How to Make Sure Your Treadmill Purchase Pays Off

Your First Workout

What do you need? It’s really all optional. The most important thing is to get going, but here are a few things that can make your workout even better.

  • Heart rate monitor: Using this can make it easier to judge whether you’re working at the right level. If you’re just starting out and don’t have one, try using a “perceived rate of exertion” (from 1-10) and keeping your effort right around a six for most of your first workouts. (can add a small window, see below – Need help calculating your heart rate?)
  • Towel
  • Workout clothing: Nothing fancy. Some clothes you can move (and sweat!) in and a sturdy pair of walking or running shoes are all you need.
  • Water
  • Your favorite playlist or TV show
  • Set up your space (Click back to page three – getting started, things to consider)

Make Your Plan

  • For weight loss and optimum health, plan on working up to using your treadmill at least three days a week. Start out with an easy workout of simply walking for 30 minutes. As you grow stronger, start to add in challenges using the interval or hill setting a couple of times per week or begin to alternate periods of jogging with your walking. You can also look for a beginner’s running program online (try doing a search on couch to 5K – or link to our Sofa to 5K program). Alternate these workouts with simple recovery workouts, such as walking outdoors or using your treadmill at a less challenging pace.
  • Think about a weekly increase of approximately 10 percent. Start with half-hour workouts every other day (90 minutes per week) and add on about 10 minutes per week until you’re comfortable working out for an hour or more each day. While it will take some time to get to this goal, you’ll avoid injury and stress on your body as it gradually adapts to the demands of your new fitness program.
  • For the most success, start slowly, perhaps every other day, and work up to daily workouts for optimum health and weight management benefits.
  • This may seem overwhelming at first, but remember that if you have time to watch your favorite one-hour TV drama, you have time to work out. Only you can achieve your fitness goals. Stay motivated and focused and you will see results.
  • Your Warm-up: Unless you’re recovering from an injury, you don’t need to “stretch” before you work out. Simply start at an easy pace and gradually increase your effort until you feel warm and just start to sweat. If you have a lot of tension in your shoulders, back, quads or calves, you may want to add a few minutes of stretching those areas after you warm up to get the most benefit from your stretching.

Beyond your First Workout

  • A well-rounded fitness program includes cardiovascular, strength and flexibility work. Try adding in some simple bodyweight exercises (such as squats, lunges and planks) at the end of your workouts for bigger benefits. And don’t forget your diet. Whether you’re focused on losing weight or just getting fitter, what you eat is at least as important as sticking to your workouts. After all, you can’t out train a bad diet. When you eat matters, too. For a faster recovery and higher fat burn, try to consume about a third of your daily calories in the window immediately before to approximately 90 minutes after your workout. You can do this by snacking on a piece of fruit before your workout and having a healthy meal about an hour after.
  • Don’t be afraid to shake up your routine. Your treadmill comes with a variety of programs and the capacity to choose manual settings. If you’ve been doing steady cardio for a while, try adding in some speed or incline for a bigger challenge, or use your treadmill for cardio bursts between strength training circuits done with resistance bands or body weight. Changing up your routine will help you get results week after week, and it will keep boredom at bay.
  • Joining a real or virtual community can keep your workouts challenging and fun. Look around for local walking clubs or on-line fitness challenges that can bring motivation and energy to your daily workouts. Some machines even let you download your workout data for easy sharing and to get you to your goals even faster. You can also share your workout and nutrition goals, successes, challenges and questions with the Horizon Fitness community on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

As you get fitter, your maximum heart rate will naturally increase, which lets you work out harder and longer. This calculator will give you a target range for your first few workouts to make sure you’re staying in your aerobic training zone.