Nutrition and Exercise – The 80/20 Rule

Air from New Leaf Detox Resort Cycling in TokyoSo What is the 80/20 Rule?

It has been around for a long time, in fact, it seems to go through popular phases, fades out then make a comeback. It’s called the 80/20 rule or law or Pareto principle which is also called the law of the vital few. So what is it? The rules state that 80% of what we get comes from 20% of what we have. Example, 80% of our revenue comes from 20% of our clients, 80% of our nutrition comes from 20% of our food, 80% of our happiness comes from 20% of our hobbies, family members, friends etc. You can read more about Pareto here however if we stop and really look at some examples in our lives we may see some truth to the 80/20 rule. Just how exactly is the science is unknown (there are mathematical calculations) however for this discussion we are looking at the percentage of nutrition and exercise.

What percentage of importance is nutrition and exercise for us to live a long healthy life? Most people I meet aren’t keen on the word exercise. Many have never been called or ever considered ‘fit’ people even though on some level they like the ‘idea’ of being fit. However, when it comes to making the effort with exercise not everyone is up to the task.

“You can’t out train bad nutrition”

“No worries, I can have this pizza and go for a big run in the morning and burn it off” how many times have we said that or something similar? And how true is it? Can we actually exercise away our bad eating habits? The short answer is ‘Absolutely No’. The longer answer is yes you can burn the calories associated with the pizza but the damage from the ingredients is already done when it comes to the stored fat from the cheese and flour and the damage does to the arteries and blood sugar. That’s where that saying comes from. “You can’t out train bad nutrition”

On a New Leaf Detox programme, we teach balance and understand how nutrition and exercise can fit into any busy lifestyle if the balance is there. We often see people who have punished themselves with food, alcohol and prescription medications land in Thailand ready to take on the world and want to detox and train it all away. While our bodies are amazing and can adjust quickly we need to understand what we are doing so we don’t just go right back to repeating what we did before. Yoyo’ing weight gain and loss are extremely dangerous. We have a number of helpful articles on motivation and doing some exercise and finding a balance.

A nice day at the beach. Koh Samui Thailand with New Leaf Detox Resort on one of the Bike tours.

“The good news is nutrition is 80%”

The good news, for those not wanting to do a lot of exercises, is that nutrition is 80% of any fitness regime and long-term lifestyle maintenance. It is possible not to do any ‘structured’ exercise and still be very healthy providing you move your body. Choose walking and not the stairs, park the car further away from the supermarket doorway and walk. You get the idea.

As a lifelong athlete and sportsperson, I have made the mistake of thinking I can train away from my diet. I grew up eating anything I wanted and because I was so active as a teen and into my 20 ‘s I was able to burn all the calories associated with anything I ate or drank. However when I got older and my metabolism slowed, my training and racing moderated and my eating stayed the same, my weight increased and my body slowed. Of course, I had basic knowledge or nutrition but not enough to keep off the kilograms and I soon started looking like a chunky version of myself. Once I understood that nutrition was 80% and exercise was 20% and not the other way around, I was able to balance out my weight and support a healthy lifestyle.

If you’d like more information or any assistance regarding exercise and nutrition you can contact us here at New Leaf Detox Resort.