How Long Should I Run on a Treadmill To Lose Weight?

Warming Up On Treadmill

The New Year is an excellent time to begin a new workout routine. The rich foods and plentiful drinks of the holiday season are behind you, and you can now focus on getting healthy and losing weight.

If you have a treadmill, you will probably want to use that for weight loss—plan on running on the treadmill for around 30 minutes a day in your fat-burning zone. Adding interval routines will aid in calorie burning.

If you want to learn how running on a treadmill will help you lose weight, read on. We have some great tips and suggestions to get the most out of your workout. 

BMI and Weight Loss

There are many things you need to take into consideration when beginning a weight loss routine. It is tempting to pick a number to lose and work towards that, but your body might not be able to achieve that weight loss. If you do manage to lose that weight, it might not be healthy. 

To figure out what your goal weight loss should be, you need to know your BMI (body mass index),  a metric used by doctors to determine if you are overweight. You can determine your BMI by dividing your weight by your height. According to the National Institutes of Health, the resulting figure will fall into one of these four categories:

  • Underweight: less than 18.5
  • Normal weight: 18.5-24.9
  • Overweight: 25-29.9
  • Obesity: 30 or greater

It’s important to acknowledge that BMI is not a perfect calculation for determining if someone is overweight or not. Since muscle weighs more than fat, bodybuilders often find themselves in the overweight or obese categories merely because they have a lot of muscle. However, for the average person, this is a good way to determine if you need to lose weight. 

Using the Treadmill for Weight Loss

Woman Running on Treadmill

Once you have determined how much weight you want to lose, you can begin using your treadmill for weight loss. Depending on your level of fitness, you will either start using it for walking or running. For a healthy start, you should have a goal of burning around 300 calories a day through cardiovascular exercise. Depending on how much you eat, this is about 60 minutes of moderate exercise.

Head to the Fat-Burning Zone To Lose Weight

If you have worked out in the past and haven’t seen weight loss success, it might be that you were not exercising intensively enough. To promote weight loss, you should try to reach your fat-burning zone. This is where you will burn the most calories in a minute and really get the most benefit from your workout.

The main thing you need to know to figure out your ideal fat burning zone is your maximum heart rate. This is how many times your heart can beat during a minute of exercise. The CDC says that to find your maximum heart rate, you subtract your age from 220. If you are a 35-year-old man, your maximum heart rate is 185 beats per minute. 

“Your fat-burning zone is about 70% of your maximum heart rate” (Healthline). With a maximum heart rate of 185, your fat-burning zone is 130 beats per minute. Treadmills have sensors for you to monitor your heart rate while running. If you want to lose weight on the treadmill, you should aim for a workout in your fat-burning zone that is at least 30 minutes long.

Treadmill Workouts for Weight Loss

The Best Treadmill

When you have determined what your fat-burning zone is, you can just jump on the treadmill, run for 30 minutes a day, and lose weight. However, that can get boring, and your body will get used to the routine and start to get less from the workout. To add a little excitement, do other treadmill workouts to increase your fitness and weight loss. 

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT workouts alternate high-intensity exercises with rest. They are a good way to burn calories and reduce fat in a shorter amount of time than traditional workouts. A good HIIT workout is a routine that consists of short sections when you work extra hard followed by short periods of rest. A good HIIT workout should be about 20 minutes long.

HIIT workouts have the added benefit of burning calories after you finish your workout and your body returns to normal. After intense exercise, your body enters a high metabolism state exercise/post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). The increased amount of oxygen burns more energy and calories.

Here is a sample HIIT treadmill workout:

  • Warm-Up: walk at 3 mph for 5 minutes
  • First Interval: run at 5 mph for 90 seconds
  • Rest: walk at 3 mph for 1 minute
  • Second Interval: run at 5.5 mph for 90 seconds
  • Rest:  walk at 3 mph for 1 minute
  • Third Interval: run at 6 mph for 90 seconds
  • Rest: walk at 3 mph for 1 minute
  • Fourth Interval: run at 6 mph for 90 seconds
  • Rest: walk at 3 mph for 1 minute
  • Fifth Interval: run at 6.5 mph for 1 minute
  • Cool-down: walk at 3 mph for 5 minutes

As you gain more experience on the treadmill and improve your fitness, you can increase your running and rest speeds to keep yourself in the fat-burning zone. HIITs are great for when you want a quick and fun workout with real results.

Increase the Incline for a More Intense Workout

Foot Strike on Treadmill

Another way to add a little variety to your treadmill workout is to experiment with changing the incline. Increasing the incline on the treadmill will increase your calorie burn and will work out muscle groups that are neglected when running on a flat treadmill. Starting an incline routine can be hard on the body, so begin slowly and add speed as you become used to it.

If you are out running on a road, it is unlikely that you would be running straight up a hill for 30 minutes. To simulate a real hill situation, you can use an incline program on the treadmill that adjusts the incline at certain points, making it more or less steep. You can also create your own incline interval program by adjusting the incline and the speed up and down every few minutes.

Switch Up Your Routine

Even if you prefer to get on the treadmill and just run for 30 minutes, you should switch up your routine from time to time to avoid plateauing. Plateauing is when your body gets used to a certain exercise, and you stop getting the benefits from it that you were when you began the routine. Adding an incline or HIIT workout once or twice a week will help avoid that.

Healthy Eating While Exercising

Nutrition for Weight Loss

Exercise is only one part of losing weight. When you begin a weight loss program, make sure that you incorporate healthy eating to keep your bones and muscles strong and provide the energy you need to exercise. According to the National Institutes of Health, a well-balanced diet for exercising includes:

  • lots of fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains
  • low-fat dairy, especially yogurt and cheese
  • lean protein such as chicken or fish
  • Small amounts of healthy fats from eggs and nuts

You should limit your added sugars and saturated fats to no more than 10% of your daily calories. 

Weight Loss is Achievable

The hardest part of a weight loss exercise program is getting started. Once you’ve begun your workouts and figured out which ones you enjoy, you can make it a part of your daily routine, and before you know it, you will hopefully see some results. Just remember to mix things up to keep from plateauing, and you should have a program that you can do for many years.


Team HTF

We are the team at High Tech Fitness and have a love for educating and sharing our insights on all things tech and fitness with you.

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