Everyone Is Talking About the 30-30-30 Diet—But What Is It?

“Virtually everyone who comes to my clinic isn’t getting the recommended amount of daily cardio,” says Clayborne, who’s seen an uptick in interest in the viral fitness craze over the past few months, with inquiries coming in at least three times a week. “The 30-30-30 method couldn’t be easier to incorporate into your lifestyle.”

To that end, here are ways to integrate it into your daily routine and why it’s beneficial.

1. Start off your mornings with 30 grams of protein

Kickstart your day with a protein-packed breakfast. Whether it’s through eggs, nuts, nut butter, seeds, or protein powders, aim for a substantial intake of 30 grams. To put it in perspective, a single scoop of protein powder typically contains around 20 to 30 grams. It’s essential to adhere to the scientific principle that suggests consuming your protein before indulging in other items, like that tempting glass of orange juice.

“Eating protein first thing in the morning [before carbs] will help curb your sugar cravings throughout the day,” says Katrina Tate, a NASM-certified personal trainer at Royal Personal Training. “Protein first thing will keep your insulin levels low.”

2. Follow with 30 minutes of low-impact exercise

A light jog, leisurely bike ride, or swim are all great examples of this kind of exercise. “Low impact, low-intensity cardio has been shown to burn more fat, while high intensity burns carbs initially while raising the metabolism for a short period known as the ‘afterburn’ effect,” says Clayborne. “The gym is great, but overtraining can cause elevated cortisol levels, which, in turn, raises your insulin, making it impossible to tap into your fat reserves for fuel,” adds Tate.

Incorporating this routine within 30 minutes of waking up provides a dual benefit by jumpstarting your metabolism. “As long as you’re moving and getting that heart rate in your target fat-burning zone, you’ll feel the benefits,” she attests. Not to be overlooked is the simple act of walking outside. “It’s one of the most underrated things on the planet,” says Johnson, who would take that over 60 minutes of indoor cardio any day of the week.

Is the 30-30-30 method actually effective?

For some, the results are apparent almost immediately—even amongst the trainers who we interviewed. However, Tate cautions that consistency is key to success. Whether or not it’s effective for you really depends on your starting point and how you define it. What is your age? Do you already live a healthy lifestyle? Are you insulin-resistant? How much weight are you hoping to lose—if that’s your goal? How are you sleeping? How are you digesting your food? Do you have deficiencies? How are you managing stress?

The answer to all of these questions can influence effectiveness, which is why it’s crucial to consult your physician first to see if it’s appropriate for you. A consultation with a dietician or nutritionist can also be helpful for sources of protein and a dietary plan specific to your needs.

“I would tell everyone, no matter where they are in life or what program they’re doing…you have to commit to three months,” says Johnson. “You have to get a whole new cycle of cells and give the body a chance.” The goal is to stick with the routine long enough for meaningful changes based on biochemistry to take place.

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