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7 HIIT Treadmill Workouts For Serious Fat Loss – Tips And Tricks

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I get it: Treadmills don’t always make for the most riveting workout.

But if you are looking for a treadmill workout that won’t bore you to tears but offer some serious fat burning potential, these strategically designed treadmill HIIT workouts will help you burn fat and calories no matter what your time constraints are!

The internet is full of “HIIT treadmill workouts to burn fat” but many don’t have strategic work-to-rest ratios to really maximize your body’s fat-burning potential.

HIIT treadmill workouts offer unparalleled fitness and weight loss-boosting benefits that far exceed those of steady-state cardio.

Walking or running at a constant pace is not the best way to burn fat, which is why HIIT workouts offer better results in less time

In this blog post, you will find 7 beginner-friendly HIIT treadmill workouts to burn fat no matter the time constraints!

Full length profile shot of a young woman running on a treadmill at home

What is High-Intensity Interval Training?

HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training, which means that you’re alternating intense bursts of all-out effort with periods of recovery time.

These workouts are designed to raise your heart rate which means you will burn more calories both during and after the workout than if you were in a steady-state cardio exercise mode such as walking on the treadmill.

By alternating all-out effort with periods of rest, you are creating a greater oxygen deficit in your body which requires more calories to return the body to its natural state even after the workout is over.  

Your body must also work harder to maintain the intensity of the workout and therefore you are building better strength and endurance which will help your body burn more calories both during AND after the workout.

The goal is to push your body past its comfort zone followed by a brief rest to let your body prepare for the next all-out bout of exercise. This reduces the time it takes to burn calories while maximizing results from each interval session.

a graph showing the difference between the metabolic rate of steady state cardio vs High intensity interval training. The red color shows the greater effect HIIT has on burning calories

How Can Treadmill HIIT Workouts Burn Fat?

HIIT workouts are by far superior to steady-state cardio because intervals increase your heart rate and body’s oxygen consumption so that you can burn more calories both during AND after the workout.

By doing this, you’re maximizing results from each interval training session while reducing the amount of time spent working out every week!

Because of the intensity of HIIT workouts, you can burn as many as 450 calories in 30 minutes, while doing a steady-state cardio workout might only yield 200-250.

Combine HIIT with the right diet and that will inevitably lead to fat loss!

Related: Torch Fat With This 15 Minute HIIT Workout At Home

Why You Need HIIT In Your Workouts

Adding HIIT workouts to your routine can be the difference between getting results and not.

By including some faster pace intervals, you can improve your body’s ability to take in and utilize oxygen during your workout which yields greater calorie burn.

HIIT workouts also prevent your body from adapting to your workouts which can cause weight loss results to stall.

For example, when you first start a running workout, you may only be able to jog at 5 mph pace for 15 minutes. 

But eventually, your body gets stronger and it adapts to this training speed. 

Once this speed becomes easier, your body becomes more efficient and will burn fewer calories and your weight loss and fitness goals may reach a plateau. 

HIIT workouts help bust through plateaus and it trains your cardiovascular system to become stronger while also building and preserving lean muscle mass.

What are The Benefits of Treadmill HIIT Workouts?

Research shows HIIT workouts are effective because they are:

  • Time Efficient– When done correctly, HIIT workouts can burn the same amount of calories in 30 minutes vs 60 minutes of steady-state training. 
  • Not Boring– Unless you love running, interval workouts on a treadmill will break up the boredom and help you stay consistent with your workouts.
  • Perfect for Any Fitness Level-If you are new to HIIT training, the treadmill is an excellent tool to help you get started. You can easily customize the intensity to your fitness level and continue to adjust as needed.
  • Improved Consistency- One of the best parts of interval training, specifically HIIT, is the sense of accomplishment after every interval. Completing 10 sprints is much more satisfying than trying to convince yourself not to die of boredom during a 20 minute jog. 
  • Increase Weight Loss in Less Time- Alternating sprints with recovery periods will help you burn more calories faster than steady-state cardio alone.
  • Keeps you laser-focused- When people jump onto a treadmill, they may not be laser-focused on the task at hand and this can really affect results. HIIT training forces you to focus on your workout which means less stress of thinking about your never-ending to-do list!
  • “Me time without guilt”- A benefit that you may not even have considered when it comes to working out? Allowing yourself some “me” time without feeling guilty of taking too much time away from your family.

How Long Should a HIIT Treadmill Workout Be?

The length and intensity of your treadmill HIIT workout will depend on both your fitness level and how much time you have to exercise.

A good, balanced treadmill HIIT workout can range from 4 minutes to 30 minutes. 

This duration is about equivalent to what most people can tolerate before their muscles start to feel fatigued and they need to take some longer rest periods in between sprints.

I have found that if you can go easily go longer than 30 minutes, you probably aren’t pushing yourself hard enough.

Remember, with HIIT workouts, you are trading time for intensity. 

The harder you work, the shorter the workout set. 

How Often Should You Do Treadmill HIIT Workouts For Fat Loss?

If you are simply looking to maintain your weight or are new to HIIT workouts, I suggest starting with 1-2 HIIT treadmill workouts per week to allow your body to adjust.

However, if you feel like your body can tolerate HIIT workouts well, I suggest 2-3 but no more than 4 days a week depending on how much time you have available.

Because HIIT workouts are much more demanding on the body, it is important to allow your body enough time to recover and repair itself.

Can You Do HIIT And Weight Training On The Same Day?

Yes!

I like adding HIIT treadmill workouts at the end of my weight-lifting sessions so I don’t feel too worn out for the rest of my workout.

If you chose to do treadmill HIIT workouts on the same day as strength training, I recommend doing them AFTER your workout in order to prioritize strength training.

For example, if you’re doing an upper body strength training workout, I like to finish off my workout with 20 minutes of high-intensity intervals on the treadmill.

graph showing an example of a 5 day workout split incorporating HIIT into the workout for fat loss
Example Weekly Workout Schedule With HIIT Training

How “Intense” Should HIIT Workouts Be?

HIIT treadmill workouts are one of the most efficient and effective ways to burn fat, but finding the right intensity can be a bit of trial and error.

Whether you’re a casual jogger or an athlete, you’ll want to experiment with speed and incline settings to find the right balance between difficulty and effectiveness.

I suggest using the Rate of Perceived Exertion to determine your intensity level.

This will help guide you in your intensity level as well as teach you how to tune in and listen to your body.

The Borgs Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is a great tool for pregnant mamas too!

The RPE scale is used to measure the intensity of your workouts. 

The numbers below (0-10) relate to how easy or difficult you feel during different activities on the scale.

0 = No effort at all, sitting in bed watching TV.

10 = Hurts really bad and can’t go on much longer.

For the very fit individual, I recommend shooting for work intervals that get up to that 9-10 level. 

If you are new to HIIT or are less a conditioned individual, I recommend shooting for an RPE of 6-7.

If you are a more conditioned athlete, shoot for work intervals that get them up to that 9-10 level. 

Once you become stronger and more conditioned, you will notice that you will need to increase the speed or incline in order to keep challenging your body.

This means you are getting strong, faster, and burning more calories!

How To Maximize Weight Loss With HIIT Workouts on Treadmill

If you hop on your treadmill and consistently do the same workout, at the same intensity, you will eventually hit a plateau and may stop seeing results

Here are some tips to avoid hitting a fitness plateau, and to keep working towards your fitness goals:

  • Vary the speed during your workout: Don’t be afraid to increase your speeds as you progress through the intervals to push yourself hard enough.
  • Add variety to your treadmill workout by varying the speed, incline, and time spent at each max level. This will help your body continue to get stronger and prevent reaching plateaus that could slow your progress.
  • Don’t do HIIT every day- People often underestimate the importance of rest. Rest days give your body an opportunity to repair and get stronger.
  • Challenge yourself- Most people have a hard time pushing themselves hard enough to make their interval training effective. Don’t be afraid to push outside your comfort zone. Your body will eventually adapt better to the workouts.
  • Increase the speed (intensity), incline, or interval duration as you get stronger.
  • Don’t neglect rest periods- This will give your body time to recover and allow you to build up the necessary energy stores that it needs for another effort.

Precautions to HIIT Treadmill Workouts

If you are completely new to exercise, if you are managing a medical condition, or if you are returning to exercise after pregnancy or injury, be sure to check with your healthcare provider.

You may need to follow personalized exercise guidelines and your provider can give you tips for safety. 

Always warm-up for five minutes before you start the actual treadmill workout. 

This will avoid injury from sudden changes in speed and incline that can happen during HIIT workouts. 

For the first few weeks of HIIT training, try to keep your intensity at a 5-7 on the rate of perceived exertion scale.

The Difference Between HIIT and Interval Training

Interval Training is a type of workout in which involves intervals that alternate periods of hard work with easy or restful recovery however the intervals are typically not maximal effort.

In contrast, HIIT workouts are short bursts of all-out, high-intensity exercise followed by periods of low or no activity in structured ratios.

The key difference between Interval Training and HIIT is that HIIT focuses on maximal burst (extremely intense) working periods, while interval training can involve lower to moderate intensities.

The best treadmill workouts to burn fat are workouts with specific work-to-rest ratios to maximize results.

Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t burn fat and a ton of calories with interval training on a treadmill. But for the sake of the article, we are going to stick to specific HIIT treadmill ratios for fat loss.

HIIT TRAININGINTERVAL TRAINING
Strategic work to rest intervals to maximize fat burning potential Alternating periods of higher intensity exercise with lower intensity exercise
Can only be sustained for a relatively short period of timeCan be continued for longer periods of time
Intervals involve maximum effortIntervals are not typically all out effort
Higher intensity & low intensityCan include high, moderate and lower intensities.

How To Do HIIT Treadmill Workouts For Fat Loss

First, you need to familiarize yourself with these terms:

  • Work set– For each ‘work set’, you need to increase the intensity by adjusting the settings on your machine. You can do this by adjusting the speed and or the incline of the treadmill. During this set, you want to really challenge yourself. 
  • Rest set- For each ‘rest set’, lower those same settings, or slow down until your heart rate slows down. 
  • An interval timer- I use an interval app on my phone called a “Gymboss Timer”.
two images of how to set an interval timer to perform HIIT treadmill workouts for fat loss

Setting your intervals in advance will help you stay on track with your workout, regardless of time constraints. 

If your rest sets are relatively short, you may just want to “hop off” the treadmill after your sprint set. 

To do this, hold onto the handlebars and simply jump your feet to the side of the treadmill. 

This will allow your treadmill to keep running at the same speed and won’t affect your next sprint interval.

What are The Best Treadmill Workouts to Burn Fat?

These HIIT Treadmill workouts for fat loss will help you get stronger which will help your body become more efficient at burning calories for weight loss.

Beginner Fat Burning Treadmill Workout

These three workouts have a 1:3 or 1:2 work ratio. 

This means the rest interval is 2-3 times longer than the work interval.

For these ratios, I recommend practicing jumping to the side of the treadmill to rest as opposed to changing the speed. 

You will lose momentum in your workout if you have to wait for the treadmill to get back to the speed you need.

20 Minute Stamina Builder

Set your interval timer like this:

Work SetTime
Warm- up3-5 Minutes
Sprint20 Seconds
Rest (walk)1 Minute
REPEAT 15 TIMESTotal time: 24 Minutes
an image showing how to set an interval time to do a treadmill hiit workout for fat loss

24 Minute Power Workout

Set your interval timer like this:

Work SetTime
Warm- up3-5 Minutes
Sprint30 Seconds
Rest (walk)1 Minute
REPEAT 16 TIMESTotal time: 20 Minutes
an image showing how to set an interval time to do a 24 minute treadmill hiit workout for fat loss

16 Minute Burnout

Set your interval timer like this:

Work SetTime
Warm- up3-5 Minutes
Sprint40 Seconds
Rest (walk)1:20 Seconds
REPEAT 8 TIMESTotal time: 16 Minutes
an image showing how to set an interval time to do a 16 minute treadmill hiit workout for fat loss

Intermediate Fat Burning HIIT Treadmill Workouts

These two workouts have a 1:1 work ratio. This means the works set and the rest set are equal, making them a little more challenging.

Again, I recommend jumping to the sides of the treadmill at the end of the interval so you don’t lower the speed and lose momentum.

24 Minute Beast Mode

Set your interval timer like this:

Work SetTime
Warm- up3-5 Minutes
Sprint1 Minute
Rest (walk)1 Minute
REPEAT 12 TIMESTotal time: 24 Minutes
an image showing how to set an interval time to do a 24 minute treadmill hiit workout for fat loss

20 Minute All Or Nothing

This is one of my favorite protocols!

Set your time like this:

Work SetTime
Warm- up3-5 Minutes
Sprint30 Seconds
Rest (walk)30 Seconds
REPEAT 20 TIMESTotal time: 20 Minutes
an image showing how to set an interval time to do a 20 minute treadmill hiit workout for fat loss

Advanced Fat Burning HIIT Treadmill Workouts 

These three workouts have a 2:1 work to rest ratio where the work set is twice as long as the rest set.

16 Minute Don’t Quit Workout

This interval training is called “Tabata Training”.

Tabata training is a form of HIIT that lasts only four minutes but has enormous fat-burning potential.

Instructions: complete 3 rounds of the following workout with 1 minute rest in between rounds

Set your interval timer like this:

Work SetTime
Warm- up3-5 Minutes
Sprint20 Seconds
Rest (walk)10 Seconds
REPEAT 8 TIMESTotal time: 4 Minutes
an image showing how to set an interval time to do a 4 minute treadmill hiit workout for fat loss

12 Minute Mom Strong Workout

This is the same ratio as the 16 Minute Don’t Quit Workout except the intervals are twice as long.

You got this, mama! Pushing yourself will leave you feeling strong, confident and energized.

Set your interval timer like this:

Work SetTime
Warm- up3-5 Minutes
Sprint20 Seconds
Rest (walk)10 Seconds
REPEAT 8 TIMESTotal time: 4 Minutes
an image showing how to set an interval time to do a 12 minute treadmill hiit workout for fat loss

Final Thoughts on HIIT Treadmill Workouts for Fat Loss

As a busy mom, you need HIIT in your life because it doesn’t have to be time-consuming or boring and you can reach your goals faster.

The treadmill can even prove useful for an effective HIIT workout that is both challenging and enjoyable.

This article has shown you how easy it is to incorporate this type of exercise into your routine without having to spend hours at the gym nor break from your responsibilities as a mother/wife/worker.

So go ahead! Get started with these simple but highly beneficial exercises today! 

You deserve the feeling of accomplishment they provide along with incredible health benefits like increased energy levels, reduced stress, and improved sleep quality—just some of what awaits you if you give them a try.

Sources

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23846165/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24129784/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26243014/

Rated Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale. (2019). Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/17450-rated-perceived-exertion-rpe-scale