How Long Should You Run on a Treadmill to Lose Weight

running on a treadmill for weight loss

Written by Megan Ayala. Last Updated: February 22, 2021

The treadmill can be a very useful tool for achieving the weight loss you desire. The treadmill is a good exercise machine that can help you burn a significant number of calories in a short period. It’s a rather versatile machine that can help you achieve weight loss in many ways.

It offers numerous benefits like being able to use it throughout the year, being able to multi-task while on it, and more. However, there is a debate as to how long you should be running on a treadmill to lose weight. Knowing how to use the exercise equipment you are using in your exercise routine is key. After all, if you don’t use it correctly, your results will suffer.

The good news is, there isn’t a hard-fast rule for the length of time it takes to lose weight using a treadmill.

However, there are certain things you should keep in mind for the best results. In this article, you will learn about some of the top things to do when your goal is to lose weight by running on a treadmill.

Tips for Losing Weight by Running On a Treadmill: How Long Does it Take?

  •  Choose Something Sustainable

One of the most important things you need to do when you are looking to lose weight with a treadmill is to set a goal. You want a goal that you can work towards and achieve. However, many make the mistake of going at things too quickly.

This can cause you to burn out and lose motivation to continue. Rather than go at things too quickly, you want to find a sustainable pace that you can do consistently. The more consistent you are with your treadmill workout sessions, the better the chances you will be able to achieve your weight loss goals. Thus, you want to delve into your schedule to find something that you will be able to consistently fit into your daily life.

Maintaining optimal consistency is key to getting the results you seek. Don’t choose to spend hours on a treadmill if you don’t have hours of free time consistently available.

That will only give you an excuse that you can use to avoid exercise altogether.

  • Focus On High Intensity

A lot of people make the crucial mistake of thinking they need to spend hours working out to achieve the fat-burning results they desire. The fact is, higher intensity workouts are much more efficient and effective. Because of this, you want to place a focus on improving the intensity of your workouts.

Maximizing the intensity of your workouts will yield the best results when you are looking to burn calories and fat. When compared to lower intensity workouts, higher intensity workouts always deliver better body composition improvements [1]. Because of this, you should be looking to incorporate more high-intensity training into your treadmill workouts.

This means the duration of your workouts matters much less than the intensity at which you conduct those workouts. This means fitting more sprints into your treadmill running sessions.

Rather than running for miles and miles at a time, you should look to split up your workouts into higher intensity sprinting to boost your weight loss efforts.

  • Avoid Repeating The Same Routine

One of the things that you are likely to run into when you are running on the treadmill daily is a training plateau.

This is something that a lot of people run into a couple of weeks into a training regimen. This is why you want to create a sort of ladder system with your training to ensure that you are always moving up the ladder.

For instance, if you are running for 20 minutes one day, you should look to run 30 minutes the next. That way, you are constantly pushing your body further than before. This can help to avoid allowing your body to go into auto-pilot.

If you are constantly doing the same exercise over and over and you aren’t alternating anything, you are very likely to run into training plateaus that can stunt your results. Switch things up by increasing the duration at which you run, increasing the intensity of your sprints, and more.

Doing even subtle things to switch things up can do wonders for helping you avoid a training plateau altogether or to help you break through an existing one.

  • Adding an Incline

If you are going to be running on a treadmill to lose weight, you will want to incorporate more incline into your workouts.

Adding incline is going to make the task much more difficult. Because of this, it can improve your weight loss efforts. It will help you improve your endurance and it can help you build better strength in your lower body.

You want to add an incline when you are looking to shorten the duration of your workouts yet get the same results. Adding more of an incline is always going to put you in a better place when it comes to burning fat and losing weight.

The more of an incline you have during your treadmill sessions, the less total time you need to run to burn the same number of calories.

  • Count Calories Burned

The key to losing weight is burning more calories than you are consuming. Because of this, it is essential to count your calorie consumption. Without knowing how many calories you are eating daily, you won’t know how much exercise you need to incorporate into your daily routine.

Ideally, you will want to get a smartwatch, fitness tracker, or digital journal that you can use to count your calories. Also, it will help you track how many calories you burn through exercise.

You can use this information to track how long and how hard you need to work out on the treadmill to burn more calories than you are consuming. This can give you a crystal clear number that you can use to guide your treadmill workouts.

The more you eat, the more you will need to work out to lose weight.

  • Optimize Your Diet

You need to maintain a good diet if you are looking to lose weight. As mentioned, the number of calories you take in daily will directly impact how much you need to work out to lose weight.

However, if you are eating a diet of nutritious foods and avoiding foods with empty calories, you can lose weight without having to put too much time into your treadmill workouts.

The better your diet is, the more you will be able to lose weight without overtraining.


  • Give Yourself Enough Rest

Rest might seem counterproductive to losing weight. However, you will need to give your body rest to avoid a couple of things. For one, you could hit a training plateau if you aren’t resting enough. Your body and muscles need time to recover.

Secondly, you want to rest because your body builds muscle when you aren’t working out. If you aren’t getting enough rest, your body will struggle to build muscle which can help you naturally shed excess fat.

Resting can also help you avoid overtraining and injuries related to having your muscles overworked. For most, this would mean running on the treadmill 3 to 4 times per week and allowing your body to rest on the other days.

Some people alternate between cardio and strength training to ensure they are optimizing their workouts to get the most from each session.


As you can see, there are plenty of things that you need to consider when you are looking to lose weight with a treadmill. By using the tips above, you should be able to figure out how much you need to work out to get the results you are seeking from your workouts.

A treadmill can be a very useful tool to helping you reach your fitness goals.

However, you must use it the right way to get the best results from your efforts.