Workout Essentialism

Written by Coach Jason Cohen

“20% of your effort drives 80% of your results”

This principle is everywhere in nature and it’s so common it even has a name: the Pareto Principle. The hard part of progress isn’t working hard, but instead identifying which actions fall into the 20% driving big success. On the flip side, it’s equally important to learn where you’re bleeding a ton of energy without much return.

Step 1: Choose

The first thing we must do is choose our desired outcome. I know it’s tempting to want it all – weight Loss, muscle gain, more energy, running a 5K in less than 20 minutes – but choosing everything is the same thing as choosing nothing. So what is MOST important to you right now?  Start there.

Step 2: Eliminate

Skipping this step is the reason 90% of people fail. Adding more to your already full schedule is impossible. After all, there’s only so much time in a day! Instead of adding more and stressing yourself out, start with eliminating things you’re currently doing that are unimportant towards (or counter to) your progress.

For example: if you choose weight loss as your primary goal and have a habit of eating out 5 days per week, simply reducing that to 3 days per week will allow for you to allocate that extra time towards beneficial tasks like meal prepping.

What are the things you can STOP doing to aid your progress? Addition through subtraction is a powerful tool because we gain traction by doing LESS instead of constantly trying to cram in more and more.

Step 3: Explore

By eliminating anything non-essential to our goal, we create the space to explore. What’s something you love to do that will help you find success? If the activity you choose isn’t a ‘hell yes,’ it needs to be a hard NO. If exercise isn’t something you love, you’ve got to find something you look forward to doing or you’ll never stick with it. Think outside the box. Maybe it’s going to the beach to do yoga, taking cooking classes, or picking up a new sport like spikeball or roller derby. It doesn’t need to be the gym!

DO NOT RUSH THIS STEP. Take plenty of time and try out a bunch of stuff. It’s tempting to move on too quickly because you just want to get started towards your goal, but the time you spend finding the right thing will 10X your results. Be patient!

Step 4: Execute

Once you’ve found THE thing, it’s time to get to work. Do your best to stay focused and not follow the shiny objects as they go flying by…and trust me, they will. There will be some new fad diet your cousin wants you to do with her, a crazy new shake weight release, or a friend who wants you to come do goat, beer, full moon yoga at the local farm. It’s YOUR job to remember what things fall into the 20% bucket driving the majority of your results. Double-down on those, and ignore everything else.

Pro Tip:

For just about any goal related to health and fitness, nutrition and mindset are the most overlooked and undervalued pieces of the puzzle. Many times, you’ll find that 80% of your progress is driven by eating better and having a solid self-care plan. Don’t forget to zoom out beyond solely exercising, and keep all of ‘The Five Pillars of Health’ in mind:

Fitness     Nutrition      Mindset     Recovery   Relationships.

If you want some help identifying the 20% that’s going to move you forward, book a Discovery Call with one of our expert coaches and we’ll help!


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