Why the 80% Nutrition/20% Fitness Rule is Dead!
Want to achieve a healthier lifestyle? Do you desire more energy and longevity? Well, the answer is simple, right? Focus 80% of your attention to proper nutrition and 20% of your attention on exercising, then you will achieve all the goals that you desire.....WRONG!
Any new health enthusiasts will preach this phrase to you in motivational photos on their Instagram accounts while telling their friends to simply eat less (or eat more protein) or exercise more if they hit a plateau. I use to be the biggest advocate of this popular phrase when I started my health journey and even afterwards when I starting training others to get healthier. Then, I took a year off and really started to study the human body and what it needs during certain seasons, sudden life changes and activity requirements in our lives. The research that I was constantly learning from; provided by pro athletes, M.D.'s, personal training mentors, physical therapists, and many more kept me busy for hours a day, often causing me to neglect my work since I was having my whole wellness belief system turned upside down.
Before we go any further, I will be the first to admit that I am a nutrition focused coach. Nutrition SHOULD be established as your foundation since it is your fuel for living and certainly requires to become a priority in your life if you seek to become healthier overall. One old phrase is true to this day-You cannot out train a bad diet. But, that never means you should neglect or give less attention to exercise (and other factors of becoming healthier), here is why...
Photo Credit: Dr. James McMinn of the McMinn Clinic
Whatever you use as your online searching assistant, you can search and discover different pyramids related to the importance of different health and wellness categories. Dr. McMinn's is the closest I have been able to find that in my personal and professional opinion, is the closest to what total wellness requires in the appropriate ordering. For the sake of time, we will discuss only the foundation of the pyramid and why they all work together to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
The majority of clients I meet with every week all have one thing in common....injuries! Many of these common and serious injuries I find are easily preventable with daily recovery and exercise techniques but unfortunately, injury prevention courses are not offered in most (if any to my knowledge) schools. Unless you make the career decision and enroll in a particular wellness course at a University and pursue the respected degree; you will never have gained any basic education on how to prevent major injuries from occurring and before the age of 35, I've seen many good hearted day to day individuals go under the knife to repair tendons, ligaments, spinal damages, etc. Yes, accidents will happen, but this cannot and should never be considered normal especially when in today's time, we now have the most reliable information that has ever been provided before about proper injury prevention and exercise technique improvement.
One thing that truly inspires me about professional athletes and some of the world's greatest personal trainers and health coaches is their attention to detail towards themselves and their clients. When your body aches and makes you aware of pain or discomfort of any sort, that is your body's way of communicating with you that something is wrong and needs your attention. Some of the time, general health goers ignore this for the popular response of "powering through it" because it's just the aftermath of working out or going "beastmode" because they do not want to appear weak by taking a rest day, not even realizing that they are transferring themselves from the general health/longevity category towards the performance/competitor category and unless you are preparing for a competition or are getting paid as a pro athlete, you do not ever need to do this to yourself for longevity reasons. That is where the "work smarter, not harder," phrase should come into play. On the other side of the coin are the individuals that don't care about competing with themselves and once they feel an ache or pain, they do stay home but never take the proper recovery measures to treat the ach or pain.
Other categories that are listed in the foundation of living a healthier lifestyle include hydration and rest/sleep. You would be amazed by how many "coaches" or motivational speakers I oversee on social media give advice or suggest to their clients and public to "sleep less, grind more." Having a strong work ethic should never be disregarded, we as human beings were created to work hard in my opinion. But, physiological and various other health studies have shown proof year in and year out the damaging results of what overtraining (or undertraining), lack of sleep, lack of stress management & spiritual health does to any and all human beings. We must be aware of this and we must give more than 20% of our attention to these categories of total mind and body wellness. Nothing truly upsets me more than when I see trainers and coaches suggest to others that if they haven't hit their results, they MUST not be doing something correctly either nutritionally or physically in the gym without ever asking what their daily habits, stress levels or biofeedback is. Sleep & recovery time is being suggested to go down while activity levels going up to reach a particular goal is a recipe for disaster. This type of poor leadership may eventually lead into damaging physical results and injuries, uneducated information that could be passed down to others and/or eventually develop a negative & stressful mindset that leads into further negative results, just to name a few!
I could go on and on how the importance of nutrition, hydration, recovery, exercise, stress levels & mental health all play into the actual total body health you obtain but for the sake of time once again, I wanted to keep this brief and quickly get something out to the public since I've been seeing these patterns developing. If anyone enjoyed this information and would like to go further down the rabbit hole, just leave a comment and let me know. This is a passion of mine so I will gladly speak about it if you all are interested. The thing I would like everyone to remember is this...
Every human being is different genetically but we all require the same fundamentals to survive and thrive. A proper meal plan supplied by an experienced & licensed Nutrition Coach or Dietician is a fantastic start but I highly recommend eventually seeking a certified & experienced Personal Trainer to exercise with that has extensive education on body mechanics. Not only is exercise crucial for overall organ health and higher energy levels but also, basic injury prevention techniques can be taught. For any individual that commits to living a healthier lifestyle for whatever the reason may be; the appropriate amount of attention is deserved to eating the appropriate caloric amount, staying hydrated, exercising several times per week, sleeping 7-8 hours per night for recovery, stretching & foam rolling daily, and practicing stress management techniques. As you may see, the 80/20 rule quickly becomes obsolete when you learn the importance of total body wellness. If anyone has any questions, leave a comment and I will make sure to answer as quickly as possible!
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