A treadmill workout guide: It's all about the gains
People often joke that running on the treadmill is an apt metaphor for their life, because even though they’re expending an insane amount of energy, they are actually going nowhere!
People often joke that running on the treadmill is an apt metaphor for their life, because even though they’re expending an insane amount of energy, they are actually going nowhere! Here’s the thing though. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you might find that all that running at the gym will actually make little difference to your body.
First off, you need to remember that everyone has different body compositions and metabolisms and workout aims that go with them. So when you’re sweating your ass off on the treadmill, don’t sell yourself short. Tailor your workout to suit your fitness goals.
1. To burn more calories
Go the HIIT way
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has proven fat incinerating benefits. While running at a constant pace is great if you’re training for a marathon, if it’s calories that you’re trying to shed you need to increase the intensity of your workout by including bursts of running at very high speeds.
Professional trainers argue that HIIT workouts cause your heart rate to race up and down, so your body never adjusts to the workout and therefore burns more calories than you would at a constant pace. It is generally recommended that you stick to the 10-20-30 formula; where each minute consists of 30 seconds of jogging, 20 seconds of moderate paced running and 10 seconds of burst sprinting.
Going from 0 to 100
During the course of your workout, increase the pace gradually. It’s true that running faster burns more calories, but if you don’t check yourself you will wreck yourself. So take it easy. Start with a brisk walk, which slowly becomes a jog, and keep upping the speed till you hit at least about 10 to 12 kilometres per hour.
Don’t stop till you drop
Get your iPod and your workout playlist ready, because you’re going to be at it for a while. On the days you’re not doing interval training, do a long run at a steady speed. If you run at 9 kilometres per hour for half an hour, you burn about 270 calories. 45 minutes makes it 405 calories. And if you go on for the whole hour you burn a whopping 540 calories.
2. To strengthen your muscles
Raise the bar
Well, not literally. But you should increase the incline if you want to target your thighs, calves, and glutes. As you pump up the incline you will become aware of a little extra power in your lower body. Walking or running uphill also reduces your risk of developing shin splints.
Stretch it to the max
If you’re at the gym, you’re probably doing lunges on legs day anyway. Go ahead and take it one step further. When you’re on the treadmill reduce the speed, take wider steps, and do walking lunges to get those toned muscles.
Do the balancing act
The only time adding weight can help you subtract calories is if you are doing weighted exercises. So grab a medicine ball and hold it against your chest as you run. Having your hands around the ball means that they are not on the handles and you are forced to balance without holding on. This puts more stress on your leg muscles do the brunt work and also helps fortify your core.
3. To Increase your speed
Be faster on your feet
The next time you’re on the treadmill count the number of steps you take in 10 seconds. Then multiply that by 6 to get your stride frequency (or steps per minute). Most runners have a stride frequency that ranges between 150 and 160. Although the optimal stride rate, as determined by physical therapists, is said to be 180. There’s no easy way to up your stride rate except by making your feet move faster until you get used to it. One way to go about it is to pick a song that has about 180 beats a minute and try to match your footwork to the rhythm.
Practise negative splits
This method of training involves dividing your running time into two halves. During the first half of the run, conserve your energy and allow your muscles to warm up. This will help you transition seamlessly into the second half of your run where you can increase your speed high enough that you end up with an overall faster time than you would have otherwise.
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