Everyone seems to love the ‘next best thing’ when it comes to fitness, but sometimes it’s important to work out whether the latest trend is really right for you.
If you haven’t yet heard of the 12-3-30 treadmill challenge you were possibly one of those people who completely avoided any kind of exercise equipment during the pandemic – which is completely fair.
But the viral workout trend, which was first shared by TikToker Lauren Giraldo back in November of 2020, is not going anywhere. A search of the hashtag #12330challenge reveals an enormous 45.4 million views on the social platform.
So what’s it all about and would experts recommend it?
“Literally all you need is a treadmill. You put it on an incline of 12, a speed of three, and walk for 30 minutes as many times as you can a week,” Lauren says in her initial video, crediting the simple fast-paced walking for helping her lose over 10 kilograms.
For us Aussies, the ‘3’ stands for three miles per hour, so if we wanted to give it a go that would translate to 4.8 kilometres per hour.
“I’ve been able to keep the weight off for two years now,” Lauren says, adding that she aims to do the workout five times a week.
“I used to be so intimidated by the gym and it wasn’t motivating, but now I go and I do this one thing. It’s my form of self-care.”
What the experts think
Keep It Cleaner co-founder Laura Henshaw is an avid runner and walker as a doggie mum-of-two, so when she first heard of the treadmill trend she admits she had to give it a go.
“When I saw this trend go viral I had to see what the fuss was about! I’m fortunate to have a treadmill at home so I jumped on and smashed out my first 12-3-30, and yes, it was a really good workout,” she tells 9Honey.
But as for doing it as her only form of exercise, Henshaw wasn’t convinced.
“For me personally, I don’t think it’s as effective as my go-to cardio and resistance workouts,” she admits. “Running is a huge part of my fitness routine, I love the endorphin rush and I personally prefer running outdoors than on the treadmill, although as we step into winter I’ll no doubt be using the treadmill more often.
“It’s really important to mix up your workouts with a combination of cardio and strength, so I’ll run twice a week and pair this with two KIC Pilates classes. We’ve actually just dropped Barre Pilates in app and I can’t get enough of that Barre burn.”
Ashleigh Mason, Keep it Cleaner’s Physio & Women’s Health Educator, also warns that trends like this can sometimes have a negative affect.
“On the one hand, the health professional in me is aware that the majority of Australians, particularly women, don’t currently meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity,” Mason tells 9Honey, pointing to things like lack of time, money, confidence in ability, not knowing what to do and more.
“This trend provides women with an answer to many of those; and has likely helped a lot of women who were previously sedentary get active in a way that makes them feel confident and empowered, which I love.”
But she stresses that this method, along with many other online fitness fads, need to be implemented in a positive way to be the most effective.
“Diet and fitness culture can be a toxic place, particularly for young women, and trends like these can sometimes lead people down a path of over-exercising or developing unhealthy relationships to exercise,” she adds.
Should you try the 12-3-30 treadmill workout?
If you’re thinking of giving this trend a go, Mason says there are a few things she would encourage people to consider before getting started.
“There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, so if you did want to give it a go, I would definitely recommend starting slow,” she says. “The trend suggests doing this on most days of the week, but a sudden increase or change in load can lead to overuse injuries. So in order to make it sustainable, try starting with two or three times a week and gradually build from there.”
Like Henshaw, Mason also recommends incorporating more forms of exercise in your regular routine.
“Other forms of exercise like Pilates, yoga, and resistance based training, have other benefits like building postural strength, improving bone density, increasing mobility, and reducing injury risk,” she says.
“I don’t think any exercise is inherently all good or all bad; ultimately it comes down to what your goals are, your relationship to exercise and choosing exercise options that are effective as well as sustainable.
“It’s also important to remember that the best exercise & fitness routines are those that are varied, challenge your body in positive ways, and come from a place of self love.
“If you would like tailored advice, I always recommend speaking to your healthcare professional, and if you’re new to exercising it’s best to seek the advice and clearance from your GP prior to starting.”
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