Person walking on a treadmill

I Tried the 12-3-30 Treadmill Trend: Here’s What it Was Like

Melissa Badamo Apr 06, 2023

If you’ve ever found yourself on workout-tok, you might have come across the 12-3-30 treadmill trend: the vigorous workout that consists of setting your treadmill to an incline of 12 and a speed of 3 mph for 30 minutes. 

Started by influencer Lauren Giraldo, the 12-3-30 trend quickly gained speed across TikTok. I, too, jumped on this trend for five days in a row. Here’s what it was like.


Day 1:

On the first day of my 12-3-30 attempt, I began with my usual 2-minute warmup on an incline of 0 and speed of 3 mph. I knew that jumping right into a 12 incline would have been much more jarring for my body. Eventually, I increased the incline to 12 but could only endure 5 minutes before experiencing chest pain. At this point, my heart rate peaked at 145 bpm.

It's important to listen to your body at the gym and take a break whenever it signals you to. Chest pain, dizziness, and nausea are sure signs that you've pushed yourself too hard and need to rest and hydrate immediately. The Kitsack’sgot your back when it comes to storing your water bottle with ease and quickly staying hydrated.

I knew my body needed a cool-down, so I decreased my incline back to 0. Eventually, I mustered up enough energy and motivation to return to the 12 incline for another 5 minutes. In total, I was only able to endure 10 minutes of the 12-3-30, split into two separate attempts.


Day 2:

Same as usual, I began my workout with a 2-minute warmup before jumping into the 12 incline. This time, my body couldn’t endure more than 4 minutes, which was surprisingly one minute less than the previous day’s attempt. I plateaued at an incline of 8 and speed of 3 for the rest of my workout, which still provided a pretty good challenge.

Some tips for reaching your full potential at the gym: stay hydrated before and after your workout, and opt for athletic wear you’re comfortable in confident in. We recommend the Superbreak Away Duffel, which comes in either 40L or 60L—a fashionable and practical bag for carrying all your workout necessities to and from the gym. Or, stuff your gym clothes in the Superbreak Plus AM. It’s equipped with antimicrobial coating that prevents unwanted odors from lingering.

Finally, distract yourself by watching TV or listening to music that pumps you up. Some songs that are the perfect tempo for a 3.0 mph workout: Ain’t it Fun by Paramore, Motion Sickness by Phoebe Bridgers, and Crazy in Love by Beyoncé.


Days 3-4

My energy levels dipped in the middle of the week, so I decided to take it easy for the next two days. I walked at a consistent speed of 3.0 mph on a 5 incline for 30 minutes—my go-to treadmill settings for when I’m looking to work up a sweat without straining myself too much. Sometimes our energy levels aren’t consistent throughout the week, which is more than okay. How much your body can endure a workout depends on many factors, like how much you’ve eaten, drank water, and slept.

For this reason, it’s also okay to mix up your workouts. If the treadmill’s not your thing, hiking is another great option. If you choose a hilly trail, you’ll get most—if not more—of the same benefits derived from using the treadmill incline. Just make sure you’re packed and prepared for a vigorous hike with the Hatchet Backpack.


Day 5

On the last day of my goal, I was determined to finally achieve the 12-3-30 once and for all. This time, I warmed up for 10 minutes, then courageously increased the incline to 12. Though I started getting out of breath at 6-7 minutes and wanted to quit around 20 minutes, I persisted. My heart rate averaged 120 bpm, so it looks like my heart and body were getting used to this extensive incline.

Finally, I hit the 30-minute mark: the result of determination and a crucial, longer-than-usual warmup. In total, my workout lasted 45 minutes: a 10-minute warmup, 30 minutes at the 12 incline and 3 speed, then a 5-minute cool-down. I stepped off the treadmill proud that I achieved what I set my mind to.


Final verdict:

It’s safe to say that the 12-3-30 Tiktok trend is a true challenge. I was only able to accomplish it once I warmed up for 10 minutes, and because I have been prioritizing cardio for about a year. It's unrealistic for beginners to jump right into this difficult challenge.

While it’s important to push yourself during your workouts to see progress, it's more important to know your limits. Experiment and find what works for you—whether that's the 10-3-30, 5-2-30, 5-3-20, etc. If anything, this trend gave thousands of TikTokers motivation to push themselves and try something new. Working out is always easier if you're doing it with others, whether it's with real-life friends or internet friends.