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Banish Boring Treadmill Workouts with Interval Training

The right kind of treadmill workout can help you burn fat and improve your cardiovascular fitness.

I’m sure we’ve all seen the person at the gym that gets on the treadmill, sets the grade to zero and walks along as they read a good book, then 20 minutes later hits the shower and checks off exercise for the day. Yes, that is technically exercising, but your time on the treadmill can be better and more efficient if you know a few tricks of the trade.

First of all, treadmills are often the cardiovascular machine of choice because they are easy to learn how to use (everyone knows how to walk), you can adjust the incline with the push of a button, and if you have one at home they can be pretty easy to store.

If you don’t have one that folds up at least you can use it to hang your clothes on.

While treadmills are easy to use and seen in almost any gym you go into, they do have a downside: boredom. Walking or running in place looking at the same picture on the wall in front of you can seem like an eternity and you may quickly lose motivation to hit the treadmill. However, you can do some workouts on the treadmill that keeps things interesting.

Interval training is a great way to keep boredom at bay while keeping your heart pumping. With interval training the idea is to vary the speed, grade and intensity of your workout. When you work out on a treadmill you can also incorporate weights. Here is an example of an interval workout from WebMD using the treadmill and floor/weight exercises.

Interval Treadmill Trek:

Start on treadmill:

Time Intensity/Speed Incline Perceived Exertion

1 min. 3.5 - walk/slow jog 4 percent Level 4

1 min. 4.5 - speed walk/run 6 percent Level 6-7

1 min. 3.5 - walk/slow jog 4 percent Level 4

1 min. 4.5 - speed walk/run 6 percent Level 7

1 min. 3.5 - walk/slow jog 4 percent Level 4

Slow down gradually before you stop.

Move to the floor:

  • Do one set of 30 tricep dips on a bench.
  • Do one set of 30 pushups.

Return to the treadmill:

Time Intensity/Speed Incline Perceived Exertion

1 min 3.5 - walk/slow jog 4 percent Level 4

1 min 4.5 - speed walk/run 6 percent Level 6-7

1 min 3.5 - walk/slow jog 4 percent Level 4

1 min 4.5 - speed walk/run 6 percent Level 7

1 min 3.5 - walk/slow jog 4 percent Level 4

Slow down gradually before you stop.

Finish on the floor:

  • Do one set of 75 abdominal crunches: 25 to the center, 25 to the right, and 25 to the left.
  • Do two sets of planks on your elbows, holding
    for one minute each time.
  • Stretch.

This type of exercise is good to do when you are at home and can easily move from the treadmill to the floor, however, if you are at a gym that may not be practical. Here is a link with an example of an interval training session on a treadmill without getting off the machine. You can do your weight training and floor exercises before or after you are done with your treadmill session.

Whether you are at the gym or at home, keep things interesting by varying your workouts and incorporating some floor/weight exercises when you can.  

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