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Why You Should be Skeptical of the 12-3-30

Every single day when I walk into the Equinox I see the treadmill -style workout still sweeping the nation – the 12-3-30 workout. But a lot of what I see is people holding on for dear life on the handles and craning their necks to overcompensate. It is important to consider whether a certain “hot” workout is right for your physique, as opposed to jumping on some social media bandwagon. You should always be skeptical. This is why.

What is 12-3-30?

Amid the myriad of fitness routines, the “12-3-30” workout stands out for its simplicity and effectiveness. However, while this regimen offers numerous benefits, including leg muscle growth, it’s essential to understand how it can influence your physique, especially if your goal is to comfortably fit into skinny jeans. In this article, we delve into the details of the 12-3-30 workout, how it can contribute to leg muscle development, and the potential challenges it might pose for achieving certain clothing-related aspirations.

The 12-3-30 workout, popularized by social media influencer Lauren Giraldo, involves walking on a treadmill set to a 12% incline, at a pace of 3 miles per hour (approx. 4.8 km/h), for 30 minutes.

How the 12-3-30 can Backfire

Bad posture

Many fitness influencers document about how they struggle to get through the workout, especially if they are not athletic to begin with. If you are on an incline/pace you cannot keep up with on a treadmill, this will result in a natural leaning forward of your body to overcompensate, which can really wreck your posture and cause neck and back issues. This is compounded by the “hunch” we already have from sitting at a laptop all day as I have described in my article on tech neck:


If done too frequently, the workout could lead to overuse injuries such as Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, knee pain or shin splints because it puts the repetitive pressure on your joints.

Especially if you are new to fitness, experts recommend you start on flat ground. And for reasons I will go into next, this actually could be better for your body goals.

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Too much muscle/leg bulkiness

One of the notable outcomes of the 12-3-30 workout is leg muscle growth. The elevated incline requires increased effort from leg muscles, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles, leading to muscle hypertrophy (growth). This muscle development can lead to stronger and more defined legs, which aligns with the fitness goals of many individuals.


Considering Clothing Choices: Your Skinny Jeans Dilemma

The best way I can show you is to tell you. In the picture on the left, I was doing a lot of spin classes with the bike on high resistance and treadmill classes with high inclines.

Once I stopped doing high incline bike rides and treadmill walks, I was able to fit into my jeans again without the struggle bus.

While leg muscle growth can be desirable for enhanced fitness and aesthetics, it’s important to acknowledge how this might conflict with certain clothing preferences. Skinny jeans, known for their snug fit and slim profile, can pose a challenge for individuals with well-developed leg muscles. The increased muscle size might lead to discomfort or difficulties in finding the right fit, potentially affecting the ability to comfortably wear skinny jeans.

Back to the Office Clothes Also Have the Same Issues

The same issues with fitting into skinny jeans apply to office -specific clothing.

You are in the workforce, not at the gym all day taking selfies. Men wear tailored pants, suits and shirts and women wear pencil skirts and pants that zip, not spandex. We have different priorities. Most of the environment we live in is not conducive to achieving “body goals.” The content that does exist is cookie-cutter. Do you offer cookie cutter solutions to your clients? If so, you are a bad advisor, and you may even be committing malpractice.

The cookie cutter “fitness fads” ignore what you specifically need as a corporate warrior. There isn’t a one-stop shop solution that will fit everyone’s goals. Anything advertised as such is bogus.

If you want to slim down your legs, avoid incline treadmill workouts. This article by “Lean legs” founder Rachael Attard also illustrates why incline treadmill walking can frustrate the purpose of getting slimmer legs.

My Alternative:

I prefer making my treadmill workouts fun – walking at a zero incline, at a slower pace, watching and streaming shows and even dancing (see below). It works well for me. One major problem I have with the 12-3-30 is that the “inventor” claims counting calories doesn’t matter. That I can categorically say is untrue. I would rather count my calories and have fun instead:

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