Learn more about TikTok’s 30-30-30 health trend, including the benefits and risks

Published Jul 1, 2024


One of the latest health trends on TikTok is the 30-30-30 method. This routine involves three simple steps: Consume 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up, followed by 30 minutes of gentle to moderate exercise.

Advocates say it helps with steady, sustainable weight loss while preserving muscle mass. What’s more, this method is fuss-free with no strict rules, restrictions or calorie counting.

Originally, this morning routine was introduced by Tim Ferriss in his book, “The 4-Hour Body”.

Lately, it has surged in popularity on TikTok, thanks to Gary Brecka, a podcaster who calls himself a “human biologist” and shares various tips for enhancing physical and mental health.

How does 30-30-30 work?

Breaking down the 30-30-30 method, “Health” reports you start by consuming 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up. While you can include carbs and fats, the key is ensuring your breakfast has around 30 grams of protein.

The 30-30-30 method recommends steady-state cardiovascular exercise – low-intensity activities that raise your heart rate. Picture: nappy/Pexels

The next step is to engage in 30 minutes of exercise. The 30-30-30 method recommends steady-state cardiovascular exercise, low-intensity activities that raise your heart rate slightly but keep it manageable, such as walking or casual bike riding.

Proponents say aim to keep your heart rate at or below 135 beats per minute (bpm). A good indicator is if you can hold a conversation while jogging or biking, likely keeping you under 135 bpm.

Consuming protein at breakfast and doing cardio are known for multiple health benefits and aiding weight loss.

“There is ample scientific evidence that consuming more protein, especially at breakfast, can help reduce calorie consumption throughout the rest of the day, as protein helps you feel fuller for longer,” Josten Fish, a registered dietician, told “Health”.

Some studies have also shown that people consuming more protein lose weight faster.

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Additionally, eating an adequate protein-rich breakfast can help stabilise blood sugar and combat insulin resistance, a cause of stubborn weight loss, said Michelle Routhenstein, a registered dietician nutritionist and cardiology dietician with Entirely Nourished.

How to do the 30-30-30 method:

Step one: Eat 30 grams of protein

Eat 30 g of protein within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning. To make this happen, it might be best to have your breakfast prepped the night before. You should be able to hit your goal with meals such as:

  • Three scrambled eggs, topped with cheese.
  • A fruit smoothie made with protein powder.
  • Greek yoghurt topped with nuts.
  • Cottage cheese with pineapple.
  • High protein bread topped with nut butter or eggs and cheese.
  • A bowl of quinoa topped with tofu, eggs, beans or cheese.

Step Two: Exercise for 30 minutes

Have your exercise clothes ready and plan out which type of exercise you’ll do in the morning. The focus is on cardiovascular exercise, not strength training.

You’ll want to exercise hard enough to feel your heart is beating faster, but not so hard you couldn’t carry on a conversation if you wanted to.

Here are some ideas that should get your heart rate into the correct zone:

  • Take a walk, either on a treadmill or through your neighbourhood.
  • Take a leisurely bike ride.
  • Turn on some music and dance.
  • Go jogging.
  • Try a cardio machine at the gym, such as the stair stepper or elliptical.
  • Swim laps in a pool.

Potential benefits of the 30-30-30 method

The 30-30-30 method aims to burn body fat rather than lean muscle. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) says raising your heart rate helps improve or maintain your fitness. Getting your heart rate into the right zone is great for burning body fat.

Eating protein at breakfast can also help with fat burning. Eating 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up jump starts your metabolism and provides essential nutrients. A protein-rich breakfast controls appetite and regulates blood sugar levels.

Risks of the 30-30-30 method

Experts concur that, compared to other fad diets and fitness trends, the 30-30-30 rule is less concerning.

The main ideas – eating a high-protein breakfast and exercising daily – are fairly easy to support. However, it’s not one-size-fits-all. If you can’t eat breakfast or dislike morning workouts, this method might not be ideal for you.

However, some people should limit their protein intake, such as those with chronic kidney disease. Anyone with underlying health conditions should consult their doctor before starting any new exercise programme.