Starting any new fitness activity can be a daunting time, especially so when it’s on a confusing looking machine you’ve never used before. But don’t worry, treadmills are dead easy to use and we’ll walk you through using a treadmill and the treadmill workouts that are best for beginners.
We’ll make some assumptions here: you’ve never used a treadmill before and have just begun the quest to get leaner and fitter. If this describes you, read on...
The vast majority of treadmills are super user friendly; they’re designed for commercial gym use afterall. Some people buy treadmills for their home gym too – if you’re thinking of purchasing a home treadmill then don’t forget to check out our treadmill best buy section to find the cheapest deal on your machine of choice.
Before beginning any new fitness program always speak to your GP first.
Having a quality pair of running shoes is a must. Shop around online for the best deals and look for unbiased reviews. The major brands have a decent lineup of running shoes available such as Nike’s Pegasus or Adidas’s Supernova, although these can get a bit pricy. There are plenty of decent cheaper options there. Having a well supporting shoe with cushioning will ensure you’re much less likely to develop injuries from the repetitive nature of jogging. The cushioning provided by the treadmill’s belt should also help.
In addition, make sure you wear loose clothing and have a full water bottle to hand so you can remain hydrated.
Before starting the treadmill, be sure to clip on the emergency clip provided. This serves as an emergency stop in case you were to lose your balance.
For your first few times using the treadmill it would be best to ignore any of the advanced features the treadmill has to offer, such as the incline or custom workouts (see our beginner workouts shortly). Simply start the treadmill and set the speed to walking pace (the speed goes up/down in increments, typically of 0.5mph). If this is your first time using a treadmill, get used to walking on the treadmill without holding the side rails until you feel comfortable enough to increase the speed so you’re jogging at a gentle pace.
Never abruptly stop the treadmill or try to get off the treadmill when it’s still going at a fair pace. Instead, slow the speed down to walking pace (which you should be at for your cool down anyway) and then step onto the rubber pads at either side of the running belt. You can now stop the treadmill and unclip your emergency clip.
You should aim to gradually build up your fitness levels over several weeks.
A good way to do this is with intervals. In other words, during your treadmill workouts you will alternate between jogging and walking. Your first few workouts will involve walking more than you jog, but as you progress you will gradually increase the amount of time you’re jogging and decrease the time spent walking. This is a very effective method and has been successful for countless fitness newbies.
Aim to run 3-4 times per week.
Start with a 5 minute brisk walk to warm up.
Your workout will then alternate between 1 minute of jogging and 2 minutes of walking. Jog at a pace which feels comfortable to you. As a rule of thumb, aim for an effort which would allow you to have a broken conversation.
Complete 6 full intervals so your main workout takes 18 mins to complete.
Finish the workout with a 5 min cool down where you gradually reduce the treadmill speed from a brisk walk to a gentle walk.
Each subsequent week increase the amount you jog by 30 secs whilst keeping the walking to 2 minutes.
So, for week 2 you will alternate between 90 secs of jogging and 2 mins of walking. Repeat the intervals 6 times.
For week 3, you do 2 mins of jogging and 2 mins of walking. Repeat the intervals 5 times.
And as you guessed, week 4 is 2:30 mins of jogging and 2 mins of walking. Repeat the intervals 5 times.
Warm up and cooldown remain the same.
You should now notice a marked improvement in your fitness levels and probably feel the effects in your everyday life too!
The next three weeks builds on this new found fitness to take you to a level in which you should feel confident to move onto more intermediate treadmill workouts such as those pre-programed into the console.
For each subsequent week we will increase the amount you jog by 30 secs and reduce the amount you walk by 30 secs. We will also add in an additional interval, so you complete 6 in total taking the workout time to 27 mins (excluding the mandatory warm up and cooldown).
Week 5 will therefore be 3 mins of jogging and 1:30 mins of walking.
Week 6 is 3:30 mins of jogging and 1 mins of walking.
Week 7 is 4 mins of jogging and 30 secs of walking.
Week 8 is the big one you’ve been working towards, a steady 27 min jog!
Now that you can jog non-stop for 27 minutes you should feel confident enough to move onto somewhat more intermediate workouts on the treadmill. After all, just jogging at a continual pace for half an hour will get pretty boring.
Be sure to check out the various workout plans that come pre-programed into the treadmill’s console. A lot of these are dynamic in nature and involve varying your efforts throughout the workout like you did with our beginner intervals.
Intervals are also a pretty effective way to reduce body fat – see our best treadmill workout for fat loss article for more details.
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