The 500-Calorie Treadmill Workout


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
1/16/2013 6:00 AM   :  115 comments   :  936,521 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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    This sounds great...but i am afraid to use the treadmill at an incline because I broke both feet a year and a half ago. When i incline I feel a slight twinge in that spot, Does this work with no incline and alteration between jog & walk? - 1/27/2013   4:38:20 PM
  • 64
    I love my treadmill! I found a workout that I really enjoy. I walk on a 10 incline at 4 mph. I usually go for at least an hour. Today I went for 90 minutes and burned over 1000 calories! I want to try this workout now to keep it interesting - 1/26/2013   10:52:03 PM
  • 63
    I love my treadmill! I found a workout that I really enjoy. I walk on a 10 incline at 4 mph. I usually go for at least an hour. Today I went for 90 minutes and burned over 1000 calories! I want to try this workout now to keep it interesting - 1/26/2013   10:50:46 PM
    This really works, I do a 2.5 incline and variate between 3.9 speed for jogging and a 6.0 speed for running and I can burn at least 1, 400 calories during a 95 minute cardio work out. This is great. It really helps, but everyone must start out at their own pace. I'm 5'1 and this is very challenging but it works. - 1/25/2013   8:58:11 AM
    At 4 feet 11 inches no way can I go at 7 let alone 5 - I would fall off trying to keep going. Any way you could modify this for vertically challenged individuals? - 1/24/2013   5:39:40 PM
  • LARS2010
    I have an old treadmill that doesn't have an incline. What would you suggest for making up for it? - 1/24/2013   2:45:46 PM
    Loved this workout! I'm a bigger guy and it got me 718 Cal - 1/23/2013   10:36:17 PM
    Loved this workout! I'm a bigger guy and it got me 718 Cal - 1/23/2013   10:36:09 PM
  • TARA2481
    Love getting new Treadmill exercises!! I am trying this one tonight myself. I am a runner and the only way I can run a treadmill is by doing intervals or i get bored too easy. Can't wait for that warm weather, tired of running in the cold! - 1/23/2013   4:42:14 PM
  • 56
    totally going to try this at the gym this eve, hope there's a treadmill open as it's been so busy lately! good for everyone for wanting to be so "healthy" but annoying to us faithful ones who feel like our space has been invaded. - 1/23/2013   4:00:26 PM
    Tried this workout and Love It! is truly burns the calories, but I could not do the 7mph and the 6mph to Fast!!! so went longer on the 4mph and 5% incline. I hope that it was okay to do that coach.
    - 1/23/2013   2:00:32 PM
    This article helped inspire me to get on my treadmill for the first time in over 3 years. I used the intervals as a guideline, and varied the incline and the speed. 2.5 mph was my walking speed, and 3.8 was running for me. I went from 0 to 9 incline. Thanks for the article. - 1/23/2013   7:37:40 AM
  • 53
    Thanks for the suggestion! I tried this today, and it's a great workout - even for a seasoned runner! - 1/22/2013   5:19:09 PM
  • 52
    I do a 45 minutes workout on the treadmill 3 times a week and burn over 500 calories during that time. Lately, I start at 1%at 3.6 and just keep increasing the incline every 2 minutes up to 12 %. Then I start working my way back down sometimes switching down every 3 minutes/sometimes every 2 minutes until the last 2 minutes of cool down. Quite simple but I like it. It gets the heart pumping! - 1/22/2013   4:57:29 PM
  • 51
    I do a minute workout - at 3.2 mph - increasing the incline by 1 each minute - for 15 minutes - thus spend 1 minute at each incline, then reduce by 1 for the next 15 minutes - 1 degree each minute.

    Awesome - 1/22/2013   11:34:02 AM
  • 50
    I have back problems so the treadmill is out. What do you suggest for the recumbant bike? - 1/22/2013   8:26:44 AM
  • 49
    Can you do two more...... One for the elliptical and one for the stationary bike? That would be fab;-) - 1/22/2013   7:18:19 AM
    The 500 calorie interval treadmill workout sounds great; will there be a feature in "track exercise" with the entire workout instead if individualism items/mpg. For example a workout titles "50 Minute treadmill Interval workout" - 1/22/2013   6:17:18 AM
  • 47
    i don't have access to a treadmill at this time... but will keep this in case i am able to join a gym again.. i loved that interval training... i did SBD when i had access to gym...
    in the mean time i will struggle with my stationary bike.. - 1/22/2013   5:36:23 AM
  • 46
    im gonna try that,right now im doinf 5.2mph fast pace walking and 6.2mph running intervals for 25 min but have kept the incline at 7.5 steady,going to give a shot to the incline interval as well,im burning right now between 380 and 420 cals on those 25 min.update:did this today and very impressed how much caloriez i burn and how little tired i got,at 220 lbs i burn 472 cals in 3 repetitions plus 5min warmup and cool down 35 min total and came out soaked on sweat and not as tired as my regular treadmill workout which usually i came out of there dying. - 1/22/2013   2:22:40 AM
  • 45
    I love my old treadmill. I walk between a 3.3 - 3.8 mph and incline between 4.0 -10.
    I can burn almost 600 calories in an hour. I've tried jogging on the treadmill, but can't hit a good rhythm. In the warmer weather, I can warm up on the treadmill then jog / walk outside. Cold air hitting my ears just kills me. As it is, I must wear a scarf wrapped around my head in the winter. Treadmill is in the garage. - 1/20/2013   8:20:14 PM
  • 44
    I'm to old and out of shape for this workout but I do do the treadmill at my own pace and it seems to be working for me. I do elevate but can't go much faster than 2 for the speed right now. But I do do it.... - 1/20/2013   8:20:36 AM
  • 43
    Yeah, I don't think so. I am just at a speed of 2.2 mph. there is no way I am walking/running at 4 mph or higher for any length of time. Besides my treadmill has a manual incline system. I would have to get off every time to change the height. Also, my treadmill only has three height levels. - 1/19/2013   2:13:59 PM
  • 42
    This is a great workout and can be modified for any fitness level. The point is to keep changing the incline level and speed for maximum benefit. And don't forget to repeat, and repeat..... ;-) - 1/18/2013   12:33:48 PM
  • 41
    Great for those who are able to do it. Running is out of the question for me - accident injuries and partial knee replacement. Would love to see some other treadmill workouts that involve WALKING? - 1/18/2013   10:09:36 AM
    Thank you for the tip I walk thirty min inclin ten is that ok well so for I thought I was doing good . - 1/18/2013   8:45:45 AM
    I used to do intervals on the treadmill - 3.5 minutes at 7mph or higher, then walk to 4.3mph for 1.5 minutes. What I would find after a few of these intervals is that I would have to trim down the running time and add it to the walking time, but it was such a great workout. And changing it up made the time go by quickly (except for the last 30 seconds of the running period!!) Interval workouts are great and give incredible results! - 1/17/2013   7:12:30 PM
    Before even reading this I was walking the treadmill and alternating jogging for about 30 seconds in between 5 min walks....good to see I have been on the right track! - 1/17/2013   2:59:46 PM
  • 37
    I love this! I can get so bored on a treadmill and am not educated enough to structure my own intervals. I love that the sprints are short and the hills are long. Thank you! - 1/17/2013   2:20:52 PM
  • 36
    I did this workout for the first time today and I really enjoyed it. I also need to know how to log this into my fitness minutes. - 1/17/2013   11:29:35 AM
  • 35
    I am 62 years old. 7 mph is unrealistic. I also am short and have short legs. I have trouble keeping standing at 4 mph! You know short people have to run twice as fast as tall. When I was younger and took walks with my 5'11" friend. In a normal walk- she was walking -- I was running! Three of my steps were ONE of hers! I use the internval training on my treadmill and 4 mph at walking speed is the most I can safely handle without falling down. Running is not in my realm since it hurts my joints. Let us get a bit more realistic. Also my treadmill my inclines are 2-12. The highest I can get at the 4 mph speed is 8. - 1/17/2013   10:59:38 AM
    yes...will definitely do this...but how do we track it? I found entries for treadmill activities but none fit the 2% 6 mph or the 2% 7mph categories.... thanks - 1/17/2013   10:25:13 AM
  • 33
    Sounds interesting, Would like to try it, but I have to be careful of how much I push as I have ashma. Pushing to hard, sets off my ashma. Still, I will try it on my elptical. - 1/17/2013   9:12:22 AM
  • JAR818
    I can't use a treadmill safely. Can this workout be adapted for a stationary recumbant bike? - 1/17/2013   9:03:24 AM
  • 31
    Great workout! A little variety to keep it interesting :) thanks! - 1/17/2013   8:40:10 AM
  • 30
    This sounds like a great plan! - 1/17/2013   8:27:19 AM
  • 29
    hmm, I am in the UK and my treadmill works in K's and the incline is 0-10...wonder if anyone knows how to convert? is 10% the same as the 10 on my treadmill? I can work out the KLM to MPH. - 1/17/2013   7:25:59 AM
  • 28
    I need to give this a try but right now I'm only up to the treadmill for 35 minutes - 1/17/2013   6:41:17 AM
  • 27
    When I got to the gym tonight, all the New Year's resolutioners were hogging the treadmills (it's a small gym), so I modified this to use on the elliptical. It was actually a lot of fun, and I think I'll continue doing this instead of the rather boring interval program that's pre-programmed into the machine. And I still want to try this on the treadmill. - 1/16/2013   11:04:54 PM
  • 26
    Thanks for this! I can't wait to try it! I usually walk 4mph at a 6% incline so looking forward to some variety and burning some more calories! - 1/16/2013   10:39:48 PM
  • 25
    I did this 3 times today. I didn't want to push 4 because I'm a little sore, but it was fun and a new challenge! - 1/16/2013   10:16:49 PM
  • 24
    really helpful!!!! thank you, coach nicole! - 1/16/2013   10:05:17 PM
    I am so excited! I found a slightly used Nordic Track treadmill for $300! (Regular $1200) and I pick it up on Sunday! Can't wait - 1/16/2013   10:00:41 PM
  • 22
    I would love to try this but I don't have a working treadmill and I am too indolent to use the one at work . - 1/16/2013   9:00:27 PM
  • 21
    I would love to try this but I don't have a working treadmill and I am too indolent to use the one at work . - 1/16/2013   9:00:27 PM
  • 20
    I do this type of thing even when running in place with my Wii programs. - 1/16/2013   4:35:13 PM
  • 19
    I will try it. - 1/16/2013   3:02:34 PM
  • 18
    OooO I like! Something new for me to try to mix up my running! YAY :] - 1/16/2013   2:45:41 PM
  • 17
    I tried this. It really burns the calories. That was the first time I ran on the treadmill, but I did it. It wasn't pretty, but it burns a lot of calories. I am going to keep working at it :) - 1/16/2013   2:22:09 PM
  • 16
    I did this workout at the gym today! It's been raining for days here and cold, and normally I run outside, but I couldn't with the temps and rain. So, I decided to do this. I am glad I did! I run for several miles regularly, but am not very fast. I am like a 10-10.5 minute mile, so I was nervous about the 7mph sprint, but I did it! I am proud of myself. By the end I was drenched in sweat. My heart rate never got below 147. I checked it after each sprint and it was around 160-165. I am not sure how exactly to track this though. - 1/16/2013   2:05:21 PM

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