Image from Unsplash
Fitness is one of the best forms of self-care. When we exercise with gym equipment like the best treadmills there are to offer, we boost our muscles and stamina, allowing us to function better throughout the day. Another reason exercising has been so beneficial to our bodies is its properties with fitness. When burning calories, we think of jogging or cycling. But for gym machines, the question is: Should we choose a treadmill or exercise bike for belly fat?
Exercising with gym equipment increases the health benefits of exercising without one. Working out on a treadmill or exercise bike can boost your cardiovascular health-also known as heart health. It helps increase bone health, regulate blood sugars, and improves sleep quality for a better lifestyle.
Using cardio equipment like treadmills and exercise bikes helps convert our body fat into muscles while making our fitness journey easier. But when weighing the two, which is more effective in burning calories such as belly fat?
Do treadmills and cycling reduce belly fat?
Image from Pexels
Our body needs physical activity for muscle toning by losing weight, and we can improve our workout plans by using exercise machines to burn body fat more effectively with the right diet and rest.
When it comes to burning calories, it’s best to use equipment that can move our entire body. An exercise bike and a treadmill are two of the best options for cardio and aerobics.
A full body workout is the most effective to burn calories converting them to muscles to have a toned body. Exercise bikes and treadmills are a few of the most common and best tools to help us move our entire body during aerobic exercise by giving us more control and options for our body type.
Which exercise machine is best for losing belly fat?
Image from Pexels
Despite both being effective tools for weight loss, finding out which machine works better for you depends on your body, lifestyle, and fitness level when burning abdominal fat.
Our fitness levels mean our ability to perform tasks and recover from them. It simply talks about our overall limit. Identifying this can help you adjust your fitness goals and improve them over time to increase your stamina, especially for working out.
While both treadmills and exercise bikes are great for weight loss, each can vary from the other when answering your needs.
Treadmills allow you to switch patterns when exercising with your weight while running or walking when working out, adding extra pressure. On the other hand, an exercise bike mimics cycling and adds back support. They are great for assisting balance and preventing injury risks.
To discover the best exercise equipment for you, here’s an in-depth comparison between the two:
Bike vs. Treadmill for belly fat loss
Images from Unsplash
Though both an exercise bike and treadmill provide great indoor workouts. Treadmills offer options for harder cardio exercise depending on whether you get a motorized or nonmotorized model. On the other hand, an exercise bike is more joint-friendly and focuses on muscle toning your lower body.
In a nutshell, we all have our specific needs. But there’s no denying that fitness equipment has its set of advantages over the others that can benefit you more.
Image from Unsplash
Running on a treadmill can help you burn more calories by strengthening various muscle groups faster than other aerobic exercises. It provides you with weight-bearing exercises that can help you build muscle mass better.
One of the best things about treadmills is since you’re moving your entire body, you’re burning overall body fat. Though this may be similar to running outside, you have more footwork control with a smoother surface and can be controlled with an incline.
If you ever need a change of pace, you can use an incline to walk upwards like walking on a hill. The extra gravity will help improve your workout performance, increase your heart rate, and increases weight loss when exercising.
- More workout plans and programs to do.
- One of the fastest ways for calorie burning
- Provides whole-body workouts
- Flatter surface that makes running easier for your joints.
- Adds extra pressure on joints and muscles.
- Higher injury risk for individuals when loss of balance.
- Limited options for multitasking
There are many ways to improve your workout plans for weight loss with a treadmill. Running on a treadmill faster for a longer period can increase calorie burning. You can work out with moderate-intensity or High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
Working out five times a week for 30 minutes at moderate intensity can help with weight management and lower the chances of heart disease. Your target heart rate during this should be between 50% to 70% of your maximum heart rate.
Moderate intensity workouts consist of fast walking or even walking leisurely. Briskly walking on a treadmill for 150 minutes a week can help with weight maintenance and heart health.
Though these workouts are great for maintaining weight, they burn fewer calories. If you are looking to lose weight effectively and faster, working with a higher intensity can provide faster calorie burning.
Many treadmills already have built-in HIIT programs in their control panel to choose from. They can last for 30 minutes which consist of warm-ups, HIIT intervals, and a cooldown. High-Intensity Interval Training helps you boost your treadmill sessions to lose weight quicker.
One goal for this to be effective is to work at 85% – 90% of your maximum heart rate. Most treadmills have built-in heart sensors on the handle for you to monitor your heart rate while working out.
Exercising in HIIT will keep your heart rate increased even after switching back to a lower-intensity workout. This will cause your body to build muscle even while recovering. During HIITs, speaking and breathing become harder as your heart pounds. You’ll be unable to speak for a moment. But after cooling down with a lower-intensity exercise, you will be able to breathe.
This workout intensity depends on the person. Fit people need to run faster or at a high incline while beginners can fast walk or use a lower incline setting.
However, precautions of doing HIITs on a treadmill concern individuals with chronic diseases. It is important to consult your doctor before working out to know if High-Intensity Interval Training is safe for you. Though it is highly effective for fat loss, it can be connected to injury risks due to intense movement.
Below is an estimated calculation of the calories burnt in 30 minutes when running on a treadmill according to miles per hour or intensity.
(Harvard University, 2021)
To boost your workout sessions on a treadmill, here are a few effective treadmill exercises to try:
30-Minute Fat Burning Treadmill Workout
- Warm up with a 2-minute walk and 3-minute easy jog at 0% incline
- Return to a walking pace then turn your body sideways. Get low into a squat position then proceed to do side steps for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other side.
- Easy-run for 2 minutes, this will then be alternated with side shuffles for 30 seconds on alternating sides. Repeat for 20 minutes.
- Cool down with a 5-minute walk at 0% incline.
- Turn off your treadmill and place your hands on the handlebars.
- Lean in and drive the running belt with your legs as hard as you can. Keep the running belt moving.
- Maintain this to burn as many calories as you can.
Note: For beginners, sprint hard for 10 to 50 seconds then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat this for 8 rounds.
- Warm up for 5 minutes off the treadmill, you can do dynamic drills like hip openers, high knees, and butt kicks. Follow this up with a 3-minute easy jog at 0% incline.
- Run for 30 seconds with 80% effort.
- Walk for 30 seconds with 20% effort.
- Repeat items 2-3 10 times.
- Jog for 2 minutes at a conversational pace to recover.
- Repeat items 2-3 10 more times.
- Cool down by walking for 3 minutes.
Note: a conversational pace refers to running or jogging at a speed that lets you speak without needing to stop every few seconds to breathe.
Incline Walking and Running Workout
- Set up your incline to 1.5% to 2.5%.
- Start running at a pace you can keep for 1 minute.
- Slow down to moderate walking or jogging for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Repeat this session for 15 to 20 minutes.
Image from Unsplash
Also known as a “stationary bike”; using one is perfect for a lower body workout that strengthens your leg muscles such as the quads, hamstrings, and calves.
Indoor cycling is a non weight bearing and low impact exercise that puts less strain on your muscles because of the weight supported by your seat. It’s a safer way to burn calories as it doesn’t require you to lift your feet off the pedals.
Working out on a stationary bike is a great way to increase your heart rate to lose weight effectively. Exercising at a higher intensity with a stationary bike can build muscle strength and burn calories, letting you burn up to 400 to 500 calories with the right diet and workout plan.
Stationary bikes also have different variations like a Spin bike and a Recumbent bike. Spin bikes resemble road bikes with their seats positioned higher, they also have heavier flywheels with higher resistance, making your legs work harder to move.
On the other hand, recumbent bikes mimic natural seats that can support your back. It’s perfect for posture support and senior citizens.
- Allows you to multitask
- Less pressure on the lower back
- Many variations that provide weight support
- Is a great workout for people with bad knees
- An effective workout for calorie burning and leg muscles
- Provides more balance and stability
- Safer than outdoor cycling or road cycling
- Less bone-building benefits
- Burns fewer calories compared to other full-body workouts with the same exercise intensity
Exercising with stationary bikes burns fewer calories. But with the correct workout intensity, you can reach the perfect heart rate to boost your body and successfully burn enough calories.
Moderate indoor bikes can still cause calorie burn. According to Harvard University, the moderate pacing for cycling is 12 to 13 miles per hour. Biking at this rate can burn from 210 to 355 calories depending on your weight.
High-intensity intervals allow you to burn more calories on a stationary bike with heavy workouts. This happens when a person is too hard and can no longer talk when biking. This shows that their heart rate is high because of the intensity.
The faster you are cycling, the more intense. This means more calories may burn and help you with weight loss. Because of this, a 185-pound person can lose up to 733 calories.
Here’s the estimated number of calories burnt in 30 minutes when exercising with a stationary bike according to workout intensity.
(Harvard University, 2021)
To improve fat burning with a stationary bike, here are some helpful workouts you can do:
Moderate Weight Loss Workout Plan
- Warm up by pedaling at a low intensity for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Switch up to medium intensity for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Do alternate cycling between high intensity for 1 to 3 minutes and medium intensity for 3 to 5 minutes for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Pedal at a low intensity for 5 to 10 minutes to cool down.
Intro to Hill and Speed Intervals
- Warm up by pedaling at low resistance and high tempo for 5 minutes.
- Do an alternate of 30 seconds on and off. Switch up the resistance and speed level for 10 minutes. Cycle at an exertion level of 8-9/10.
- Cycle at an exertion level of 3-4/10 for 5 minutes.
- Cycle alternately from a 3-minute climb at a resistance level of 6-7 and 2-minute easy cycling to recover. Repeat this for 15 minutes.
- Do another alternate of 30 seconds on and off. Increase the resistance and speed level compared to no. 2 at an exertion level of 8-9/10. Repeat this for 8 minutes.
- Cool down for 5 minutes of easy pedaling
Note: Your exertion level pertains to how hard you feel your body is working. This is based on your body’s reactions such as increased heart rate, breathing rate, sweating, and muscle aches.
- Warm up by pedaling at a low resistance level and medium pace for 5 minutes.
- Start pedaling at a light resistance level and high-intensity pace for 30 seconds, then do 30 seconds of easy pedaling. Repeat this 5 times.
- Switch to medium-intensity cycling for 5 minutes.
- Pedal at a high resistance level but low speed for 30 seconds. Proceed to 30 seconds of easy pedaling. Repeat this pattern 5 times.
- Cool down for 5 minutes.
Bottomline – treadmill or exercise bike for belly fat?
Frankly, it all falls into personal preferences on whether a treadmill or indoor cycle would be safer and more effective for your body type.
Doing physical activity is easier when matched with the perfect equipment for your body and calories are burned faster with the right lifestyle and workout plan used.
Nonetheless, both a stationary bike and a treadmill are great for an overall body workout that can help you lose belly fat for good!
Anne, Melodie. “How Much Weight Can You Lose on a Treadmill after Six Weeks?” Healthy Living, 21 Nov. 2017, https://healthyliving.azcentral.com/much-weight-can-lose-treadmill-after-six-weeks-18316.html
Becks Shepherd. “Is the Treadmill Good for Losing Weight?” Livescience.com, 24 Sept. 2021, www.livescience.com/is-the-treadmill-good-for-losing-weight.
Biddulph, Maddy, and Scott Dutfield. “Are Exercise Bikes Good for Weight Loss?” LiveScience, Purch, 8 June 2022, https://www.livescience.com/are-exercise-bikes-good-for-weight-loss.
Bumgardner, Wendy. “Your New Treadmill Walking Plan for Weight Loss.” Verywell Fit, Verywell Fit, 5 June 2022, https://www.verywellfit.com/treadmill-walking-weight-loss-workout-plan-3436638
Calvert, Howard. “Recumbent Bikes vs Upright Bikes: What’s the Difference?” LiveScience, Purch, 29 Mar. 2022, https://www.livescience.com/recumbent-bikes-vs-upright-bikes.
KNAB, AMY M., et al. “A 45-Minute Vigorous Exercise Bout Increases Metabolic Rate for 14 Hours.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, vol. 43, no. 9, 2011, pp. 1643–1648., https://doi.org/10.1249/mss.0b013e3182118891.
Manlove, Jill. “7 Great Benefits of a Stationary Bike Workout.” Penn State PRO Wellness, 25 May 2021, https://prowellness.childrens.pennstatehealth.org/7-great-benefits-of-a-stationary-bike-workout/.
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S. “The Best Treadmill Workouts for Burning Fat, Trainer Says.” Eat This Not That, 21 Jan. 2022, https://www.eatthis.com/news-best-treadmill-workouts-burning-fat/.
Watson, Michael. “Benefits of Recumbent Bikes for Seniors.” Caring Senior Service, Caring Senior Service, 21 Apr. 2022, https://www.caringseniorservice.com/blog/recumbent-bikes.
Yoon, Jang-Gun, et al. “Effects of 16-Week Spinning and Bicycle Exercise on Body Composition, Physical Fitness and Blood Variables of Middle School Students.” Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, vol. 13, no. 4, 2017, pp. 400–404., https://doi.org/10.12965/jer.1735052.526.“Exercise Bikes and Their Health Benefits.” PowerMax Fitness, https://www.powermaxfitness.net/exercise-bikes-and-their-health-benefits-bd-122.html.
“What Are Some of the Best Stationary Bike Workouts?” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/stationary-bike-workout#bike-types.
“Your New Treadmill Walking Plan for Weight Loss.” Verywell Fit, www.verywellfit.com/treadmill-walking-weight-loss-workout-plan-3436638. Accessed 6 Sept. 2022.
“3 Health Benefits of Treadmills.” American Home Fitness, https://americanhomefitness.com/blogs/news/3-health-benefits-of-treadmills.
“4 Fat Burning Workouts on the Treadmill.” Technogym, 26 May 2021, https://www.technogym.com/us/newsroom/fat-burning-workouts-treadmill/.
“7 Ways Treadmill Workouts Can Benefit Your Health.” Healthy Talbot, 22 Sept. 2021, https://healthytalbot.org/topics/7-ways-treadmill-workouts-can-benefit-your-health/#:~:text=Treadmill%20working%20is%20an%20aerobic,to%20pump%20blood%20more%20efficiently.
I am a physician who cares about healthy living. I strive to be as healthy as I can be so that I can thrive in my own life. By sharing what I know I want to help others to live a healthy life.