Best Treadmill Workout to Burn Fat Fast

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Last updated on February 12, 2023

Walk into any gym and the first thing you are likely to see is a bank of treadmills. More than likely they’ll be filled with people performing slow steady state cardio. Come back 3 months later and those same people will be doing the same type of exercise – and looking exactly the same as they do now! That should be enough to tell you that slow steady state exercise is not the way to go to achieve fast fat burn. Read on to discover what is.

The Best Type of Treadmill Workout for Calorie Burning

Weight loss basically comes down to burning off more daily calories than you take into your body in the form of food. So, when it comes to burning fat, you need to be doing the exercises that produce the highest rate of calorie burning. Over the last few years, research has shown conclusively that the #1 way to burn fat and lose weight faster is interval training.


This involves performing repeat rounds of fast intervals interspersed with very short recovery periods. It sounds intense and it is, but it is also extremely effective. That’s because it has two aspects to its calorie burning power.


First, interval workout training burns a large number of calories while you are actually doing the exercise. Then, after your workout is over, it keeps right on burning extra calories. The high energy demand of the workout results in the EPOC effect. This means excess post exercise oxygen consumption. In the hours after the interval session, your body takes in more oxygen. In order to meet the demands of this extra oxygen, the body has to use more energy. As a result, the metabolism rises and you are burning more calories.


The EPOC effect is believed to elevate the metabolism for up to 48 hours. That means that you will still be burning calories from your interval training workout the next day!

Applying Interval Training (IT) to the Treadmill

It has become so established in the fitness community that most treadmills will have IT workout programs built into their console. These fat burning treadmill workouts are good because they provide you with a fast /slow repeat challenge that will get you burning some serious calories.


If you really want to ramp up your fat loss, however, we recommend ditching the built-in Interval Training on your treadmill’s monitor and going with the original and still the best form of high intensity interval training – Tabata!


The Tabata HIIT Treadmill Workout


You’ve probably heard of HIIT workouts. They are easily the most intense – and the most effective – form of interval training that exists. Tabata HIIT was invented in the mid 1990s by a coach of the Japanese Speed Skating team named Dr. Izuni Tabata. Dr. Tabata had his athletes exercising on a stationary bicycle in order to burn fat and build muscle, while also improving their heart rate.


The athletes were made to sprint as hard as they could for 20 seconds, followed by a 10 second recovery. They repeated for 8 intervals. Dr. Tabata was very strict on making sure that the athletes stuck to the times of exactly 20 and 10 seconds.


Each round of Tabata lasts for 4 minutes (8 x 20 + 10 seconds). A workout will involve up to 5 rounds for a total of 20 minutes of exercise. This is very intense stuff so you should give yourself up to 2 minutes to recover between each round.


Even though Tabata training was originally done on a stationary bicycle, it works well with many other types of cardio exercise. It is especially well suited for treadmill weight loss workouts.


Here is how to do the Tabata HIIT workout on a treadmill . . .


  • Start with a two minute warmup, beginning with a brisk walk pace.
  • When the time hits 1:30 start building up your speed until you are sprinting at full capacity when it ticks over to 2 minutes.
  • Now sprint as hard as you – imagine that you are being chased by a very large and very hungry dog!
  • At exactly 2:20 throw your legs out to the sides of the treadmill running mat and give yourself precisely 10 seconds of rest.
  • Repeat for seven more intervals.
  • Rest for exactly two minutes and then repeat for another 8 intervals.
  • Continue until you have completed your goal number of rounds.


This High Intensity Interval Training Tabata protocol is one of the most intense interval workouts you will ever come across. But, if you are serious about weight loss, it is the absolute best thing you can do. After your first 4 minute round, you will be totally exhausted, so you will have to gauge the amount of times you do the rounds on how you feel. You may start with just one round and then build an extra round week by week.


You do not have to do this high intensity interval training Tabata workout every day to lose weight effectively. Because each HIIT workout will raise your metabolism for the next 48 hours, we suggest doing it every second day. Performing your HIIT sprint workout first thing in the morning on an empty stomach is also a good idea. That is when your body will be depleted of glycogen, requiring it to draw directly on stored body fat to meet your energy needs.

Extra Benefits

As well as producing a huge amount of fat burn, the HIIT Tabata treadmill workout will also get you working at your maximum heart rate. The intensity of the sprint workout will also help to develop the muscles of your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves.

Wrap Up

The HIIT Tabata treadmill workout is the best bang for your buck if your goal is to do workouts for weight loss. On your off days, you can get back on the treadmill but do a light walking workout, building to a brisk walk over 20 minutes. Don’t forget to warm up and cool down so that you stay safe while you’re stripping off the body fat!


There are many diet plans out there you can follow to ensure you are eating the right food to get faster results and, to maintain healthy living in all aspects of your life, make sure your meal plan gives you the required nutrients. You can also use a BMI calculator to monitor progress.

Steve Theunissen has qualified from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and is a certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. He has over 30 years experience in fitness and nutrition and currently working with famous fitness professionals. He is currently living in New Zealand with is wife and daughter.

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