Treadmills are the most popular gym equipment in the United States, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. It’s no wonder. Treadmills are an easy, great way to get fit. For one, you never have to worry about bad weather, dark hazardous streets or busy roads without sidewalks. Plus, since most people work regular jobs 10 hours or more daily, it can be impossible to find time to walk or run outdoors during daylight hours. The only downside to your treadmill routine is that, well, it can get more than a little routine. It can be downright boring!
The worst part is sticking with the same treadmill workout day in and day out, is eventually brings diminishing returns. REMEMBER you have to challenge your muscles (heart included) to continue reaping the benefits of exercise and burn off fat. Here are 5 ways to boost your burn and get twice to three times the results putting in the same amount of time and Don't worry! You don't have to sprint or run to see belly fat melting results!
Walking or running on a treadmill is much easier than walking or running outdoors. The reason? You don’t have to fight wind or air resistance to move forward. You're also not naturally propelling your body forward. On a treadmill with the incline set at 0% you are practically coasting. You just need to pick up your feet and almost glide downhill. You would get almost the same results standing at your desk.
You need at least a 1% incline to match the efforts of walking or jogging outside on an outdoor track. Simulate the great outdoors by clicking your elevation up a notch or by increasing your speed by about 0.1 to 0.3 miles per hour.
While we are talking about increasing your incline...
To get even more out of your treadmill time, turn your walk or run into a climb. Researchers at the University of Florida found that uphill walking or running activates 10% more muscle per stride compared with walking and running at the same steady pace on flat terrain. The areas that get worked most during an incline? The buttocks and the backs of your thighs! Also, because hill work demands more oxygen, it will boost your cardiovascular fitness. Plus running and walking uphill actually takes the pressure off your knees, so for people with old knee injuries or arthritis, increasing the incline is an easier and way safer than upping your speed, which can be dangerous and lead to injury.
Want to see better results without logging serious hours at the gym? The quickest way to get fit is not by running as fast as you can for as long as you can. Instead, try interval training, this is where you alternate between moderate to high-intensity paces. Researchers at Miami University found that switching between one-minute sprints and one-minute moderate-intensity recovery periods for 20 minutes 3 times a week was equivalent to several hours of working out at a single moderate pace. If sprinting is too intense for you, (it is for me!) try this modified version: Walk or jog at your usual, comfortable pace. Make sure your body is warmed up. Then, every 4 minutes, go all out for 30 seconds. That could mean hill work, sprinting or speed walking; whatever you choose, you should be working out at or near your maximum effort.
Just thirty minutes of this kind of training will earn you the same cardiovascular benefits as 90 minutes of steady, moderate exercise. That saves time while burning more calories and belly fat!
It might sound counter-intuitive, we know. But, pushing too hard too soon is the number-one reason people quit working out. If you prefer your workouts to be more tortoise- than hare-like, that’s okay! I tell my clients that cardio should be either enjoyable or meditative. You’ll get more out of your workout if, instead of focusing on burning two percent more calories, you find something that you can do every day with maximum enjoyment. All-out screaming boot-camp style workouts are exhausting and not sustainable. Since you’ll get the biggest results from the workout that you stick with, we recommend zoning out to your favorite TV shows, iPod tunes or magazines. Or, find a gym buddy who you can talk to during your workout. Distracting yourself with conversation or good music can make your workout feel easier and go by more quickly.
You’ve likely seen them at the gym: people who crank the incline or the speed to the max and then grab hold of the treadmill with a death grip. While it may look like a hardcore hike or run, holding onto the treadmill negates nearly all of the benefits. It's like being towed up a mountain with a rope. You might as well be walking on level ground. Though not many conclusive studies have been done, we estimate that you could lose about 50% of your calorie burn just by leaning on or clinging to the console. If you need to hold on for balance or support, rest your hands lightly on the handles, but do try to not grab hold!