It seems like there is a new “trick” to weight loss going viral every five seconds, and it’s getting almost impossible to keep up with. From the Law of Attraction to nature’s Ozempic to workouts that people swear will transform your body, each method varies drastically, making it hard to ever know what can work for you if you are on a weight loss journey. And let’s face it: TikTok videos and testimonials just aren’t enough to decipher whether a method is right for you. At The Everygirl, we prefer research and expert opinions to find out what’s worth trying versus what’s getting some viral buzz.
When we got word that there was yet another method going viral that claimed to be the key to weight loss, you better believe we did a deep dive to learn what it was all about. The method in question? The 30/30/30 method. Ahead, we break down the details, how it works, and even some tips for trying it out yourself if you’re interested. But rest assured: Every body is different, and the best weight loss method is the one that feels good for you. If you’re overwhelmed by the overly abundant methods and advice out there, eat more plants, move your body more, prioritize sleep and stress relief, talk to your doctor, and lean into self-love wherever possible (that’s really all the health advice you need!). But if you’re interested in biohacking your weight loss journey and ready to try a new method that’s backed by a top human biologist, we got you too. Read on for a detailed deep dive on the latest weight loss method gaining popularity, and tips if you want to try it for yourself.
What is the 30/30/30 Method?
The 30/30/30 method was made viral by human biologist, researcher, and biohacker Gary Brecka, but the concept was first coined by Tim Ferris in his book titled The 4-Hour Body. In one of Brecka’s videos, he says “I’ve never seen anything in my life strip fat off of a human being faster than this,” which is a bold claim, but he believes in this method so deeply that he says that he wishes he was the one to patent the idea. So what exactly is it? The goal is to eat 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning, followed by engaging in 30 minutes of steady-state cardiovascular exercise (think: low-intensity exercises like walking), ensuring that your heart rate is at or below 135 BPM. Brecka claims that after one month of consistent practice, “you will watch your weight eviscerate.” Those are some extreme statements, so let’s dive into the science.
How does it work?
This method seems easy enough to follow, but how does it work? Gen Coco, a women’s weight loss expert and certified nutrition coach, explains that eating protein first thing in the morning helps stabilize your glucose and insulin levels. When you wake up and drink coffee on an empty stomach or eat something high in sugar and carbohydrates like a bagel or cereal, it causes a huge spike in cortisol (due to caffeine) and insulin (from sugar or simple carbohydrates). This can not only lead to weight gain or inability to lose weight but can also damage hormones. Protein first thing in the morning can help keep glucose levels stable, boost metabolism, and reduce cravings for the rest of the day. The 30 minutes of steady-state cardio aids in digestion, reduces inflammation, decreases cortisol, and increases serotonin and dopamine.
According to Brecka, most of his female patients will wake up, drink coffee, and then do an intense workout and expect to lose weight. He explains that exercising without sugar in the bloodstream means the body needs a new energy source. The body has about a 20-minute reserve of glycogen for energy, and after that 20-minute reserve is up, your body needs to get more energy. It takes three minutes to liquify lean muscle and five hours to turn fat into energy, so your body opts to burn lean muscle, rather than fat. Therefore, many people are sabotaging their goals by building muscle through exercise but then burning muscle as an energy source. Getting protein first thing in the morning ensures your body has a steady source of energy so it won’t have to pull from lean muscle. Brecka also explains that because the body burns fat at rest, steady-state cardiovascular exercise (your heart rate should be at or below 135 BPM) ensures that your body is burning fat. If it rises above 135 BPM (i.e. more intense cardio), the body switches energy sources and therefore may burn lean muscle rather than fat.
How to try it for yourself
Aim for 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up
If you’re the kind of gal who likes to wake up, pour a cup of coffee, and eat something convenient when your tummy starts to rumble two hours later, this might be the biggest change for you. But fear not—it’s pretty easy to get in 30 grams of protein with less than five minutes of prep. Some of our favorite options include three hard-boiled eggs (prepped in advance) with a piece of Ezekiel toast, a smoothie with a scoop and a half of protein powder (most protein powders have around 20 grams per scoop), mixing protein powder into oatmeal (my go-to breakfast option!), a bowl of cottage cheese with some fruit, or a greek yogurt bowl topped with granola and peanut butter.
Get 30 minutes of steady-state cardiovascular exercise
During steady-state exercise, you should be able to talk on the phone, read a Kindle, and even take notes during a meeting; you should not be panting or huffing and puffing, which means you can seamlessly fit into your routine. This could look like walking on a walking pad for 30 minutes at the start of your day, taking your dog for a long walk, or going on a leisurely bike ride around your neighborhood (or answering emails on your trusty stationary bike). It doesn’t have to be complicated and it definitely shouldn’t run you down—what matters is that you’re getting movement in at a steady pace that you can maintain and that you enjoy it. When you enjoy the exercise you are incorporating into your day, you’re more likely to stay consistent.
Don’t get too caught up with the numbers
While we love guidelines that take the guesswork out of healthy habits, anything with numbers can cause us to get too obsessed, or make the practice more difficult to add to our daily routine, meaning we are less likely to keep up with it. The important part is you’re getting protein as soon as you can after waking up, and then getting in some light exercise at some point–don’t feel pressure to hit the exact numbers every day. “When trends like this come up, it’s important to see the bigger picture and not get fixated on the tiny details,” Coco warned her followers. If you only get in 20g of protein, eat within an hour after waking up, or only have time for a 15-minute walk before your 8 a.m. meeting, you can still experience overall health benefits.