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TikTok’s 12-3-30 Workout Is Everywhere Right Now. But Is It Actually Effective?

We asked personal trainers to weigh in.

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UnNext time you’re at the gym, take a look around and see who is doing the 12-3-30 workout. Chances are pretty high that at least a few people on the treadmill are doing this workout that went viral thanks to internet sensation Lauren Giraldo.

Giraldo posted a video on TikTok explaining how this workout helped her lose 30 pounds, and the rest is history. With more than 81 million views, people all over the world have tried this TikTok trend, the 12-3-30 workout, for themselves and many noticed pounds starting to come off within a few weeks. 

Now, you might be skeptical about whether the 12-3-30 workout actually works. If that’s the case, then you’re not alone. To get to the bottom of this, we’ve tapped two personal trainers to get insight behind this viral TikTok workout and see whether it’s effective and why it’s become so massively popular.

Without further ado, keep on reading to find out more about this viral workout that everyone can’t stop talking about. 

What is the 12-3-30 workout?

Well, the workout is in the name. It involves walking on a 12 incline at 3 miles per hour for 30 minutes. 

Why is it so popular? 

Aside from the viral nature of social media, this workout is popular, especially among gym newbies, for its simplicity. 

It’s great for people who are looking for something simple and easy to follow,” says Nikki Gnozzio, personal trainer and founder of Junction Bodyworks. “It makes it very easy for people to stick to and also share on social media.” 

Not only is it simple, but there’s not a huge time commitment required. For many people, exercise tends to get put to the back burner because they don’t have the time. This workout is only 30 minutes, which is more feasible for those with a tight schedule. 

I think something which is probably appealing to many is that it is a pace that is doable, at an incline, which adds a challenge, and a time frame that is not too time-consuming,” says running coach Julie Stackhouse.

What are the benefits of the 12-3-30 workout? 

While this 12-3-30 workout might help you lose weight the way most cardio would, it also can also help you tone and strengthen other important muscles.

“The 12-3-30 workout targets glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves, which are all essential to running performance,” Stackhouse says. “In general, working the larger muscle groups in this way leads to a great overall aerobic benefit, too.”

Plus, the simplicity of this workout makes it easy to track progress. It’s important to note that you may not be up to par to start with 12-3-30, and that’s OK. The key is to move your body in a way that is functional and beneficial for you. 

Essentially, anyone can set their own parameters that fit into their fitness level. Maybe 10-3-30 or 20-3-20 make more sense for your fitness level; it can vary,” Gnozzio says. “The key here is she chose numbers to strive for, was consistent training to these numbers, and eventually hit these goals.” 

How to maximize your 12-3-30 workout

After one 12-3-30 workout, you might not notice any major differences to your body, and that’s to be expected. However, similar to any other workout routine, in order to notice improvement, you’ll need to stay consistent. 

“Any workout routine you can follow for 30 days is more likely to stick, and consistency over time really is the entire ball game when it comes to improving in the endurance realm — or sticking with a fitness routine, in general,” Stackhouse says. 

Also, make sure you’re engaging in proper form during treadmill workouts. Yes, this means no hanging onto the handrails. You’ll benefit more from swinging your arms as if you were actually hiking on an incline. Stackhouse mentions that the calorie burn at a 12 percent incline is nearly double what it would be walking on a flat surface, so you’re going to have an even better workout. 

Overall thoughts on 12-3-30

The TikTok trend 12-3-30 workout is an easy and simple plan for gym newbies and can definitely help burn calories and improve cardiovascular health. With that said, both trainers suggest adding in a bit of strength training for a more well-rounded workout. 

“If you really want to see results regarding either increased strength or weight loss, incorporating strength training and interval training would be more effective than just 12-3-30,” Gnozzio says. 

While there is nothing inherently special about the 12-3-30 workout, it’s really the movement and activity that leads to results, and this is just one way to do that. 

“You must challenge your body in order to see change,” Gnozzio says. “If this is a challenge for you and you continue to do it daily, you will of course see improvement. If this workout is a walk in the park for you, you would be better off increasing the intensity of it.”