Fitness expert cautions against trying viral TikTok workout: 'Can lead to injury'

Morgan Greenwald
·3-min read

Over on the fitness side of TikTok, a seemingly simple treadmill workout has become the latest obsession. The 12-3-30 workout, as it’s called, was created by lifestyle influencer Lauren Giraldo, and she credits it with helping her lose 30 pounds.

“I used to weigh 30 more pounds than I do right now,” Giraldo explained in her now-viral TikTok video from November 2020 that popularized the 12-3-30 workout. “I’ve been able to keep the weight off for about 2 years now and I’m gonna teach you how I did it.”

Giraldo then goes on to explain that she does not calorie count or diet. Instead, she largely credits a single workout for her weight loss success — and all you need is a treadmill to it.

What is the 12-3-30 workout?

As Giraldo explained in her video, the 12-3-workout is a 30-minute treadmill workout that relies on a lot of incline.

“You put it on an incline of 12, a speed of 3 and for 30 minutes as many times as you can a week,” she explained. And that’s it! She does this 5 times a week, and she claims that’s all she did to lose 30 pounds and look “snatched.”

Is the 12-3-30 treadmill workout safe?

Naturally, TikTokers were intrigued by the seemingly simple workout and the promise of losing weight with just 30 minutes a day of walking on an incline. However, unless you’re a regular at the gym already, certified trainer and holistic health coach Dempsey Marks does not recommend jumping right in to this workout, as it can be dangerous.

“Walking on the treadmill is particularly good for those new to fitness because it is lower impact than running. Plus, the incline feature on treadmills can elevate your workout by providing an extra challenge. However, I would not recommend the 12-3-30 TikTok treadmill routine for beginners. For those new to exercise, a 12 percent incline is far too steep and can lead to injury,” she explained to In The Know. “If an individual is not properly conditioned, it will put a great deal of stress on their hamstrings, knees, and Achilles.”

Instead of starting with the 12-3-30 workout, Marks suggests “beginning with a lower level incline and gradually increasing as you build strength and stamina.” Eventually, you will work your way up to the coveted 12-3-30 workout — and along the way, you can try other, equally effective cardio and strength routines.

The good news is that, according to fitness expert Mike Matthews, founder of Legion Athletics, any amount of cardio will burn calories and body fat.

“Walking is very easy on the body, minimally impacts muscle and strength gain and preferentially burns body fat, making it a valuable addition to any weight loss regimen,” he explained. “Many people don’t realize how a little bit of walking done often over the long haul can make a marked difference in their body composition and health.”

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