The 80/10/10 Theory

When a client comes to me wanting to lose weight, the first thing I tell him or her is this:

If you are not willing to change your diet, you will not lose weight.

I find that many clients want to play a game where they try to “work off” whatever sins they commit in their diets (carbs, sugar, unhealthy fat, alcohol, etc.) using exercise – and I will be the first to tell you that it’s a losing proposition.  It doesn’t matter what we do together in the gym – if you are pigging out, your body won’t respond effectively to training.

Sure, you can eat a 300-calorie chocolate chip cookie and run on the treadmill for 30 minutes to “negate” the calories consumed (and that’s assuming you’re burning 10 calories per minute running, which also assumes you’re about 140 pounds and running a minimum 10-minute mile).  The problem is that you can only burn calories – you can’t control how your body responds to carbohydrates, sharp blood sugar spikes, fake chemicals and sweeteners, and/or dairy sugars.

The damage that junk food does to your body is more than skin deep – what you choose to eat is not burned equally as fuel, and as the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out.  You can’t out-train a poor diet – so that’s why I advocate the 80/10/10 theory.  

The basic theory is this: 80% of your body composition depends on what you eat, 10% on how you exercise, and 10% on your genetics.  There is only 10% of that which is outside your control; everything else is completely dependent on the food and exercise choices you make – and are fully in control of making.  Additionally it emphasizes the primacy of diet in the body comp equation – you won’t get lean if you are eating unclean.

I (and trainers like me) am here to help you maximize effectiveness in the gym – but I typically only spend one measly hour per week with a given client, but there are 167 other hours in said week that the client has to make their own smart choices.  Herein lies the problem.  Until you are committed to clean eating every hour out of every week, you are not actually “trying” to lose weight – you are simply running circles around the idea of losing weight, and wondering why you never get there.

Consider that you have control over 90% of the way your body looks and feels – and consider also that it takes only small (cumulative) choices to make that 90% as strong, healthy and happy as possible.  Get enough sleep tonight so you aren’t hungry all day tomorrow (did you know that fatigue can cause false hunger?). Prepare a healthy lunch tonight so you aren’t stuck buying unhealthy food at work tomorrow.  Drink 100 ounces of water throughout the day to make sure your appetite is actual hunger and not thirst.  Take time to focus on your eating habits before you kill yourself for hours in the gym – and I promise your waistline will thank you.

What diet changes have YOU made that have impacted your health, weight, or wellness?



3 thoughts on “The 80/10/10 Theory

  1. Pingback: Ask Amanda: Seeing Spots | thisfitblonde

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