Burn Big Calories With This 30-Minute Treadmill Workout

by Ashley Pitt
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Burn Big Calories With This 30-Minute Treadmill Workout

The treadmill is the No. 1 piece of workout equipment logged by MyFitnessPal users and that’s with good reason — it’s simple and easy to use. Yet, while it’s great to establish a regular workout routine utilizing the treadmill, in order to continue getting results from your cardio sessions, you’ll need to switch things up.

Next time you hop on the treadmill, rather than running at a steady pace for a long amount of time, try adding incline and intervals to really feel the burn.

Grab a sweat towel, a bottle of water and get moving with this calorie-torching routine, perfect for both joggers and runners. Note: Take things at your own pace and adjust to suit your fitness level. The following paces, inclines and durations are general suggestions.

30-minute treadmill workout for joggers and runners

Warm-up: 4 minutes

Walk3 mph1%1 minute
Jog5 mph1%3 minutes

Speed Interval: 1–7 minutes

Run6 mph1%1 minute
Sprint8.5 mph1%30 seconds
Run6 mph1%1 minute
Sprint8.5 mph1%30 seconds
Run6 mph1%1 minute
Sprint8.5 mph1%30 seconds
Run6 mph1%1 minute
Sprint8.5 mph1%30 seconds
Walk3 mph1%1 minute

Strength Interval: 2–7 minutes

Jog5 mph1%1 minute
Run6 mph1%30 seconds
Run6 mph3%30 seconds
Run6 mph5%30 seconds
Run6 mph7% 30 seconds
Run6 mph9%30 seconds
Run6 mph7%30 seconds
Run6 mph5%30 seconds
Run6 mph3%30 seconds
Run6 mph1%30 seconds
Run6 mph9%30 seconds
Walk3 mph1%1 minute

Endurance and Speed Interval - 8 minutes

Jog5 mph1%1 minute
Run7.5 mph1%3 minutes
Jog5 mph1%1 minute
Sprint9 mph1%30 seconds
Jog5 mph1%1 minute
Sprint9 mph1%30 seconds
Jog5 mph1%30 seconds
Sprint9 mph1%30 seconds

Cooldown: 4 minutes

Jog5 mph1%2 minutes
Walk3 mph1%2 minutes

In just 30 minutes, this line-up of speed, strength and endurance work will leave you feeling spent! Once you get off the treadmill safely, spend a few minutes stretching your legs, hit the foam roller, chug some water and make sure you log your session.

Follow these tips while running on the treadmill:

  • Keep your chest up and eyes forward. Don’t look down at your feet.
  • Breathe! Try this pattern: In through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Use your arms. Keep your elbows at 90-degree angles, swinging behind the body.
  • Do not hold onto the rails, even when the inclines get tough. Lean forward into the climb.
  • Never jump your feet off the belt onto the rails. Always run your intervals down to a walk.


  • Tone Veiulfsen Østbye

    l will try this next time 😀

    • firewallender

      How’d it go?

      • Tone Veiulfsen Østbye

        l do 4 minutes running fast , 3 min fast walking and so on , 4 times , its perfect for me. And easy to remember . It takes 28 minutes . And it is not so much to think about when you run , my mind need something easy . l have the treadmill uphill on 2, then its a little more work . Thanks for asking.

        • Tone Veiulfsen Østbye

          The last 4 minutes l sprint .

      • Tone Veiulfsen Østbye

        l run for 4 minutes , walk fast for 3 and do this 4 times . Uphill on 2 so it is more work to do . The last 4 minutes l sprint . It takes 28 minutes. l must do i it easy to remember and dont lie changing the parameters all the time . This work well for me . Thanks for asking 🙂

  • Lennie

    I can’t run with my replacement knees! So what’s my alternative workout?

    • Mike A

      Walk briskly! KAUTZ get your heart rate up. Ride a stationary bike. Lots you can do!!

    • Kathrin

      I can’t do the treatmil either. I’m very successful with the Eliptical

  • Rico

    How many cals will this burn?

    • Rick

      There is no set number. It depends on many factors such as your age, weight, height and physical conditions.

  • a_jester65

    How many calories will this burn for a 190 lb male? I’m just curious. I like data…

    • Chellyb

      Everyone is different. Get a Polar heart rate watch so that you can track it you’ll love it.

    • Bluford76

      I weigh 197 and my fitbit says 469 calories burned

  • Rick

    A lot of people that are over weight make the mistake of only doing cardio without realizing that lifting weight would be more beneficial for them. It preserves the muscles and burns fat simultaneously. I used to make the same mistake until I realized that my muscles weren’t growing, I stopped doing cardio and focused on lifting weights and what do you know, I not only got a six pack but I’m bigger, stronger and leaner. Don’t believe me?! Google pictures of marathon runners vs sprinters, and tell me who you want to look like, skinny fat or toned and muscular.

    • teamfage

      You’re absolutely right, I injured myself a few months ago and have been unable to lift so I ran. I’ve noticed a decrease in both muscle mass and strength. Monday I’m going to start lifting again. So looking forward to regaining strength and being toned!!

    • Sanne

      Congrats. Not all of us are physically able to lift, and it gets tiresome to be told our workouts are useless or wrong or not as good because we don’t lift. I have a very bad back and I can’t even run safely, so I’m restricted to walking, speed walking and biking. Anything more is too high impact and can seriously cause injuries, as bad as paralyzing. I’m not alone, there are people who don’t lift for LOTS of different reasons.

      And you know what? Just cardio is fine. It’s not a mistake. Stop saying it is! I’m doing what I CAN do because it’s safe, and it still beats sitting on my rear end all day. Suggesting people to lift if they’re able to and want to increase muscle mass is one thing, suggesting we’re doing something wrong or not good enough is really rude and demotivating and you need to stop that nonsense. Be mindful of your words.

      Also, your stupid generalization that any of the athletes you mentioned are skinny fat is ridiculous. I don’t think you know what skinny fat is, so shut up.

      • Rick

        Good for you!, but I am talking about people that obviously don’t have any type of physical condition that will stop them from performing strengthening exercise. If you have been cleared by your family physician, I would recommend to focus on lifting weights and forgetting about cardio until you are in shape. But this is only an advice you don’t have to agree with me, like the Hodgetwins will say “do whatever the fuck you wanna do”!.

        Rick Tacori.

      • Bfierce

        It is actually wise to add weight training with cardio workouts. And there are many ways to lift weights. It is not a one size fits all thing, just like any other exercise, you find your own level of proficiency.
        That said, my almost 80 year old arthritic mother knows the importance of incorporating weights into her daily workout. She uses weights that fit her hands ranging from a half pound to five pounds. She also uses her own body weight (legs and feet) to build strength. The key is to know your body, know your limits, make accommodations to fit, and ask questions if you don’t know or are not sure.

      • Kevin Perry

        If you can lift a gallon of milk into the fridge you can lift. Anyone who says they can’t lift are restricted to a bed only. Your legs lift weights every time you walk or stand up. And building muscle burns more fat and makes you stronger and then able to lift more. Pick a good weight workout and then find a weight you can lift even if it’s 5lbs.

    • BuzzPreston

      For many people, focusing on appearance and/or weight serves to detract from reaching a point where diet and exercise make sense. Putting metabolic health first makes it easy to tailor a program to one’s individual needs and abilities. By measuring the effectiveness of your workouts with heart rate, you will know what your limits are in the beginning and it takes only slight improvements provide motivation. The appropriate speed/intensity should be determined by how much it increases your heart rate. At first, you may be able to only walk 2 or 3 mph to get your heart rate to an effective level. So what. Resistance training can be incorporated later to help preserve or even add muscle mass, but again, you don’t need to become a “Lunk” to do that. Concentrate on health improvements and appearance with take care of itself.

  • K. LaBorde

    I lost 120 pounds in 14 months. Using Random Hills on Treadmill for 90 minutes you can burn 1250 Calories. This is my daily Target for food. Get a Fitbit and set your daily goals.

  • Lianne

    Umm…those are some pretty fast paced speeds for an overweight person or someone not used to exercise. How about something effective but possible ?

    • you could try scaling the speeds down. use the time intervals given and walk/jog if you can. good luck!

  • Amber

    I can’t jog more than .2 of a mile even after losing 30lbs this past spring/summer…but .2 is a big improvement for me either way…this wouldn’t be doable for me, not this year..not with my side stitches and shin splints..

  • Arun

    What does % mean on incline??

    • it is the percent of incline.
      on the right side of a treadmill you will see up/down arrows and #s for speed, and on the left side you will see arrows and % #s for speed, meaning the percent of incline, or the angle the treadmill is at. the higher % = steeper incline = harder.

    • James Dusty Rhodes

      On the incline levels, for the treadmills that have that feature, the numbers indicates percent of grade(I.e. 1 = 1% etc up to 10 or 12).

  • Chellyb

    Love this! Can’t wait to try it. I think I’ll have to build up to the steep inclines but willing to start slow.

  • Bluford76

    Just did this! What an @ss kicking. About halfway through the 7.5mph for 3 minutes I had to drop the spped to 7.

  • cresper

    So if I follow this plan exactly, how many calories will I burn?

  • Jenn Baerg

    I completely agree with @bluford76:disqus this was a totally ***kicking but so good.

  • Carol Lu

    Yeah Easy To Say & Do What About Us Beginners Who Haven’t or Can’t Jog Or Run ?

    • Bret

      If you can’t run or jog why are you reading an article on running?

      • Sheila

        Because the article only Said treadmill workout. ..until you click on the link, then it says for runners. It wasn’t in the title on the email that was sent out…so, yeah, that’s the reason

        • Carol Lu

          So Yeah

    • RunnerFriendly

      If you are a beginner or want to start, this workout is not for you. Focus more on building an aerobic base. Slow comfortable running for about 3 months and increase your distance no more than 10% a week with a cutback every 4th week. Otherwise you will experience injuries.

    • Mark

      I’m not a runner either. I’m in good shape after doing weights for a little over a year. But, my body has plateaued in a big way, and I just cannot get rid of the last 15-20lbs of belly fat with my current routines =/ – Enter running. I’m going to see what I can do in the running department even though I know I hate it and my cardio strength is low. I’m introducing HIIT cardio routines over the next 8 weeks. I hope to reduce my bodyfat by 2-5% if possible with this type of training. Maybe after, I WILL be a runner! Who knows!? Remember that you can do ANYTHING you want to. Don’t be afraid to try! You will be amazed what you can accomplish when you remove the words “I’m not” and “I Can’t” from your vocabulary and simply set your mind to a challenging yet rewarding goal! You might be a beginner and not a runner now, but if you start today, you might be a runner in 3 months! Good luck!

  • Hillbilly Horsefeathers

    People will literally argue about anything.

    • Greg

      Absolutely lol

    • D

      No they won’t

      • Hillbilly Horsefeathers

        Lies! Damnable lies! And you are both a scoundrel and a blackguard who deserves to be thoroughly horsewhipped, which no doubt you will be as soon as congress can settle on a candidate who will not offend the various special interests and stakeholders. Oh yes! And then we shall see about you and your anti-argumentarian views. Oh yes, a real rain will come . . . that fine day!


    To advance for me .. I’ll stick with incline and the jog and sprint method.

  • red

    I still do get this % incline. My treadmill incline to the height of number 10. Please explain what is 1% incline?

  • Felita Viruet Delikat

    great article and anyone at any level can do this 30 min jus modify the speed
    but follow the duration of intervals if all you can do is walk then walk and walk a little faster. If you don’t have a treadmill you can do with any equip a bike elliptical jus follow the min moderate pace 30 sec heart pumping ( what ever that may be for your level of fitness)

  • Patti

    I’d die! I’m not a runner and can’t go more than 30 seconds at 4 mph

  • Michele

    How about something for those of us restricted to walking?

    • robinbishop34

      Stay in a calorie deficit.

  • Brenda

    Man… A nice beginner run would be nice… This one would send my old fat butt to the ER

    • Ashebir Agiro


  • Clare Quilty

    Hasn’t there been articles about treadmills being counter-effective to weight loss, particularly for middle-aged men? What about elliptical machines?

  • Josh G

    You’d need someone to stand there and mash buttons for the Endurance ones.

  • tsai rox

    Why not just incline?

    • Josh G

      Variance confuses the body, causing it to react to the change. Helps to increase calorie burn.

  • ohepi

    This sounds good, but (maybe because I’m a total beginner?) constantly stopping to hit the buttons to change incline and speed would interfere with my heart rate and time, wouldn’t it? How do you get around that? I want to try this workout, beginner’s or no!

  • lifeseyephoto is me

    These never take into consideration tiny legs. Small strides. For some, 3 mph is a fast walk!

    • Sue Hale

      me too! 3mph is very fast /almost a slow jog for me. i’m only 4’10”.

  • Need a treadmill where you can program a routine. It would be a chore to be constantly changing the parameters. Sounds like a greater chance to goof and maybe hurt yourself.

    • stephconey

      That’s what I was thinking. I’m too big (at the moment) and clumsy to risk falling while switching the settings so much.

  • Samantha Kim Clarke

    I’ve tried it and it’s not that hard. You’re concentrating on your running and making sure you’re doing the timings so changing incline and speed isn’t that hard. Really good workout and in my first try I burned over 252 calories. You’ll never know if you don’t try it!

  • Stephanie Guay

    Just finished this for the first time and burned 468 calories!

  • Kdavis711

    For those seemingly “concerned” with the difficulty, speed, intervals, etc…at the end of the article, note the “note” of:
    Note: Take things at your own pace and adjust to suit your fitness level. The following paces, inclines and durations are general suggestions.
    Where there’s a will, there’s a way

  • RunnerFriendly

    Doing speed work on a treadmill is not as risky as one starting out might think. As you get accustomed to it “at your own speeds,” over time you will develop better balance. Also, most of the world’s top female runners are tiny. So don’t let your size have you thinking you can’t do this. The same goes for those who feel they are too big. You’ll never become good at this unless you practice.

  • Do It!

    Stop with the BS excuses! If you want results GET ON THE MACHINE AND PUSH YOURSELF!!!!

    • Mel

      AMEN!!!! If it doesn’t hurt and cause you strain what’s the point…..stop complaining and MOVE it….

      • Ridiculous

        Yay!!! EXTREME!!

  • Mark

    This looks intense. I’m just getting started with HIIT and doing 1.5 min jog at 5mph and 30 secs sprint at 9mph for 15 mins and it’s a killer for me. Going to try this though and see if I can get through it. If you can actually get through the whole routine, you will most definitely burn some major cals and fat.

  • TommyTrouble Michelle Van Dore

    I just did this!!! 415cal in 35min!!!! I think I will make this a regular part of my routine

  • Mary Bunnell

    Can you redo this for those with shorter legs?