How to Use a Treadmill to Tone Your Body

Two people running on a treadmill to tone their body

By Simon Gould

The aim and a great side effect of an exercise routine is the toning of your body. A treadmill burns the most calories out of any type of fitness equipment. It can exercise the whole body and is very efficient at what it does. It can tone your body amazingly well and is very convenient compared to running outside.

Which body parts the treadmill tones

As I’ve mentioned before the whole body gets a workout but we often want to tone specific parts. This is all very achievable with regular exercise because part of toning the body is to lose weight. This gives you more shape and burns fat. You burn a lot of calories on a treadmill which helps body toning.

Women often want to see toning of the bum, legs and thighs. The treadmill can do this as those parts of the body are directly used whether you’re walking, jogging or running. You will lose inches around your bum and thighs with a good workout routine and I have linked to some on this page a bit further down.

Men usually want their stomach and perhaps their legs toned. The stomach is probably the most popular target when it comes to a workout effectively changing our bodies. The reason exercise works is because you lose weight and you build muscle creating a firm and toned body. Next I’ll talk about how often you should exercise

How often you should workout to get results

I will go through how it takes to see results but first you need to get on the treadmill regularly. It may be like a lifestyle change for some, if you don’t exercise at all then you’ll notice that it will become a major routine. As well as toning your body, exercise has many benefits so you’ll be improving your health in a big way.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says we should do 75 to 150 minutes of exercise every week for great health benefits. One of those benefits is a perfectly toned body. That may seem like a lot but you can split it up during the days of the week. It also depends on the kind of exercise you do, whether it’s moderate or vigorous.

Moderate physical activity is brisk walking and vigorous is jogging or running. You can, however, turn brisk walking into a vigorous activity on a treadmill by using the incline. For moderate physical activity WHO says you should do 150 minutes and vigorous 75 minutes. My suggestion is 30 minutes per day 3 times per week and this fits in with their recommendations.

2 Body toning treadmill workouts

I’ll give you a walking and running routine. Both of these will be vigorous activity and will help you build up to doing 30 minutes per day. You may not be able to do that long straight away. The body will get used to doing longer and longer routines so the length of time grows as the weeks go by in my workouts.

For these workouts remember to warm up and cool down. This prepares and eases your muscles for the exercising you do. This involves just a 5 minutes brisk walk at zero incline on your treadmill. Do it before and after these workouts, you may also want to incorporate stretching as well. Although you don’t need to.

1. Walking workout

So we’re going to make this a vigorous activity and brisk walking is around 3.0 mph depending on how tall you are. If you’re small then this may be too fast for you or too slow if you’re tall. Set the incline to 3%, we need an incline in order to make this a tougher workout and burn those calories to reveal a nicely shaped body.

  • Speed: 3 mph
  • Incline: 3%
  • Week 1: Days 1, 2 and 3: 10 minutes per day
  • Week 2: Days 1, 2 and 3: 15 minutes
  • Week 3: Days 1, 2 and 3: 20 minutes
  • Week 4: Days 1, 2 and 3: 25 minutes
  • Week 5: Days 1, 2 and 3: 30 minutes
  • Calories burned every 30 minutes: 270

I have more hill walking workouts for treadmills elsewhere on this site I’ll link to here. I mention weight loss on them but they’re good for anyone who’s looking to tone their body. On one of the workouts I take it up to a 6% incline which you’ll find hard but then, that’s the idea! They’re a popular part of the site, so hopefully you’ll like them too:

2. Jogging workout

Speed really isn’t important when you’re working out to tone your body. You don’t burn many more calories and you’re likely to get injuries if you go too fast. So slow and steady wins the race and the speed I recommend is jogging. You’ll find it hard so there are more weeks to build up to 30 minutes. Repeat a week if you find one hard.

  • Speed: 5.2 mph
  • Incline: zero/flat
  • Week 1: Days 1, 2 and 3: 5 minutes per day
  • Week 2: Days 1, 2 and 3: 10 minutes
  • Week 3: Days 1, 2 and 3: 15 minutes
  • Week 4: Days 1, 2 and 3: 20 minutes
  • Week 5: Days 1, 2 and 3: 25 minutes
  • Week 6: Days 1, 2 and 3: 30 minutes
  • Calories burned every 30 minutes: 390

Jogging or running on an incline isn’t advised. It’s not natural to run uphill for 30 minutes and can cause injuries. Like walking above I have some jogging and running workouts. I’ll link to them here to give you some variety. My couch to 5k is very similar to the one above but involves more walking and a longer build up. That page is popular too:

Weight loss is the secret to toning your body

The aim of toning the body is to get the legs, thighs, butt, stomach and more to have a nice shape. The secret of doing that is to have less body fat around those parts. That’s why I mention how many calories you burn when you do my treadmill workouts above. Losing weight will burn fat and reveal the true shape of the body we all strive for.

Exercise isn’t the only aspect of losing weight, your diet is as well. Diet can be just as important. If you over eat then the exercise you do may not have an effect on what you’re trying to achieve. Eat 3 meals a day and 2 snacks and keep those portion sizes sensible. Exercise may make you feel hungry but try and resist eating more than necessary.

How long it takes to see results

You don’t often hear over weight people say they want their body toned but it’s an indication of how long it will take. The heavier you are to begin with the longer it will take to get a nice shape. Heavy people will start losing weight in a week or two. The more you weigh the more weight you’ll lose at the beginning because you’re burning more calories.

For those who don’t have much weight to lose and just want a more pert bum or less flabby and better shaped thighs will start seeing results in a few weeks. It really doesn’t take long and that’s because the body adapts quickly when we put it under stress and that’s what exercise does. Anywhere on your body you have excess weight will get more shapely, quicker.

When you’ve reached an ideal weight and a toned body your happy with, then keep exercising. This way your pleasing new shape will stay with you. It may have taken weeks to get the results you wanted so it would be a shame to let it all go to waste. You’ve changed your routine already so maintain it to keep those benefits you’re seeing and feeling.

Consider resistance exercises as well

If you really want to get the body you desire you may want to try resistance exercises like stomach crunches and squats. The World Health Organization advise doing 2 resistance days a week and not just cardio. You don’t need all the equipment like weights, barbells and dumbbells. You can get these exercises using what you find in the home and they don’t take too long.

So for squats you could find something heavy to hold and stand with your legs shoulder width apart, then bend them. Do this 10 times which is 10 repetitions. Have a rest for a few minutes and then do it again, this means you will have done 2 sets. For stomach crunches do 10 to 15 then rest and do it again. Do these for shoulder presses and bench presses as well and that will be enough.

Squats workout the glutes which are your bum muscles as well as the front and back of the legs. These are great for getting an aesthetic shape for the lower body. You can find machines that help you do these exercises in a gym if you have the time, money and inclination. However, for toning you will see the best results from using a treadmill.


A treadmill tones the body very well but you need to put the effort in. If you’re willing to spend time and energy exercising you’ll see tremendous results. If you have a treadmill already then there’s no excuse. If you’re considering buying one then they represent a great investment. They really do have a positive impact on your body and mind.

Everyone in the household can use a treadmill and while you maybe be running to tone, others in your family can get all kinds of benefits. Exercise is recommended by governments and organizations all over the world. This is what you’ll be doing and you’ll also see great changes to your body. If you want to tone yourself then a treadmill is the way to do it.

Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked.

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