With correct use of a treadmill, you can burn high amounts of fat in your belly and thighs, hips, etc., with only a 2 mph setting on the 15 percent incline.
Look at people when they use the treadmill’s 15 percent incline; what do you see?
They all hold onto the machine while it goes at a fast speed, often 4 mph.
Even 3 mph is a pretty fast clip for a 15 percent incline. As long as they hold on, they will not burn the fat in their belly (many have noticeable excess fat in their abdominal area).
You will burn WAY more fat in your stomach if you keep your hands off the treadmill, swing the arms naturally and use only a 2 mph speed (at 15 percent incline).
Yes, you read that right: 2 mph at the highest incline, without holding on, will burn serious calories.
The problem is that the vast majority of men and women who aim to shed fat in their midsection cling onto the treadmill, their feet simply gliding over the fast tread as their entire body tilts back, reproducing the same angle that occurs when walking on a flat surface!
Furthermore, holding on takes significant workload off the legs. You don’t want this to happen because larger muscles burn more fat when exercised than do small muscles.
To get rid of belly fat and excess weight elsewhere like the thighs and hips, you absolutely must make leg and butt muscles do all the work when using a treadmill incline.
“But I can’t keep up! I’ll fall off!”
You will not fall off if you go 2 mph. When I told my clients to walk only 2 mph (at 15 percent), they thought this was entirely too slow to cause fat loss.
However, they changed their minds within five minutes of this “slow” pace when done without holding on!
Ten minutes into it (not holding on), they were feeling far more worked than with 30 minutes of holding on at much faster speeds.
What if you’re ready to quit after only five minutes?
Should you then hold on? Or should you go only 1.5 mph?
If you prefer steady state exercise, slow down to under 2 mph. There is no shame in walking 1.5 mph at 15 percent incline when your arms are swinging instead of gripping the handrails or other portion of the treadmill.
When you let go, your posture is forced to be near perfect. Leaning forward, while NOT holding on, is perfectly fine.
This is what hikers often do. On the other hand, leaning forward, while holding on, is serious cheating. Don’t do it.
To expedite belly fat loss, defined abs and fitness improvement, you should employ interval training rather than steady state.
So if you can do 2 mph at 15 percent (without holding on) for only five minutes, or even for only two minutes, then at that point, lower the incline to five percent or zero, and continue walking 2 mph at this lower angle for a few minutes to recover your energy.
Then raise the incline back to 15 percent. Switch back and forth. So for a few minutes, you’re huffing and puffing, and then for a few minutes, you’re recovering.
Alternate back and forth for 30 minutes, without holding onto the treadmill, and believe me, you will bust up far more belly fat than clinging to the machine at 4 mph for a whole hour!
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.