What is the 12-3-30 fitness trend on TikTok and does it work?

If you like to scroll on TikTok, you’ve probably come across a certain treadmill workout.

The 12-3-30 fitness trend is currently going viral on the platform, with more than 64 million views.

All you need for the workout is a treadmill, but there’s actually no running involved – it all comes down to walking.

But what exactly does the latest TikTok fitness trend entail?

Joanna Dase, a fitness expert at Curves, explains: ‘The treadmill incline is set to 12%, the speed is 3mph and then you simply walk for 30 minutes.’

So there you have it – the 12-3-30 formula.

Joanna adds: ‘The social media star, Lauren Giraldo, who created this workout states you shouldn’t hold onto the treadmills handles for the full 30 minutes and should also include a five-minute warm up and cool down without any incline, before and after the 30-minute workout.’

If you’re thinking of giving it a go – experts have shared everything to know…

Is it effective?

Joanna says that while the 12% incline is quite challenging, the 3mph speed of the workout means it’s very accessible.

‘One of the reasons this workout is so effective is due to how easy it really is,’ she adds.

‘When exercising becomes simple to do, and only requires one machine, you are more likely to stay consistent with your routine and see results.’

Joanna recommends trying the 12-3-30 twice a week and to mix up your exercise routine by doing a 30-minute total body workout for the other three days (along with two rest days).

She adds: ‘Twice a week you should allow your body to rest and recover. The 30-minute total body workout should incorporate upper body and lower body strength training exercises, cardio moves, and stretching – allowing you to work every major muscle group. 

‘With the 12-3-30, there will be a time where your muscles get used to the intensity of the exercise – so you want to add in a total body workout to counteract that and avoid hitting a plateau.’

Why is the 12-3-30 workout a good choice?

Improves cardiovascular fitness

Joanna stresses this particular workout is great for cardiovascular fitness.

She says: ‘12-3-30 is a great low impact cardio exercise that is bound to get your heart rate up as you briskly walk on the incline.

‘Inclines require your butt, back, and leg muscles to work harder to overcome gravity. As a result, your heart will beat faster in order to meet the demands of this muscular effort and your lower body will build more strength in the process.’

Burns calories 

Fiona Hawker, a fitness instructor also at Curves, says that you’ll burn a lot of calories during this workout, due to the steep incline.

She explains: ‘Walking uphill increases your heart rate and targets the muscles more in your hamstrings, calves and glutes while keeping it low impact. Any form of exercise that raises your heart rate, and challenges you, is good.

‘If you carry excess weight around your middle then doing this exercise could result in fat loss starting with the areas where you carry the most excess.’

However, Fiona stresses this exercise alone isn’t enough to lose weight.

If you want to lose weight (and keep it off), she says you should also follow a healthy and balanced diet.

It’s a lower impact activity 

‘The 12-3-30 workout is a great way to get moving/exercising with less impact,’ explains Danielle Lennon, a trainer at Barry’s UK.

‘So it would be beneficial for those with injuries, or those who can’t exercise at a higher intensity such as HIIT – but still want to exercise.’

Ruth Tongue, a nutritionist, sports scientist and pilates teacher, agrees and says that because the 12-3-30 workout is weight bearing (supports your own weight), it will also improve the health of your bones and joints. 

She says: ‘Walking uphill, not surprisingly, is harder work so utilises more calories and uses different muscles with a great emphasis on the posterior chain muscles – the large muscles of the glutes, hamstrings and calves, as well as the muscles that support our ankles.’ 

It’s not intimidating

Running can be intimidating, but this workout uses the treadmill for walking – something most people do every day.

‘Walking on a treadmill is accessible and an easy form of exercise for almost everyone,’ adds Joanna. 

Are there any cons?

Joanna adds that this shouldn’t be used as the only form of exercise to tone or lose weight. 

She explains: ‘A major con of this workout is that it doesn’t consider different fitness goals or levels. If you simply want to move your body every day, then walking on a treadmill is a great way of achieving that. 

‘However, it’s important to not always walk on a very steep gradient, as this can lead to lower back aches and pain if your core muscles aren’t strengthened enough. 

‘Even low impact movement can be intense if done for long periods of time, and it’s essential to take rest days between each session to recover.’

Experts also point out that doing the 12-3-30 repeatedly might not be a great choice if you suffer with knee or ankle problems, as it may aggravate these – especially if you don’t have a solid foundation of strength in your core, hips and legs.

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