The 12-3-30 workout
If you’ve scrolled social media recently, you’ve probably seen someone raving about the “12-3-30” workout. This viral cardio routine requires just 30 minutes and a treadmill—and no running. The hashtag #12330 now has over 145 million views on TikTok, and thousands of fans giving it a whirl every day. Its simple formula touts many potential benefits, like building strength, increasing stamina and aiding weight loss. Almost sounds too good to be true, right? NMTBP gives you the scoop on if it actually works!
Back in 2019, health and beauty influencer, Lauren Giraldo posted her treadmill workout—dubbed the 12-3-30 workout—to her YouTube channel. “I was out of shape and didn’t have a great relationship with fitness at the time,” Giraldo says. “I found a lot of the fitness advice and workouts online were extremely overwhelming and impossible to stick with long-term.” At the gym, Giraldo found weights intimidating and gravitated toward the treadmill instead. Through trial and error, the 12-3-30 workout was born – and then it took off on social media, including TikTok
What Is the 12-3-30 Workout?
The 12-3-30 workout is very straightforward. You set the treadmill to a 12% incline and walk at 3 miles per hour for 30 minutes. Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it?
Who should do the 12-3-30 workout?
If you are looking to start exercising, this is a great workout for beginners. You can even start at a lower incline or slower speed. Because walking on an incline builds strength in your glutes and hamstrings, it can serve as a stepping stone for strength training. Anyone who wants to get in a solid cardio workout – experienced and novice runners alike – can do this workout
What are the potential benefits of the 12-3-30 workout?
Just walking has many benefits of its own – like keeping blood sugar in check, strengthening the heart, boosting mood, contributing to weight loss and even helping to reduce risk of dementia. Plus, it’s more gentle on the joints than other cardio exercises, like running. The 12-3-30 workout is an easy formula to remember. It only takes 30 minutes, and while it’s challenging because of the incline and duration, it is simply walking—which is attractive to those who don’t enjoy running or who are unable to run
Adding the 12% incline intensifies this treadmill routine and drives up heart rate, mimicking an uphill hike. Doing it, you’re going to improve cardiovascular health and cardiovascular endurance and strength. Due to the incline, you should also improve strength in your lower body. Working against gravity on an incline makes you winded faster than, say, a walk in a park. So, short answer: Yes. This workout does have its benefits, but it shouldn’t be your sole source of physical activity—more on that later
How do you do the 12-3-30 workout?
The old adage, ‘Slow and steady wins the race,’ rings true with the 12-3-30 workout, too. Resist the urge to jump in too quickly, and take time to ease in. Begin with pre-workout stretches to activate your glutes, calves, hamstrings and hips. Then, gradually work your way to the treadmill. Start at an incline, speed, and duration that suit you instead of going for 12-3-30 immediately. It’s good to push yourself, but also make sure you’re listening to your body – duration, incline and pace can always be adjusted.
How often should you do the 12-3-30 workout?
Giraldo tries to do the workout every day. “It’s become less of a workout and more of a lifestyle,” Giraldo says.“I use it as my ‘me time.’ I put on a YouTube video or my favorite Netflix show and tune out the world.”
However, although the 12-3-30 workout has its benefits, adding other elements of physical activity is necessary for a more well-rounded routine. Many fitness fans are going all-in on 12-3-30—with some even doing it every day. In NMTBP’s view this will quickly lead to boredom and to your body becoming so used to the routine that diminishing returns will set in. So do the 12-3-30 workout two or three days a week max. Intervening days are better spent building up other muscles—like those of your core and back—by doing resistance- and mobility-based training or body-weight exercises at home
The Bottom Line
The 12-3-30 treadmill workout is an effective aerobic routine that gets your heart rate up, builds strength and endurance and may even contribute to weight loss when paired with a balanced diet. It’s memorable and requires one piece of equipment only, making it feel achievable for many. However, it’s no magic solution. For best results, stick to 12-3-30 a couple of days a week and use the remaining days to engage other muscles through strength and mobility training, a fitness class you enjoy or a walk around the block. You know your body best, so stay in tune with yourself and go at your own pace