20 Minute Treadmill Workout To Lose Weight For Beginners

It feels like everyone is busy these days. At one point or another, we all seem to start desperately wishing for more hours in a day. If you’re still wanting to reach your health and fitness goals, but don’t have hours on end to spend at the gym anymore, a simple 20 minute treadmill workout could definitely do the trick! 

Yes, you read that right! Incorporating a 20 minute treadmill workout could be just the thing you need to lose a few pounds and build some fitness. We’ll get into the “whys” and “hows” down below, but before we do, let’s look at the workout…

20 Minute Treadmill Workout

Even if your days are jam-packed and the to-do list is never ending, prioritizing your mental and physical health by squeezing an extra 20 minutes into your schedule will definitely be worth it. The workout below is an example of a way to maximize that time (and its benefits) through a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) run. 

We designed this workout to be customizable to you and where you’re at as an athlete. If your “sprint” right now is a light jog, then change as needed. You are the expert on your body! As with any exercise practice, always be sure to consult with your doctor before trying something new! 

TimeSpeed Range (mph)Incline RangeEffort Level (out of 10)
0:00-2:002.5-3.5 (walk)1.02
2:00-4:002.5-3.5 (walk)2.03
4:00-5:002.5-3.5 (walk)3.04
5:00-7:004.5-6.5 (jog)1.05
7:00-7:307.0+ (sprint)0.09
7:30-8:002.5-3.5 (walk)0.03
8:00-8:304.5-6.5 (jog)0.05
8:30-9:007.0+ (sprint)0.09
9:00-9:302.5-3.5 (walk)0.03
9:30-10:004.5-6.5 (jog)0.05
10:00-10:307.0+ (sprint)0.09
10:30-11:002.5-3.5 (walk)0.03
11:00-11:304.5-6.5 (jog)0.05
11:30-12:007.0+ (sprint)0.09
12:00-12:302.5-3.5 (walk)1.0-2.03
12:30-15:004.5-6.5 (jog)2.06
15:00-15:302.5-3.5 (walk)2.0-3.04
15:30-17:004.5-6.5 (jog)3.06
17:00-17:302.5-3.5 (walk)0.03
17:30-18:004.5-6.5 (jog)0.05
18:00-18:307.0+ (sprint)0.09
18:30-20:002.5-3.5 (walk)3.03
Want to download this 20 Minute Treadmill Workout? Click here

Will a 20 Minute Treadmill Workout Be Enough? 

Yes, the workout has a fair amount of sprinting. Yes, it has some incline work as well. But, will it really be enough to improve fitness and help shed a few pounds? 

In short, YES! They have found again and again HIIT to be both beneficial and effective. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, they found HIIT exercises such as the one above aren’t necessarily better than traditional longer workouts, but that they achieve very similar results in a fraction of the time! 

Because you can burn as many calories in a 20 minute HIIT treadmill workout as you would with a 50 minute traditional, steadier paced workout, you can still lose weight even with the busiest of schedules! 

Benefits of a 20 Minute Treadmill Workout

While we now know that a 20 minute treadmill workout is, in fact, enough to help you with your fitness and weight-loss goals, let’s break down the benefits even more! 

Efficient

The Mayo Clinic suggests that individuals who are looking to lose weight workout a minimum of  150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercises (like walking, etc) or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (like HIIT). By incorporating this and other 20 minute treadmill workouts, you can literally cut your workout time in half and still achieve results! Talk about efficiency! 

To meet the recommendation this way, you could simply workout 3 days per week, two of which being the workout above and one being a longer HIIT training with a 35 minute session. 

Effective

HIIT workouts on the treadmill are incredibly effective. It’s been found that HIIT not only burns calories during your workout but also burns calories for hours after you are done! It’s also been found to improve metabolism, help with losing fat, and increase muscle mass and strength!

Convenient

Not only are 20 minute treadmill workouts incredibly effective while also being time efficient, they are also convenient. Because we designed this HIIT workout for a treadmill, it’s not contingent on the weather. It eliminates the excuse of it being too hot, too cold, or too rainy.

If you have a treadmill in your home or a gym in your building, it’s even more convenient. That means that it can be whenever your schedule sees fit. 

Early in the morning? Midday? Late at night after the kids are in bed? You make the call, and you don’t have to wait around for anyone, the weather, or anything to stand in your way of your 20 minute workout! 

Tips for Success

Now that you know exactly why and how a 20 minute treadmill workout can help you lose weight and reach your fitness goals, let’s circle back to the workout mentioned above. Everyone is different, so everyone’s definition of a successful workout will also look different. 

Think of the workout above as more of a guide while following the tips below…

Know Your Abilities

Before getting started, review the workout, noting your personal abilities and limitations.

On the workout, you can see a variety of suggestions. Know that they are simple suggestions! Maybe you’ve never run in your whole life? If that’s the case, you know that completing 5 “sprints” isn’t something you’re quite ready for, and that is okay! 

If you are very familiar with HIIT and you know that the 1:00 rest (30 second walk, 30 second jog) is too long, then note that.

Customize the Workout to Fit You

With your current abilities in mind, use this model to customize the workout for you! Keep the times and effort levels the same, but play with your pace. Maybe you can only walk at a 2.0 right now and your jog feels more like a 3.5, then do that! 

You are the expert on you. With the goal being rest with spurts of high intensity, you know best on how to accomplish that! 

Listen to Your Body

Last, it’s important to listen to your body throughout the duration of your workout. On the far right of the workout, you will find the effort level. For example, if you are feeling like the “jog” portion is more of a 7 or 8 out of 10, leaving you breathless, then you should scale the pace back. 

If your body isn’t ready for incline yet, then work your way up to that. Take your time and customize the workout to fit you and your current fitness abilities.

Photo of author

Jessica Meacham

I’m a former college athlete turned marathon-running and outdoor exploring mom of two little ones. From hiking through Iceland to paddle boarding in Lake Tahoe, our family is always up for a fun adventure that incorporates fun and fitness!
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