How Long Should You Run On The Treadmill To Lose Weight?

Q: How Long Should You Run On The Treadmill To Lose Weight?

A: Zero Minutes.

I used to always choose the treadmill and elliptical instead of weights because I wanted to “burn a lot of calories.”⁣

I thought running for an hour and sweating like crazy, would make me burn more fat and look “toned.” ⁣

I was wrong.⁣ Cardio is a highly overrated weight loss strategy.

 I don’t know about you, but I’m BUSY and I don’t have time to waste doing things that don’t get me results.

& if you haven’t noticed yet, being a cardio queen  and spending hours at the gym on the treadmill, bike or elliptical everyday hasn’t done much for you.

(I’m going to take a wild guess and say you probably still look exactly the same.) ⁣

Cardio is great for your heart, cardiovascular health and all that BUT it won’t help you burn as much fat as you think.⁣

We end up prioritizing cardio over weights which keeps us stagnant and looking exactly the same 3 months out.

I often get emails like this from women who are feeling frustrated and going in circles in the search for the "best fat loss secret” kind of like this recent email:

"Hey Massi, I want to lose weight (which I know takes cardio) but on your website, you push for building muscle. Eventually, I'd like to build muscle but I have to lose all this fat in my gut and super thighs - let's not forget my love handles.” 

Sound familiar?

It makes me so sad to see women put a lot of time and effort into their routines only to be disappointed by their lack of results - especially because I can totally relate to this feeling.

Here's the tea: Adding more time on the treadmill is pointless if your goal is to change your body composition. 

Before you waste any more time on cardio I want to share one of my biggest secrets with you!

When you say I want to “lose weight” “get toned,” “slim down, but not bulk up,” "lift, shape or tighten my butt,” what you’re actually saying: “Masiel, I want you to help me build muscle.”

⁣”UGH, okay fine Massi - so what should I do instead?”

Glad you asked ;)

Lift weights and build muscle, and you’ll burn more calories all day long, not just while you’re exercising. ⁣

⁣Before you talk yourself out of it, don’t ex out of this blog yet… let me explain:

Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount of energy expended while at rest. ⁣

Many women have been afraid to lift heavier weights because we think we'll get bulky.

& to be honest, I used to think the same exact thing until I became educated on what strength training means and what building muscle actually does to our bodies.

As an online personal trainer and Fat loss and nutrition expert here's the spark notes of what I've learned:

  1. Women do not have the same genetic makeup as men. Therefore it's nearly impossible to ever get "bulky" by starting to lift heavier weights.

  2. Lifting heavier is going to do the opposite of making you look "bulky." ( the word Bulky is also largely subjective - but that's a different story for another day.)

  3. Building muscle is going to help you tighten, shape and tone your entire body faster.

The best part about building muscle and adding more resistance to your training program is that you can train your body for the results YOU want.

Not convinced that going to the gym to build muscle is the right thing for you yet?

Top 4 reasons you need to stop doing cardio and start building muscle instead:

#1. Muscle tissue is partially responsible for the number of calories burned at rest

Incorporating weight training into your routine will help you burn more fat than doing steady rate cardio. Why? Because lean muscle burns fat even when you’re not working out.

Every single one of my one-on-one clients starts with weight training. Whether they want to get rid of excess belly fat, lose 25lbs, tightening up their stomach or fitting into that two-piece - weight training is key.

If you have limited resistance to your muscles your body will not change.

Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount of energy expended while at rest. As your muscle mass increases, due to weight training, your BMR (the number of calories you burn at rest) increases.

In English, this means that the more muscle you build the more muscle you burn doing nothing.

Cardio isn’t efficient when it comes to burning calories because you only burn calories while you’re running.

Not much happens afterward. With weight training, you get more calorie burn in the long term which makes it easier for your body to maintain a healthy weight & lean body composition.

#2. Building Muscle Changes Your Body Composition For The Better

What is body composition?

Body composition refers to the proportion of fat and fat-free mass in the body.

A healthy body composition has a lower proportion of body fat and a higher proportion of fat-free mass. 

But More importantly, hopping on and off of a scale is not an accurate measurement of y our overall health & body image.

By keeping track of your body composition and seeing your results change over time, you can build a healthier body and enjoy a fuller, fitter (and happier) life.

A common question I get from my clients:

"My weight on the scale has barely changed and I don't know why? but my clothes fit better and everyone around me is noticing my weight loss. What’s happening?!"

Answer: Your body composition is changing however it takes you longer to notice because muscle is more dense than fat - therefore, the number on the scale does not reflect fat loss because muscle takes up less space than fat yet weighs MORE.

In other words, even when your body is changing the number on the scale might:

  • Stay the same

  • Not even move

  • Go up

When we get down to the nitty gritty - I want you to remember that the scale is just one weight loss tracking tool.

However, you are not a rock.

The number on the scale is going to fluctuate everyday because you eat, poop, pee, have stress, get your period, eat too much some times etc.

& that means you should give yourself some grace and use progress pics as a way to help measure your progress (every week and every year!)

This is why training at the gym and body composition is so important.

Here’s a visual to help you understand why you need to prioritize strength training:


The transformation of having less fat and more muscle on your frame can dramatically change the way you look and feel.

One of the first things I tell my clients is that your diet is what helps you lose weight, and weight training is what “tones you up.”

This can be very confusing and frustrating when you first start because it seems counter-intuitive.

But doing a million repetitions with pink dumbbells is essentially another form of cardio, and it’s not going to change your body shape.

Doing cardio does help with fat loss, but it only breaks down your existing tissue – leaving you with a soft, "skinny fat" look.

To get that coveted ‘toned’ look, you need to lift heavy weights.

#3 Excess Cardio Tricks You into Thinking You Can Eat More



How many times have you told yourself that because you ran for an hour you deserve to have that piece of cake or bowl of ice cream? (be honest!)

When we do a lot of cardio, we often tend to give ourselves the permission to overindulge.

Overindulging and binge eating = cancels out the results you've been working so hard for.

We burn the calories and then we put them back in which ends up canceling our workout.

There is not enough time in the day to burn off the extra calories that you just gave yourself permission to eat after your cardio. 

A good friend of mine (an avid runner) told me that when she's running she feels like she's burning more calories than when she's weight training. Why? Because she's sweating more and feels the burn immediately.

Weightlifting feels different from what you're used to and you may not sweat but that doesn't mean it's not effective.

If you were to put two women side by side -girl A who's a runner and girl B who's weight training at the end of her training girl A will look lean while girl B will look sculpted aka curvy. Cardio leans you up & strength training tones you.

#4. Strength Builds Confidence

As  you begin to look back at where you started and where you are now, you'll start to notice that not only are you losing fat in all the right places but you're also stronger.

When I started my fitness journey my two goals were 1.) Abs lol 2.) Confidence

I’ve grown a lot since then and now the most important thing to me is accepting my body. Embracing what I have and enhancing what I can.

I encourage my clients to do the same.

Because to be honest… it’s not about how much weight you lose, it’s about how you FEEL and how I can help coach you to no longer feel self-conscious and love the skin you’re in.

My ultimate goal is to show you the best version of yourself. The one who:

Doesn’t hate the way she looks

Or struggle with binge eats and struggles for months or years

Instead I want you to be the one who can look in the mirror and say “Damn, I’m dine!” * In my Cardi B voice*

Building muscle and accepting yourself AS YOU ARE builds strength and strength builds confidence.


  1. What is a round, shapely booty made out of? MUSCLE.

  2. How do you stop your arms/legs/belly from being jiggly? MUSCLE.

  3. How do you get a back that doesn’t produce bra-bulge? MUSCLE.

  4. How can you get rid of your fupa aka extra belly fat? By building MUSCLE!


Did you learn anything new in this post? If so, please let me know in the comment box below. I'd love to hear from you!

Your online personal trainer - Massi