✋Order Your $5 Sample. Free Worldwide Shipping Orders $39+ ✈️ Free Shipping in Canada 🇨🇦Made in Montreal

Treadmill HIIT Workouts for Weight Loss

Losing weight can be a tough journey. There are days when you will feel great, and days you just want to go back to the old ways. But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

With Treadmill HIIT (pronounced “hit”) workouts, you can increase the rate of weight loss, elevate your mood and motivation and see results faster than ever. Below we dive into 5 treadmill HIIT workouts that will help jump-start your weight loss journey, but first, we will address what HIIT is, how this training plan increases the rate of weight loss and why you should use a treadmill over other training implements. 

What is HIIT

HIIT, or High-Intensity Interval Training, is a form of interval training that includes short bursts of near-maximal output followed by periods of rest. HIIT workouts typically last less than 30 minutes and have been found to increase the rate of body fat reduction. 

In 2014, the International Colloquium on Sports Science, Exercise, Engineering and Technology printed a study that followed 2 groups of women over a six week period; one group engaged in continuous steady-state cardio training sessions that lasted 30+ minutes, while the other performed HIIT workouts 3 times a week for 20 minutes or less. After the six week period, the HIIT group had a significant decrease in body fat percentage along with increased health metrics1. 

Below we discuss why HIIT workouts are so effective for weight loss. 

Recruits All Different Types of Muscle Fiber

At a base level of explanation, there are three different types of muscle fibers: fast-twitch, slow-twitch, and intermediate. As you can imagine, the fast-twitch fibers are used for explosive movements, such as sprinting and weightlifting; the slow-twitch are utilized with more extended endurance type training, and the intermediate fibers help fill the gap when needed.   

Generally, fast-twitch fibers burn out of energy within 2 minutes of near maximal exertion. After the 2 minute mark, the body either needs an extended rest period (somewhere north of 5 minutes), or it starts recruiting the intermediate and slow-twitch fibers in an attempt to sustain power production. When performing a regular sprint interval workout, or weightlifting session, this concept is kept in mind, and meaningful rest periods are used between bouts of exertion.

HIIT, however, goes beyond this. HIIT workouts require the use of fast-twitch fibers at a high rate; the higher the intensity, the quicker these fibers get burnt out. The rest periods in HIIT sessions are kept very low as they are often below the 60s. This tires out the fast-twitch fibers even quicker, forcing the body to recruit the slow-twitch and intermediate fibers to maintain the 15-20 minute workout.

The increased recruitment of all three fiber types means the body is using energy at a higher rate. Since you don’t eat in the middle of a HIIT workout, the body must pull the energy from somewhere else: body fat stores. This is a critical aspect of higher rates of weight loss when performing HIIT workouts. The higher the intensity, the more body fat your body will need to burn to help get through a workout. 

Controls Insulin Levels

The preferred form of energy for the muscles, however, is not body fat. Muscle tissue can only use glucose (a form of carbohydrate) and oxygen to produce energy. The preferred source depends on the fiber type. Fast-twitch fibers use glucose, and slow-twitch fibers utilize oxygen.

This is important because the muscles store a particular level of glucose for the fast-twitch fibers; once the glucose stores have been depleted, then the body converts body fat to glucose for energy. 

Depleting glucose stores during a HIIT workout does several things for weight loss. One, it forces the body to start converting body fat to glucose for energy (as we discussed earlier) and two, it helps regulate insulin levels. 

Insulin is the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels; it is the hormone that tells the body to store glucose, release it for energy, or eat carbohydrates to provide glucose. As body fat increases in the body, the body becomes less resistant to insulin, meaning the body has a harder time knowing when to store glucose and how to use the glucose that had been stored. Since it is harder to utilize these stores, insulin resistance often leads to further weight gain as the body tries to eat more to provide energy rather than use the stored form. 

By using up the muscles stored glucose during the HIIT workout, the body begins to recognize the need for insulin again to shuttle glucose back to the muscle and replenish the stores that are now empty. Putting the body through this cycle of depleting and replenishing glucose stores 2-3 times a week with HIIT workouts will allow the body to become more sensitive to insulin levels2. This sensitivity makes it easier for the body to regulate glucose levels, regulate hunger levels (if insulin can release glucose for energy you won’t feel the need to eat for energy), and in turn better regulate body fat levels. 

HIIT workouts help regulate insulin, which will help lower your body fat and speed up the weight loss process. 

These are the primary mechanisms behind HIIT workouts and weight loss. Now let’s take a quick look at why the treadmill is the most beneficial tool for these training sessions.

Benefits of Treadmill Training on Weight Loss

We have an entire article discussing the benefits of running on a treadmill versus running outside (which can be found here), so we will keep this short and sweet. 

Running on the treadmill decreases the amount of force being produced and distributed in the lower limbs. When starting your weight loss journey, this is ideal for keeping the risk of injury low. As your body begins to build muscle and shed fat, it will be more adept at handling the force of running, but for now, the treadmill can do that for you, so you can focus on weight loss. 

The treadmill will also maintain the speed of a workout for you. When you are first starting any workout program that the body is not used to, the mental aspect of the workout becomes exponentially harder. When we aren’t used to a stimulus, we have less motivation to push through it and reach the other side. When the workout becomes tough, though, and our mental acuity is strained, the treadmill won’t slow down. It is a great tool to help maintain intensity, so you can see results faster. 

The mental side of things becomes easier as the body starts to adapt, but until you reach that point, the treadmill can help keep you up to speed on your weight loss goals. 

Keep in mind, the entire workout does not need to be performed on the treadmill. This is just your primary implement as you jump into these 5 treadmill HIIT workouts for weight loss. 

Workout 1: The Pyramid Workout

This workout is excellent for beginners to ease you into the world of HIIT. The walk is a pace that will elevate your heart rate; easy is correlated with a jog that will raise breathing rate; push is where you give it your all and should result in heavy breathing. 

Total time: 18 minutes

               30s walk

               30s easy

               60s walk

               60s easy

               90s walk

               90s easy

               2 min walk

               2 min easy

               90s walk

               90s push             

               60s walk

               60s push

               30s walk

               30s push

               2 min walk (cooldown) 

There’s your first HIIT workout. It may not look like much, 30-90s intervals are doable, but the magic happens in the push when you have already worked the legs and are now asking them to push further. Remember, recruiting all three fiber types is part of the increased weight loss side effect of treadmill HIIT workouts.

 

Workout 2: The Power Workout

The goal of this workout is to increase the speed of the sprint interval steadily. Start where you’re comfortable and can maintain the pace for the full minute; on the next sprint interval, try taking it 1 step up. These small jumps will allow you to achieve speeds you didn’t think possible and maximize the energy your body is burning up. 

Total time: 18-22 minutes

               3-5 min warm-up (walk or jog)

               1 min steady state (2-3 steps above warm-up)

               1 min sprint (the level you can handle)

               1 min steady state (same as before)

               1 min sprint (+1 from the previous sprint)

               Repeat 4 more times

               3-5 min cooldown (walk)

 

Workout 3: Intro to Hills

In this workout, you’ll start to incorporate the incline functionality of treadmills. This is not supposed to be a steep incline, just enough to raise the intensity to the next level. 

Total time: 20 minutes

               5 min warm-up

               1 min steady state at incline 1

               1 min push at incline 2

               1 min steady state at incline 1

               1 min push at incline 3

               1 min steady state at incline 1

               1 min push at incline 3

               1 min steady state at incline 1

               1 min push at incline 2

               1 min steady state at incline 1

               1 min push at incline 1

               5 min cooldown

*As your body becomes adapted to treadmill HIIT workouts increase the incline to a level that keeps challenging you.

 

Workout 4: Strong Legs Workout

Remember, the workout doesn’t have to be detained to the treadmill. Here is a great way to incorporate outside movements into your Treadmill HIIT workouts to increase strength and further burn body fat for an increased rate of weight loss. 

Total Time: 17-20 minutes

               4 min warm-up

               30s bodyweight squats (as many as you can off the treadmill)

               1 min run

               30s walking lunges (on treadmill or floor)

               1 min run

               Repeat for 3-4 rounds

               4 min cooldown

 

Workout 5: The Breakdown

By this point, you have a few HIIT workouts under your belt. You know how to push the intensity and have felt the benefits of this type of training. In this workout, you will be able to test your mental acuity and see just how far you can push.

 

Total time: 24 minutes

               3 min warm-up (steadily increase pace each minute)

               90s jog

               90s push

               90s jog 

               90s push

               90s jog

               90s push

               60s jog

               60s push (+1 speed from before)

               60s jog

               60s push

               60s jog

               60s push

               30s jog

               30s push (+1 speed from before)

               30s jog

               30s push

               30s jog

               30s push

               3 min cooldown

These Treadmill HIIT workouts are designed to increase weight loss and fat burning. There are numerous health benefits to HIIT workout and the weight loss you will experience. Your motivation and ability to push through the workouts will steadily increase as you get stronger. Don’t let these workouts become a pitfall though, there is a downside to working at a high intensity too often, and that is our next topic of interest. 

Frequency of Training

When first starting out aim for 2-3 HIIT sessions a week. Remember, these should be short and high intensity. As you start to lose weight and become stronger, the intensity level you can maintain will increase. Though you are highly motivated to do more, we caution you to keep the HIIT sessions to 2-3 a week. 

The primary reason for this is we want the workouts working in your favor. Exercise is a form of stress on the body, and increasing the intensity increases the amount of stress placed on the hormonal and muscular system. Any time you exercise, the body will release cortisol as a stress response. As with any substance, a little can go a long way, but too much of anything is bad. 

Small bursts of cortisol released from exercise can boost energy and aid in combating illness or injury through its anti-inflammatory effects. However, elevated cortisol levels over extended periods cause increased muscle tissue breakdown will suppress growth hormone and the sex hormones and has been linked to the increase of abdominal fat3. 

To ensure you aren’t overstressing the body, mix in full rest days at least once a week, always have 1-2 days recovery between HIIT sessions (though lower intensity workouts are ok to do during this time), and keep HIIT workouts to 2-3 times a week. Remember, as you begin to lose weight with these treadmill HIIT workouts, you will be able to increase the intensity, so an increase in frequency is not needed. 

Losing weight, decreasing body fat, increasing strength, and creating a healthier you is a journey. There will be times when you gain an extra pound or two, and there will be times you lose more than you thought you had. Understand that the first happens to everyone, this shouldn’t be a linear progression down, hormones won’t allow for it and use the second as motivation to keep you going. 

Treadmill HIIT workouts will help increase weight loss and body fat reduction while providing a safer form of training to minimize the risk of injury. Use this powerful tool and the workouts we’ve laid out to shape the next leg of your weight loss journey.

Summary

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been found to significantly decrease body fat percentage in individuals who utilize this form of training regularly. When using HIIT workouts for weight loss, we recommend doing so on a treadmill. Treadmills will reduce the amount of forces produced and distributed to the lower body, decreasing your risk of injury and increasing the ability to maintain this workout type. 

Start by incorporating treadmill HIIT workouts 2-3 times a week. As you lose weight and gain strength, the intensity will increase, but frequency should remain the same. The body produces stress-induced hormones as a side effect of any form of exercise. Small levels of these hormones produce positive results- such as increased immune support- but prolonged excess levels can lead to muscle break down and an increase in body fat. Stay in the positive zone by taking 1-2 days between treadmill HIIT training sessions. 

Workouts should always begin with a 3-5 minute warm-up period, followed by short intervals, 30-90s, of increased near maximal effort, mixed in with short intervals of rest. End the workout with another 3-5 minutes cool-down period. You can include other movements, like squats or lunges, for an increase in intensity or try adding in a slight incline to challenge yourself further. Treadmill HIIT workouts, when performed at near maximal effort, should last for less than 30 minutes. 

This form of training and intensity will speed up weight loss, increase muscular strength, and provide motivation to continue along your journey.

 

References:

1 Syazwani, A., et. al (2014). The effects of high-intensity interval training and continuous

training on weight loss and body composition in overweight females. Proceedings of the International Colloquium on Sports Science, Exercise, Engineering and Technology 2014. P. 401-409. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-981-287-107-7_42 

2 Dr. Mercola(2012 Jan 06). Long-distance running: Avoid this popular exercise as it shrinks your muscle and accelerates aging. Retrieved from https://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2012/01/06/dr-doug-mcguff-on-exercise.aspx 

What does cortisol do? DNAfit. Retrieved from

https://www.dnafit.com/advice/fitness/cortisol-stress-and-exercise.asp

Related Posts

How to Build Resilience
How to Build Resilience
This pandemic era has got everyone clinging to any form of emotional or health support they can grasp. In an uncertain t
Read More
Foods Rich In Antioxidants
Foods Rich In Antioxidants
Antioxidants are chemical compounds that the body produces and are contained in many foods. They are quite beneficial to
Read More
Why Are Refined Carbs Bad for You?
Why Are Refined Carbs Bad for You?
More than half of our calories come from carbs, but there are seemingly valid suggestions that they cause type 2 diabete
Read More
Interview #3: Diana Kampe Ultrarunner
Interview #3: Diana Kampe Ultrarunner
I grew up in the Southern part of Denmark in Northern Europe. I grew up in a lovely and idyllic family with my brother D
Read More
Does Coffee Help With Weight Loss?
Does Coffee Help With Weight Loss?
Coffee is a beverage brewed from roasted coffee beans (which are gotten from the seeds of specific Coffea species). It i
Read More
Interview #2: Kaj Larsen - Navy Seal, MPP Harvard and Owner Crossfit Santa Monica
Interview #2: Kaj Larsen - Navy Seal, MPP Harvard and Owner Crossfit Santa Monica
Kaj Larsen was born in Santa Cruz, California, and graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz with a degr
Read More
Older Post
Newer Post

ArticlesTreadmill HIIT Workouts for Weight Loss

Close (esc)

Popup

Use this popup to embed a mailing list sign up form. Alternatively use it as a simple call to action with a link to a product or a page.

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.

Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Shop now