Running on a treadmill might seem a little boring, but for elite runner David Siik, 35, it’s the best form of fitness around. In fact he swears that a good hard run can burn more calories than any fancy studio or boot camp class.
“It’s hard to burn more calories doing anything else, it’s why people say 'Oh I hate running' it’s because it is a lot of work,” Siik told FoxNews.com.
After breaking records in track and field in college, Siik continued to pursue his passion for running as a fitness instructor and celebrity trainer. It wasn’t until treadmill classes started popping up in metropolitan cities across the U.S that he realized people were running incorrectly.
“We’re in the age of cell phones on the treadmill and I’m concerned about it. Put your phone down, and don’t watch TV-- focus on just the workout, when you do that you’ll get so much done in a short amount of time.”
To get people to stop hating the treadmill, Siik created a training program that's nothing like your typical treadmill workout. He calls it the Balanced Interval Training Experience, or the BITE method, which blends intervals of sprint-training with distance running.
“It’s the running definition of HIIT (high intensity interval training)—so HIIT training but done in running,” Siik said.
Just like in trendy HIIT workouts, the BITE approach also blasts a ton of calories in a short amount of time, Siik said.
“It’s a big calorie burn-- but when you do the balanced version of it you also strength train your body, you get a tighter stomach and the cardiovascular benefits from doing interval training is just tremendous,” he said.
After turning the BITE method into a treadmill-based fitness class known as a Precision Running at Equinox, Siik decided to share the signature formula in his new book "The Ultimate Treadmill Workout."
In the book, the workouts are based off of your personal best run (PBR), the fastest you can safely run for 1 minute. For example, in the first run of week one, Siik gives you a series of 60-second intervals in two segments. Each minute interval alternates between running and recovery periods to complete a short 20-minute run. You start 1.5 mph under your PBR and increase your incline by 1 percent for each subsequent interval of 60 seconds.
Fast changing intervals can even help take the boredom out of running endless miles on the treadmill.
"Having intervals that mix things up, that push you throughout your work out has been a way to really stay engaged," Emily Soukas, a Precision Running class participant told FoxNews.com.
Over time, the program can also help increase stamina, endurance and strength.
“I take a lot of cardio classes at Equinox and I have found that the running classes that I’ve taken here have really helped my endurance throughout all other areas of my fitness as well,” class participant Emma Blackmore told FoxNews.com.
To create a balanced experience that keeps you conditioned without getting hurt or injured, Siik incorporated a warranted safety guideline.
“I was really concerned that people weren't really understanding that there are consequences for sprinting on too big of an incline all the time,” Siik said. “So after a lot of research and really digging into what happens to the body on an incline, we created the 5 percent incline guideline-- we don’t do any maximum sprinting over a 5 percent incline so that you aren’t putting too much pressure on your lower back. We just recalculated the work load so it feels better.”
Other critical mistakes to correct on the treadmill include:
Running too close to the front of the treadmill
“It will screw up your posture and it messes up your natural stride and gait-- and all that’s a chain reaction, so eventually it affects your body really negatively,” Siik said.
Stepping on a moving treadmill
“It’s not natural, it’s like stepping out of a fast moving car, don’t speed up your treadmill and then step on it, it’s dangerous for a lot of people and it's less work-- and again it's meant to be work,” he said.
“People get fatigued and and they start swinging. You should engage your arms parallel to your legs to keep that good arm drive, and so you don’t swing on your hips and pelvic. [By] having good arm drive, you suddenly get more ab work and less pain in your lower body,” Siik recommended.