Run Away from Belly Fat: How to Use a Treadmill to Lose Weight (and Gain Confidence)

 Written by 

Mauro Castillo

 Last updated on 

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Treadmills are more than just gym equipment; they are gateways to a healthier, fitter you, especially when targeting stubborn belly fat. But is a treadmill efficient at burning body fat?

Their effectiveness in fat loss is well-documented, making them a popular choice for experienced athletes and beginners.

Running Treadmill Burn Belly Fat
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Here’s how to use a treadmill to torch body fat:

The Science Behind Treadmill Workouts

Engaging in treadmill exercises activates your cardiovascular system, enhancing calorie burn and fat loss. A study by Chambliss (2005) in the “Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine” found that increased duration and intensity of treadmill exercise led to greater weight loss and improved cardiorespiratory fitness in previously sedentary, overweight women. This highlights the treadmill’s role in effective weight management and fat reduction strategies.

Obviously, proper nutrition plays a pivotal role in weight loss, as well as other major factors like sleep and stress management. We’ll quickly review these important factors later in this article.

So to your question: Does a treadmill burn belly fat? It’s a resounding yes!

Different Treadmill Workouts to Lose Belly Fat

Running

Running treadmill
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Couple running on treadmill

Running on a treadmill is a powerhouse activity for calorie expenditure. Shamsali et al. (2012) found that running at a speed of 10 km per hour on a treadmill burns approximately 400 calories. This high-intensity cardio exercise elevates the heart rate, pushing the body into the fat-burning zone, effectively targeting the visceral fat that clings to the abdomen.

Walking

Walking treadmill
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Several people exercising on treadmills in a fitness gym.

Don’t underestimate the power of a brisk walk in losing fat too. Walking on a treadmill at a moderate pace also plays a significant role in combating belly fat. It’s a low-impact exercise, making it suitable for a wide range of fitness levels. A consistent walking routine can lead to substantial fat loss over time, especially when combined with dietary adjustments.

Sunny Health & Fitness Electric Treadmill
Based on our testing, this is the best budget treadmill for beginners. For less than 400$, it has most essential features that you've come to expect, it's small and sturdy, frankly it offers great value for money. It's also backed with an 8 years warranty.

Lean Muscle Mass

Engaging in regular treadmill workouts, particularly running, contributes to building lean muscle mass. Lean muscle is metabolically active, meaning it burns more calories, even at rest. This increased muscle mass boosts your basal metabolic rate (BMR), enhancing your body’s ability to burn fat more efficiently.

Treadmill Workout Strategies

All right, now let’s delve into various routines, each with its unique benefits, ensuring you’re not just running, but running towards your goals effectively.

Low-Intensity Steady-State (LISS) Workouts

LISS: A Gentle Yet Effective Start

LISS workouts involve a consistent, moderate level of effort for an extended period. Typically, these sessions last for 45-60 minutes at approximately 60% of your maximum heart rate.

Example Routine:

  • Warm-up: 5 minutes of brisk walking.
  • Main Set: 50 minutes of jogging at a steady pace.
  • Cool Down: 5 minutes of slow walking.

Benefits:

  • Ideal for beginners or those recovering from injury.
  • Enhances endurance and cardiovascular health.
  • Burns calories without overstressing the body.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Workouts

HIIT: The Calorie Incinerator

HIIT involves short bursts of intense aerobic exercise, followed by periods of rest or low-intensity exercise. These workouts are typically 20-30 minutes long but are highly effective for fat burning.

Example Routine:

  • Warm-up: 5 minutes of light jogging.
  • Intervals: 1 minute of sprinting followed by 1 minute of walking. Repeat for 20 minutes.
  • Cool Down: 5 minutes of slow walking.

Benefits:

  • Boosts metabolism for hours after the workout.
  • Improves aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
  • Time-efficient and highly effective for fat loss.

30-Minute Treadmill Hill Workouts

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Incline threadmills

Hill Workouts: Building Strength and Stamina

These involve intervals on an incline, mimicking hill running. They are excellent for building leg strength and enhancing calorie burn.

Example Routine:

  • Warm-up: 5 minutes of walking on a flat incline.
  • Main Set: Alternate between 2 minutes of running on a 5% incline and 1 minute of walking on a flat incline. Repeat for 20 minutes.
  • Cool Down: 5 minutes of walking on a flat incline.

Benefits:

  • Increases muscle engagement, especially in the glutes and hamstrings.
  • Higher calorie burn compared to flat surface running.

Inclines and Sprints for Increased Calorie Burn

Maximizing Effort for Optimal Results

Incline and sprint workouts are a powerhouse combination for maximizing calorie burn. They can be incorporated into both LISS and HIIT routines for added intensity.

Example Routine:

  • 10 minutes of LISS on a 2% incline.
  • 10 minutes of HIIT with 30-second sprints and 1-minute walking intervals.
  • 10 minutes of LISS on a 4% incline.

Using Treadmill-Specific Fat Loss Programs

Technology-Driven Workouts

Modern treadmills often come with pre-set fat loss programs. These are designed to vary speed and incline automatically, providing a balanced and effective cardio workout.

Sample 30-Minute Fat-Burning Treadmill Workout

  • 5 minutes of walking at a moderate pace.
  • 20 minutes alternating between jogging and sprinting, with the treadmill automatically adjusting incline and speed.
  • 5 minutes of gradual cool down.

Tips for Gradually Increasing Workout Intensity

  1. Start Slow: Begin with LISS and gradually incorporate HIIT and hill workouts.
  2. Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body responds and adjust accordingly.
  3. Incremental Increases: Gradually increase the duration, speed, and incline over weeks.
  4. Consistency is Key: Regular workouts yield better results than sporadic high-intensity sessions.
  5. Track Progress: Use a heart rate monitor or the treadmill’s tracking features to monitor your improvements.

Optimizing Treadmill Workouts for Maximum Fat Loss

To effectively shed belly fat, optimizing your treadmill workouts is crucial. This section delves into the nuances of crafting a treadmill routine that maximizes fat loss, ensuring your efforts to reduce belly fat on the treadmill are as efficient as they are rewarding.

Recommended Duration and Frequency

Consistency and duration are key. For substantial fat loss, aim for treadmill workouts lasting between 30 to 60 minutes, 3-5 times a week. This frequency strikes a balance between exerting the body for fat and burning calories, and allowing adequate recovery.

Weekly Plan Example:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 45-minute mixed HIIT and LISS sessions.
  • Tuesday, Thursday: 30-minute steady-state runs.

Combining Treadmill Workouts with Strength Training and Yoga

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A Holistic Approach

Integrating strength training and yoga with treadmill workouts creates a well-rounded fitness regimen. Strength training builds muscle, enhancing metabolism, while yoga improves flexibility and aids recovery.

Sunny Health & Fitness Electric Treadmill
Based on our testing, this is the best budget treadmill for beginners. For less than 400$, it has most essential features that you've come to expect, it's small and sturdy, frankly it offers great value for money. It's also backed with an 8 years warranty.

Balanced Weekly Routine:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Treadmill workouts.
  • Tuesday, Thursday: 30 minutes of strength training.
  • Saturday: A yoga session for flexibility and recovery.

Importance of Variety to Prevent Injury and Boredom

Variety isn’t just the spice of life; it’s a crucial component of an effective workout regimen. Alternating between different types of treadmill workouts prevents overuse injuries, keeps motivation high and surprises your body by moving in different ways.

Variety Tips:

  • Mix up HIIT, LISS, and hill workouts weekly.
  • Change the incline and speed settings regularly.

Monitoring Heart Rate for Optimal Fat Burning

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Targeting the Fat-Burning Zone

Heart rate monitoring is essential for ensuring you’re exercising at an intensity that maximizes fat burning. Aim to maintain your heart rate at 60-70% of your maximum during LISS and 80-90% during HIIT sessions.

Heart Rate Monitoring Tips:

  • Use a heart rate monitor or the treadmill’s built-in sensor.
  • Adjust your pace to stay within your target heart rate zone.

Using Hand Weights or a Weighted Vest

Incorporating hand weights or a weighted vest can significantly enhance the calorie-burning potential of your treadmill workouts. This added resistance not only increases the intensity but also engages more muscle groups.

  • Hand Weights: Start with light weights, around 1-2 pounds, and gradually increase.
  • Weighted Vest: Ensure it fits snugly and start with around 5% of your body weight.

Dietary Recommendations – How to Eliminate Belly Fat

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Although it is practically impossible to target specific body parts to burn fat, there’s a lot you can do to facilitate this. 

Nutrition should always be your top priority when it comes to losing fat. The easiest and more effective way to achieve this is through body recomposition.

This means re-adjusting how your body looks by changing the way your body is nourished.

It’s not about taking belly fat metabolism pills but more about doing the right thing consistently for a prolonged period. 

Here are a few of the things you can begin with.

Get In A Calorie Deficit

Restricting your calorie intake is essential for fat loss. 

Unless you have insane genetics, getting rid of that belly fat would be impossible without keeping your calories under maintenance level.

Follow these steps to ensure you do it healthily and sustainably;

– Step 1: Identify your basal metabolic rate (BMR). This will tell you the number of calories your body burns without physical activity. 

– Step 2: Cut down 10-15% of the calories from your BMR, and re-assess biweekly. By doing this, you minimize the possibility of a rebound.

– Step 3: Be patient. Many people don’t see results because they need more patience to let the work speak for itself. Don’t be one of those; good things take time.

Don’t get neurotic over this, either. Take it as a part of the journey, and make sure you’re enjoying it; otherwise, being consistent will be hard. 

Eat More Protein

Protein is not just a buzzword in fitness circles; it’s a critical component of a fat-loss diet. Increased protein intake supports muscle repair and growth, especially vital after treadmill workouts. A high-protein diet also aids in satiety, helping curb those untimely hunger pangs. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition highlights that a higher protein intake can boost metabolism and reduce appetite, facilitating a more effective fat loss process.

Hydrate – a Lot

Often overlooked, hydration plays a pivotal role in weight management. Water is essential for metabolizing stored fat into energy, a process known as lipolysis. A study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that drinking water can temporarily boost metabolism by 30%. Staying well-hydrated also helps in appetite control, often confusing thirst with hunger.

Limit Alcohol

Limiting alcohol consumption is crucial in your quest to lose belly fat. Alcohol not only adds empty calories but can also lead to poor food choices. Research in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows a strong link between alcohol intake and increased abdominal fat. Moderation is key to losing weight too, as excessive consumption can derail your diet and exercise efforts.

Beyond the Basics: Holistic Dietary Strategies

To complement your treadmill workouts, adopt a holistic approach to your healthy diet by:

  • Whole Fruits Over Juice: Opt for whole fruits instead of juices. Whole fruits are packed with fiber, aiding in digestion and prolonging satiety.
  • Avoid Processed Foods: Processed foods are often high in sugars, unhealthy fats, and calories, contributing to weight gain. Focus on whole, unprocessed foods for nutrient-dense options.
  • Mindful Eating: Pay attention to what you eat and savor each bite. This practice can prevent overeating and improve your relationship with food.

FAQs

How to use a treadmill to lose belly fat?

To lose belly fat using a treadmill, combine high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with steady-state cardio. HIIT burns significant calories quickly, while steady-state cardio ensures continued fat burn. Aim for a mix of sprints and brisk walking or jogging, focusing on maintaining a consistent routine. Gradually increase intensity and duration to boost metabolism and target belly fat more effectively.

Incline treadmill benefits?

Walking or running on an incline treadmill intensifies your workout, leading to higher calorie burn and increased cardiovascular endurance. It targets different muscle groups, particularly the glutes, hamstrings, and calves, offering a more comprehensive lower-body workout. Incline training also reduces the impact on joints compared to flat surface running, making it a safer option for many.

Benefits of treadmill for belly fat?

Treadmills offer a controlled, convenient environment for effective cardio workouts that can significantly reduce belly fat. They allow for varied workouts, from walking to sprinting, suitable for all fitness levels. Regular treadmill use increases heart rate, boosts metabolism, and leads to higher calorie burn, directly impacting belly fat reduction. Plus, the ability to adjust speed and incline adds versatility to target belly fat more efficiently.

Does incline walking burn belly fat?

Yes, incline walking on a treadmill can effectively burn belly fat. It increases the intensity of the workout, leading to higher calorie expenditure and a more significant metabolic response. This form of exercise not only targets the core muscles but also enhances overall fat burn, contributing to the reduction of belly fat. Consistent incline walking, combined with a balanced diet, can yield noticeable results in belly fat reduction.

References

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About

I've been in the world of CrossFit since 2016. Started as a client, later became a coach, and eventually bought an affiliate with two friends from January 2020 to January 2022. In 2018 I won 1st place at a local competition in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. After I sold my shares in January 2022 I moved then to another city to run as the general manager of another affiliate STI CrossFit.

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