Is it just us, or does it seem like treadmill workouts have lost their popularity? Don’t get us wrong, the treadmill is still the most prominently displayed machine in every gym across the country. But many modern workout mavens have turned to alternate fitness regimens that burn more calories than your typical treadmill run.
Does this mean the treadmill isn’t as effective? Absolutely not! There are actually many ways to boost your everyday treadmill workout so that you can burn more calories than before. Here are seven ways to torch even more calories on the treadmill — some of these tips might even surprise you.
1. Stop socializing
This might shock you, but carrying out a conversation while you are on the treadmill is ruining your workout. If you are more focused on chatting than running, you aren’t putting in the effort to kill as many calories as you probably planned. As PopSugar explains, talking for 30 minutes will burn around 30 calories, while running for 30 minutes at a pace of 6 miles per hour burns upwards of 320 calories. Wouldn’t you prefer to focus on the activity that will give you the better workout? To scorch the most calories possible, save the chat session for after your workout.
2. Pump your arms
Make sure you’re swinging your arms as you run to torch the most calories. Follow Fitness‘s lead by bending your elbows at a 90-degree angle and swinging your arms back and forth from the shoulder. Making short, quick swings that coordinate with your running or walking pace will help you break out into a bigger sweat and burn more calories. Once pumping your arms starts to feel like second nature, you can up the calorie-killing power of this method by holding onto small weights.
3. Increase speed as you go
Surprisingly, starting a treadmill session by running at top speed isn’t the best way to annihilate calories. You will get more out of your workout if you start at an easy pace and then gradually pick up speed. (If you start off running full speed, you will tire yourself out too quickly.)
SELF suggests starting your treadmill regimen at about 4 miles per hour — which is more of a brisk walk than a jog or run. Keep this pace for about 10 minutes before increasing your speed closer to 7 miles per hour. This will also help set you up for an interval workout. Which brings us to…
4. Do an interval workout
Switching up your pace on the treadmill allows you to burn even more calories than if you were to continuously run at the same speed. Fitness suggests running at a swift pace — say, 7 or 8 miles per hour — for a minute or two, then returning to a more moderate pace for five minutes. Switch back and forth between the two speeds to keep your body engaged during every step of the workout.
5. Run on an incline
In addition to switching up speeds in your treadmill workout, you should also be varying the incline. The varying elevations will keep your body working at different paces and help you burn more calories. Even elevating your treadmill incline by 1 or 2% reportedly helps replicate the intensity of running outdoors. Just make sure to change the incline on your treadmill to accommodate changes in your running speed.
6. Try a side shuffle
You don’t have to be limited to the singular direction of the treadmill. Incorporating a sideways shuffle into your workout will help slim down your thighs — bye inner thigh jiggle! — and burn even more calories.
While maintaining a brisk walking pace on your treadmill, hold onto the bars as you turn and skip sideways for one minute. Return to facing forward and jog for one minute, then switch sides to make sure you work the muscles in both legs equally. This exercise will torch even more calories if you do it on an incline. Safety tip: Remember to hold on to the treadmill to stabilize yourself while changing directions.
7. Create a circuit
Yes, a lengthy treadmill session is great. But if you want to burn even more calories, you should consider a circuit — breaking up your time on the treadmill and incorporating strength training in between. Livestrong.com makes a couple suggestions for how you can break up your treadmill time to be an effective part of a circuit.
As a way to save time, have your treadmill portions function as your lower body workout and cardio. Run for three minutes, then hop off the treadmill and do some upper body moves with free weights for three minutes. Alternate back and forth between the two for a total of 42 minutes, ending with a three-minute cool-down on the treadmill. (You can also have the treadmill set to a steeper incline for an even better lower body blast.)