Dread the tread? Try out these simple tweaks to maximize every minute in your treadmill workouts.

By: Amanda Cubello

We’re all too familiar with the row of stationary cardio machines glaring at us as we enter the gym. The continuous track beckoning us to try and keep up as we clock in our daily minutes– all the while cursing to ourselves as we pound our rubber-bottomed soles through each mile.

If you’re tired of the tedious, no-variety-included, steady pace run, you’re not alone.

Though the gym staple has potential for various exercises, treadmill users tend to stick with the boring, same-pace workouts. But why make cardio day more agonizing than it needs to be? In 30 minutes, this painfully boring workout only burns about 260 calories for the average individual.

It’s time to reenergize this by busting boredom while burning serious calories with these easy treadmill tweaks:

Hill Workouts

Whether you’re a runner, walker, or a mixture of the two, the incline setting will maximize your workout. As opposed to flat surfaces, an incline increases leg muscle activation, improves heart function, and allows for greater fat and calorie burn!

According to LiveStrong, a 160 lb. individual walking at 4.0 mph with incline will burn 145 calories in 30 minutes, however, that same individual will burn approximately 243 calories in the same 30 minutes by raising the incline 5 percent, and 345 calories for a 10 percent grade incline.

It’s time for a little elevation.

Interval Training

Spice up your steady pace workouts by throwing in some intervals. What’s great about these minute-to-minute workouts is that you’ll not only increase calorie burn during your training, but you’ll continue the burn long after you’re finished. By frequently changing speed/incline, you’ll also increase your speed, stamina and muscle strength.

Try this high-intensity interval workout by Shape Magazine to burn 500 calories in 30 minutes!

Upper-body Strength Training

Step outside the box by using this cardio machine for some arm exercises. Tricep dips, planks, chest presses, and push-ups are just some of the upper-body exercises you can do while keeping your heart rate up and all of your muscles engaged.

What’s great about these exercises is that there’s no extra equipment needed and can easily be incorporated into any treadmill workout.

Move in all Directions

Who says forward is the only way? Try adding side-shuffles, backward walking, and mountain climbers into your incline and interval workouts. This will challenge your balance while working your hips, thighs, calves, butt, abs, and oblique’s -- bringing your workout to the next level.

If you think you have a good grasp on balance, switch up the side-shuffles with grapevines.  

Challenge Yourself

When we get on the treadmill, we tend to focus on ourselves, but getting a view of the neighbor’s screen might not be such a bad idea. It could be the boost you need to amp up your workout.

Try grabbing the treadmill next to someone who runs at a faster pace than you do, then, try incorporating their speed into your workouts for 30 seconds, on and off. If you tend to quit your distance running halfway through, grab the machine closest to the person who runs three miles a day.

We naturally have that competitive side in us, now it’s time to use it for some good old motivation.

It’s time make cardio day a little less painful and maximize your treadmill workouts with these simple tips. Why complain about your training when you can enjoy it?

By: Amanda Cubello | @amanda_cubello