If you are one of the many people who take care of your cardio needs on a treadmill at the gym or at home, I thought today I’d share a few tips that will not only shorten the time spent walking in place, but make your fat burn and muscle toning so much more effective! First, remember that you do not need to run to achieve an effective reduction of fat and a great toning of the legs and butt. Walking at a 4-8% incline while at a brisk and steady pace will get and maintain your heart rate into a fat burning zone, while lifting and toning your glutes. Second, do not – I repeat – DO NOT hold on! When have you ever walked up a hill holding on to something? I really cringe when I see people walking at a 15% incline while holding on to the readout panel. That’s a total waste of time and effort. Better to take the incline down to 8 or 9%, slow your pace down a tad (3.2-3.8 speed depending upon your leg length and stride) and walk without holding on. Third, try alternating your speed vs. incline every 1 minute. By alternating faster speed with less incline back and forth between slower speed and a steeper climb, you will confuse and thereby challenge your muscles more, while making sure to not plateau your heart rate. 20 minutes of this beats 40 minutes of straight walking or steep walking while holding on! Finally, if you feel confident and stable enough, try some more advanced moves, like side stepping (side shuffle), walking or trotting backwards, and lunge walks (at a very slow speed). If you need to hold on during some of these moves until you feel balanced, that’s okay. If you live in a climate where it’s too cold, wet, or hot to take your workout to the streets for many months, using these tips will transform the treadmill from a static boring machine to a challenging and fun exercise tool. Share with me your tips or successes on the treadmill!