Is your busy schedule making it harder and harder to squeeze in a vigorous workout? If so, high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, on a treadmill may be the answer you need to add beneficial exercise a few times a week.

Studies show that you can achieve the same results as steady-state exercise but in a fraction of the time when you make HIIT part of your regimen. And not only does HIIT take less time to burn the optimal fat desired, but it also promotes a beneficial after-burn effect.

In other words, your body will continue to burn calories for up to 48 hours after your workout, hastening weight loss results!

Who doesn’t want to lose weight fast, right? And while weight loss is one of the desired benefits, HIIT also provides additional advantages. You can watch your favorite TV show while you burn fat and maintain workouts despite inclement weather. 

Additional benefits include:

  • Elevated stamina
  • Improved memory
  • Stronger muscles
  • Better flexibility
  • Strengthened immune system
  • Increased energy
  • Better sleep
  • Enhanced mood
  • Better brain function

HIIT works by engaging the body’s largest muscle groups: glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves and abdominals. Working those muscle groups during HIIT, which includes spurts of intense exercise and rest in between, contributes to caloric burn and ultimate weight loss. Your body continues to burn fat for energy as it resumes its normal resting state.

The key to an optimal HIIT workout is finding your fat-burning zone or your best heart rate to achieve maximum weight loss. It can differ depending on age, weight, sex and overall health. Work with a personal trainer to determine the best plan for you if possible. Typically, you use the maximum heart rate of 220 and subtract your age to determine your maximum heart rate per minute. Then divide that number by 70 percent to find your fat-burning zone, which translates to your ideal number of heartbeats per minute for weight loss.

Always check with your physician before beginning an exercise routine. To take advantage of HIIT on a treadmill, you’ll need a machine and good running shoes.

What to do:

  • Aim for a 20-minute workout 1 to 3 days a week.
  • Vary your workout to include running or sprinting, resting and brisk walking.
  • Rest the next day after HIIT workouts.
  • Combine with upper body strength workouts for maximum results.
  • Set a weight loss goal of at least 1 pound a week although you may lose more or less since everyone responds differently.

Not sure how to start? Consider this model from

  • Set the treadmill to flat (you can always add an incline once you’ve mastered the routine) and walk at 2 mph for 5 minutes to warm up.
  • Run at 9 to 10 mph for 30 seconds.
  • Walk at 3 to 4 mph for 60 seconds.
  • Repeat 5 to 10 times.
  • Walk at 2 mph for 5 minutes to cool down.
  • Make certain to rest for at least twice as long as your intense intervals.

At Balance Fitness, our expert consultants can advise you on treadmill options and help you find one that best meets your needs.