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The reason you haven’t lost weight from all that treadmill walking will shock you, but it can easily be remedied.

Why is it that you haven’t lost a single pound or have experienced only marginal weight loss, despite months on end of walking on a treadmill?

If it’s not the No. 1 reason that prevents people from weight loss despite loads of walking on a treadmill, then it’s certainly the No. 2 reason:

Holding Onto The Machine

Yes, that’s right. One of the biggest saboteurs of weight loss attempts is holding onto a treadmill.

Ironically, with so many men and women struggling to lose weight, desperate to burn body fat, the weight loss saboteur of holding onto a treadmill is extremely prevalent.

Now before I go on about how to solve this problem, I need to emphasize that this article targets the general population of treadmill users in a gym, rather than exceptional populations such as the visually impaired who would need to hold on.

When I see hoards of people holding onto a treadmill while walking, I see able-bodied men and women, many in their 20s and 30s, who will often trot up the gym’s staircase without a problem to do some dumbbell work on the second floor.

One faithful treadmill-holder whom I had observed was a martial arts instructor!

What — he could throw kicks in the air but needs to hold on when using a treadmill???

I’ve witnessed these trainees participating in group fitness classes and even doing barbell squats!

So as you can see, physical handicap does not play into this.

People with physical handicaps, in fact, rarely use treadmills — at least at gyms; I’ve seen them on the stationary bike, elliptical machine and rowing machine.

If you haven’t lost weight despite spending months and months walking on a treadmill, your question to yourself should be:

“Where are my hands while I’m walking?” It should NOT be, “Why am I cursed with fat genes?”

NO, NO, NO! This won’t cut it. Hold on for temporary balance checks, but not for the whole “workout”!

When you swing your arms, your body must work harder to prevent falling off the moving tread. This means more calories burned = weight loss.

Holding on removes work from many important muscles, including those of the core!

Perhaps in desperation to lose weight, you’ve been using a faster speed and/or higher incline.

Guess what: A faster speed or higher incline means a tighter grip by your hands! You will not lose weight this way.

Holding on burns 20-25 percent fewer calories.

The calorie display is inflated because it’s determined by the speed and incline, not the trainee’s effort level!

Pretend you’re walking outside next time you use a treadmill. What would your hands and arms be doing?

Then do that. If you think you can’t, then set a slower speed and/or lower incline until you can swing your arms.

If you want to lose weight from walking on a treadmill, it just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever to keep the upper half of your body paralyzed as a result of holding on.

In addition, “Reaching a plateau in weight loss often indicates that a change is needed in the program,” says Jacque Crockford, MS, CSCS, an ACE certified personal trainer and an ACE exercise physiologist.

“Begin jogging on the treadmill, increase incline, add intervals, introduce strength training. All of these are great ways to get over a weight loss plateau.”

Jacque Crockford is also the exercise physiology content manager at ACE (American Council on Exercise) and has been an personal trainer for 15+ years.

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.