The Truth About The 12-3-30 Workout

Have you ever heard of the 12-3-30 workout? Thanks to TikTok, a lot of people do now. Lauren Giraldo created this exercise routine and shared it on TikTok, where her video went viral. She says she was feeling unmotivated to go to the gym. One day Giraldo looked at the treadmill's incline settings and noticed the max was 12, so she set the incline at 12, the speed at three, and walked for 30 minutes. She does this about five times a week and has lost 30 pounds. She explains that she doesn't do any other workouts, doesn't count calories, and doesn't diet. 

That's where the 12-3-30 comes from — 12 for the incline, three for the speed, and 30 for 30 minutes of walking. Giraldo says she loves this workout because it's her "me time," which is the nice thing about walking on a treadmill. You can pop your earbuds in and listen to your favorite music or podcast and enjoy the time alone. Plus, cardio workouts have lots of health benefits

There are now many YouTube videos and other TikTok videos praising her treadmill workout, so it seems like a lot of people enjoy it. But Giraldo is not a fitness expert, so what do the experts and health organizations say about the 12-3-30 workout?

Is the 12-3-30 workout legit?

The 12-3-30 workout centers around walking, which is a good exercise most people can do. Healthline and the CDC recommend 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio five times a week for weight loss, and Giraldo's workout counts as moderate intensity. 

According to the CDC, a 154-pound person who walks at a speed of 3.5 mph for 30 minutes will burn 140 calories. Of course, this number might be different for you, especially since it doesn't account for the incline. Your treadmill might be able to tell you how many calories you're burning during the 12-3-30 workout.  

A certified strength and conditioning specialist tells Shape that you shouldn't jump on this trend right away, especially if you haven't exercised in some time. Walking at this incline for 30 minutes could cause injuries. Instead, start with no incline and increase it by one each week, working your way up to the 12-3-30. 

If you've already been walking regularly for a few months, whether on a treadmill or outdoors, you might be able to start at the 12 incline and go for 30 minutes. Don't forget about good form. Avoid curving your back and shoulders. Straighten your back, engage your core, and keep your shoulders back.