I tried the TikTok-viral 12-3-30 treadmill routine for two months—and I haven’t stopped since
This March, I’m celebrating a year of consistently going to the gym. A year ago, I was navigating through grief after a difficult break-up, and I needed something—anything—to keep my mind off it. I chose exercise (and a lot of therapeutic crying in between). If there’s one thing I did get from my ex who was a gym bro (but I would find out later on, a softie), it’s the discipline to keep moving regardless of what I’m feeling.
At the beginning of the year, I found myself so demotivated to return to the gym after all the holiday festivities. I inevitably gained weight, which I didn’t really find troubling, but it did ruin the discipline I had built over the past months. Enter the TikTok-viral 12-3-30 Routine.
12-3-30 Workout—is it effective?
The workout was created by TikTok star Lauren Giraldo all the way back in 2021 (but only recently became viral). It goes like this: On a treadmill, set the speed to 3 miles per hour, the incline to 12%, then set the timer to 30 minutes.
@danielapirescoach How I do cardio right now 🚶🏻♀️to burn calories for less stress and work ✌🏼#cardio #cardioworkout #walkchallenge #weightloss #fatloss #treadmillworkout #fitnesstips #fitnessmotivation #gymtok #fitnestiktok #onlinetrainer #femaletrainer #onlinefemalecoach #fitmomsoftiktok #fitmom ♬ How We Do – The game
After two months of continuously doing this exercise as the last step of my gym routine (three times a week), I’ve found that this type of low-intensity cardio has been the fastest way I’ve been able to target fat loss—that is, without having to watch what I eat (because I work out so I can eat guilt-free). With my asthma, running on a treadmill is a challenge, but with this exercise, I can easily burn an average of 250 to 280 calories per workout. In addition to my regular exercise, I can burn around 400 calories with just one session at the gym.
Pro-tip: If you’re ever wondering how I make those 30 minutes bearable, I listen to audiobooks! Currently, I’m listening to Oprah Winfrey’s bestselling book with Bruce D. Perry, MD, Ph.D., entitled What Happened To You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing. I highly recommend it!
What are the pros and cons?
According to RWL Editor and professional trainer Jenny Francis-Townson, in an interview with Women’s Health, there are many benefits to the viral workout. This includes building lower body strength, burning fats, improving cardiovascular fitness, strengthening bones, plus improving balance and stamina.
However, she has some words of caution for those who want to try it. She notes, “Walking on a very steep gradient for 30 minutes will put a lot of pressure on your lower back. If you don’t have solid posture or your core muscles aren’t strong enough to support you throughout, you could find your lower back takes the brunt of the strain, which can lead to problems and pain.”
She further adds, “If you’re not used to repetitive walking or running, you could also find [that] you feel pain in knees or ankles or calves due to overuse and the repetitive nature of this form of exercise.” Listen to your body! If 30 minutes seem taxing, cut the time in half.
How to find the motivation to work out
If you’re struggling to stay consistent with a workout routine, here’s something to keep in mind from ex-gymnast, personal trainer and psychologist-in-training Shona Vertue. Ironically enough, we have to stop relying on motivation to do the work. She reveals, “We have to do the thing that’s going to make us feel better before the motivation to do it is present.” This, in turn, will help activate healthy behaviors—even if you don’t necessarily want to do it (at first).
@shonavertue Struggling to stay consistent? Here is an awesome psychology concept that is usually applied (with other interventions) to depression or depressive symptoms – BUT i think its AMAZING for workout motivation. #workoutmotivation #fitnessmotivation #psychologytip ♬ original sound – Shona Vertue
You can also try “the 15-minute rule,” as shared by video creator and personal trainer Move With Maggs. Force yourself to do light exercises and set your timer for 15 minutes. If you like the feeling, you can continue moving. If not, that’s fine, too! But more often than not, our endorphins AKA happy hormones will make us want to keep pushing through.
If there’s something I’ve learned from a year of consistently working out, it's that I never regret ever going to the gym, regardless of which workout I pursue. I may not like the idea of hauling myself from my comfortable bed after a long day, but I always end up feeling so fulfilled after!
Art Macky Arquilla