I Tried the Viral 12-3-30 TikTok Workout—Here's What Happened to My Body

Welcome to I Tried It Month, where we'll be publishing a new fashion, beauty, or wellness article every day in January that features a first-person account of shaking up an old habit, pushing beyond a comfort zone, or simply trying something new. Follow along for 31 days of storytelling, including everything from going without a cell phone for 40 days to trying the polarizing low-rise pant trend.

It's no secret that I'm not a fan of exercising. While I've gone through phases of loving to work out, I would much rather sit on my couch and binge-watch the latest Netflix show rather than squeeze into leggings and hop on the indoor cycling bike for 30 minutes. That being said, I do love the feeling I get after a good workout, and since we just flipped the page to a new year (hello, 2022, and New Year's resolutions), I decided to give this workout thing another chance.

Since all of my friends have their own workout regimen, I decided to try one out rather than fall back into the free-for-all 30-minute cardio workout. But with so many routines out there, I wasn't sure which one to pick. Enter TikTok. During one night of my endless three-hour scrolling sessions, I happened upon a video from Lauren Giraldo showcasing the 12-3-30 workout.

I Tried the Viral 12-3-30 Tiktok Workout: Here's My Review

Photo:

Courtesy of Samantha Pouls

For those of you who haven't come across the video, the viral workout trend appears pretty simple. All you do is set the treadmill to an incline of 12 and walk at a speed of 3 miles per hour for 30 minutes. Giraldo said the workout has helped her not be intimidated by the gym and has also resulted in her feeling better about herself. With my mind set on making 2022 the year of the gym, I set out to try the 12-3-30 trend for 30 days.

Starting the Challenge

I Tried the Viral 12-3-30 Tiktok Workout: Here's My Review

Photo:

Courtesy of Samantha Pouls

Day one was both exciting and intimidating. I couldn't wait to put on my cute gym set, but I was worried about hating the workout. My apartment building doesn't have a gym, so after work, I put on my Alo set and headed over to my parents' complex. I pulled the glass door open and headed inside and found the row of treadmills.

Prior to starting this challenge, I hadn't worked out in a few weeks, so I decided to do a short five-minute walking warmup. FYI, this is not part of the trend, but if your legs are feeling a little stiff from sitting at a desk all day (or working remotely from your couch), then this is a great way to wake them up.

After the five-minute warmup, I was feeling good and eagerly pressed the up button on the speed and incline. I'm not going to lie—it was hard. When the incline got to level five, I started feeling the pull in my legs, and by the time I got to level 10, I was dreading increasing it more. But a deal is a deal, so I pushed the incline up two more steps until I reached 12.

The speed didn't feel painfully challenging to me, but I'm a fast walker to begin with. After about three minutes at an incline of 12, I wanted to press stop and go home. When I reached the 10-minute mark, the workout began to feel a little easier, so with determination in my mind and Drake playing through my AirPods, I kept going until I reached 30 minutes.

By the time I finally pressed stop, I was drenched (and I mean drenched) in sweat. This was clearly not going to be an easy task. That night I was exhausted, but I ended up having one of the best nights of sleep I'd had in a while.

According to The Sleep Foundation, exercising is a wonderful way to improve sleep. They state that "moderate-to-vigorous exercise can increase sleep quality for adults by reducing sleep onset—or the time it takes to fall asleep." The Sleep Foundation also states that regular exercise can lessen the time that people lay awake at night and reduce sleepiness during the day.

I Tried the Viral 12-3-30 Tiktok Workout: Here's My Review

Photo:

Courtesy of Samantha Pouls

The next day, my body was definitely feeling it. My legs felt like I had climbed 50 flights of stairs and I was having a hard time finding a comfortable position to sit in. I found that the only thing that helped was stretching and rolling out my legs. For those of you who are thinking of trying this challenge out, I highly recommend you invest in a foam roller. While it was painful to roll my legs out, the relief that came later made it all worth it.

The second day of the routine was easier—but not by a lot. My body seemed to be dreading the workout and this time I didn't bother warming up. I did notice that I wasn't breathing as hard during the cardio and the first five minutes didn't feel as bad.

By the fourth morning, my legs were beginning to get used to the harsh incline and weren't as sore. I also noticed that I began to feel more energetic throughout the day. Whereas I normally fell into the after-lunch slump, my energy remained steady and I was actually looking forward to going to the gym.

What Happened During the Challenge

I Tried the Viral 12-3-30 Tiktok Workout: Here's My Review

Photo:

Courtesy of Samantha Pouls

As the days went on, the workout got easier, but there were definitely days I didn't want to work out and the 30 minutes seemed to drag on forever. That being said, by day five, I started having days where I was actually excited to go to the gym.

By day eight, I started noticing a difference in my body. Although I didn't change my diet, I noticed that my legs and waist were getting more toned and I wasn't struggling as much to make it through the 30 minutes. By day 15, I noticed that my skin was starting to look more glowy and some of the blemishes I had around my chin were beginning to clear up.

According to an Insider interview with dermatologist Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, working out does have good benefits for the skin. "Exercise, by getting the heart rate up and improving blood circulation, can help to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the skin which keeps the skin healthy, promotes collagen production, and promotes new skin cells which keep the skin looking glowing and is also helpful for anti-aging," she says.

I Tried the Viral 12-3-30 Tiktok Workout: Here's My Review

Photo:

Crissy Mitchell/Stocksy

Some negative thoughts I experienced centered around the fact that I had to wash my hair more frequently and had to do the laundry all the time in order to have gym clothes. There were also days where I dreaded having to drive to the gym after a long day of work, and going on the weekends proved to be especially hard.

I was also always hungry. I noticed that I started eating more fruit throughout the day, and I needed to incorporate rice or potatoes into my dinners in order to stay full throughout the night.

Although I'm by no means a gym expert, I also noticed that I was also beginning to feel more comfortable at the gym. While there were definitely days where I dreaded hopping on the treadmill, I wasn't feeling intimidated by the thought of working out.

After the Challenge

I Tried the Viral 12-3-30 Tiktok Workout: Here's My Review

Photo:

Courtesy of Samantha Pouls

After 30 days, I noticed a big difference in my body and overall wellness. My legs felt and looked stronger and I shrunk a size in jeans. Although I thought I would be extremely tired by the end of the challenge, I actually felt much more energetic and found that I constantly wanted to get out of the house rather than sit and watch Netflix. My skin also looked glowier than prior to the start of the challenge, and the blemishes that usually lined my chin were almost completely gone. My knees and calves were a little sore, but other than that I felt like a new person.

My Honest Take on the Challenge

I Tried the Viral 12-3-30 Tiktok Workout: Here's My Review

Photo:

Courtesy of Samantha Pouls

If you're like me and looking to get involved with fitness but are not sure how or are intimidated by working out, then this workout plan might be for you. While there will definitely be hard days, I promise that you will slowly start to feel amazing if you try it. You don't have to worry about not being a runner or not knowing how to lift weights, because all you have to do is walk. Yes, the level 12 incline is challenging, but it gets easier as time goes on.

While I did the 12-3-30 workout for 30 days with only one day of rest after every six days, I would caution against following this schedule. Towards the end, I noticed that I was really dreading going to the gym every day (especially on Fridays). In order to keep a healthy relationship with the gym and this workout, I would suggest doing this three to five days a week.

For those who don't like the gym, I highly recommend watching TV or listening to a podcast during your workout. I started watching the Netflix show Bloodline during my workouts, and it made the 30 minutes go by much faster. I also only watched the show while I was at the gym, which helped me look forward to going.

All in all, the 12-3-30 TikTok trend is definitely worth trying if you are looking for a new workout that does not involve running or joining a fitness class. It's something you can do on your own, and you'll probably start to notice a difference in your body and overall relationship with the gym after the first week. There will be days where you don't want to work out, and it's very important to listen to your body and stretch or use a foam roller when you need to. Although I'm no longer doing the challenge, I still do it twice a week and use a Peloton on the other two days.

Next: I Walked a Mile Every Day for 30 Days—This Is Why You Should Too