Pareto’s Principle states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the inputs. Another way of saying this is that 80% of the work you’re doing is netting you a marginal gain of only 20%. So, when it comes to fitness (and almost everything else), not all things are created equal.
That brings us to the big question: What items comprise the 20% that will net us a disproportionate positive return? What should we focus on that will give us the most bang for our buck? It depends.
The first thing you’ve got to do is define what success looks like. If the goal is to get a killer beach body, your 20% will look a whole heck of a lot different than the 20% of someone whose primary aim is to run a marathon. You can’t start to build a road map without knowing your destination.
For the purposes of this exercise I’m going to assume that your goal is a shift in body composition, weight loss, or “toning up” (as is the case with 80% of our clients). Knowing that’s our end game, here’s what I want you to focus on:
- Nutrition. Nutrition. Nutrition. Like location in real estate I say this 3 times for a reason. Abs are made in the kitchen. Period. A good rule of thumb is to eat good, clean, whole food 80% of the time. This means eating well 6 of 7 days a week. If you eat perfectly for 6 days, then have one cheat day, you’ve achieved eating well 86% of the time. Bump that number to 2 cheat days and you just plummeted to 72% clean eats, and that’s if the other 5 days of food are FLAWLESS. So if you’re gorging on the weekends, you can kiss your dream body goodbye. No crap, this one thing is probably 60% of your success alone.
- High Intensity Exercise. All it takes is 2-3 days a week for 6-12 minutes. Make it happen. There’s no reason you can’t take 6 minutes away from Facebook, screen time, or even just time spent procrastinating. Especially if it means getting yourself to a place where you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally.
- Mindfulness. This third and final leg of the triangle serves solely as support for the other 2. By practicing some sort of mindfulness, be it meditation, yoga, breathing techniques or the myriad of others out there, taking time to remember WHY you’re doing this in the first place will make your goal infinitely more sustainable. I know my wife has dreadlocks, but I’m not your typical flower power type. I fought this for the longest time and as it turns out, it was the missing piece to the puzzle. Give it a chance and you might be surprised.
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