8 Treadmill Workouts for Beginners and Weight Loss




Here’s a fun fact: The origins of the treadmill can be traced back as far as the 1st century A.D. While you may think of it as more of a modern invention, treadmills have stood the test of time.

And if you’re just beginning to get into training your body, have some extra weight to lose, or you just want to get your cardio up, then treadmills are not too shabby of a place to start.

While there might be some stigmas regarding pounding the pseudo-pavement (not easy on the joints, less overall agility, boredom), they’re actually quite nice if you have a specific fitness goal.

Treadmill Workouts for Beginners And Weight Loss

Treadmills can help you create a workout habit, add to your calories burned, and even get you prepared for a race.

In short, treadmills could be the missing link to getting yourself into peak physical condition.

In this article, we’re going to give you eight different treadmill workouts that fit your needs.

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We’re also going to let you in on how to set up for a treadmill workout, the benefits of doing so, and answer some burning questions regarding treadmill workouts.

Let’s get to steppin’!

Setting Up For A Treadmill Workout

Treadmill set up

The great thing is, setting up a treadmill workout is a cinch. All you need is a treadmill and the wherewithal to adjust your speed and incline on the fly. (And maybe a towel and a water bottle.)

If you don’t have your own treadmill, consider purchasing one or getting a gym membership. Almost every gym has rows upon rows of treadmills, all of them usually run-of-the-mill (pun intended).

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However, they should have the capacity to alter the speed and incline manually, which is all you need.

Treadmill Workouts For Beginners

treadmill beginner

Beginner Treadmill Walking Workout

To kick things off, let us showcase you a simple walking workout you can do anytime, especially as a beginner:

  • Warm-up: 5 minutes of 70% of your working speed (roughly 2-2.8 mph)
  • Workout: A fast-paced, steady-state walk for as long as possible (ideally 3-4 mph)
  • Cooldown: 5 minutes of 50% of your working speed (1.5-2 mph)

Including the warm-up and cooldown, the workout can go from 20 minutes to an indeterminate amount of time. If you want to progressively overload your system, start with 20 minutes and build up more and more until a 90-minute walking workout is a piece of cake. Then move on…

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HIIT Treadmill Workout for Beginners

Implementing intervals into a treadmill workout is incredible for increasing calories burned, the afterburn effect, and improving your VO2 max (a.k.a. your cardiovascular ability).

Here’s an epic HIIT treadmill workout to get you breathless and burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time:

  • Walk at 2.8 mph for 60 seconds
  • Run at 5.6 mph for 30 seconds
  • Walk at 2.8 mph for 60 seconds
  • Run at 5.6 mph for 45 seconds
  • Walk at 2.8 mph for 60 seconds
  • Run at 5.6 mph for 60 seconds

Repeat this three times, then end with a 75-second cooldown walk for a complete workout of 17 minutes. The mph can be altered, of course, based on your current ability.

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The ramp up from 30 seconds to 60 seconds of running should be nice for beginners to get into the running groove without exhausting them at the start of the workout.

15-Minute Treadmill Workout for Beginners

beginner treadmill

Don’t have a ton of time? No problem. You can still get a solid treadmill workout in as little as 15 minutes.

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Here’s how:

  • Minute 1: 2.8 mph
  • Minute 2: 3.2 mph
  • Minute 3: 3.6 mph
  • Minute 4: 4.0 mph
  • Minute 5: 4.4 mph
  • Minute 6: 4.8 mph
  • Minute 7: 5.2 mph
  • Minute 8: 5.6 mph
  • Minute 9: 5.2 mph
  • Minute 10: 4.8 mph
  • Minute 11: 4.4 mph
  • Minute 12: 4.0 mph
  • Minute 13: 3.6 mph
  • Minute 14: 3.2 mph
  • Minute 15: 2.8 mph

This pyramid-style workout gradually ramps up and ramps down the speed. As always, alter the starting speed based on where you’re at in your progress, but keep the interval changes at 0.4 mph per minute.

20-Minute Treadmill Workout for Beginners


So far, we haven’t even touched the incline button. But in this 20-minute treadmill workout, we’re going to go up and down and all around.

Say you have a few more minutes to get in some incline work. Then this workout is perfect for you!

Here it is:

  • Incline Setting 1 for two minutes at a brisk run
  • Incline Setting 2 for two minutes at the same pace
  • Incline Setting 3 for two minutes at the same pace
  • Incline Setting 4 for two minutes at the same pace
  • Incline Setting 5 for two minutes at the same pace
  • Incline Setting 5 for two minutes at the same pace + 1 mph
  • Incline Setting 5 for two minutes at the same pace + 1 mph
  • Incline Setting 4 for two minutes at the new pace
  • Incline Setting 3 for two minutes at the new pace
  • Incline Setting 2 for two minutes at original pace

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Trust us, this workout is tough. You continue to increase the incline for the first ten minutes.

Then you up the ante by increasing your running pace; for example, you can start at 5 mph, then go to 6 mph in minutes 10 to 12, then 7 mph in minutes 12-14.

Keep up that new pace of 7 mph for the next four minutes until the last two minutes, where you go back to 5 mph at incline setting 2, a sort of cool down.

30-Minute Beginner Treadmill Workout


Perhaps you have some time to get into a solid treadmill training session. If so, try out this 30-minute workout, designed to be good for beginners while helping you get your sweat on.

The full workout includes:

  • Warm-up: Three minutes of a brisk walk on Incline Setting 1 (3-3.5 mph)
  • Set One: Eight minutes of running on Incline Setting 3 (5-6 mph)
  • Set Two: Eight minutes of running on Incline Setting 4 (6-6.5 mph)
  • Set Three: Eight minutes of running on Incline Setting 5 (6.5-7 mph)
  • Cooldown: Three minutes of a brisk walk on Incline Setting 1 (3-3.5 mph)

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This is a continuous increase in both incline and speed. If the eight minutes of 6.5-7 mph on incline setting 5 is too much, consider doing intervals between Set Two and Set Three for the full eight minutes (i.e., one minute at Set Two, one minute at Set Three, repeat).

Treadmill Workout for Overweight Beginners

treadmill to lose weight

If you have a fair bit of weight to lose, fear not. The treadmill is still your friend. In fact, it might just be your saving grace. There is a way to utilize the treadmill to begin your fitness journey, no matter how far you have to go.

Try this workout…out:

  • Walk for five minutes at Incline Setting 2 (2.5-3 mph)
  • Walk for five minutes at Incline Setting 4 (2.5-3 mph)
  • Walk for five minutes at Incline Setting 2 (2.8-3.3 mph)
  • Walk for five minutes at Incline Setting 4 (2.8-3.3 mph)
  • Walk for five minutes at Incline Setting 2 (3.0-3.5 mph)
  • Walk for five minutes at Incline Setting 4 (3.0-3.5 mph)

Every little bit counts, and this workout is definitely worth it. You continue to increase the speed while fluctuating between different incline settings.

Start at the 2.5-3 mph range, but continue to add at the beginning of the workout throughout the weeks.

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If you can get up to a 4.5-5 mph overall range in this workout, you’ll see some drastic body composition alterations.

Treadmill Workouts for Weight Loss

weight loss

HIIT Treadmill Workout for Weight Loss

If you’re looking for some weight loss, there’s nothing better time-wise than HIIT workouts.

As a single piece of equipment, the treadmill is terrific for HIIT training.

Here’s a great HIIT treadmill workout for lowering body fat percentage:

  • Warm-up: Walk three minutes on Incline Setting 3 (2.8-3.2 mph)
  • Run for 60 seconds on Incline Setting 5 (4.5-5.0 mph)
  • Run for 60 seconds on Incline Setting 5 (5.5-6.0 mph)
  • Run for 60 seconds on Incline Setting 5 (4.5-5.0 mph)
  • Run for 60 seconds on Incline Setting 5 (6-6.5 mph)
  • Run for 60 seconds on Incline Setting 5 (4.5-5 mph)
  • Run for 60 seconds on Incline Setting 5 (6.5-7.0 mph)
  • Run for 60 seconds on Incline Setting 5 (4.5-5.0 mph)
  • Run for 60 seconds on Incline Setting 5 (5.5-6.0 mph)
  • Run for 60 seconds on Incline Setting 5 (4.5-5.0 mph)
  • Run for 60 seconds on Incline Setting 5 (6-6.5 mph)
  • Run for 60 seconds on Incline Setting 5 (4.5-5.0 mph)
  • Run for 60 seconds on Incline Setting 5 (6.5-7.0 mph)
  • Cooldown: Walk three minutes on Incline Setting 3 (2.8-3.2 mph)

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You essentially repeat the same set of six minutes twice. The entire workout takes 18 minutes, but you’re running for ⅔ of it.

That means you’re working a lot. The lower interval is still a run, so you aren’t really getting a rest. This isn’t for the faint of heart, so work up to this. But once you do, you’ll feel–and see–the difference.

30-Minute Treadmill Workout for Weight Loss

treadmill workout

For more of a steady-state weight loss workout on the treadmill, consider trying this:

  • Warm-up: Walk for three minutes at Incline Setting 3 (3.0-3.3 mph)
  • Set One: Run for six minutes at Incline Setting 5 (5.5-6.0 mph)
  • Set Two: Run for six minutes at Incline Setting 4 (6.0-6.5 mph)
  • Set Three: Run for six minutes at Incline Setting 5 (6.5-7.0 mph)
  • Set Four: Run for six minutes at Incline Setting 6 (7.0-7.5 mph)
  • Cooldown: Walk for three minutes at Incline Setting 4 (3.0-3.3 mph)

This is a hardcore workout. It’s relentless for 24 straight minutes, so good luck with this one. Notice the slight dip in incline on Set Two, but after that it’s just a continuous uphill climb and uptick in pace. You’ll burn some serious calories with this 30-minute treadmill workout.

Treadmill Workout Benefits

treadmill workout benefits

Even though it’s an uninspiring piece of equipment, treadmills can give you excellent workouts. Here are some of the wonderful benefits of using a treadmill workout:

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  • You need one machine for the entire workout: Just the treadmill. You don’t need anything else. How much simpler can your workout get? Plus, if you work out at home, you only need to purchase one thing (and not doing your workout just got a hell of a lot harder).
  • It’s a controlled environment: You are in complete command of your workout when on a treadmill. At least…we hope so. With an entire control panel at your fingertips while you’re in motion, you can change your speed and your incline, making it perfect for interval workouts. Also, this gives you more control than if you were to walk/run out at a local park. On top of that, the screen in front of you will give you all the data you could ever ask for, giving you the info needed to crush a workout.
  • You can get a workout in with little time investment: Get to the treadmill, walk and/or run on the treadmill, done. Treadmill workouts require minimal set-up, zero movements between machines, and a structured timeline. This pairs nicely with the next advantage.
  • It’s relatively inexpensive: We say “relatively” here because a treadmill is still a purchase. However, getting a treadmill (even if it’s used) or a cheap gym membership is better than building a complete home gym or going to a boutique training establishment. The treadmill is fundamental; therefore, it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
  • You can adhere to a workout schedule: Sustainability is key to developing an exercise habit. Luckily, treadmill workouts are simple to execute and works you hard enough to get those feel-good hormones flowing. This keeps you coming back for more. And the more you build on a treadmill workout, the easier it is to adhere to a solid schedule of burning calories and getting healthier.
  • You can use progressive overload: A vital tenant to losing body fat and building muscle, you should challenge your muscles and cardiovascular system by continuously pushing yourself. This means you may do a treadmill workout at 3.2 mph for one workout, then you increase it to 3.4 on the next workout day. By progressing over time, your body will acclimate to the heightened workload, giving you a body built to endure said workload. Say hello to a kickass physique with progressive overload.
  • You can lose body fat (with proper diet): What may be the biggest benefit for most people, you’d work out on a treadmill to burn calories to lower your body fat percentage. Or, at the very least, reduce the number on the scale. If you’re able to sustain a treadmill workout schedule–as well as eat correctly (caloric deficit, mostly whole foods, avoiding eating too many times in a 24-hour period)–you can and will lose weight. This will give you a great-looking physique and help you feel like a million bucks!

As you can see, there are many terrific advantages to starting a treadmill workout (and continuing to do so).

Treadmill Workout FAQ

training treadmill

How long should a beginner run on a treadmill?

Up to you. Every beginner still comes from a different place than the next beginner.

That said, you are the one to gauge how much you can handle. Running on a treadmill can be awkward at the start; getting acclimated to running on a belt could take some time.

Therefore, we suggest going with the walking workout to determine your balance and comfort-ability on a treadmill. Once you’ve literally got your footing, move on to other workouts.

What’s a good speed for a beginner on a treadmill?

If you can get to 3 mph or above on a walking workout, that would be terrific. As for running, if you could reach 5 mph or higher as a beginner, you’re in a good spot.

This will give you room for improvement while already jacking your heart rate up.

Five miles per hour means you can get a mile in 12 minutes, which, for someone who’s just starting out, isn’t anything to be ashamed of. Everyone needs a starting point; you can go from a 12-minute mile to an 8-minute mile in no time at all!

How can a beginner lose weight on a treadmill?

Well, refer to the workouts above!

treadmill buying guide

This is only a piece of the puzzle, though. You see, treadmill workouts are great at burning excess calories to help you reach a caloric deficit.

You know what also helps with a caloric deficit? Eating less! By eating less than you normally do AND exercise on the treadmill, you’ll definitely see some changes in your body composition…pretty quickly, actually (if you’re untrained).

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How long should you run on a treadmill to lose belly fat?

This is an awesome question because the answer is: Any amount of time! You could do a five minute Tabata workout and be soaking wet and out of breath.

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Alternatively, you could do a low-impact walking workout for an hour or longer and get the same caloric expenditure. That’s what it comes down to: How many calories are you burning in your workout, and how does that work with your overall caloric expenditure vs. caloric intake?

Treadmill workouts are basically a tool to help with keeping your calories down, creating fat loss. (Also, you can’t lose fat in any one specific area; your body will lose fat as it sees fit. For a lot of people, that means body fat is the last to go. Accept it.)

Do treadmill workouts really work?

Any workout can work, but it has to be sustainable and get your heart rate up to a working level. Adherence is the key to establishing a training habit.

Once that’s figured out, it’s all a matter of keeping it up and getting yourself breathing hard and your muscles sore. If you can do that, along with maintaining your nutrition protocol, you should see your body alter into an athletic beast over time.


At this point, you probably have a treadmill workout you’re finna try out. If so, great–go for it! The only way you can do the workout is by doing the workout. (That’s some solid wisdom, right there.)

Whether you’re a beginner, looking to lose weight, or just want to improve your cardio, there’s a treadmill workout for everybody.

Pick one that speaks to you and then it’s simply a matter of putting one foot in front of the other.

Remember: The first step is the hardest. It only gets easier. We wish you the best of luck in your fitness journey!