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Burn more calories on the treadmill with this 20-minute interval workout

Good news: This workout calls for less than two minutes of running.
To take full advantage of the treadmill’s capabilities, alternate pace and incline throughout your workout.
To take full advantage of the treadmill’s capabilities, alternate pace and incline throughout your workout.Kiattisak Lamchan / Getty Images/EyeEm

After months of walking or running outdoors, taking your workout inside to a treadmill can be an adjustment.

We all miss the fresh air and change of scenery that being outside affords, but running on a treadmill has benefits, too. While you can’t always keep track of your pace while running outside, the treadmill offers you accurate measurements of speed, distance and calories burned.

Treadmill training doesn’t have to be stagnant or boring! When inclement weather forces you indoors, take full advantage of the treadmill’s capabilities by alternating pace and incline throughout your workout. The different intervals not only keep the workout interesting, but also keep your body guessing. During the low-intensity intervals your body recovers, allowing yourself to prepare for the next high-intensity interval.

You'll be surprised how fast time flies by during this interval training workout. Follow these simple steps to increase calorie burn, improve your endurance and spice up your typical walk or run.

20-minute interval training treadmill workout

Warm up for 3 minutes

It’s important to warm up your body before interval training on a treadmill. To loosen up your muscles and get your heart pumping, walk on the treadmill at a steady pace somewhere between 2-3 mph for 3 minutes. Remember to breathe and swing your arms lightly while keeping your back straight and your core engaged.

Run for 30 seconds

Here’s where you’ll get your heart rate up! Set the treadmill to 5 mph and run for 30 seconds. If you feel like 5 mph is too high for your personal skill level, start slower. As long as you feel like you’re running, you’re performing this interval correctly. Give it your all and remember that it will only last 30 seconds.

Slow down for 1 minute

Lower the speed back down to 3 mph. During this interval you will lower your heat rate before raising it again. Giving your body this break while still maintaining a steady pace will help improve your endurance. Keep this pace for 1 minute before moving on.

Incline for 2 minutes

Raise the incline of the treadmill to 5% and keep the pace of 3 mph. Even though you’re not moving particularly fast, the incline of the treadmill increases the intensity. Maintain this incline and speed for 2 minutes.

Repeat 2 more times

After completing these intervals, repeat the process starting with the warm up. I recommend going through this routine 3 times for a 20-minute workout, increasing the repetitions, speed and incline as you feel your body adjusting over time. Remember that these paces and inclines are general recommendations. Listen to your body and adjust based on your ability!