Which TikTok fitness trends are worth trying? A PT’s guide

TikTok fitness trends – which ones are worth trying? 

I’ve been working in the fitness industry for 15 years, and have seen many workout trends come and go. While the majority of them have motivated people to get moving (remember the 30-day squat challenge?), many of the ones you see on social media don’t always work. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t embrace them; they’re a lot of fun to experiment with, but it’s important to remember that we all have different bodies and exercise needs that won’t always be met by a single trend. 

I always say a good workout routine should include a variety of activities, from cardio to strength. My advice for any trend lovers? Be mindful of any fads you see and don’t be afraid to stick to the basics, they’re classic for a reason! But if you are tempted by any of the TikTok fitness trends going viral, I am sharing the best ones to try and, maybe more importantly, the ones to avoid.

Is the 12-3-30 treadmill trend really effective?

Man working out on a rowing machine

If there’s one trend I’ve noticed all over social media, it’s the 12-3-30 workout, a challenge that focuses on using probably the most popular gym machine: the treadmill. For this, you are supposed to set your treadmill incline to 12%, your speed to three miles per hour, and then walk for 30 minutes – but is it really worth the effort? Maybe for some, but definitely not for all…

Don’t get me wrong: I think the treadmill is a great machine to use, but I personally love a rowing machine. Why? Because it does a better job of improving your overall cardiovascular health and it can also be challenging. And it’s very rare that every workout you do will effectively target your full body, but that’s what makes a rowing machine special – it’ll work your arms, legs, lungs and even the postural muscles you often forget about (especially important for those who work at a desk!).

If a treadmill or rowing machine sounds too challenging, I suggest something that’s more accessible like a cross-trainer or exercise bike, which you can take at your own pace. These machines are ideal to use if you’ve got any back or knee issues.

Also read: The fitness expert’s guide to running for beginners

What about the 25-7-2 StairMaster workout? 

Similar to the treadmill challenge, you might be tempted to try the StairMaster workout – another trend going viral on TikTok, using the popular stair-climbing exercise machine.

The 25-7-2 method involves performing 25 minutes on the StairMaster (or similar stair-stepper machine) at a level seven intensity, twice a week.

Although it might appear as simple as mimicking going up and down the stairs, in theory this may not be the best fitness trend for those with knee problems.

If you don’t have any injuries or issues, you can give it a go – just take it at your own pace and hold on to the handles to keep yourself safe while using it. Once you’re comfortable with it, you can work your way up to the suggested level, but only if it’s something you enjoy – there’s no point in doing a workout that doesn’t inspire or motivate you!

Will a ‘hot girl walk’ benefit me?

Woman jogging through park doing the hot girl walk

​​It was fairly simple to get your daily 10,000 steps in before the pandemic. However, now that more of us regularly work from home and are adjusting to the ‘new normal’, it’s not as easy to fit those steps in… 

Enter the ‘hot girl walk’, another TikTok fitness trend that has gone viral, and I love the fact that it’s encouraging people to get moving!

This trend is all about heading outside for a leisurely walk, with your favourite playlist on and the aim, ideally, to hit that 10,000 step count (around four miles). 

Ideally, you should do a hot girl walk daily. 

The most important part about this walk? You have to set positive intentions or say self-affirming things to yourself as you do it (the original idea was that you’re only allowed to think about three things: what you’re grateful for, the things you’d like to achieve, and how hot you are –  hence the name). So as well as helping your physical health, you’re also helping boost and support your mental health.

Overall, walking is an easy, low-impact workout anyone can do – it’s good for your joints, and doing it consistently will help improve your cardiovascular health and strengthen your muscles and bones. So, you really can’t go wrong with adding this trend to your workout routine.

Note also – this fitness trend is for all genders (not just women and girls), despite its TikTok-approved name.

Also read: 5 simple ways to feel happy

Can I skip strength training and just do Pilates? 

Woman using bands to work out

There has definitely been an increased interest in low-impact workouts recently, and I see a lot of fitness TikTokers promote the idea of doing exercises like Pilates or yoga alone, without the need for anything else. I can see why they’d recommend this: both can help improve your flexibility as well as build your core stability and strength. 

But does this mean you should completely abandon high-impact cardio and weight training? In a nutshell, you shouldn’t. Along with walking, Pilates and yoga are excellent forms of basic exercise. So consider them the foundation upon which you should build and layer cardio and strength training, even if you only practise them twice a week at first.

You can’t rely solely on one type of exercise because you’ll miss out on working your muscles and joints, and so protecting and strengthening them as you age. When performed correctly, strength training is also one of the most effective ways to increase muscle mass and bone density, and help keep joints healthy. 

A balanced approach that incorporates all types of exercise will benefit your overall health and fitness in the long run. So, try these popular workouts, but don’t overlook others that can make a positive difference.

Do you want to improve your joint health outside of the gym? Take a look at Nature’s Truth High Strength Glucosamine Chondroitin Complex. It’s designed to protect and support your joints, which is something we all need to keep in mind as we get older.

Also read: Why you should try yoga in 2022

So, should we be following TikTok fitness trends?

As a PT, I prefer sticking to the basics and performing exercises that have proven to be effective over time. Trends are great for getting people thinking and talking about fitness, but keep in mind that it’s TikTokers’ jobs to be clickbaity and promise unrealistic results.

The best workout routine to follow is one that you can stick to, and trends can help inspire that. However, a tailored approach with a PT, even if only for a short time, that focuses specifically on your goals and your body, will be the most effective way to get the results you want.

Keep up with the latest fitness advice from Nature’s Truth

Nesrine Dally

Nesrine Dally

Personal Trainer

Nesrine Dally is a renowned fitness trainer with 15 years' experience training first-timers in the gym all the way to professional athletes. In 2018 she became Britain’s first hijabi Muay Thai boxer to compete in Thailand. She is dedicated to making the fitness industry more inclusive and breaking down gendered and cultural stereotypes, and she uses her platform to empower all women to pursue any sport they desire. Here, she’ll be weighing in on fitness trends and topics we all have wanted to ask a personal trainer.