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I Lost 30 Pounds Doing the 12-3-20 Method

“I look snatched and this is all I do!”
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

The 12-3-20 method is a viral treadmill routine coined by fitness influencer Lauren Giraldo, who lost 30 pounds with this method. So what exactly is it? You simply get on a treadmill, set the incline to 12 percent, and walk for 30 minutes at 3 miles per hour. Giraldo did the workout five times a week and was stunned by the results. "Personally, I noticed the change first in my face," Giraldo says on TikTok. "This workout definitely requires some time to get used to it so I would recommend either breaking it up into two halves and working your way up to that 12 percent incline." There's no doubt the method is effective—just ask Giraldo! Here's everything you need to know about 12-3-20 and how to make it a success for you.

Walking For Fat Loss

Back view of a hipster girl walking on city street

The 12-3-20 method is essentially an intense walking workout. "The faster, farther, and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits," says the Mayo Clinic. "For example, you may start out as an average walker and then work your way up to walking faster and walking a mile in a shorter amount of time than an average walker, similar to power walkers."

Benefits of Incline

Beautiful woman traveler climbs uphill with a dog on a background of mountain views. She is with a backpack and in red clothes.

There are many benefits to walking on an incline. "I like to use inclines within the general warm-up phase of a training session when we're trying to reach a specific heart rate quickly," personal trainer Chance Ruggeroli tells Texas Health. "However, walking at an incline can be a great exercise on its own. It is an excellent substitute for those recovering from injury, trying to reduce the impact on their joints, or to get an efficient workout within a small window of time."

It's Not Easy

@laurengiraldoGame changer honestly♬ original sound – Lauren Giraldo

Fitness newbies might struggle with the method, as Giraldo warned. "It's definitely on the harder side," exercise physiologist Katie Lawton, MEd, tells the Cleveland Clinic. "That's a steep incline — and it'll really feel like it's over 30 minutes."


Get the Right Shoes

Hiking in the mountains. Female legs with sports shoes and backpack running on a trail mountain, close up

"Choose shoes with proper arch support, a firm heel and thick flexible soles to cushion your feet and absorb shock," says the Mayo Clinic. "Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes and gear appropriate for all types of weather, such as layers in cooler weather."

Don't Hold On to the Treadmill

Legs on treadmill.physical therapy

Holding onto the treadmill can undermine your results. You burn less calories by holding on to the rails, and it can slow down your efforts. Try to keep your arms moving instead of gripping onto a bar.

Stay Hydrated

Exhausted woman in sportswear sitting box at fitness training in dark gym. Fit girl drinking water sports bottle at cardio workout. Tired athlete resting at sport club. Female bodybuilder making break

Keep water handy—the 12-3-20 workout is intense and you might need it. Get enough water before, during, and after your workout. Dehydration can undermine your workout results and is dangerous for your health.

Get a Decent Sports Bra

@laurengiraldoI've told myself running is "not for me" my entire life. I've viewed it as something only super fit people really do. Sometimes i have to remind myself im not the same girl i was in highschool. I may not have felt healthy, fit, or capable then but i've put in years of work and have come a long way. I'm stronger, i'm healthier, i've grown and birthed a whole human…i can run.♬ original sound – Lauren Giraldo

Ladies, this is important—it's so much easier to exercise when your clothes support you correctly. "One secret to a good sports bra is fit," says Nichola Renwick, Senior research associate, University of Portsmouth, via The Conversation. "It has been reported that 70-100% of women are not wearing the correct bra size. It might be that you are a different size in different brands, so the best way to make sure you are wearing the correct bra size is to follow the best-fit criteria."

RELATED: 15 Superfoods That Firm Sagging Skin

Be Consistent

Giraldo does the 12-3-20 method five days a week, staying consistent with her exercise. That fits right in with the CDC's recommendation for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week. "We know 150 minutes of physical activity each week sounds like a lot, but you don't have to do it all at once. It could be 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week," says the CDC.

Listen to Music


Music can take your mind off your workout in a good way. Especially if it's motivational with a strong beat. "Studies show that faster-paced music tends to help improve athletic performance when a person engages in low-to-moderate level exercise, either by increasing distance traveled, pace, or repetitions completed," according to the National Center For Health Research.

RELATED: 15 Food Swaps That Will Save You Hundreds of Calories a Day and Help You Lose Weight

Be Mindful of Calories

Nutrition facts on whey protein products. nutrition labels and ingredients as well as the contents of the product

The 12-3-20 method is a great workout, but don't forget about your calories. "Simple swaps can make a big difference when it comes to cutting calories," says the Mayo Clinic. "For example, you can save 60 calories a glass by drinking fat-free milk instead of whole milk."

Food For Fitness

Eat the right food before your 12-3-20 workout to fuel your fitness. "Before a workout, choose carbohydrates that are higher in fiber, so they release their energy slowly, and lean protein," says the British Heart Foundation. "You can get away with not eating before an exercise session if it is low-intensity or less than an hour."

Listen to a Podcast or Audiobook

Panoramic Side view of beautiful young asian woman running on treadmill and listening to music via headphone with arm a smart watch for tracking speed during sports training in a gym.

If 30 minutes on a treadmill seems monotonous, try an audiobook or a podcast. This will keep you distracted and help the time go faster. A favorite TV show also works!

Refuel After Your Workout

@laurengiraldo Replying to @Leah Esper ♬ original sound – Lauren Giraldo

"Refuel after your workout with lean protein, healthy carbs — such as a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread — and plenty of water so your body can recover more quickly," says the American Heart Association.

Energy Boosting Workouts

Group of Six Athletic People Running on Treadmills, Doing Fitness Exercise. Athletic and Muscular Women and Men Actively Workout in the Modern Gym. Sports People Workout in Fitness Club. Side View

The more you exercise, the better you will feel. "In addition to helping your body create and use energy, regular exercise promotes better nighttime sleep," Toni Golen, MD, tells Harvard Health. "Deep sleep is crucial to your overall health and to feeling well rested and energetic when you wake up in the morning."

RELATED: 16 Simple Exercises for Weight Loss From a Former Olympian

Take your Time

Person sitting in an exercise room checking the time on a smartwatch with gym machines behind her

You don't have to do the workout exactly as Giraldo does. "You don't have to start there," says Lawton. "Make adjustments based on your health, your fitness and how you're feeling."

💪🔥Body Booster: Walking is one of the best low-impact workouts you can do. Start slow and build up.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more