What You Should Know About The 12-3-30 Treadmill Workout

If you spend any time on TikTok, you've probably come upon at least one video referencing the "12-3-30" treadmill workout which is taking the social media platform by storm. So many people have shared and posted about it that the original story has gotten lost. The workout was created by an average person (not a fitness expert) named Lauren Giraldo, who said in the original video that she had been feeling unmotivated to run on the treadmill at the gym, so she tried something different. She noticed that the incline on the treadmill went up to 12, so she selected the steepest incline, set the speed to 3 mph, and walked for 30 minutes (12-3-30). Doing this five times per week, she says she has lost 30 pounds. She adds that she accomplished this without dieting, counting calories, or doing any other workout. 

Since this is her own personal experience and not a workout or lifestyle plan created by a health professional, some are wondering whether  the 12-3-30 treadmill workout is actually effective, and if trying it — whether as a home workout or at the gym — is a good idea. 

What the experts say about the 12-3-30 treadmill workout

Healthline notes that 30 minutes of moderate cardio several times per week is recommended for weight loss, and as it turns out, the 12-3-30 treadmill workout qualifies as moderate cardio. The CDC agrees and explains that a 154-lb. person walking at a speed of 3.5 mph for 30 minutes will burn 140 calories, and that doesn't even take into account the very steep incline of this workout, which likely means a person would burn far more calories than that. While the exact results vary depending on your weight, fitness level, and general health, it seems that this routine is legitimate and effective. If you are not someone who is already getting regular exercise, Shape suggests starting with no incline and slowly increasing by one level each week. This will reduce the risk of injury which can occur if you jump right into the full workout.

There's also another benefit to the 12-3-30 treadmill workout beyond weight loss and improved fitness: mental wellbeing. According to Giraldo, she uses this half-hour routine not only to lose weight, but also to enjoy some time to herself without interruption or distraction. She says you can turn on music or a podcast and just enjoy listening while you walk. The emotional benefits of exercise are well known. According to True Fitness, cardio workouts can reduce stress, improve sleep, increase feelings of happiness, improve cognitive function, increase energy levels, and reduce anxiety, among other benefits.