Personal trainer reveals whether low-impact ’12-3-30′ workout is really beneficial

When it comes to shedding body fat, it can be tempting for gym-goers to turn straight to high intensity cardio workouts. 

But TikTok users have claimed that a low-intensity treadmill routine could be the key to losing weight. 

The ’12-3-30′ workout involves walking on a steep ‘level 12’ incline on a ‘3 miles per hour’ speed for 30 minutes five times a week. Devotees claim that doing so, while eating in a calorie deficit, can lead to results. 

The idea has become a viral hit on the video-sharing app, with clips relating to the 12-3-30 workout racking up 65.6million views.   

But how effective is it? FEMAIL has spoken to UK fitness coach Georgie Spurling and personal trainer and women’s strength training coach Caroline Idiens, who shared their thoughts on the exercise, explained how it works, then delivered their verdicts. 

Influencer and former Premier League injury expert Arun Gray trying the workout

The ’12-3-30′ workout, which sees users walk on a steep incline, at a low speed for half an hour, has gone viral on TikTok. Pictured left, Dubai-based influencer Farhana trying out the trend. Right, influencer and former Premier League injury expert Arun Gray trying the workout 


Georgie, who is founder of online wellness platform GS Method, says the low-impact workout can aid in fat burning and blood flow, which can help improve brain function and heart health. 

‘Firstly, the workout is easy to follow, you simply walk on a high incline, which is great for beginners, fitness novices or people simply looking to move more,’ she said. 

‘Secondly, LISS (low impact steady-state) is fantastic to add to your routine because it improves blood flow, helps promote a healthy heart, and can aid in fat burning.’  

According to Caroline, the workout is a great way to motivate people to start exercising and could help strengthen the lower body while burning fat. 

Could WALKING be the secret to fat loss? How to do the ’12-3-30′ workout

The ’12-3-30′ workout aims to help build lower body muscle and shed body fat by walking on a steep incline, at a low speed for half an hour. 

The workout was coined social media influencer Lauren Giraldo, who shared it on YouTube in 2019 and again on TikTok in November 2020. 

Gym goers simply need to go on a treadmill for 30 mins at a speed of 3mph with an incline of 12. 

‘Power walking can provide a great cardio workout- strengthening the lower body, building endurance and muscle,’ she said. 

‘Also walking on a treadmill is a good low impact alternative to running and kinder on the joints. 

‘The workout has aerobic advantages too promoting heart health by lowering blood pressure and heart rate. 

‘In addition it will help with weight loss to some extent if undertaken alongside a healthy diet and will burn more calories walking on an incline than a regular walk for example.’  


While the workout is a good place to start, it’s certainly not a one-stop solution. 

Georgie says she feels the ‘dull’ workout could leave gym-goers bored and unlikely to persevere with their fitness routine, adding that it only works one muscle group in the body. 

‘If you love a treadmill and repetitive movement then the 12-3-30 workout is for you, but I think there’s potential to get bored of this one pretty easily and it’s really just a social media fad,’ she said.  

‘Secondly, and the biggest point arguable is that no exercise is a quick fix. If you’re looking to lose weight/fat or gain muscle there are so many other factors such as diet, sleep, stress, and lifestyle, and no workout is going to help you change overnight – no matter what the viral claims may be! 

‘It is also repetitive, and although that’s kind of good initially our body needs to move in all sorts of planes of movement, we need to contract different muscles/muscle groups and challenge it to see results.’

She suggested rather than spending 30 minutes inside the gym on a treadmill, simply take an extended uphill walk around a local park or woods for the same effect. 

‘Walking outside on different terrain will do the same as this workout but then you’re getting the added benefits of fresh air, vitamin D, scenery, and it’s much more cleansing for the mind,’ she said.  

Caroline added that jumping straight into using a treadmill at a steep incline for a beginner could cause strain on the leg muscles and is not a workout that should be done daily. 

‘This is a quick climb and one which definitely needs building up to to avoid injury or overstraining muscles (achilles tendons, calf muscles etc),’ she said.

‘I would recommend walking on a treadmill with no incline to start and gradually increasing the intensity. Plus its vital to stretch before and after.

‘This is not something that you should do every day – twice a week max. To constantly do this treadmill workout will firstly only be working the leg muscles but more importantly it is putting a huge amount of stress on the lower back, the knees and compromising your posture. 

‘Walking for this long at an incline you really need to have your shoulders back and core engaged as your back will be compromised, pecs shortened etc. It could really affect your posture over time.’ 


Fitness influencer Hannah Marsh trying out the workout trend

A TikTok user posted a picture of herself trying out the trend

Fitness influencer Hannah Marsh (left) and TikTok user Amy (right) are pictured trying out the workout trend 

Georgie said that while the workout is a good way for beginners to up their fitness levels, trying out sports or pilates could be a more interesting way to increase your cardio. 

Fitness coach Georgie Spurling told FEMAIL her thoughts on the trend - revealing that while it has some fat-burning benefits, other workouts may work better if you're looking for a low-intensity gym session

Fitness coach Georgie Spurling told FEMAIL her thoughts on the trend – revealing that while it has some fat-burning benefits, other workouts may work better if you’re looking for a low-intensity gym session

‘I do like that this workout is low impact and won’t spike your stress hormones out too much, but there are so many other ways to do this that are engaging, exciting, and just as effective, such as pilates or various sports,’ she said. 

‘If you want to add this into your exercise routine then totally do because it’s simple and does the job and at the end of the day its movement. 

‘But perhaps vary it with something that’s strength-focused and more exciting for more effective results.’ 

Caroline added: ‘Whilst you may see fat loss initially this will soon plateau. Exercise needs to be varied. You should intersperse this with interval training/hiit, with strength training and with core/upper body specific workouts. 

‘Not only will you be more susceptible to injury with this workout but your weight loss and muscle gain will plateau in time once the initial challenge has worn off. 

‘In order to have maximum weight loss you need stimulus to challenge the muscles and work the body as a whole. 

‘I would recommend this as one of your cardio days but an interval running plan on the treadmill would be far more effective in the long run combined with an effective strength program.’