How To Lose Weight On A Treadmill
By Simon Gould
Losing weight is probably one of the main reasons people take up running. With all the exercise you could do to lose weight running will burn the most calories and burning calories is how you lose weight. You can even run at quite a slow pace for a length of time and you will lose weight if you eat a sensible diet.
There are many calorie burn calculators where you enter your weight and the time spent running and at what speed. You're told how many calories you've burned. But is this the full story. You definitely burn the calories while running, we can all feel that. But does it stop there?
How many calories you burn while walking/running
So this is the "burning" question since that is the way to lose weight. The calculators on the internet are very helpful. We recommend only the ones that use your weight as well as this is what dictates how much weight you'll lose. You can run so far and at a certain speed but your weight can make a big difference to how many calories you've burned.
The best calorie burned calculator is one by Runner's World. You can use this calorie burn calculator even if you've been walking. It doesn't take account of the speed, just the time the exercise took. This gives you an accurate number of calories burned so you can keep an eye on your progress.
Here are some plans to help you lose weight while by a treadmill. See the accompanying text for any instructions before trying them out. We've catered for beginners who may be overweight with a walk plan. Plus if you have some running experience and have more weight to lose we have a running plan as well:
You burn calories even when you're not exercising
This is obvious. Of course you burn calories just to keep you alive. Even lying down your brain and body burns calories. However, after you've walked or run, the rate at which you burn calories increases for 24 hours. This burning of calories after exercise is commonly known as afterburn.
A scientific look at all the research completed regarding this afterburn phenomenon confirms that calorie burn after exercise can add up over time. And that this may contribute to long term weight management (source below). So this is good news for all of us who exercise out there. It's kind of what we already knew, we seem to lose more weight than just the calorie burn from our exercise would indicate.
You need to burn 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound of weight?
Many articles on running for weight loss will sight this as true. They say that if you burn 3,500 calories in one week you will lose 1 pound of weight if you eat the same amount that maintained your weight. We disagree with this whole heatedly for many reasons. One is the above mentioned afterburn.
To burn 3,500 calories an average sized male would have to run 40 minutes at jogging pace 5 times in that week. I have the proportions of that male and my progress disagrees with that statement. I'm losing more weight than a pound a week and running less than 40 minutes 5 times a week.
The science is probably true that 3,500 is equal to a pound of weight but anyone who exercises can see that in real life something doesn't add up. If you're eating the same amount but running for 40 minutes every day you will lose far more weight than a pound a week. If you do run that far you would need to up your calorie intake to help ease some of the calorie deficit you're experiencing.
If you're determined to lose weight and are willing to put in the effort. Then some strength training will round of your cardio work. Some strength training is very good to help prevent injuries arising from the cardio walk/run. It will help increase your metabolism so calorie burning happens when you're not exercising as explained above.
It doesn't need to be done like a body builder. You're not really trying to make yourself have ripped muscles but to get toned. Women don't need to worry, strength training will not give you big muscles like men as you don't produce enough testosterone for that. We have written about strength training for weight loss as part of our treadmill running plan for weight loss and is half way down the page.
Don't worry about calorie counting if you're exercising to lose weight. As long as you're not gorging yourself on food in between workouts your weight will fall. Walk/run slowly on a treadmill for a significant amount of time. As long as you're doing the exercise you will succeed. The amount of calories you burn does have an impact but don't stress about it.
If you must concentrate on a measurement as part of your weight loss then count the inches lost around the waist. This will decrease if you include strength training as part of your weight loss program. Muscle is very dense and weighs more than fat so even if the scales sometimes don't change too much, the inches around your waist will. You lose more weight by exercising than just dieting (source below).
Losing weight is a big commitment and that's why some people don't succeed or their weight goes down and then up. We recommend after you're down to your desired weight that you keep an exercise program going. You don't need to workout as hard as before but for the health benefits of exercising in themselves, carry on some running and you will improve every aspect of your health.
Source: C A Vella & Len Kravitz. coopersguns.com/files/research/epoc/exercise-afterburn_1104.pdf. Coopersguns.com.
Source: Robert Ross, Damon Dagnone, Peter J.H. Jones, Heidi Smith, Anne Paddags, Robert Hudson & Ian Janssen. annals.org/aim/article/713672/reduction-obesity-related-comorbid-conditions-after-diet-induced-weight-loss. Annals of Internal Medicine, July 2000.
Also see the following useful pages:
Meet The Author
I'm Simon Gould. I've been around treadmills my whole life. From running on them at an early age to working in treadmill dept's of national stores. I've run outside and I've run on treadmills and I prefer running on treadmills. I still run on one nearly every day and love it.
1 Couch to 5k on a treadmill
2 Can I train for a race on a treadmill?
3 How to lose weight on a treadmill
4 How to make a treadmill run more fun
5 Anxiety about using a treadmill?