For those who don't know, HIIT is style of workout that alternates between periods of all out maximum intensity (High Intensity) and periods of rest (Interval). HIIT is the preferred method that health and fitness professionals use to achieve low levels of body fat.
HIIT has been around for a while, so you're probably aware of it, or maybe have even tried it a few times (or many times!). However, many people are not doing HIIT correctly and as a result, are not seeing the amazing benefits that it can bring.
During the high intensity period, you need to be working at 85-95% of your maximum heart rate in order to maximise fat loss.
Now you might be saying "Ok but how do I know what 85-95% of my maximum heart rate is? How hard do I have to push myself to hit that target?"
An easy way to tell if you're at the right level of intensity is this:
"If you're breathing so hard to get air into your body that you can't keep a comfortable conversation with someone, then you're at the right intensity."
As with all workouts and exercise sessions, it's incredibly important to do a proper warm up before you start putting demand on your body. An easy and effective warm up could be the following:
Leg swings, hamstring and quad stretches
Walk on the treadmill for two minutes
Jog for one minute
Run for one minute
Jog for one minute
Walk for one minute
For your treadmill at loss workout to be the most effective, you want to choose an appropriate incline and speed level that will allow you to achieve this level of intensity and stay there.
This will vary for everyone, there is no one size fits all however, I've provided a guideline for you to follow:
Beginner/Sedentary Treadmill HIIT Workout
If you're just starting out on your weight loss journey or are not used to periods of intensive exercise then you should start with the following:
Work Interval: 30 seconds running (sprint if you can)
Rest Interval: 60-90 seconds walking
Repeat for five cycles.
Remember, you want to choose a treadmill speed that is more of a jog than a sprint. For example, a good treadmill speed and incline for your Work Intervals might be:
Speed: 10.5 kmh or 6.5 mph
Incline: Level 0 - 2
Now if you're not used to this type of exercise, don't worry, ease yourself into it and build yourself up as your body adapts. If you need to start at a jog for your Work Intervals, that's perfectly fine; let your body get used to the movements and then step it up a notch and go again.
Intermediate/Advanced Treadmill HIIT Workout
If you're used to doing exercise but looking to slim down and lower the body fat quickly, then I recommend you start with the following:
Work Interval: 30 seconds sprinting
Rest Interval: 45 seconds walking
Repeat for seven or more cycles
Again, you need to choose a treadmill speed and incline that will put you at an all out sprint, or close to it. For example, you might use the following set up:
Speed: 19 kmh or 12 mph
Incline: Level 5
Don't forget that everybody is different and these settings are going to be different for everyone too! The key is to choose settings that make you work your hardest during the workout.
Expert Tip #1
Want to know the best way to transition to your Rest Interval?
The most effective way to transition between your Workout Interval and your Rest Interval is to lift yourself off the running surface by grabbing the side handles of the treadmill and placing your feet on the side steps of the treadmill deck.
Now you can safely lower the speed down to walk pace for your Rest Interval.
You can, of course, just lower the speed on the treadmill while you run, but this can be difficult and dangerous at high speeds when you have to hold the speed button down while running at full speed. Personally I prefer stepping onto the side steps and then bringing the speed down safely.
Expert Tip #2
Don't cheat yourself as the treadmill speeds up!
When you transition from Rest Interval back up to Work Interval, it can take the treadmill some time for it to bring the pace up to full speed. It's important that you start the 30 second countdown timer for your Work Interval only when you have hit your maximum speed.
If you start while the machine is still speeding up, you'll be cheating yourself and you won't see the results you've been working hard to achieve.
Expert Tip #3
Keeping proper form will help conserve energy!
Another thing to keep in mind, particularly when you start sprinting at faster speeds is to try and use proper form at all times. This is easier said than done, particularly when you've done a few cycles, but here are a few points to be aware of:
Stay on the balls of your feet at all times
As your arm moves back, bring your elbows back close to 90 degrees
Lift your knees up as you extend your leg forward
These tips will help you conserve energy and run more efficiently.
The wrap up
So as you can see, there's really no magical hidden trick to achieving maximum weight loss by using a treadmill.
As mentioned in our Ultimate Guide To HIIT For Fat Loss, the most important thing is for you to hit that target heart rate range of 85-95%. Once you have that, it's just a matter of following the routine I outlined above.
This workout is simple, effective and can be completed in under 20 minutes using just a treadmill.
Add it into your daily routine, either at the gym by adding it to your workout, or if you have a treadmill at home, make this the first task of every day before your standard morning routine.
I hope to see you reach your fitness goals soon, and if you find this article helpful, let me know, I'd love to hear from you!
In this ultimate guide, we cover absolutely everything you should, could or will ever want to know about HIIT, why and how its so effective, plus proven workouts that you can use to achieve incredible weight loss and fat burning results.