What’s the 12-3-30 Workout and Why Is Everyone (Still) Obsessed? I Tried It to Find Out

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When I first heard about the 12-3-30 workout – an incline walking workout you do on a treadmill – I was only mildly intrigued. I prefer walking in the quiet, hilly woods near my house with my dogs since it’s a great workout and essential for my mental health. But sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate, so the 12-3-30 workout seemed a great indoor workout option.

Not to mention, it’s all over social media: videos captioned with 12-3-30 have raked up nearly 135 million views on TikTok alone. So I also wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

What Is the 12-3-30 Workout?

The 12-3-30 workout is a treadmill workout where you set the incline to 12 percent, the pace to three miles per hour, and you walk for 30 minutes. Yes, it’s that simple.

Influencer Lauren Giraldo first introduced the 12-3-30 workout on YouTube in 2019, but it didn’t become popular until Giraldo posted a TikTok about it in late 2020, crediting it for helping her lose 30 pounds and keep it off for two years. The workout has since gone viral – and stuck around. People all over social media call are calling themselves “12-3-30 girlies” or “12-3-30 babes”, sharing their love for the workout, how they’ve modified it, and also their 12-3-30 results.

12-3-30 Workout Benefits

Social media users love the workout because it’s straightforward – no interval timer or further instruction needed – and because it offers a challenging yet low-impact way to get in some cardio. That’s right: the 12-3-30 treadmill routine is great for your cardiovascular health, as it gets your heart rate up as much as going for a jog, without the impact on your joints.

The steep, 12-percent incline forces your body to work harder than walking on a flat surface, explains registered dietitian and NASM-certified personal trainer Nicole Rodriguez. This places more demand on your body, forcing it to expend more energy and getting your heart rate up. The 12-3-30 workout also has muscle-building benefits: Walking on a high incline also strengthens your glutes and thighs more than walking on a flat surface.

If you’re new to steep-incline walking workouts, ease into it to avoid injury or strain on your muscles. Gradually build up the incline, speed, and time as you’re ready, taking several weeks or months if you need. “I would deem this safe with physician’s clearance,” Rodriguez says, but if you’re struggling with knee pain or injuries of any kind, this workout may not be right for you – and that’s OK!

I Tried the 12-3-30 Workout

I decided to try the 12-3-30 workout for two weeks, doing the workout five times a week, because that’s what Giraldo said she did. I wanted to see how this walking workout compared to the rowing, running, and HIIT workouts I’d been doing in the past few months. Could a walking workout really be as effective? Keep reading to hear about my 12-3-30 workout results.

– Additional reporting by Lauren Mazzo

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