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Information About the Viral Workout

Since Tiktoker Lauren Geraldo first reported the 12-3-30 workout at the end of 2020, he has been doing the rounds to lose weight quickly.

Geraldo says it was a game changer that helped her lose 30 pounds. She also claims that she doesn’t pay attention to what she eats at all — and her success in losing weight is due to this workout.

The formula is simple: Hit the treadmill, turn it to the highest incline setting (12%) and walk at 3 mph for 30 minutes. Repeat about five times a week or as often as you can.

But TikTok is famous for trends that sometimes make IRL disappear or don’t have much scientific research to back them up. So, could the 12-3-30 workout actually help you lose weight? And if so, is it worth it?

We asked two running coaches to break down how it works and say if they would recommend it for a safe and effective weight loss strategy. Here’s what they had to say:

IS THE 12-3-30 WORKOUT SAFE?

First of all: will you get hurt if you jump straight into it? Climbing may not seem so difficult, but a 12% slope is very steep. To put that in perspective, consider the Barr Trail up Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, Colorado, says Amie Dworecki, head coach of Running With Life in South Bend, Indiana. It has an average slope of 11%. “So the 12-3-30 training is similar to the sudden beginning of climbing a mountain without breaks,” she says.

If you are new to exercise, if you don’t have a walking routine or if you live with a chronic illness such as heart issue, the 12-3-30 workout may not be safe for you, says dworecki. Even if you are fit, start any form of vigorous exercise and do it as many days as possible to prepare for overuse health-issue such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis or sore knees.

For these reasons, it is best to gradually increase this intensity and consult a health care provider if you have any questions or concerns about your ability to cope with it.

CAN THE 12-3-30 WORKOUT HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT?

Walking on such a high slope engages your gluteal and hamstring muscles more while working against gravity. It’s more of a Cardio challenge, says Meghan Kennihan, a certified track and field coach in the United States. It also results in more calories burned than walking on flat terrain. With this in mind, adding the 12-3-30 workout to your Routine could potentially help you lose weight.

But when you’re trying to lose weight, your diet is often even more important than exercise, says dworecki. “While Giraldo’s Plan to do this exercise alone, without watching what she eats, may work for her to lose weight, it can make others hungrier, which leads them to eat more,” she notes. In fact, the belief that exercise alone can lead to weight loss is one of the most common weight loss myths that could lead you to overestimate the number of calories you actually burn at the gym.

HOW TO DO THE 12-30-30 WORKOUT

Warming up to the 12-3-30 workout is essential, so try to be able to run for 60 minutes at least four times a week or 30 minutes a day for 2-3 weeks without any problems before trying it, says Kennihan. Then slowly turn on a higher slope (think: 1 Minute at 2%, then 4%, 6% and more). If it’s too difficult, try alternating between intervals like 30-60 seconds at 3-4% and 0% until you feel comfortable enough to level up, suggests dworecki.

Ideally, you want to use and develop different muscle groups to get in shape and avoid health-issue. So, instead of doing the 12-3-30 workout over and over again, combine your Routine with other forms of Cardio, strength training and workouts to improve flexibility, such as Yoga.

Final result

“12-3-30 treadmill training is a great way to do a vigorous Cardio workout without the effects of running, and it makes treadmills a little more interesting,” says Kennihan. “However, it is not a magic pill to lose weight or get in shape.”

To lose weight, a multi-pronged approach is the key, so don’t give up the essential elements of the weight loss equation for a trendy workout. A consultation with a health care provider, as well as a healthy diet, stress management, self-care, frequent exercise and good sleep contribute to lasting success in weight loss.

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