By: Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
If you’re in the business or entrepreneurship space, you’ve probably heard of the name Tim Ferriss. Not only has he built quite the name for himself, but the nuggets of wisdom he passes down to us is something far too many take for granted. While known for helping people grow their businesses, get more productive, and improve their lives, he also touches on health topics from time to time. Along those lines, Tim Ferriss mentioned a method called the 30-30-30 rule that he uses to help control his health and weight.
If you read his book titled “The 4-Hour Body,” you would have already heard this method being put to use as it’s something Tim Ferriss swears by. But is the 30-30-30 rule really something you should try, or is this entrepreneur, investor, author, podcaster, and lifestyle guru full of it?
In this article, we will take a deeper dive into the 30-30-30 rule to better understand what it is, how to implement it, and if it’s worth giving a try or not.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before starting any exercise program or making any changes to your daily nutrition plan.
What is the 30-30-30 Rule from Tim Ferriss?
Truthfully, the 30-30-30 rule could be one of the simplest weight loss (or weight maintenance) methods out there. Why? Because all you need to know is that you must consume 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up each morning, and then follow it up with 30 minutes of low-intensity exercise.
I know what you’re thinking… THAT’S IT?
Yup. Seems too good to be true, right? After all, there’s nothing else you need to do, according to Tim Ferriss. You don’t need to restrict yourself or count your calories throughout the day, you don’t need to hit a certain step count, etc. If you ask me, it seems way too easy in order to actually make a difference in your health and physique.
It should also be noted that (regardless of whether you like him or not) Gary Brecka pushes the 30-30-30 rule in many of his TikTok videos and pretty much promotes it as the greatest thing since sliced bread. He’s also a huge advocate for gut health as it relates to improving weight loss and overall health.
Related Article: Gut Health 101 — How It Affects Weight Loss & Foods You Should Eat
Is There Research to Back This Up?
If you’re asking if there is specific research on the 30-30-30 rule, the answer is no. There is zero research to back up what Tim Ferriss and Gary Brecka are preaching. However, there could be some validity to the individual principles behind the 30-30-30 rule.
All that being said, let’s dive a little deeper below into some of the key pieces of research and data that do exist, which could make the 30-30-30 rule a good weight loss regimen for you to try.
Breakfast remains a hot topic of debate regarding its impact on weight loss, with evidence suggesting a “fair” relationship that when you eat breakfast, you may be able to improve weight management since breakfast can fill you up upon waking and may prevent you from being hungry mid-morning.
Nevertheless, opting for a protein-rich breakfast can potentially curb excess calories later in the morning, potentially leading to weight loss over the long term. Therefore, the 30-30-30 rule may help you feel more full throughout the day.
But before you get all excited, those celebrating weight loss in the TikTok comments of a Gary Brecka post might achieve a calorie deficit by reducing daytime snacking from consuming a breakfast high in protein. But that doesn’t guarantee you won’t overconsume on calories later in the day and put yourself into a caloric surplus.
Protein is pretty great (and delicious), if I do say so myself. And when it comes to protein, studies mention that consuming at least 30 grams of protein during breakfast can contribute to increased feelings of fullness and satiety. The ability to better manage ghrelin and leptin levels (hunger and satiating hormones) can help prevent the spikes in hunger levels that can cause you to binge on unhealthy foods throughout the day.
Additionally, data indicates that a protein-rich breakfast improves blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, and insulin resistance. While over half of Americans meet or exceed protein recommendations, it’s common for this to occur during the evening meal in larger portions than optimal for effective protein utilization.
Related Article: Should You Be Using Whey Protein Shakes for Weight Loss?
If you feel you aren’t getting in enough quality protein during the day or you want to increase your daily protein intake by adding more protein to your breakfast, consider drinking a protein shake with the meal.
When it comes to exercise, the key takeaway is simple: As Nike says… just do it. Regardless of the timing or type of exercise, benefits are sure to follow for those who actually stay consistent with their exercise program and are committed to making it a priority.
If you’re not prioritizing your workouts, you’re less likely to hold yourself accountable. Put your workouts in your calendar like you would any important meeting or engagement and don’t allow anything to change your workout time unless you’re willing to slot it somewhere else during your day to not miss it.
Engaging in morning exercise, however, may amplify weight loss, possibly due to its connection to consistency, habit formation, and improved self-regulation. Therefore, implementing the 30-30-30 rule may help as it knocks out a good chunk of your protein for the day, along with some exercise or movement that you may typically skip by letting the day get away from you.
The 30-30-30 Rule Can Work for Over 70% of American Adults
The fact of the matter is that over 70% of American adults are considered overweight. Why is this? Because they eat more calories throughout the day, they have an overall caloric surplus. If they were able to better manage their nutrition and exercise, they could correct their weight issue. But Americans are all about being lazy and eating foods that are quick and convenient (also known as unhealthy).
If people were to start utilizing the 30-30-30 rule, they would change their baseline health habits, and this could cause them to lose weight. Rather than waking up and grabbing a donut or bagel, if individuals were to get up early, slam down some protein, and then do some cardio or resistance training, it would be a completely different lifestyle and behavior pattern than they are accustomed to. Therefore, the changes they see from implementing the 30-30-30 rule could be real.
According to the American Heart Association, it is recommended that everyone get a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week. If you were to follow the 30-30-30 rule, you would have 210 minutes of exercise weekly — more than the recommendation (which is great). Or, if you only wanted to do it Monday through Friday, you would still hit the 150-minute recommendation.
Again, this is more exercise than what most Americans are getting, which is why we have an obesity epidemic on our hands here in the US.
Will the 30-30-30 Rule Work for Me?
Unfortunately, I don’t have a magic ball and can answer that for you, nor am I a doctor (or your doctor) to understand where your health and weight currently are. That said, nothing works 100% of the people out there. If it were true, you would only need to follow one diet and one workout program to look like a Greek God for you men out there or some fairytale princess for the ladies. But if you were to look to the left and right of you, I’m willing to bet those on either side don’t resemble these fine specimens.
Here’s the interesting part of the 30-30-30 rule: if you follow health and fitness trends, many will tell you eating in the morning isn’t a good idea and that you should fast (like through the use of intermittent fasting). During this timeframe, you are recommended to do fasted cardio (cardio on an empty stomach) in order to more easily unlock fat stores and use them as energy rather than the carbohydrates you ate at a meal. It makes sense, and that method works great for many people. But the 30-30-30 rule is much different.
At the same time, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, and while fasted cardio in the morning works for many people looking to lose weight, the 30-30-30 rule could get the job done (or at least get them started down the right path) for many people.
But to sum up this entire article on the 30-30-30 rule that Tim Ferriss and Gary Brecka promote, I’d say give it a try and see if it works for you. Maybe it will… maybe it won’t. You’ll never know unless you try it for yourself.
There’s even a way to simplify your protein intake each morning. If you want an absolutely delicious way to get in your protein each morning (whether you try the 30-30-30 rule or not), grab yourself a tub of MuscleSport Lean Whey.
Not only does MuscleSport Lean Whey contain high-quality protein, but it also contains a Lean Whey Fat Metabolizing Matrix that can help ignite your metabolism and support you in your weight loss efforts. With more than 20 mouth-watering flavors to choose from, you can keep your taste buds happy with your morning protein shake. Start your day off on the right foot with some MuscleSport Lean Whey!