How many calories should I burn in treadmill to lose weight?

Losing weight requires creating a calorie deficit by burning more calories than you consume. Using a treadmill is an effective way to burn calories and lose weight. The number of calories you should aim to burn on the treadmill depends on your weight loss goals, current weight, and activity level outside of treadmill sessions.

On average, to lose one pound per week, you need to burn 500 calories more than you eat each day. To determine how many calories to burn on the treadmill, you’ll need to consider your basal metabolic rate along with your activity level outside of exercise. Your basal metabolic rate is the number of calories your body burns through basic functioning like breathing, digesting food, and pumping blood. This accounts for 60-75% of the calories you burn each day.

Here’s a quick overview of how many calories you might burn on a treadmill:

– For a 125 pound person, burning 300-400 calories per session is reasonable
– For a 150 pound person, aim for 350-450 calories
– For a 200 pound person, target 400-500+ calories
– Heavier individuals can burn 500-700+ calories per session

The exact number of calories depends on the intensity and duration of your workout. In general, higher intensity interval training will burn more calories in less time than lower intensity steady state cardio. But longer steady state workouts can also add up to significant calorie burn.

Determining Your Calorie Needs

To determine your personalized calorie burn goal for the treadmill, follow these steps:

Step 1: Calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR)

Your BMR is the minimum number of calories your body needs to perform essential functions, assuming you remain inactive all day. Use an online BMR calculator to determine your number. You’ll input your age, gender, height and weight.

For example, a 35 year old woman who is 5’5″ and 150 pounds has a BMR of around 1360 calories.

Step 2: Factor in your activity level

The Harris Benedict Equation uses your BMR and activity level to calculate your total daily calorie needs.

To determine your activity multiplier:

– Sedentary (little or no exercise): BMR x 1.2
– Lightly active (light exercise 1-3 days/week): BMR x 1.375
– Moderately active (moderate exercise 3-5 days/week): BMR x 1.55
– Very active (hard exercise 6-7 days a week): BMR x 1.725
– Extra active (very hard exercise & physical job): BMR x 1.9

Using the example above, if the woman is lightly active, her estimated calorie needs would be:

1360 BMR x 1.375 activity multiplier = 1,870 calories per day

Step 3: Create a calorie deficit for weight loss

To lose one pound per week, you need a daily calorie deficit of 500 calories.

Continuing the example, if the woman wants to lose 1 pound per week, her target calories would be:

1,870 daily calorie needs – 500 calorie deficit = 1,370 calories per day

Step 4: Determine treadmill calorie burn goal

To determine your target calorie burn on the treadmill, subtract your basal metabolic rate from your target daily calories. The remainder is the amount of exercise calories you should aim to burn.

For example:

1,370 target daily calories
– 1360 BMR
= 10 remaining calories to burn through exercise

Therefore, this woman should aim to burn around 300-400 calories per treadmill session to create her 500 calorie per day deficit for 1 pound per week weight loss.

This is just a general estimate. Monitor your weight over 2-4 weeks and adjust your calorie deficit up or down as needed.

Treadmill Workout Duration and Intensity

Now that you know your target calorie burn, how long and how intensely should you workout on the treadmill?

Here are some general treadmill workout guidelines for different calorie goals:

300 calories:
– 30 minutes moderate jogging (5-5.5 mph) at 5-7% incline

400 calories:
– 45 minutes moderate jogging (5-5.5 mph) at 5-7% incline

500 calories:
– 60 minutes moderate jogging (5-5.5 mph) at 5-7% incline

600 calories:
– 60 minutes alternating jogging (5-6 mph) and running (7-8 mph) at 5-10% incline

700+ calories:
– 75+ minutes of high intensity intervals like 1 minute hard sprints (9+ mph) followed by 1-2 minutes moderate jogging (5-6 mph) at 5-10% incline

These estimates will vary based on your weight. Heavier individuals will burn more calories than lighter individuals at the same speeds and inclines.

Aim to workout on the treadmill 3-5 days per week, with at least 1 rest day between sessions. Consistency is key to see results!

Treadmill Workout Tips

Here are some tips to burn the most calories and get an effective treadmill workout:

– Warm up for 5-10 minutes at an easy pace
– Gradually increase your speed and incline every 5-10 minutes
– Include 1-2 high intensity interval sessions per week
– Cool down for 5-10 minutes at an easy pace
– Increase incline to burn more calories at the same speed
– Swing arms vigorously to engage upper body
– Maintain proper posture and landing technique
– Stay hydrated by drinking water before, during and after
– Listen to upbeat music to boost energy and motivation

Heart Rate Zones for Fat Burning

Monitoring your heart rate ensures you’re working at the right intensity to burn fat and calories. Here are the target heart rate zones:

Warm up zone: 50-60% of max heart rate
Fat burning zone: 60-70% of max heart rate
Aerobic zone: 70-80% of max heart rate
Anaerobic zone: 80-90% of max heart rate
Max effort zone: 90-100% of max heart rate

To calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. Then calculate your target zones.

For example, a 35 year old:

220 – 35 years = 185 max heart rate

Fat burning zone:
60% of 185 = 111 bpm
70% of 185 = 130 bpm

Aim to keep your heart rate between 111-130 bpm on the treadmill to maximize fat burning.

Use heart rate monitors like chest straps or smart watches to track your intensity and stay in the right zone. Adjust your speed and incline as needed to keep your heart rate in the fat burning range.

Treadmill Workouts For Weight Loss

Here are 3 sample treadmill workouts to burn calories and lose weight:

Beginner Calorie Burn

– 5 minute warm up at 3 mph
– 30 minutes at 4-4.5 mph with 5-7% incline
– 5 minute cool down at 3 mph

Total Calories: ~300

Intermediate Fat Burning Walk

– 5 minute warm up at 3 mph
– 45 minutes alternating every 5 minutes between 4-4.5 mph at 5% incline and 5-5.5 mph at 7-10% incline
– 5 minute cool down at 3 mph

Total Calories: ~450

Advanced High Intensity Intervals

– 5 minute warm up at 3 mph
– 60 minutes:
– 1 minute sprint at 9 mph with 10% incline
– 1 minute moderate jog at 5 mph with 5% incline
– Repeat interval sequence 6-8 times
– 5 minute cool down at 3 mph

Total Calories: ~600

Adjust speeds and inclines to your fitness level. Use these workouts 2-3 times per week for best results.

Nutrition For Weight Loss

Exercise alone isn’t enough for weight loss. You also need to pay attention to your diet by reducing calorie intake. Aim for a moderate calorie deficit of 500-1000 calories per day to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

Here are some nutrition tips when trying to lose weight:

– Track your calories with an app like MyFitnessPal
– Increase protein intake to stay full longer, aim for 0.7-1g per pound of body weight
– Reduce overall carbohydrate intake, limit added sugar and refined grains
– Increase fiber intake from vegetables, fruits and whole grains
– Drink plenty of water, aim for 64+ ounces per day
– Limit alcohol intake which can be high in calories
– Fill up on low calorie foods like non-starchy veggies and broth-based soups

Creating a calorie deficit through diet is just as important as exercise when trying to lose weight. For best results, combine treadmill workouts 3-5 days per week with a reduced calorie meal plan.

Other Exercises To Complement Treadmill Workouts

While cardio on the treadmill is effective for burning calories, adding strength training and other exercises can boost your metabolism and improve fitness. Try to incorporate 2-3 days per week of the following:

Strength Training: Use free weights, resistance bands, or weight machines to target all the major muscle groups. Aim for 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps per exercise. Strength training builds lean muscle which burns more calories at rest.

HIIT Workouts: High intensity interval training like sprints, bike intervals or bootcamp classes can torch calories and keep your metabolism boosted for hours after your workout.

Yoga: Yoga improves flexibility, balance and muscular endurance. It also reduces stress which can aid in weight loss.

Pilates: The core strengthening benefits of Pilates can improve posture and alignment during cardio workouts.

Walking: Don’t underestimate walking! Taking a 30-60 minute walk at a brisk pace several days per week can keep calories burning. Go hiking on an incline for extra intensity.

Aim for a balanced mix of cardiovascular exercise, strength training and flexibility/mind-body workouts each week for the best results on your weight loss plan.

Putting It All Together

Here is a sample one week workout plan incorporating treadmill workouts and other exercise:

– 45 min treadmill intervals – 450 calories
– 30 min yoga session

– 60 min strength training circuits

– Rest day – try a leisurely walk

– 45 min treadmill walk at 5% incline – 350 calories
– 30 min HIIT class

– 60 min strength training circuits

– 60 min treadmill intervals – 600 calories

– Rest day

Follow a reduced-calorie meal plan full of lean protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Track calories and macros to ensure a daily 500-1000 calorie deficit.

Weigh yourself 1-2 times per week and adjust your workouts and nutrition as needed to lose 1-2 pounds per week. Be patient – safe, sustainable weight loss takes time. But combining treadmill sessions with a solid nutrition plan will have you hitting your goals!


Burning calories on the treadmill can produce significant weight loss over time. Determine your target daily calorie deficit based on your goals and current stats. Then, aim to burn 300-700+ calories during each treadmill session depending on your weight and intensity. Interval training will burn the most calories in the shortest time. Combine your workouts with a reduced-calorie meal plan focusing on whole foods. Additionally, incorporate strength training, HIIT and flexibility exercises for the best results. Stay consistent and be patient – safe weight loss takes time. But sticking to your calorie burning treadmill workouts along with mindful nutrition will have you losing weight and improving your fitness.

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