Two Versions of the 80/20 Rule Explained
Written by Kristen and Travis Gil
This article is going to briefly explain the 80/20 rule as it pertains to both nutrition and one’s overall fitness. To start, let’s explore the nutritional side of the concept!
The principle at play here is that one should eat “clean” 80% of the time, and the other 20% can consist of anything (within reason). Now, what is meant by eating clean? This means that your diet should be high in vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, healthy carbs and any other food that isn’t processed.
To not eat clean is, you guessed it, to eat “dirty”. Eating dirty means you are hitting up the burger joint on the way home from work, or finding every excuse to taste-test your famous Philly cheese steak recipe. But come on, we all need to indulge every now and then, right? Absolutely!
If we apply the 80/20 to a standard, 7-day week: 80% of 7 is a little over 5 ½ days of clean eating. And then, essentially, the rest of the time you are allowed to eat whatever you want. That means you have multiple meals you can devote towards eating out, desserts, or high-sodium foods. Of course this all depends on any dietary restrictions you may have, as well as any existing health conditions. And while we are on the topic, it might be best to spread the 20% free-for-all throughout the week. Let’s say, eat at a restaurant for a couple of meals, once on Monday and another on Friday, and then go out to ice cream on Sunday (as an example). And of course, the rest of your energy should be devoted towards eating the proper amounts of healthy foods.
Now, this is just one of the facets of the 80/20 rule, but there is another that is just as important. Basically, when it comes to one’s overall level of fitness, 80% of your total results will come from diet alone. This means that your diet can make or break your overall fitness goals. The other 20%? That has to do with working out/proper rest and recovery. So, the means for achieving your fitness goals largely hinge on the quality of your diet. Don't waste a great workout!
The problem though is just how difficult it can be to stringently follow a structured diet on one’s own. It is not impossible by any means, but the best intentions of following the 80/20 rule can quickly become derailed. Soon, the 80/20 guideline can begin to look more like a 50/50 rule. Heads = ice cream. Tails = celery.
Avoiding these types of slip-ups are certainly tough. And it is definitely much easier when one has a helping hand when trying to follow a diet or nutrition program.
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