It doesn't take much to convince somebody of the exercise benefits of running. Anyone who has spent any time at all running knows just how taxing it can be on the body and how quickly it can get your cardiovascular system into shape. The fat burning effects of running are well-known as well; ever seen a chubby marathon runner?

At gyms everywhere one of the most prevalent pieces of equipment you can find is a treadmill. They are often stacked up along the wall and you can see folks waiting in line for their turn to run off the pounds. Those who have put in some time on treadmills will probably have graduated to the level where they are doing at least part of their workout on the simulated hill profile. The hill profile takes runners through a hill protocol running workout where the incline of the treadmill goes up and down during the workout simulating varying degrees of inclines you may encounter during a normal outdoor run. These hill profiles offer a real challenge to runners and greatly increases the amount of work done during a normal treadmill workout. Some folks can burn up to twice as many calories when running on a treadmill in an inclined position than when it is just flat. This is one of the reasons to work yourself up to these hill profiles, but why limit yourself to the treadmill? The simulated outdoor hill profiles on treadmills and cardio equipment in gyms were designed to simulate running on the open road. Why not just get out of the gym and go outside and find a REAL hill yourself?

Running on a treadmill can be great and if it's too rainy or cold outside it is a fantastic option. But in my opinion, running on treadmills is much less effective than running on hills outside. What could be better training than working out on the real thing? Many parks feature trails full of difficult hills that will allow you to run in a beautiful open air scenic environment and still get an incredible workout and it will beat the one you get on a real Hill profile treadmill machine hands down every time. Don't believe me? Go ahead and do 2 to 3 miles on a treadmill machine hill profile one day, and then the next hit a hilly trail and do the same 2 to 3 miles. If you don't feel the difference in your legs and the way your lungs are burning when you get done, then you're probably just lying to yourself. The uneven terrain provided by outdoor environments will put much more strain on your lower body to make sure that you stay balanced and will also utilize more oxygen than simply running a very smooth, padded surface such as a treadmill. In addition, the treadmill allows you to hold on to the machine itself for stability which folks often do as a quick cheat. Even holding on to the machine for 20 to 30 seconds while you take a drink from the bottle of spring water in your fancy cup holder, next to the built in fan, TV screen on the machine will distract you from the overall level of exercise you will get from this workout.

So the next time you want to complete a real hill profile workout, go outside and choose a REAL hill. Go outside and enjoy yourself and get one of the best cardiovascular workouts you can get by running hills in the open air.

Author's Bio:, aka Emile Jarreau, is a 31-year veteran fitness professional and co-owner of in Long Beach, California. Also having 19 years of bodybuilding and figure coaching experience, he specializes in fat loss and all its aspects and freely shares online resources to the world.