A fitness trend called “30-30-30” is everywhere on TikTok, and many say it’s an effective way to achieve weight loss goals.
What is the 30-30-30 rule and how does it work?
What is the 30-30-30 rule?
The 30-30-30 rule is a weight loss method that involves eating 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up, followed by 30 minutes of low-intensity exercise. Beyond these steps, the method involves no other rules, restrictions, or calorie counting.
The morning routine was originally described by author Tim Ferriss in his book “The 4-Hour Body.” Most recently, the 30-30-30 rule went viral on TikTok thanks to Gary Brecka, a podcaster and self-described “human biologist” who talks about various ways to improve physical and mental health.
In two videos, each with over 18 million views so far, Brecka explains how the 30-30-30 rule can help with weight loss and blood sugar control.
So what does science say about the 30-30-30 morning routine? Can it really help with weight loss and are there any risks?
Does the 30-30-30 method work?
It’s hard to say for sure whether the 30-30-30 method works and whether it can lead to weight loss because it hasn’t been studied rigorously, said Tara Schmidt, chief dietitian at the Mayo Clinic. , at TODAY.com. And ultimately, the effectiveness of any diet or fitness program will depend on the individual and their goals.
However, the method can be broken down into its different stages, which have been the subject of research. Here’s what we know about the benefits of a protein-rich breakfast followed by low-intensity physical activity in the morning.
Breakfast and weight loss
Although eating breakfast has many benefits, does it actually help with weight loss? It depends. “The evidence that breakfast is beneficial for weight loss is rated fair,” says Schmidt.
In the National Weight Control Registry study, subjects who maintained long-term weight loss tended to eat breakfast every day, Schmidt says, suggesting that this could be a factor in their success. “We don’t know exactly why,” says Schmidt.
While some claim that breakfast helps “kick-start” or boost metabolism, evidence is lacking, experts note. A 2022 analysis found that those who ate a larger breakfast did not burn calories faster, TODAY.com previously reported.
“In theory, this could be beneficial for burning calories if you’re the type of person where eating breakfast in the morning makes you feel more energetic and active throughout the day,” Jason Machowsky, a physiologist at the exercise and dietitian at the Hospital for Special Surgery, tells TODAY.com.
The 30-30-30 rule specifically recommends eating breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up and, more importantly, that the breakfast contain 30 grams of protein. Does this make a difference?
“I wouldn’t say breakfast should be eaten within 30 minutes of waking up. I would generally say to eat breakfast within a few hours. …Not everyone can digest food this early,” Schmidt says. “I think there’s a benefit to consuming 30 grams of protein.”
Healthy adults should consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily, according to the Institute of Medicine’s dietary reference recommendations. For a 150-pound adult, that’s about 54 grams of protein per day, TODAY.com previously reported. What is considered a “high protein diet” depends on each individual and their body size.
Research has suggested that eating protein at breakfast may contribute to satiety or a longer feeling of fullness, as well as blood sugar control and insulin resistance, experts note.
High-protein breakfast choices can include eggs, lean meats, Greek yogurt, ultrafiltered milk, nut butters and protein shakes, says Schmidt. “It’s perfectly fine to eat carbs at breakfast, but when you have a protein source in addition to carbs, that blood sugar spike won’t be as high,” Schmidt adds.
In addition to protein and carbohydrates, Schmidt encourages people to add fruits and vegetables, which provide additional fiber and nutrients.
Low-intensity exercise for weight loss
The final step of the method involves doing 30 minutes of low-intensity steady-state cardiovascular exercise (LISS) each morning after breakfast. This type of exercise increases your heart rate, but not too much, so you can maintain it for a longer period of time without losing your breath. Examples include brisk walking, cycling, swimming or using an elliptical trainer, TODAY.com previously reported.
The U.S. Department of Health’s physical activity guidelines recommend that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week.
“All exercise helps lower your blood sugar, so it’s absolutely beneficial,” says Schmidt. “But I don’t think we have a lot of research to support doing it that quickly after a meal.”
In videos now going viral on TikTok, Brecka claims that the 30-30-30 method helps the body burn more fat.
“Burning fat” is a loaded term, experts say. “Lower intensity exercise will burn a higher percentage of calories from fat,” Machowsky explains. But higher-intensity exercise can burn more calories overall, he adds.
“If the goal is to lose weight, it’s about the total amount of calories you burn,” Machowsky adds. “You need to be in a calorie deficit to promote a real reduction in your body’s fat stores.”
When it comes to timing of exercise, many experts agree that morning exercise may be ideal for logistical and health reasons, but its sustainability depends on each person.
A recent study published in the journal Obesity found that exercising between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. could help with weight loss, TODAY.com previously reported.
“Some people find that exercising in the morning makes them more conscious of their food choices the rest of the day, so this can have a positive ripple effect,” says Machowsky.
Others may find it easier to do morning exercise to make it a consistent habit, Schmidt adds.
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Does 30-30-30 help with weight loss?
Ultimately, the impact of the 30-30-30 method will depend on a person’s baseline activity level and other habits, experts point out. “Ask yourself: Do (30-30-30 steps) improve these current habits?” Machowsky said.
“If you’re not doing any exercise and now you’re doing 30 minutes a day of low-intensity cardio, that’s better than nothing,” adds Machowsky. But if you do higher-intensity or longer workouts and scale back your training to follow the 30-30-30 method, you may not burn as many calories as before, experts note.
Although many different factors can impact an individual’s weight, the main strategy that guarantees weight loss is to be in a calorie deficit, says Schmidt, so if the 30-30-30 method doesn’t suit you don’t bring it, then you probably won’t succeed. losing weight.
Compared to other fad diets and fitness trends, the 30-30-30 rule is much less of a concern, says Schmidt. The basics, eating a protein-rich breakfast and exercising daily, are pretty easy to adopt. However, they may not work for everyone.
“The (method) doesn’t seem dangerous to try, but it’s not universal,” says Machowksy.
“Some people are hungry in the morning and some people aren’t, so I wouldn’t force feed myself,” says Machowsky. If you can’t tolerate breakfast or hate morning workouts, this method may not be ideal for you, experts note. “But that doesn’t mean you can’t try it and see how your body reacts,” he adds.
It’s generally safe for most people to consume 30 grams of protein at a time, since the recommended daily amount is higher than that of the average adult, experts note. However, some people should limit their daily protein intake, Schmidt says, such as those with chronic kidney disease. “Always check with your doctor first,” adds Schmidt.
Thirty minutes of low-intensity exercise is also safe for most people, experts note. “For the general healthy population, I don’t see this being a problem,” Machowsky says. However, anyone with underlying health conditions should always consult their doctor before starting any new exercise program, he adds.
“Of course, there are always warnings: If something you’re eating doesn’t make you feel good, stop. If you’re doing an activity that makes you feel bad, stop,” says Machowsky.
“We continue to find new ways to do the same thing we’ve been trying to tell people all along, which is exercise, eat a balanced, sustainable diet,” Schmidt says. .
This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY:
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