The Viral "12-3-30" TikTok Treadmill Workout Is Simple and Effective

Mustafa Gatollari - Author

Feb. 22 2023, Updated 9:41 a.m. ET

Person working out on a treadmill
Source: Getty

When it comes to working out and increasing your muscle mass along with building up your endurance, consistency is key. However, if you're trying to get a lean and mean look by cutting fat, a lot of experts will agree that calorie deficits created by measuring food quantities and cardiovascular activity are great ways to get that done. But many find cardio challenging for a variety of reasons, which is why lots of people are intrigued by this TikTok treadmill workout.

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What is the "12-3-30" TikTok treadmill workout?

It's a cardio trend that was started by Influencer Lauren Giraldo who was looking for an effective way to burn fat and stick to a daily workout routine that was challenging but still doable.

While many folks will tell you that there are fewer cardiovascular activities that'll help you lose the pounds like jogging/running, some people find it difficult to stick to a running routine consistently.

This is especially true if you're heavier or are experiencing persistent joint pain. Running improperly could also exacerbate or cause injuries. While there are other pieces of exercise equipment one could use at the gym, like elliptical or rowing machines or bikes, these methods might not work for everyone, or maybe, you're just in a rut and want to try a new form of cardio, like long-form incline walking.

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It seems to have worked wonders for Lauren Giraldo, whose "12-3-30" method took the social media platform by storm. The theory behind it is simple: set a treadmill to an incline of 12 at 3 miles per hour for 30 minutes. Incline walking is super tough to maintain for long periods of time, so you'll be working out a bunch of different muscle groups in your legs.

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Three miles per hour is a slow pace on a flat surface and you don't have to run it, but on an incline, it can get particularly grueling, especially for 30 minutes. Several bodybuilders and fitness experts say that walking as an exercise is "underrated." Even boxing heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua suggests long walks for building up a sweat and burning muscle for those with bad knees/joints.

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Lauren said in an interview with Today why the exercise was so effective for her: "I'm not a runner, and running on the treadmill was not working for me. I started playing around with the settings, and at the time, my gym's treadmill had 12 incline as the max. The three miles per hour felt right, like walking, and my grandma had always told me that 30 minutes of exercise a day was all you needed. That's how the combination started."

But Lauren says that it took a while before she began enjoying the TikTok incline treadmill workout.

"I definitely had to work up to the 30 minutes. I couldn't get through it without losing my breath and started out by taking a break after the 10- or 15-minute mark," she said. "I used to be so intimidated by the gym and it wasn't motivating, but now I know I do this one thing and I feel good about myself. And I look forward to it. It's my me time."

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She praised the mental benefits of exercising as much as the physical changes she noticed in her body that "me time," as she calls it, gave her. Plus, there are numerous research pieces that confirm brain performance is boosted as a result of persistent cardiovascular activity.

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New to exercise? Start out with flat walking before graduating to any kind of incline.

Beau Burgau, a certified fitness trainer, told Shape that if you're new to exercise, maybe master 30 minutes of flat walking first at a moderate pace before adding an incline. "You should be able to walk on flat ground for 30 minutes straight before adding any kind of incline on the treadmill."

Lauren's 30 minutes a day of incline walking at this pace for five days a week helped her drop a whopping 30 pounds. So if you made a resolution to drop some pounds or are looking for a way to maintain your cardio routine without hurting your joints, you may want to try this trend out.

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