Health & Fitness

What Is the ’12-3-30′ Workout? Our Fitness Expert Explains How Walking Can Aid Weight Loss

  • The “12-3-30” walking workout has gone viral on social media, with more than 12 million views on TikTok.
  • Internet personality Lauren Giraldo, 23, created the walking routine to include a steep incline on a treadmill to boost weight loss efforts.
  • Our fitness expert says that walking for weight loss is indeed a real-life attainable goal for almost all — and that an incline can be good for your workouts, if you know where to start.

    Walking is one of the easiest ways to get moving on any given day, and getting your steps in can be a great way to get your heart pumping. The beauty of walking is that it can be done anywhere; outside in your neighborhood, in the park on a long trail, at the beach, all completely free! Getting those 30 minutes of walking in each weekday is a great way to keep your heart health in check, as the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of aerobic movement each week. But if you have access to a treadmill, supercharging your walking routine may actually speed up any weight loss goals you have in mind.

    That was certainly the case for Lauren Giraldo, a YouTube and former Vine personality turned TikTok influencer who shared the secret to her recent 30-pound weight loss with millions of followers. She tells fans that she began walking, as opposed to running, to get into shape over two years ago. “I used to be so intimidated by the gym, and it wasn’t motivating,” she told viewers. “But now I go and do this one thing, and I can feel good about myself.”

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    What exactly is the 12-3-30 workout? Lauren explains clearly in her TikTok review, which has amassed nearly 12 million views on the social platform and over 12,000 comments from viewers. The routine is simple to mimic on your own:

    1. Set your treadmill to a 12% (or point) incline setting when you first step onto the machine.
    2. Bump up your walking speed to three miles-per-hour.
    3. And break a sweat over the next 30 minutes.
      1. Since walking has earned a reputation for being one of the easiest ways to get moving, it’s clear why so many social media users have been energized by Lauren’s 12-3-30 routine. And because there’s an incline involved, your body certainly reaps more benefits than before, explains Stefani Sassos, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian and certified fitness professional within the Good Housekeeping Institute. “Walking on a treadmill is a great way to introduce yourself to exercise since it’s intuitive, and doesn’t require much thought or skill to start,” she adds. “Incline walking, in particular, is a great lower-impact alternative to running that can instantly up the intensity in your workout.”

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        Incline walking in particular activates many muscles throughout your body, not just within your legs, Sassos explains, and can help tone your entire lower region (and back!), as well as help you increase your cardiovascular stamina while burning calories. But as this kind of walking is truly a form of vigorous exercise (really, get ready to break a serious sweat!), those who aren’t already physically active may want to start on a 6-3-30 plan at first — you may risk hurting yourself otherwise.

        “Incline walking, especially at extreme inclines, can put stress on the lower back among other areas, including the hamstrings and knees. Moving solely in what’s known as the sagittal plane — moving front and back — can lead to an increased injury risk over time,” Sassos explains. “Our body needs to move in all dimensions and directions, which include front to back motions, but also side to side and twisting motions, to create stability and balance so we’re not just overcompensating with a single joint or muscle.”

        Since three miles per hour is a standard walking speed, it’s a good target speed for a new treadmill routine. But listen to your body when it comes to setting an incline, and think about adding in your own set of warm-ups and cool-down sessions (no incline!) after your routine is through, Sassos advises. “I wouldn’t advise going from sitting down all day to hopping straight into a 12% incline on a treadmill,” she adds.

        All in all, however, this may be one of the first TikTok fitness and health trends that experts like Sassos are truly excited about. “Activity is always a good idea, and if incline walking seems attainable to you and inspires you, put on some great music or a podcast and go for it!” Sassos says. “Ease in with a lower incline, and try intervals instead of going for 30 minutes straight at first.” For more exercise inspiration and ways to upgrade your current routine, check out some of the easiest exercises you can do at home now.

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