endurance/ jogging/ warm down

​HIIT ​Treadmill Workout​

With High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), you can take advantage of the benefits that can come with running with intensive bursts of effort. 

The high-intensity workout involves anaerobic exercise, combined with rest periods, or active recovery at low speeds.

HIIT training will help burn more calories than if you were just to do a steady cardio training session.

HIIT training keeps the workout challenging and keeps your metabolism elevated long after you’ve finished the workout. You will continue to reap the rewards of elevated metabolism for up to two days afterwards!

This workout allows you to ‘pick you own adventure’. In-between the warm-up and cool down you get to decide on the number of sprint repeats you do based on how you’re feeling that day, or how much time you have available.

This workout uses a 1:2 work to rest ratio. You may think you can go again after less this amount of rest – but don’t. It’s more important that you go faster in the work set than make it harder by cutting the rest shorter.

​Time (mins)

​Intensity

​Incline

​Description

​10 mins

​​5

​Flat

​Warm up/ endurance/ jogging

​- 1 min

​​9

​Low

​​​​Fast Running

- ​2 mins

​3

​Flat

​​​Active Recovery

- repeat the fast running/ recovery 4 to 10 times.

This workout is harder than it looks!

Fat Burning Treadmill Workout​​

If burning away fat is your primary goal and more important that maximising fitness (or at least initially) one method that will be helpful in burning fat will be daily brisk walking workouts.

The goal here is to walk daily at a steady pace so you don’t need rest days. This adds up to more calories burned that fasting jogging only done a couple of times a week.

The pace is all important for this, I could give you a complicated formula for your heart rate to make sure you stay in the optimal fat burning zone, but who wants that?

The easy way to know you’ve got the right pace is that you can still breath through your nose – easy!

So, jump on the treadmill start at a brisk walking speed – focusing on your breathing. If you need to start breathing through your mouth stop until you recover, then drop the speed down and continue.

Start out at 20 minutes per day. The goal is to work your way up to a hour a day. I know this seems a lot, but you’ll be surprised how quickly you can progress.

Try to walk at least 5 days a week. Once it starts to feel easy bump the time up by 5 minutes a day for the next week.

Soon you’ll be doing 60 minute workouts!

Incline ​Treadmill Workout​​

This workout changes the incline to mimic outdoor hill running.

The incline adds intensity​ really focusing the workout on your posterior.​ This is a great workout if you want to focus on your 'butt' or glute muscles.

​Time (mins)

​Intensity

​Incline

​Description

​10 mins

​4

​Low

​​Warm up/ endurance/ jogging

​- 3 mins

​6

​Low

​​​​Jogging

​- 2 mins

8

​Low

​Active Recovery

- repeat 5 times

​​5 mins

6

​Low

​​​​Active Recovery/ Cool down

​Treadmill Sprint Workout​

To keep your fitness routine challenging, it is important to keep changing it up, or you will stop seeing results as your body gets used to doing the same thing every day. Enter the sprint treadmill workout.

This workout does have some risk of injury if you are new to running. So I recommend you speed a few weeks on some of the other less intensive workouts.

This will give your legs a chance to build you up some resilience below full out sprinting.

Another little trick we will use is to set the treadmill to a low incline. This greatly reduces the risk of a hamstring injury.

This workout is based on a 1:4 ratio of work to rest. It’s important you don’t shortcut the rest even if you feel ready to sprint again.

The focus here is to make the workout hard by ensuring the sprint is a ‘maximum effort’.

Ok, let’s do this!

​Time (mins)

​Intensity

​Incline

​Description

​​10 mins

​4-5

​Low

​​Warm up/ endurance/ jogging

​30 sec

​6

​Low

​​​​Sprint

​2 mins

8

​Low

​​​Active Recovery

​30 sec

4

​Low

​​  Sprint

​2​ mins

6

​Low

​Active Recovery

30 sec

​8

​Low

​​Sprint

​2 mins

​4

​Low

​​Active Recovery

​30 sec

​10

​Low

​Sprint

​​​10 mins

​4 -5

​Low

​​​​​Active Recovery/ Cool down

​Treadmill Power Walking Workout​

The power walking workout combines butt-toning hills with calorie-burning cardio to work your hamstrings and glutes all while keeping the pace reasonable.

You won’t have a chance to get bored with this workout!

​Time (mins)

​Intensity

​Incline

​Description

​0 - 5

​4

​Flat

​​Warm up walk

​5 - 10

​5

​Flat

​Up the tempo

​10 - 15

​6

​Flat

​Power Walk – almost running

​15 - 20

4

​Med

​​Easier pace but up a hill

​20 - 25

​5

​Med

​Up the tempo

​25- 30

​6

​Med

​Power walking – this is the hard set

​30 - 35

​5

​Flat

​​Solid pace on the flat

​35 - 40

​4

​Flat

​Cool down/ active recovery

If you want to challenge yourself more, increase the incline setting one level for the whole workout.

5K Treadmill Workout​​

If you want to get into running more regularly, a great entry point is to sign up for a 5K race. This type of run is a realistic goal for any beginning runner.

If you are new to running it generally takes two to three months to train for a 5K race.

If you have a goal time figure out the speed you’ll need to hold to make that time. For example, if you want to the 5k in 30 mins that means a treadmill pace of at least 10km/hr.

A good reality check is to just jump on the treadmill plug in the target pace and see how long you can hold it.

Now back to the workout! This workout is based on completing the 5k distance but varying the pace.

This means you’ll get used to the distance and running at race pace or faster, but won’t wreck yourself in the process.

​Distance (m)

​Intensity

​Incline

​Description

​1,000

​4

​​Flat

​Warm up/ endurance/ jogging

​1,000

​8

​​​Flat

​Hit your race pace or 8/10 intensity

​1,000

​4

​​​Flat

​​​ Active recovery fast walking

1,000

​8

​​​Flat

​​Hit your race pace or 8/10 intensity

​​1,000

​4

​​​​Flat

​Cool down/ endurance/ jogging

There – you’ve just done 5k! This workout should be done on a flat incline. If your actual 5k is hilly make sure you do some incline workouts during the week.

This should be your big run for the week. To make sure you are prepared mix in some of the other workouts for a total of 3-4 runs per week.

If you can maintain this schedule, you will be in an excellent position to complete the 5K race. Good luck!

Treadmill Dancing (Bonus Workout)

If you begin to tire of the routines that you are performing weekly, take a break and have some fun with treadmill dancing. Like this:

​You can play your favourite songs and come up with your routine or even combine your other routines. It will keep you interested enough to keep getting on the treadmill to lose that weight and reach your fitness goals.

Conclusion

With all the benefits to maintaining a regular fitness schedule there are many different reasons to take up running.

While you may be hesitant to start your running journey, it is important to remember that even a few steps are a strong beginning.

Consider starting with the fat burning or the 10-minute workouts on your own treadmill, giving you the chance to start running in a controlled environment.

Then work your way up to the HIIT and even 5k workouts.

Now it’s over to you. Time to take the first step!