The 500-Calorie Treadmill Workout


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
1/16/2013 6:00 AM   :  128 comments   :  1,492,395 Views

It's no secret that I'm not a huge fan of the treadmill. I love to run, hike and even walk with my pup, but I do it all outdoors all year round. Rain, snow, wind, heat—almost nothing can keep me from my outdoor workouts. For me, a treadmill is a "last resort" when I have no other option to get outside.
But I know that not everyone is as gung-ho about outdoor exercise as I am. Many people hate running in the cold or the heat. (Nothing wrong with that.) Others have no other option to work out, especially if they have to be at home with kids or don't live in a safe neighborhood for walking or running. And still some prefer the slightly cushioned surface of a treadmill, which takes away some of the impact of running, making it easier on the joints and even the spinal discs.
Whatever your reason, we've all turned to the treadmill from time to time. And the best way to prevent boredom and get great results from your treadmill workout is to incorporate intervals. Here's a simple workout I developed to help you torch calories with your trusty treadmill.
The plan is really simple. Be sure to warm up for about 3-5 minutes (I suggest a 3 to 3.5 mph pace and 0% incline) and to cool down the same way when it is over.
(Be sure to "pin" this for future reference, too!)

Here are a few of the great benefits from this simple interval workout.
  • Burn 100 calories* every 10 minutes. (Note that the calories burned for this workout are based on an average-weight woman of 150 pounds. People who weigh more will burn more; people who weigh less will burn fewer calories.) Each time you complete the set of intervals listed, you're torching 100 calories. If you're not up for the full 50-minute workout, start with just one or two sets of intervals. You'll burn 100 calories per set—not too shabby!
  • Intervals maximize fat burning. You'll walk and run and even push yourself to a high-intensity level with that 7 mph "sprint". This will help you burn more calories during your workout—and continue to burn them even after it's over. Learn more about why intervals rock.
  • Incline boosts. If you are not changing the incline on your treadmill when you work out, you are really missing out on one of its greatest features. That incline will push your heart rate higher and challenge you aerobically—and it's what helps you burn more calories in less time.
  • The walk-run combo works. You don't have to be a "runner" to follow this program. It's got enough variety with small bits of running and walking to work for a variety of fitness levels. Use it as a general guide; you can always increase or decrease the intensity to suit your goals and current level.
Give it a try and tell me what you think. I hope the time flies by and you really get a great workout with this one. After all, that's the whole point!
Do you have a go-to treadmill workout? What are your favorite ways to maximize your results when using the treadmill?

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  • 128
    This early in my fitness journey 3 mph is my max speed and it leaves me panting, sweating and foaming at the mouth. Hubby and I have a gym schedule and every other visit is cardio for me so I spend the time on the treadmill doing an interval that I can safely manage and then to the bicycle once I catch my breath. One day I will be where I can go faster and I hope to actually run one day. - 2/4/2016   8:25:58 AM
  • 127
    Going to have to have to try this at the gym next time! - 11/9/2015   5:46:48 PM
  • 126
    This is a really excellent base for starting speed/incline intervals!! I love this and have used it as-is several times, then modified it up (faster) and also down (slower) depending on my mood. It's fairly easy to do- the idea is walk with a bit of resistance, jog with just a tad, run, then recover with an incline to keep you pushing. I'd encourage anyone who saw the printed numbers to modify it for their fitness levels!!! - 10/20/2015   8:30:46 AM
  • IDIC0101
    Gonna try this! Maybe just one interval at a time. I have a neuroma in my left foot that I am trying to heal so gonna take it slow. - 10/9/2015   9:08:49 AM
  • 124
    Darn, it really only burns 423 calories!! - 10/7/2015   3:27:26 AM
  • 123
    My trainer has me on a 15 minute HIIT cardio routine. Twice a week...NOT BEFORE Leg or Back day, I do a 5 minute warm up. At 5 minutes, I start a 5 minute HIIT....15 seconds at intense pace. Then a 45 second cool down. Repeat until the timer hits 10 basically, I'm sprinting for a total of 45 seconds. This has helped increase my cardio VO2 immensely! I'm also dropping pounds of FAT...NOT Muscle!
    I'm now recommending this to my own clients, after several sessions!
    LOVE HIIT cardio!! It can also be done on other cardio machines!! - 8/2/2015   8:38:47 AM
  • 122
    Intervals are great... but 4 mph is faster than my run at the moment... maybe someday. - 6/30/2015   12:06:32 PM
    Hey Nicole, great article! Treadmills can definitely become a little boring sometimes... I wrote an article recently on how to up your treadmill game, I'd love if you checked it out!
    / - 6/7/2015   6:36:04 PM
  • 120
    I did a great interval last week. I did one minute intervals, starting at 5 MPH, then 7, then 5.1, then 7.1, etc (add .1 MPH each time). I ended up at 6.4 MPH and 8.4 MPH for the top speed. I found it much better than a couple of fixed speeds.
    - 6/2/2015   8:43:54 PM
  • 119
    I will try that but how do you add this to the tracker? Is it in there as one workout? - 5/15/2015   11:20:31 AM
    I have an easier workout I began to start jogging 5K again after a 10 year hiatus for health problems. I jog 30 seconds then walk for 1 minute. The jog is only as fast as feels comfortable. Just barely faster than my fast walk. The walk is as fast as you walk if late for an appointment. A short workout is 2 miles – about 43 minutes. A long workout is 3 miles – about 57 minutes. I progressed up to 1 minute jog 1 minute walk but stopped losing weight. I will continue this interval workout 2-3 times a week to see if I can reach my goal. I started this workout at 203lbs. I'm down to 188. - 4/19/2015   10:57:07 AM
  • 117
    I wish these treadmill interval workouts could be adjusted for those who cannot walk 4 mph and also not interested in running. Many of us have spine issues that prohibit us from such impact. - 4/16/2015   12:51:38 PM
  • 116
    Thanks for the workout. I enjoy walking outside, but this will be a nice change. - 4/16/2015   8:45:58 AM
  • 115
    Just joined the gym. Gonna give this a try, modified until I can build I'll tho it. Thanks. - 3/5/2015   7:03:33 AM
  • 114
    Good lord that 10 degree incline is a killer!!! I can barely walk that, but hopefully the more I do it, the stronger I'll get! - 12/12/2014   11:26:08 AM
  • 113
    Really good workout. Changed up my normal Tuesday run routine. Thanks for sharing! I'll be doing it again soon! - 12/9/2014   4:56:06 PM
  • ANGEL496288
    Today was the first time in a while I walked on the treadmill in the complex. I walked at 3.1speed not for the whole 30 minutes. Still I am very proud of myself. - 11/15/2014   10:38:20 PM
  • 111
    I have lost 118 pounds since July 2013 by doing the treadmill at 3.4 MPH walking and from 5-10% incline 3 times a week. I did not run once. Diet is the key to losing significant weight; and consistency with exercise will keep your metabolism humming. - 11/2/2014   12:04:45 PM
    Currently I can not exercise at an incline due to hypertonic pelvic floor muscle problems. Could you recommend a modified version of the 500 calorie treadmill workout? - 10/1/2014   1:14:34 AM
  • 109
    I'm not a runner---but I do love increasing the pace and incline for faster, more challenging walks. It may not burn as many calories---but it's still a great workout! - 9/25/2014   4:48:32 PM
  • 108
    I do the precore at the gym for and hr and burn over 700 calories. I start at 6 and work up to 12. And every 10 min I do a 5 min reverse it's intense but good feeling when i finish. I agree incline does rock on the t-mill too.
    - 9/11/2014   9:50:43 AM
  • 107
    Why is it always 100 calories? Why not 95 here and there, or 117, etc. Just cracks me up, is all. Same thing with weight loss, if you lose 99, no one will mention it until you lose 1 more pound, lol. - 9/9/2014   2:39:19 PM
  • 106
    Any ideas for a person who does walk five miles a day but has a bad knee. Actually need a knee replacement I need to ramp up my speed but then the knee bothers me. Any ideas or help I just would like to lose another seven pounds and I would be a very happy person. - 9/9/2014   10:36:31 AM
  • 105
    I do incline waling throw in a sprint here and there for 30 - 45 . Sometimes I do some intervals, forward walking, backwards walking, lunges, and side steps ea side. When I do this, I usually do 60 sec ea for 4 - 5 sets. It's a good variety for me. - 9/9/2014   9:13:19 AM
  • 104
    I have to change the incline by hand :( so I just started out without an incline. I will add the incline up to a three next week ! - 9/2/2014   1:35:14 PM
  • 103
    I love the interval workout on the help me not get board & work at my maximum level to burn more calories needed to lose weight. Did a little over an hour today on level 8 the highest I have ever done. I had a feeling of great accomplishment. - 8/14/2014   10:44:19 PM
  • 102
    I went to the "Y" today to workout on the treadmill as I have been doing for most days since like June or so, especially since I started walking in earnest for a while and want to be healthier and stronger.

    So, although I can't really run, I can walk. The fastest that I have gone is basically 3.2 or 3.3 mph and I can keep up the speed for a good hour.

    But I decided to see about doing an interval workout on the treadmill. Granted, I am not going to be doing 5 to 7 mph workout. At least not right now.

    But I was able to up and lower the incline and to do 2 sets of working out with getting the fastest up to 4 mph, walking. So I have modified the workout so that I do get cardio benefits, and managed to do 50 minutes and knock out 262 calories in those 50 minutes. I am tickled pink because I was not able to do 4 mph before. It's a real challenge, one that I can do safely considering I had back surgery 3 years ago. I love it! - 8/14/2014   10:26:31 PM
  • 101
    Love the treadmill, and this is a workout to which I aspire! In the mean time, I'm using Runners' World's "Run Your Butt Off" program to get me to the point where I can jog for 30 minutes without stopping. It's an interval program tailored to beginning runners like me, and it emphasizes going slowly enough that you don't overdo it. Not the calorie-torch proposed here, but great for an out-of-shape newbie! - 8/14/2014   10:28:36 AM
  • 100
    Because of spinal issues, I cannot run. However, you can do this as a fast walk and faster walk with the incline. It may not burn as many calories but its still a great workout. I like these tips...and when needed, I modify to my abilities. - 8/14/2014   2:22:11 AM
    I am paralyzed from a stroke, thought I'd never be able to do the treadmill. After starting the YMCA I got a trainer and she showed me I could! I used it and the stationery bike to warm up. It has increased my stamina which came in handy for keeping my G-boys this summer!! We went everywhere, they had a blast me too. Mind you I'm in pain, but being with them made up for it. Pain set in when the feeling started coming in. Another plus is losing weight, a doctor told me last week, if I keep it up, I maybe able to cut down on my meds. Who knew? - 8/11/2014   7:06:53 PM
  • 98
    That sounds like a good workout for someone who is fit. As a senior, and familiar with my Heart Rate, I know I would have a heart attack if I attempted 6 or 7 mph. My top rates would be under 5 mph, and my intervals would be much shorter. - 7/27/2014   9:11:24 PM
  • 97
    I tried this today. EEP! I had to do shorter intervals or less incline for all of them! I will keep working on it, though. It will be good for me. Haha. Thanks for this, it was good to help me push myself! - 6/11/2014   6:09:53 PM
  • 96
    I use the "hill" method & burn 600 in 60 minutes. - 3/24/2014   8:01:13 PM
    I *love* my interval workout on the treadmill! The incline varies throughout the workout and I burn 580 - 600 calories in an hour. Then I add a few more minutes on the elliptical, bike, or stairmaster to work up to 75 minutes/workout. I feel great when I'm done and have managed to establish some consistency! - 1/4/2014   5:41:54 PM
  • 94
    I know someone posted this question earlier, but I didn't see the answer. How do you know how many calories you've burned? I sometimes do intervals (walk 1min at 3.5 & jog at 5.1 for 1min) on the treadmill, but just log it on SP as how much time & mileage I did. I suppose I'd just know that the calories it says I've burned are more....? - 1/4/2014   12:25:07 PM
  • 93
    Wowzers! The 6 and 7 speed is gonna KILL me, but I am game! Even if I start at 1 set and work it up! New Year, New Me! - 12/29/2013   7:24:56 PM
  • 92
    I do a 65 minute treadmill workout. I increase the incline 1/2 a degree for every 1 minute until I am at 15 degrees ( 30 minutes) and then I go down 1/2 degree for every minute (30 minutes) and then do a 5 minute cooldown. This burns about 700 calories per hour. As the incline goes up my speed goes down and as the incline goes down my speed increases. So between listening to my music I am constantly adjusting the incline and speed, which makes the 65 minutes go by rather quickly. - 12/14/2013   9:47:41 PM
  • CADERA01
    Looking forward to trying this I currently do a 21 min intervals which I burn 500 cals and its really brutal on my knees. I run at speeds 6 through 12 an incline of 2 the whole time and at each speed I do 60 secs with 30 sec rest in between the speeds....... - 11/20/2013   8:11:07 PM
    Working in intervals make the time go faster and you burn more calories. I think set a goal to how many calories you want to burn and adjust your intervals to it. It works for me. - 10/10/2013   6:29:54 AM
    I have been doing this workout since i saw this post. I still struggle with the one minute at 7 mph..but i mix it up and sometimes do just a tad less...i love this does go fast, and i can count on this calorie burn! - 8/16/2013   8:03:49 AM
  • 88
    Is this workout trackable on the Fitness Tracker? - 6/19/2013   12:41:38 PM
    Just did this workout tonight and it kicked my butt! I didn't look pretty doing it (and struggled with the 6mph and 7mph), but I persevered and felt so rewarded when I finished! Doing everything in intervals really did make the time go by faster than if I would have just ran for 45 minutes at the same speed. Thank you! - 6/10/2013   9:57:45 PM
  • 86
    I really struggle with the suggested speeds on Treadmill work outs. Are the speeds listed for running? or walking? because a 4mph speed is almost running at my gym and 6 or 7 is flat out running (not jogging).

    Just trying to understand this and how I can fit it into what I an do. - 5/6/2013   3:43:35 PM
    I was not able to do this because I have vertigo and at the most that I can do is 4. I cannot go faster than 4.0 I feel unstable. I have one that I do and it is I do the warm up for 2 minutes at 2.5 at incline of 3, then I do the interval every 3 minutes starting out at 3.0 incline 3.5, 3.5 at incline 4.0 and 4.0 at incline 5 and then1 minute at 2.5 at 0 include. This is a good 45 minute work out which is great for and I don't get bored because I have it programmed it into my treadmill and I just stretch and hit the buttom to start. - 3/25/2013   10:33:51 AM
  • 84
    Love treadmill workouts. Intervals are important to incorporate in almost any type of cardio workout. Burns more in less time. Sometimes I like to run at normal pace for 2-3 minutes and then the fastest (or RPE at least 7-8/10) for 1 minute, and repeat this cycle for 1 hr. - 3/13/2013   4:24:36 PM
  • MSTORI880
    Wow, definitely not for a beginner. For a beginning it is great to do a warm up for 5 minutes, 20 min jog with a 40 min walk for 5 minutes, then do a 30 min jog with a minute walk for 5 minutes, then do a 1 minute jog with a 2 minute walk for 10 minutes, then finish off with a 4 minute straight jog, and cool down for 5 minutes, then stretch. About a 40 minute workout. It is doable for beginners and will get you a nice sweat. - 3/13/2013   2:23:07 AM
  • 82
    I have a new Bowflex Tread Climber. Anyone have any experience in this? I just started and it is HARD. I've started with 13 minutes/7 days a week and it want to get to 30 mins/3 days a week. Advice is appreciated. I am 63 and really want to use this equipment. - 3/9/2013   11:38:20 AM
  • 81
    I just finished this and I was drenched in sweat. The combination of the different speeds and inclines makes it challenging, but also keeps it interesting. I taped the workout to my treadmill. - 2/22/2013   12:37:23 PM
  • 80
    Yup, I'll try this one for indoor workouts at the gym. I really like interval training. - 2/22/2013   11:35:01 AM
    I've got to try this one! - 2/22/2013   8:28:11 AM

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