The treadmill could be one of the most popular—if not the most popular—cardio machines in gyms throughout the world. In fact, if you’re a beginner, a treadmill is a great way to get a cardiovascular workout to help you burn calories and melt fat. That’s why I curated the #1 beginner treadmill workout for weight loss.

The beauty of a treadmill compared to running or hiking outdoors is that it has less impact on your body, you don’t have to worry about the weather, and you can control the speed and incline so you’re training your body in the best heart rate zones for optimal fat loss. But do most people use it in the best way possible?

Unfortunately, many individuals use their treadmill time to serve as a leisurely stroll while catching up on their favorite TV show, listening to a podcast, or reading a magazine. Some even hold on to the handles, which defeats some of the purpose of walking and swinging your arms.

Fortunately, there are better ways to work out on this productive piece of cardio equipment. For beginners, it’s far more effective to start slower and improve your endurance and aerobic capacity—which can take time—so you can burn calories in a safe way and build a great foundation for everything you could ever want to do with fitness.

In this article, I’m walking you through an awesome treadmill workout for beginners. The beauty of this routine is it doesn’t take a long time, and you can do it quite often—even up to five times a week. That way, you’re getting consistent benefits, regularly burning calories, and gently pushing your body to burn fat and look amazing.

For best results, I recommend investing in a heart rate monitor so you can track your effort and make sure you’re training at the right levels. You can also check if you’re improving—over time, you’ll be able to do a harder intensity at the same heart rate as before or the same intensity at a lower heart rate than before.

Keep reading for the #1 beginner treadmill workout for weight loss. And when you’re finished, check out I Tried 3 Pairs of Brooks Running Shoes & One Beats the Rest by a Mile.

Warm-up: 10 minutes

woman on foam roller
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Always, always, always warm up before any type of exercise. Before you even get on a treadmill, spend two to three minutes using a foam roller to massage your lower body—quads, calves, hamstrings, IT band, and glutes. Then, once you get on the treadmill, start at a slow speed, and every 45 to 60 seconds or so, gently increase the speed by 0.5 mph.

Treadmill Hike: 10 to 15 minutes

Set the incline to 10% to 15%, and walk at a pace where your heart rate is between 135 to 150 bpm for time.

Treadmill Fartlek Hike: 10 to 15 minutes

Hike at a pace between 135 to 150 bpm. Then, increase the speed so you hike at 70% to 80% intensity for 10 to 20 seconds. Finally, return the speed down to your previous pace. Repeat every few minutes.

Tempo Intervals: 5 to 10 minutes

woman incline sprints on treadmill
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Do a 10-second jog at 70% to 80% intensity (not full speed). Then, step off the belt by standing on the sides. Wait until your heart rate drops below 135. Then, perform another 10-second jog.

Cool-down: 10 minutes

treadmill cool-down
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Gradually reduce the incline until you’re back to 0%, slowly reduce the speed, and then spend a few seconds walking at a very slow pace on the belt before you turn it off. (That way, it won’t feel so weird walking on solid ground!)

Lastly, spend five minutes stretching your body and lowering your heart rate. Not only will you improve your flexibility, but it will also help you reduce any soreness so you can do this routine again sooner rather than later.

Anthony J. Yeung

Anthony J. Yeung, CSCS, is a fitness expert featured in Esquire, GQ, and Men’s Health and the founder of GroomBuilder, the destination for men who want to transform their bodies for their weddings. Join the free 5-day course to burn fat and build muscle for the big day! Read more about Anthony
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