Beginner’s Guide to the Popular 30-12-3 Workout

All the rage on Tik Tok and Instagram is this 30-12-3 workout: on a treadmill for 30 minutes, at an incline of 12 and speed of 3.

It’s noted as good for burning calories*, and incorporates strength into cardio (like hiking). I’ve had a personal trainer tell me it’s one of the best exercises to incorporate into training, especially for the relatively little time it takes.

*30 minutes at this level of speed and incline burns 294 calories, 589 per hour.

Here’s the issue: starting out, this isn’t easy. I’ve heard a lot of people say they’ve tried, but they just can’t manage the incline and speed for the half-hour duration.

I started this workout in late January and was unable to complete it, but now as March is ending, I’m doing this treadmill workout for 60 minutes, not just 30. So here’s my tips on how to work your way up to mastering the 30-12-3 workout.


Most people have the first instinct to lower the speed that they’re walking, not the incline. But think of it this way: hikers train by going up smaller mountains, not slower paces. Get your body used to walking at a 3.0 pace and train yourself to manage steeper inclines.

Personally, I started out at a 10.0 incline. This is easier, but it still may be challenging so set it at an incline that keeps the workout intense, but doable for 30 minutes.


As you grow in strength, don’t jump the gun and immediately go to the 12.0 incline. It’s hard, and mentally we don’t enjoy repeating workouts that really make us struggle. Instead, work the 12.0 incline in on intervals. For example, I would do 10 minutes at 10.0, 10 at 12.0, and the final 10 back at 10.0. Eventually I went 5-20-5, and eventually got to 12.0 for the whole 30 minutes.


I always cool down, and I make sure to do it at different inclines as well. Right now, after 50 minutes at a 12.0 incline, I do 5 minutes at a 10.0 incline, 5 minutes at a 5.0 incline, and finish with 5 minutes at 0.0 incline. It burns a few more calories, allows your muscles to relax, and you won’t feel as sore (if at all) the next day.

Overall, I’ve seen some results by continuously doing this workout, and I don’t find myself noticeably sore after I complete it. Highly recommend to whoever wants to try it, just make sure you ease into it if needed!


3 thoughts on “Beginner’s Guide to the Popular 30-12-3 Workout

  1. Clare says:

    I wonder if it would be right to credit the creator of this workout in this post? Popular Youtuber Lauren Giraldo coined this workout.


    • Kendall James says:

      I actually learned this workout from a personal trainer 6 years ago! It’s a pretty popular one in the PT world and has been for a while, so I’m hesitant to call anyone the creator, especially since I haven’t heard of this Youtuber. Maybe she started the TikTok trend? I’ll look into it and see if she’s another great resource for people!


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