Why Is Everyone Going Crazy for This TikTok Walking Workout?

The "12-3-30" routine is the platform's latest fitness trend

man walking on a treadmill
TikTok has discovered the art of walking.
LightFieldStudios/Getty Images

A TikTok posted by 23-year-old social media personality Lauren Giraldo, in which she stumps for something called the “12-3-30” workout, currently has 2.7 million views. It’s the most popular fitness trend to hail from the platform in 2021, and likely won’t be the last. TikToks had the youths sweating all quarantine.

What’s fascinating about this particular craze, though, is the sheer banality of the workout. In opposition to routines that usually find popularity on the app — think HIIT scorchers, ClassPass-esque step aerobics — “12-3-30” just urges people to get on a treadmill. Elevate the machine to a 12% incline, set the speed to 3.0, walk for 30 minutes. Giraldo actually first shared the tip in a day-in-the-life YouTube video back in 2019. She’s kept the regimen up ever since, hitting the treadmill five days a week, and reports it helped her lose 30 pounds.

At its core, this is just an uphill walk. Why is TikTok so enamored with it? Well, fitness thrives on repackaging. Any time we can revisit wellness concepts that we’re well-acquainted with (and perhaps have even become jaded to) from a different angle, we’re more likely to pick up the routine again. And there’s actually nothing wrong with that. If a fresh perspective is what you need to get your body moving again, then ride that wave.

Having those three numbers handy helps, too. They’re easy to remember, and they take some of the intimidation away from hopping on a treadmill and not knowing how to start or where to click. Is this routine a panacea? Of course not. While it will probably help you trim your waistline — if that’s your goal — when observed alongside a thoughtful diet, it doesn’t include any form of resistance training. Add some strength training, with weights or just one’s bodyweight, and you’ll really be in business.

One point to consider: If you haven’t exercised in ages, consider cutting back on those numbers when you first start. They could actually be a little high. Trudging up that sort of grade for a half hour isn’t easy. Try “12-3-10.” Or mess with the elevation or speed. Not to mention, if you don’t have a treadmill, you can (and should!) be doing this around the neighborhood every day. Get in the habit of taking a constitutional in the middle of your 9-5. A consistent walking routine won’t just make the week easier — it will literally put years on your life.

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