What Is The 30-30-30 Rule?

Published: May 08, 2024

Over the past few months, there has been a weight-loss method trending on social media: The 30-30-30 rule. The “rule” is a set of behaviors intended to help someone lose weight. As a physical therapist who works with a lot of different patient populations, I hear about all kinds of exercise tips or tricks trending on TikTok or Instagram. Here’s a closer look at the 30-30-30 rule and what you need to know.

What is the 30-30-30 rule?

The rule includes eating 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning and then doing 30 minutes of low-intensity exercise.

What are the health benefits of this trend?

The purported benefits claim that following this daily regimen will result in weight loss. Unfortunately, there are no strong forms of evidence or research that examine this specific method. Theoretically, however, we can give it the benefit of the doubt that it may help a certain subset of individuals kickstart a behavioral lifestyle change. Individuals who are thinking about starting a new diet or a new exercise program but keep putting it off may benefit from the low-input approach of the 30-30-30 rule. Eating a few eggs (or a scoop of whey) and going for a brisk 30-minute walk is simple to accomplish.

Should you eat protein right when you wake up?

There is no “perfect” time to eat breakfast, but adding protein to the meal is a great idea no matter what time you eat it. Simply getting in the habit of eating breakfast daily is enough to lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and hypertension, furthermore a breakfast lowering in sugar and higher in protein has been associated with higher energy levels.

Other known benefits to protein on metabolism include its higher thermic effect (uses energy to create energy) and its role in maintenance of lean muscle mass (higher lean muscle mass is associated with “slightly” higher energy demands). Protein can leave you feeling more satisfied, but higher protein consumption isn’t for everyone; high protein consumption may bring a higher load to the kidney and consist of higher cholesterol foods.

One caveat, though: If you’re really interested in losing weight, discussing your diet with a registered dietitian is probably a safer bet than following this plan.

Is low-intensity exercise better than high-intensity?

Any form of exercise is a good form of exercise. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and American College of Sports Medicine recommends adults complete 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. That works out to about 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week – which is doable for most people.

I would recommend individuals start with low-intensity exercise each day until this behavior has become the new normal. Then the individual can set new goals to continue self-improvement – and consider increasing the intensity of their workouts. Light physical activity has demonstrated a positive effect in cardiometabolic health, mortality, and glycemic control. Examples of “light” exercise include: walking, biking (slowly), light weight training, dancing, and leisure sports (table tennis). Although light-intensity exercise is sufficient to reduce weight and body fat, including higher intensity exercise has shown to have a stronger effect on waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio.

Can the 30-30-30 rule make you healthier?

Any quick fix doesn’t make you healthier, but it can potentially help promote a lasting healthy lifestyle change.   
Every individual is unique and requires unique attention to detail when embarking on a behavior change. This may not be for everybody. Be sure to consult a doctor, physical therapist, or personal trainer before starting a new exercise routine. When it comes to your diet, also consider discussing any changes with your doctor or a dietitian. Losing weight can be beneficial for your health, but it’s important to do it the right way.

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