12-3-30 Workout: What Is It & Does It Work?

12-3-30 workout

12-3-30 workout—what is it? (It’s pretty tough.) And does it work? (You bet it does!)

If you hate running, like the simplicity of the treadmill, and just want to burn off some body fat and get in shape, this workout can take you from A to Z rather quickly. But don’t be fooled by its lack of complexity. While certainly effective, this workout is tougher than it appears and is not for the lazy or the faint of heart. So, get your walking shoes on and grab a towel; you’re going to need it!

What Is the 12-3-30 Workout?

The 12-3-30 workout is a treadmill workout created by internet influencer Lauren Giraldo. She first shared this workout in 2019 and said she followed it regularly to lose 30 pounds over time. She said it transformed her body, and you can use it to transform yours as well.

What is the basic premise of the workout? It’s simple, really. Once you’ve warmed up, you’ll set the treadmill at a very high incline of 12. Next, crank up the speed to 3.0 mph. And there you have it. Keep going for 30 minutes, and you have the 12-3-30 workout.

Does the 12-3-30 Workout Really Work?

It works if you do! Plain and simple, anything this intense is going to get your heart rate going. And, once your heart rate is elevated, you can start burning off lots of calories and body fat. Add to that the challenge placed on your legs, glutes, calves, and even your core as you basically “hike” uphill for an extended period of time. This kind of challenge will have you seeing toned muscles in no time flat.

Make no mistake, this workout is tough. That means your cardiovascular fitness will greatly improve over time as well. And because it’s gentle on the joints (better than the constant pounding your body takes from running), it’s great for almost anyone. It requires no extra equipment and can pretty much be done anytime, anywhere.

How Can I Make the 12-3-30 Workout Work for Me?

The bottom line is this is a tough workout, and not everyone will be able to sustain this pace for a full 30 minutes. But don’t feel bad. Most people will not be able to do this strenuous of a workout right out of the gate. You will probably have to work your way up to this level. How can you do it?

Simply alter the numbers to make it more palatable for your fitness level. Create something more realistic for yourself by changing it up a little to work for you. We’ve put together a few tweaks:

Always start with a good warm-up, such as a 5-minute slow walk at 0% grade on the treadmill at 2.5 – 3.0 miles per hour.

Next, choose an incline level that leaves you slightly out of breath but not overwhelmed. You might start with an incline of 3% or maybe 5%. Increase the speed of the treadmill to 3.0 mph. Walk at this pace and incline for 3 minutes and then lower to 0% incline for 1 minute. Repeat this sequence 5 times.

Each week, add a few more degrees of incline until you’ve reached a 12% incline. Continue with your intervals (3 minutes hard, 1 minute back to 0% incline) until you start feeling more fit. Once you think you’re ready to tackle the real thing, try it first for 15 minutes at a time and increase by 5 minutes each week until you’re ready to go for the full 30 minutes. You may need to hold onto the railings as well for balance. Use your best judgment.

Do this workout a maximum of three days a week and try to venture out into other areas at the gym on the other days (perhaps try some resistance training or other forms of cardio or group classes). While this workout is easy on the joints, it’s still a tough workout, so give your body the time it needs to recover before you hit the treadmill again.

Take your time getting acclimated to this workout. This workout may look relatively simple, but rest assured, it is not easy! In fact, you should take the time you need to work your way up to both the time (30 minutes) and the incline level (12% grade). Most people will not be able to realistically sustain this workout, especially not right out of the gate.