I am interested in starting a HIIT regimen to maximize my fat loss but the issue I am having is that it takes a while for the treadmill to speed up and slow down. I am trying to start by doing 30 second sprints going at 9-10 miles per hour followed by 30 second slow jogs/walks going at 3-4 miles per hour but the treadmills at my gym take about 10-15 seconds to speed up and slow down from those speeds, meaning I cant have the full 30 seconds of sustained sprinting or restful walking.

What should I do to make this work? How to you guys factor in how long it takes the treadmill to speed up and slow down?

  • 3
    Is there a reason you are limited to just the treadmill? You could also use a (spinning)bike and/or free weights for HIIT training. You could also go outdoors and do sprints there. There are tons of options besides the treadmill. Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 5:26
  • Good point! but the reason why I want to stay on the treadmill is because I want keep track of my speed. Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 6:05
  • 1
    Does knowing your speed really help you reach goals? And what about bike and/or free weights? Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 6:13
  • The bike and free weights don't burn as many calories per time spent exercising. The treadmill seems to be the most efficient to me. Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 7:15
  • 4
    Consider using a rowing machine.
    – rrirower
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 18:31

3 Answers 3


You've got a few options, though honestly none of them are going to fit your ideal scenario.

1) As Kevin Lee suggested, just do 30 seconds sprint, let it slow down and do 30 seconds walking. You're still doing intervals. If you're worried about the time that the treadmill is spending changing speed, then shorten your walking period to take that into account.

2) Get off the treadmill and go sprint outside (up a hill is better). No, you can't keep an accurate record of the speed, but it probably doesn't matter that much as long as you're still going all out during your sprinting periods. This has the added benefit of being self limiting, so as you get more tired, you'll naturally sprint slower, instead of stumbling on the treadmill and ending up embedded in the vending machine opposite.

Also, unless you're using the treadmill on an incline, sprinting outside recruits the hamstrings a lot more, so is a much more complete exercise.

3) Use the hop on / hop off method. Get the treadmill up to your sprint speed, sprint for 30 seconds, then, using the sides / arms / grips / non-moving-parts-within-reach bits of the treadmill, hop off so you're standing with your feet either side of the moving belt. After your rest period, (slowly!) lower yourself onto the moving belt and sprint again.

I've seen a few people use this method, and it seems to be a reasonably good option. Obviously, you're not getting your walking periods in, you're only getting the sprinting parts, but they're arguably the most important bits of HIIT.

4) Use another machine that makes it easier to adjust the speed, i.e. exercise bike or rower (as suggested in the comments). If you want the most bang for your buck and a challenge, do tabata front squats. If you can still walk afterwards, you're not going hard enough :)


Do you live near a track or in a good neighborhood to run in?

Do this outside - make it fun.

Do Intervals in Sets and Reps - Get AWAY from using time

  • There's nothing in life that's fun and consists of you "watching the clock" why add cardio to that list?

  • Use a set distance instead -- it gives you an insensitive to push yourself. The harder you work the sooner you can relax.


Just do a full 30 seconds at the sprint speed and a full 30 seconds at your walking speed. It will still be considered a HIIT workout.

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