A treadmill is one of the best contraption humans had ever made to make us run like a hamster on a wheel.
True? Well, whether you agree or not, it’s undeniable it does a good job keeping both hamsters and humans fit. Provided they use it.
Table of contents
- Buy a simple treadmill
- Walking on a treadmill
- Best way to determine the ideal fat burning zone without a calculator
- The best way to burn belly fat on the treadmill
How a treadmill can make you lose belly fat?
You can lose belly fat on treadmills by walking or running. You just need to be consistent and determined.
To ensure you are in the fat-burning zone and losing fat, make sure you can hardly talk while using the treadmill. More on this later.
While you can vary your run, try to keep a steady pace you can manage for at least 25 minutes.
Here are simple steps you can follow to finally lose that blob in your midsection using a treadmill.
Buy a simple treadmill
First things first, you need a treadmill. You can either buy one or join a gym that has more than 3 treadmills.
Why more than 3? Well, you might find yourself waiting to get on one when it is busy. There are several occasions though when a gym is really popular, even with 10 treadmills are not enough.
So, maybe owning one won’t be so bad.
Our treadmill has all the bells and whistles. It has all the counters you need and displays it on a big monochrome screen, some have a green background that makes your workout fresh.
It has a built-in fan that freshens you up while running, a charger, booming speakers that sounds tinny. You know what? All those features, they hardly get used. The charger was useful though.
A simple, sturdy treadmill is all you need. If you want those counters to keep you occupied, I’ll tell you the way to keep the time go by quicker.
Watch something that motivates you on your phone or your TV if you have it in front of the treadmill.
For example, UFC. I liked watching UFC since its inception. UFC 1, had absolutely no rules. Hitting a man’s cojones were allowed. A fighter would pin another on the ground and continually hammer his bollocks, it was NUTS!
Watching something that gets you fired up will up your own ante making you work harder and simultaneously, killing your boredom.
You may like basketball or soccer, maybe even a Korean drama. Whatever floats your boat, as they say.
So, don’t buy a treadmill for its features but how sturdy it is. It shouldn’t be shaking so much it feels like it’s going to break.
You may be paying more for service, losing you money instead of belly fat.
Running on a treadmill
As I mentioned, there are many ways you can vary your run and HIIT is one method.
HIIT is an acronym for high-intensity interval training. Basically, what happens in HIIT is you run as hard as you can in one interval then slow down in the next period.
For example, you warm up for 1 minute by walking. After warming up your legs, you run at a steady pace for 2 or 5 minutes, how long, is totally up to you.
Then after 2 minutes of dilly-dallying, you run as fast as you can for 1 minute. Slow down again to a steady pace you can manage for 2 minutes. Catch your breath then run hard again. Repeat.
There are many ways you can do a HIIT. Please do NOT go beyond your capabilities. Vary the timing and pace according to your fitness level.
How long should you run on a treadmill to lose belly fat?
My routine is to run on a treadmill at a steady pace I can manage for 30 minutes. I start by walking to warm up my legs. Then after 2 minutes, I start to run at a comfortable pace without stopping until I complete the session.
Important rule here is you have to be able to maintain a constant pace for the whole 30 minutes but this is not a hard rule.
There will be times you need a break and you can slow it down and pick the pace back up again. As you get fitter, you can vary your run and doing a HIIT aforementioned will keep you from boredom.
Study on the efficacy of HIIT
How do you incorporate HIIT (high-intensity interval training) in your treadmill workout? Easily and you can do it whether you run or walk on a treadmill.
HIIT is a great way to improve your fitness level. Studies have shown that even without a diet, performing HIIT achieves weight loss.
A group of overweight young individuals was observed on a 12-week school physical program.
The participants underwent 3 hours of high physical activities each week. A controlled group was added in the mix for comparison.
There were significant improvements in the body mass index, body fat %, and weight for the HIIT group. Whilst the controlled group received little to no change. Lipid profiles of both groups reported no changes.
The effect on HDL (good cholesterol) was minuscule on both groups. LDL (bad cholesterol) showed a significant decrease in the HIIT group. Not surprisingly, LDL raised in the controlled group.
But if you consider the total cholesterol and triglycerides, there is a significant difference for the HIIT group. Whilst the controlled group increased.
[source: Impact of a 12-week high-intensity interval training without caloric restriction on body composition and lipid profile in sedentary healthy overweight/obese youth]
Walking on a treadmill
As you may or may not know, my left meniscus is pretty thin. Soon, my bones will be grinding on each other.
If you are like me, who’s left knee is shot, you’ll want a workout that causes less impact on the knees, walking is great for this. I think walking is a great exercise for the belly.
Remember how I said, you should be hitting the fat-burning zone to actually lose belly fat.
You might want to know how to measure your fat-burning zone, the following is the formula.
There are two methods to measure your maximal fat oxidation. The old method is still used to this day. Especially by trainers who don’t keep up with health news and studies. That is fine, so long as you are under 80. Once you are over, I suggest using the new method.
There is a big difference in calculating the maximal heart rate at the age of 80.
NCBI found as we age, our maximum heart rate declines.
[source: Longitudinal modeling of the relationship between age and maximal heart rate.]
So they formulated a way that coincide with the recent findings and it goes as follows.
207 – (0.7 x AGE) = Maximal Heart Rate or MHR
To find the optimal range of fat oxidation (“fat burning”), you take 60% – 80% of your MHR, what you get is your optimal fat burning zone range.
[source: Quantifying differences in the “fat burning” zone and the aerobic zone: implications for training.]
If I use my age as an example, you will find that burning fat doesn’t require high-intensity bouts of cardio.
So if you take my age of 40 and calculate my fat burning zone using the above formula, you will find that at only 109 BPM I am burning fat.
207 – (0.7 x 40) = 179
179 x 60% = 109
For me to achieve BPM of 109, I just need to walk briskly.
How long to walk on a treadmill to lose your big belly?
At a minimum, walk for at least 30 minutes. This ensures you have burned enough to put you on a calorie deficit for the day. Unless you are munching down on junk later.
In a study to find the importance of exercise to losing weight and maintenance, NCBI found, it greatly benefits the individual when you do more.
It was advised to exercise or engage in physical activity for 150 minutes a week to stay healthy. It was advocated to exercise for 200 minutes or more for weight loss and maintenance.
So, even if you have lost weight, DO NOT STOP doing physical activities. You will likely put it back on if you do.
[source: The Role of Exercise and Physical Activity in Weight Loss and Maintenance]
Incline the treadmill to lose more fat in your belly
Does walking incline burn belly fat?
The simple answer is yes.
If or when you want to increase the intensity of your workout, how about pressing the + or up button on the incline mode?
Doing so will accelerate the fat you burn resulting in a faster weight loss.
Try to gradually increase the level of difficulty until you reach a maximum of 15%. The last I checked, 15% is the maximum on the treadmills at the gym, including our own.
Setting the incline at 15% will make your legs work harder, targeting the quad muscles.
As your legs work harder, the more calories you lose and your leg muscles get built.
Now, I don’t suggest you should walk on the steepest incline so you can double your weight loss. Wait until you are fit and ready.
I myself have used the incline option to vary my cardio. Stimulate your legs as if you are outdoors.
You don’t always walk on flat surfaces, there are also steep hills to tackle.
Walk at the level you are comfortable with. This is important because there have been many who overestimated their ability and ended up injured or worst.
Start slow, gradually picking up the pace by little increments.
Best way to determine the ideal fat burning zone without a calculator
The impact of not using the new method is more so on the old than the young. As you know, our MHR declines after a certain age. But, and it’s a big but…
I found a significant difference in using the old method compared to the new method at age 80. There was a difference of 8 beats per minute using 70% to find the optimal fat burning zone.
It may not seem a lot, but at the age of 80, every little thing counts.
But, do you have to stop and count your pulse for a minute then take out the calculator to measure if you are burning fat?
I sure hope not.
Too much calculation can slow your workout and it is a tedious task. Cardio is already a hassle, let’s make it less hard.
The best way of knowing you are at an optimal fat burning rate and not go dangerously over is by judging how you are breathing.
When you are breathing hard so much that talking feels like a nuisance, then you are in your optimal fat burning zone.
In contrast, if you are wheezing and puffing, maybe it’s time to take it down a notch.
The best way to burn belly fat on the treadmill
My advice to totally get rid of your big gut for good using the treadmill. And I advocate this to anyone who struggles with past leg injuries preventing them from exerting greater effort.
You should know, my left meniscus is pretty much useless. Leaving my NBA dreams in tatters! I thought my 5 foot 4, dwarf stature was the deal-breaker.
These days, I choose physical activities that have less impact on my joints. I still want to be walking without pain before I hit 60 (I hope).
Walking on the treadmill is the perfect exercise for this situation. If you are lucky enough and there is nothing preventing you from doing high-intensity activities then I still suggest pursuing walking as your cardio. It’s just less rigorous and demanding.
It’s also easier to maintain a steady pace for the duration of your workout. Let me explain…
Running at a high pace is impossible to maintain for 30 minutes unless you are a Kenyan. While running at fast speed intermittently, you may induce a heart attack.
Sadly, I have seen people who exerted more than 80% of their maximum heart rate during physical activity and after a brief rest, suffered a heart attack.
So be safe, stay at the recommended fat burning zone and prevent complications.
The following is what I do in my treadmill walking session:
- The first 2 minutes is a warm-up, walk slowly and get flexy.
- I start picking up the pace by increasing speed.
- I then set the speed where I can maintain for 26 minutes without stopping.
- In time, you will know your “comfortable” fat-burning zone.
- The last 2 minutes will be a cooldown phase.
I did this for 6 months straight, 5 days a week and I got results. Losing belly fat doesn’t have to involve heart-stopping, adrenaline-filled cardio. Have you tried this method?
To summarize, losing your belly fat can be safe, “easy”, in the comfort of your own home. Buying a good treadmill will help you accomplish your weight loss goal.
Owning your own treadmill doesn’t give you any excuse missing out on a workout when it rains, snows or hails.
But, even though you have one at home, it doesn’t guarantee you will use it. I know because there were times when the treadmill collected dust for months.
You see, more often than not, motivation dwindles. Joining fitness groups where you share similar interests will help you.
Especially if it’s a small group of people as there is less chance of getting random toxic people. That small group will also be close-knit and supportive—like family.
This is what you need to keep you going when you think you can’t do it anymore. And there will be times when you feel this. I know, I struggle with it daily.