TikTok Tuesday: What's the 12-3-30?

The treadmill workout was created by Lauren Giraldo, a lifestyle vlogger and popular TikToker.

Emma Jones 4 minute read September 28, 2021
TikTok image

The 12-3-30 treadmill workout was created by lifestyle influencer Lauren Giraldo. GETTY

TikTok Tuesday is a new weekly series that looks at the latest health trends playing on TikTok that might sound good for you, but are more likely recycled fads that are questionably researched and well, just straight-up bad ideas.

The 12-3-30 TikTok trend is a low and slow burn where the treadmill is set to an incline of 12 and a speed of three miles per hour. This pace is kept up for 30 minutes.

The trend is attributed to Lauren Giraldo, a lifestyle vlogger and popular TikToker. She explains the practice helped her lose thirty pounds at a time when she felt insecure going to the gym.

“I’m not a runner, and running on the treadmill was not working for me,” Giraldo told TODAY.com. “I started playing around with the settings, and at the time, my gym’s treadmill had 12 incline as the max. The three miles per hour felt right, like walking, and my grandma had always told me that 30 minutes of exercise a day was all you needed. That’s how the combination started.”

She added that getting to the 30 minutes wasn’t easy. “I definitely had to work up to the 30 minutes, Giraldo said. “I couldn’t get through it without losing my breath and started out by taking a break after the 10 or 15-minute mark.”

LISS: Low intensity steady-state training
Being pushed aside in recent years for it’s trendy cousin, the HIIT workout (high intensity interval training), LISS workouts focus on keeping a consistent, less energetic pace for an extended period of time.

Low intensity workouts are exercises where the participant is at about 50 to 60 per cent of their maximum heart rate, according to the Cleveland Clinic. This level of activity burns fewer calories than a higher heart rate, but generally can be sustained for far longer than a higher intensity workout. (Maximum heart rate is the highest number of times a person’s heart can possibly beat per minute. Although there are tests that can determine your personal maximum, it is generally accepted that using the equation 220 minus the participant’s age gives a solid estimate.)

There is a bit of a misconception, however, that lower intensity workouts burn more fat than high intensity ones. While it’s true that the percentage of calories burned from fat is greater in low intensity workouts than high intensity, high intensity workouts can burn significantly more calories in the same time frame — thus burning more fat overall.

When it comes to getting fit and living a healthy lifestyle, consistency is key. While low intensity workouts may not be the most efficient way to build muscle and become leaner, these workouts are generally low impact (i.e. walking versus running) and may be easier to incorporate into a daily routine than a major sweat session.

Incline Workouts
As for walking or running on an incline, it has been shown to increase heart rate and potentially give a better workout than simply walking on a flat surface. However, as with all workouts, there is some risk.

A study conducted in the Journal of Foot and Ankle research demonstrated that walking at an incline better activates the peroneal muscles (muscles located towards the back of the lower leg) and is thought to help increase ankle stabilization. And research published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, also found that walking on an incline better targets the medial gastrocnemius (calf muscle) than walking on a flat surface or walking at a faster pace.

However, walking on an incline also causes the body to lean forwards (so you don’t fall backwards) which puts more pressure on the lower back. If back pain is a concern — or if you notice pain or stiffness in your back during or in the days after walking on this incline, it’s probably a good idea to consult a doctor and dial it down.

The down side?
Giraldo’s 12 incline is not for everyone. Trainer Beau Burgau advises people who want to give the workout a try to take it slow.

“Walking on an incline can be very taxing on your body,” he told Shape, adding that “you should be able to walk on flat ground for 30 minutes straight before adding any kind of incline on the treadmill.”

Variety is also important. According to Burgau, while incline workouts are good to raise your heart rate and burn calories, they shouldn’t be an everyday thing, since doing them back-to-back puts you at risk for painful injuries like Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, general knee pain, and shin splints. In fact, Giraldo told Today that she has started adding weight training and other exercises to her workout routine.

The bottom line?
If your reason for hopping on the 12-3-30 wagon is weight loss, Burgau says a level-12 incline for 30 minutes is “unnecessary,” adding that there are many other low impact workouts that produce similar results.

“I’m a huge proponent of doing whatever it is that motivates you,” he says. “The key to weight loss is consistency, so find something that you enjoy doing that doesn’t jeopardize your long-term health.”


emjones@postmedia.com | @jonesyjourn