Often, our approach to a treadmill workout is simple: Just hop on and keep running until you’re out of energy. Some people like to maintain a steady jog. Others amp up the incline until their calves burn.
However, few people are actually maximizing their cardio workout as much as they could. Here are a few workout tips to get the most out of your time at the gym, even if you never change machines:
- Interval Training: One of the best ways to increase your endurance is to do interval training techniques on your treadmill. This technique means that you’ll alternate between a faster pace and a recovery pace. It’s up to you to determine whether you want to alternate sprints with a recovery speed-walk, or you prefer a small contrast between intervals, running for two minutes at a “7” (on a scale of 1-10) and then running two minutes at more of a “5.” Alternating with sprints is a great way to burn fat and ensure that you hold good form and technique.
- Increase the Incline: Want to maintain a steady pace, but still increase the power of your workout? Try this: increase the incline one point every 4 minutes. Maintain your regular speed, but work different parts of your legs as you gradually start hiking upwards. By the time you’re ready for your cool down, simply running flat will feel like a breeze.
- Alternate Strength Training: Many smart trainers maximize cardio workouts by alternating wind sprints with other machines. Instead of taking a few minutes to jog a cool-down, drop and give 20 pushups. This allows one part of your body to rest while working alternate muscles throughout your body, blasting fat and building up your endurance.
- Tempo Run: One of the biggest buzzwords in the runner world right now is tempo workouts. While it might sound sophisticated, it’s actually pretty simple. After a warm-up, you set yourself at a “comfortably hard” pace for a set amount of time. If your effort is categorized into easy, medium, or hard, you want to put yourself into a sweet spot right between medium and hard. Start with 10 minutes of an easy pace, then ramp up to 20 minutes of medium-hard. End with another 10 minutes of easy pace. As you practice this technique more and more, you can increase your time in the medium-hard zone to 30 minutes.
All of these tips can help you transform your time on the treadmill from mind-numbing cardio into a targeted workout that will help you build your speed and endurance. This can help you train for an upcoming race, as well as keep your body challenged, which increases muscle mass and burns fat.