We get it. Some days you just don’t want to deal with the Northwest drizzle. But just because it’s cold, wet or dark outside doesn’t mean you have to stop getting your regular run or walk in. Working out on the treadmill can be just as fun and rewarding as a jog around the block. However, it helps to have a solid plan of attack before you hop on and hit start.
“Gone are the days of craning your neck at the gym to watch the local news while you move at a slow, steady pace,” says trainer Melissa Sher. “In order to make the treadmill work for you — and beat the conveyer belt blues — you’re going to have to work for it.”
She should know: Sher and trainer Kimberly Alexander co-own Portland Outdoor Indoor Nutrition and Training (POINT) in southeast PDX. Here are their tips for making the most of your treadmill workout.
1. Constantly change what you’re doing.
You’ll burn more calories and maintain your focus if you play with the treadmill buttons throughout your workout.
“Go uphill, run faster, jog slowly, make it flat,” notes Alexander. “You should never do the same thing on the treadmill for more than a few minutes at a time.”
2. Set the incline to at least level 1.
If you’re used to running outside, this will simulate that on-road experience better than running at a zero incline, which is actually more like running on a slight downhill.
3. Tune out the TV.
“You’re more likely to run slower when you’re watching a show. Instead, listen to music to keep you motivated while you run,” says Alexander.
Create a super upbeat playlist with some of your favorite songs — both fast and slow, so you can match your pace to the various beats. Or sync your workouts up to the Pace DJ app ahead of time, and they’ll create a personalized playlist for you, with the songs perfectly timed (and paced) to match your intervals.
4. Make it an uphill battle.
“Running uphill is both incredibly beneficial and incredibly hard,” says Sher.
A good incline helps strengthen your glute muscles. In fact, uphill workouts are so demanding that even walking slowly at a 16 percent incline burns more calories from fat than jogging on flat terrain!
Want to work inclines into your treadmill workout? Sher recommends this pattern:
“Run really fast at a super steep incline for 15 to 20 seconds, then recover at a lower (or flat) incline for 2 or 3 minutes. Do 5 to 10 reps, and then cool down at a moderate pace on a medium incline for a few minutes.”
5. Don’t be afraid to walk.
Run/walk intervals are an efficient way for you to burn a lot of calories and stay mentally stimulated.
“Give yourself permission to mix running and walking uphill. It utilizes different muscle groups and keeps you moving, with your heart rate elevated, rather than quitting,” says Sher.
6. Keep it short and sweet.
“Packing a more powerful punch (with intervals, incline and speed adjustments, etc.) into a shorter amount of time will boost your burn and decrease your boredom,” says Alexander.
“Save your longer, steady-pace runs for outside, where the scenery changes regularly and you can pick a loop that forces you to keep going until you get home.”
Do you have any tried-and-tested tips for how to stay motivated on the treadmill? Share them with us by leaving a comment below!