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12-3-30 exercise for beginners: What is it and how does it work?

The 12-3-30 exercise took the internet by storm when it was first introduced on TikTok in November 2020, gathering over 150 million views worldwide. It was created by social media influencer Lauren Giraldo, who first shared the workout on YouTube in 2019. She claimed that the 12-3-30 helped her lose 30 pounds!


What is the 12-3-30 workout?

The term 12-3-30 is an abbreviation for walking on an incline of 12% on a treadmill at 3 miles per hour for 30 minutes. Yep, it involves zero running. Although it sounds simple, the 12-3-30 technique can really work up a sweat! Sure, walking is a simple activity, but it's pretty much the best low-impact cardio exercise there is. Walking continuously for 30 minutes, at a moderately high speed, at an incline? Yep, not easy!

Not only does the speed help you burn calories, the extra effort from climbing the incline makes it so much more effective. Lauren Giraldo mentioned in an interview that the gym she used to go to only had 12% as the max incline on their treadmills. That got her used to the incline and three miles per hour seemed comfortable for her.

And the 30 minutes? Her grandma used to tell her that 30 minutes of exercise a day was all she needed to stay healthy! She used to perform this five times a week, meeting the recommended guidelines of 150 minutes of exercise per week for average adults.


While this routine may take the wind out of you, weight loss is a whole challenge in itself. If you’re looking to lose weight with a 12-3-30 routine, you will need to watch your diet and lifestyle habits as well. While this can be performed as cardio, it’s important to also incorporate some strength training into your regime for the best results.


Before you try out the 12-3-30 workout, you may want to properly warm up your body. This exercise puts a lot of load on your lower body, i.e. your legs and even your back. If not warmed up properly, the ankles, calves, hamstrings, and lower back are especially prone to getting strained.


It is also important to start slow. Just because it seems simple doesn’t necessarily mean it is. It is advisable to start this exercise at a lower incline level, at a slower speed, and maybe for just 10 to 15 minutes. You can work your way up from there until you reach the target numbers.

Go ahead and give this simple workout a try! Most gyms come equipped with treadmills so it shouldn’t be too hard to find one. Be sure to properly stretch before and after, keep hydrating yourself, and breathe properly during this workout to get the best out of it. Stay safe!


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