Today I’m going to show your a HIIT Treadmill workout used in a study done in Ontario. The HIIT athletes lost nearly twice as much fat by using high intensity interval training on a treadmill.
In this guide I’m going to show you exactly how to get these results for yourself as well as provide you with HIIT workout music to help you get started.
How an HIIT treadmill workout can help with weight loss
Hiit treadmill workouts can help with fat loss by improving the systems in your body that are responsible for your metabolism and burning body fat as well as the process is known as Excess Post-exercise oxygen consumption. HIIT cardio sits in between aerobic cardio workouts and strength training and uses the treadmill to alternate between high intensity sprints and rest and recovery periods.
What does this HIIT treadmill workout plan look like?
This HIIT treadmill workout for fat loss is an intense exercise so be sure to warm up before you start. It consists of six bouts. Each sprint will be 30 seconds long. Once each Sprint is finished you will get four minutes to rest. This workout can be done three times a week. Please make sure you have a rest day between each workout.
Here is the HIIT Treadmill MP3. You can use it as a HIIT Timer for the workout. It contains 6 sets of challenging 30 second sprints with 4 minutes rest periods.
How to do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Treadmill Workouts
Here is the important point about how it should feel. Each Sprint in HIIT should be all out effort. At the end of the 30 seconds you should have nothing left. You can only do this if the incline on the treadmill is steep (set at 5% or more) and the pace is fast enough (based on your fitness and ability). The rest phase of this workout is active recovery, meaning you stay at a light jog but it should not be taxing at all! Your heart rate should be coming down.
So let’s look at the nuts and bolts of the research. It was done at the University of Ontario. The test selected 20 people, both men and women. The average age was 24. I’m not sure about the fitness levels but I would guess from the results they were not athletes.
These 20 people was split into two groups of 10 each. One of the groups did high intensity interval training on the treadmill, the other group did endurance training. The high intensity interval training group did 4 to 6 sets of 30 second sprints followed by a four minute rest intervals. This treadmill workout was done on a manually driven treadmill (we’ll talk more about this a bit later). The endurance athletes ran for 50 to 60 minutes at 65% of their VO2 max. This was steady state cardio for the entire treadmill workout, and they would have been considered to be working out in the fat burning zone for endurance training.
This means that in terms of actual work endurance athletes the maximum of 180 minutes a week while the hiit session athletes sprinted on the treadmill for no more than nine minutes per week.
The high intensity interval training group lost twice as much fat as the endurance group. The interval training group lost 12.4% of their fat mass of the six weeks while the endurance training group lost 5.8% of the fat mass over the same time.
To put this into context. If the endurance athletes wanted to lose the same amount of fat as the high intensity interval training athletes than for every one minute of sprinting the high intensity interval training athletes did, the endurance athletes would have to run for 40 minutes.
If you wanted to compare the total time commitment here, for each workout the interval training athletes with finished in 27 minutes while the endurance training athletes finished off after 60 minutes.
Lets take a look at some of other results.
Both endurance and interval training teams increased their lean muscle mass by 1%.
The actual purpose of the research was to see if there was an increase in speed running a 2000m time trial event. The HIIT exercise group improve that time by 4.6% while the endurance training group reduced their time by 5.9%. I find it mind blowing that the treadmill HIIT workout is nearly as effective for an endurance event as endurance training.
The final result was a comparison on VO2 max. VO2 max is considered your maximum aerobic capacity and is generally used as a measurement for fitness specifically with regards to aerobic exercise. The interval training group increased their VO2 max by 11.5% while the endurance group increased their VO2 max by 12.5%. Once again this is quite remarkable how close these two figures are.
At the end of the trial the researchers gave the following quote:
These data suggest that adaptations with ET are of central origin primarily, whereas those with SIT are more peripheral.
Macpherson RE, Hazell TJ, Olver TD, Paterson DH, Lemon PW. Run sprint interval training improves aerobic performance but not maximal cardiac output. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Jan;43(1):115-22. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181e5eacd. PMID: 20473222.
This means the research is believed that the endurance training improve the heart muscle while interval training improved everything else, such as the muscle tissue and vascular structure.
Is this the right treadmill HIIT workout for your particular fitness level?
I don’t think that the subject selected for this trial were trained athletes. Four minute recovery periods for high intensity interval training is quite long. If you are training for athletic improvement you may not even want 100% recovery. If you’re a beginner this is quite fine to start at but what you may find is that as you get fit that your recovery is faster and faster and you don’t need the whole four minutes.
One way to measure this is to pay attention to heartrate. If your heartrate is returning to 60 to 65% of your maximum heart rate before the four minutes are up you are good to go for your next set. You can work out your maximum heart rate here.
Calculate Your Max Heart Rate
One thing to note is that the exercises here were done on a manual treadmill. Most manual treadmills do not have a motor, the belt is moved by the cadence of the runner. This makes them a lot tougher to run on and burns up way more energy and burn more calories than a traditional treadmill.
How to find the sweet spot for HIIT Treadmill Workouts
You’re most likely going to be using a traditional treadmill for this exercise. This means that you will have to find another way to increase the resistance to make of 30 seconds of sprinting quite tough. The best way to do this is to raise the treadmill up to a steep incline of 5% or more. Another piece of research figured out the best treadmill speed to set the machine at and I will be going through this research in another article.