Is the 12-3-30 Treadmill Workout Right For You?

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Key Takeaways

  • The 12-3-30 treadmill workout is a fitness routine that involves walking at a 12% incline with a 3 mile per hour pace for 30 minutes.
  • Created by a social media influencer in 2019, the workout has picked up steam again in recent months.
  • Fitness experts agree that while this workout can add variety to a training program, it should be modified for individual training levels and supplemented with proper strength training.

If the 12-3-30 workout sounds foreign to you, don’t worry. It was to me too! Thanks to a video that the creator of the workout, Lauren Giraldo, shared in November 2020, this workout appears to be rising in popularity.

As with any exercise trend, it's important to consider the facts, listen to the experts, and be sure the workout in question is a safe and effective choice for you before incorporating it into your routine.

What Is the 12-3-30 Treadmill Workout?

Essentially, Giraldo’s 12-3-30 treadmill workout involves setting the incline on a treadmill to 12%, then walking at a 3 mile per hour pace for 30 minutes. She attributes this workout and how she adjusted her eating to the health transformation she embarked on in 2019 when she first introduced the workout.

Is It Right For You?

First, individualized training and nutrition recommendations are key, since we all know 2020 (and 2021 thus far) has forced us to adjust our workout and eating regimens thanks to gym closures, modified schedules, and food availability in response to COVID-19.

From a physical perspective, this workout may seem like no big deal if you were used to trekking up mountains before, but beware: your body may not have that same muscle stamina as before and needs to be retrained before jumping back into a 12% incline.

Assess and become aware of your current fitness levels (and equipment) before jumping into the 12-3-30 treadmill workout. If you do not own a treadmill and have accessibility to safely walk outdoors, there are benefits to doing so that won't require you to drop your money on a treadmill right now.

As far as nutrition, be cautious with taking advice from an influencer who is not a credentialed nutrition professional (like a registered dietitian nutritionist). Your nutritional needs are unique and should be tailored for your specific lifestyle and needs.

Spoiler alert: Giraldo was sponsored in the YouTube video to share specific branded products that may not be accessible nor right for you if you are looking to mimic her program.

While this workout and diet plan that Giraldo attributes to her health success may have fit her budget and personal dietary needs, it's not necessarily right for your personal needs.

What Fitness Experts Have to Say

Chrissy Carroll, registered dietitian, RRCA running coach, and USAT Level I Triathlon coach at Snacking in Sneakers, shares that walking on a treadmill can be a good alternative to consider for those who aren't a fan of running. "The benefit of using an incline can increase the intensity of a sweat session—boosting heart rate and ramping up calorie burn."

"Incline walking also increases the activation of certain muscles, like the glutes and calf muscles," Carroll notes. But, she does advise to use caution as "the full 30 minute workout at a 12% incline can be too aggressive for those who don't currently exercise regularly."

Carroll suggests if you're just getting started to work your way up to 30 minutes at a 1% incline until that feels comfortable, then adjust your treadmill settings progressively from there.

Similar to Carroll, Amanda Brooks, running coach and founder of the popular site Run to the Finish, advises that inadequately trained individuals who jump on this trendy workout “may end up holding onto the handrails during the workout because it feels too intense or steep.”

When this occurs, Brooks explains, it not only changes their form but can also lead to injury and reduce the overall effectiveness of the workout.

Brooks recommends those interested in this workout consider changing it up to add variety. For instance, she suggests incorporating timed intervals for the 30 minutes and modifying the incline and pace to make the workout more interactive and challenging based on personal fitness levels.

Individuals who are not adequately prepared for such a steep incline could be placing themselves at risk for injury if they jump into a 12% incline right away. Adjusting the routine to meet your current needs and adapt to your personal training progression is key.

Should You Do This Workout Every Day?

Simply put, no, please don't! Research shows doing any workout repeatedly day after day may result in a multitude of potential health hazards, including physical disturbances, overuse injuries, and burnout.

What This Means For You

Fitness and nutrition needs are completely individualized. While a viral trend like the 12-3-30 treadmill workout may be fun to give a try, it will not work for everyone. Assess your personal fitness and nutrition needs and work with a trained professional to safely meet your health goals this year.

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