The 500-Calorie Treadmill Workout


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  150 comments   :  1,809,611 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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  • 150
    HIIT posted next to my treadmill. Thanks! - 12/6/2017   6:56:38 PM
    Awesome! - 12/5/2017   8:26:23 AM
  • 148
    This looks ambitious for me, but I suppose I can aspire to it. - 10/16/2017   8:39:42 PM
    Treadmill has never been a strong consideration because of balance issues. - 10/15/2017   1:22:50 PM
  • 146
    What about people who are only able to do 3.5 mph as tge top speed? This is great for already active people only. - 9/15/2017   7:49:26 AM
    Sounds doable. I have back issues, so hopefully this does not aggravate it with the incline. - 8/15/2017   6:11:37 PM
  • 144
    I use an interval training method on the treadmill, and I love it! I begin at 5% incline and 1.8 mph and increase incline at every 6-minute interval until I hit 10%, then I increase the speed until I reach 2-2.3 mph. I burn an average of 475 calories in an hour. Yesterday I hit 513 calories! I love the treadmill because it is easy on the joints and my balance. Ramp it up, add music, and have a great workout! - 8/15/2017   11:09:58 AM
  • 143
    I can barely do the 3. Maybe some day. - 8/15/2017   4:38:06 AM
  • 142
    This workout is a really big, huge sweat!! - 7/12/2017   3:41:29 PM
  • 141
    This is a great workout on the treadmill for me! - 3/21/2017   11:07:33 AM
  • 140
    I can barely run 6.6 much less faster. I don't think this routine would be for me. - 3/21/2017   11:06:28 AM
  • 139
    I love this workout! - 3/21/2017   10:35:37 AM
  • 138
    This is a great workout! - 3/21/2017   7:30:27 AM
  • 137
    This is a great idea. I'm not a fan of the treadmill but I did enjoy getting my heart rate up with the random mode til I hurt my knee. I do the elliptical, and hope to get back to my treadmill program soon. - 3/20/2017   12:30:10 PM
  • 136
    This sounds like a great routine. I actually like the treadmill as I can work out to my music and adapt the routine to fit my goals that day. Also love walking outside and now with our dog, get out EVERY day. - 6/8/2016   3:35:17 PM
  • 135
    I only wish I could do 6mph for 3 minutes! - 2/18/2016   9:56:21 AM
  • 134
    I love intervals on the treadmill for calorie burn. After 1 set, try jumping off and doing strength training, like planks, pushups, squats, tricept dips, etc, for 1 minute, then hop back on for another set.

    ps, I keep a copy of this workout on my treadmill! - 2/17/2016   10:58:08 AM
  • 133
    I have a treadmill but rarely get on it even though I love how I feel when I make it part of my routine. I doubt I could keep up with this walk but I could do a modified version of it and that would be good for me. - 2/17/2016   9:43:49 AM
  • 132
    I LOVE the Mount Rainier trail on my treadmill~Burns 325 cals/.hr and has highs and lows for incline~all walking ~{highest is 11} so it varies the workout PLUS it shows the beautiful mountain itself and all the outdoor grandeur!!! - 2/17/2016   7:14:50 AM
  • JSMITH2252
    sounds fun - 2/17/2016   5:56:39 AM
  • 130
    Thank you for this treadmill workout. I love treadmill I used to walk 5 mins at 5mph at 1% incline and then 40min at 8.3mph at 1% incline and again cooldown 5 mins at 5mph at 0% incline. That burns only 400kcal.
    So I am thinking to try this workout on the weekend and let you know!
    Thanks a lot ! - 2/17/2016   2:20:21 AM
  • 129
    It still only burns 423 calories, your machinery is off. - 2/17/2016   1:43:08 AM
  • HOLS1001
    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

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