80/20 Rule for Fitness Results

At AMP Fitness, along with getting 1% better every day, we focus on getting our superheroes the absolute best possible results with the least amount of time and effort.  In the fitness industry as well as in the medical field, this is called the minimum effective dose.  Basically, we want you to get more 'bang for your buck' and spending time on the things that matter the most. Whether it is nutrition or fitness programming, we like to follow the 80/20 Rule, otherwise known as the Pareto Principle.  This basically states that 80% of all results come from approximately 20% of the effort.  If you think about it, that means that 80% of the effort you may focusing on in the gym is yielding little to no results.  I don't know about you but not only is my time valuable but there are MANY other things I would rather be doing than spending time and potentially getting no results.

Big rocks go first!

Another analogy that really demonstrates this is The Big Rock Theory.  This is often used as a lesson to help people visualize priorities or return on investment (ROI).  It simply shows you that by adding the big rocks first (the 20%) you can then add in the smaller rocks (less important but still useful) and then some sand (the 'extras') but NOT vica versa.  The first time I came across it was in one of my favorite books of all time, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  If you would like a 60 second demo check out this quick video.

If you're starting to get the picture, you should understand that you can get stellar results by focusing all of your energy on the things that really matter.  For fatloss this is ALWAYS nutrition or more specifically eating the appropriate amount of calories.  No exceptions.  By going all gung-ho on the latest fad diet or going low-carb (this is still a small part of it) or bastardizing certain foods as making you fat you are missing the forest for the trees and not focusing on the big rocks.  Which are calories.  Just to be double clear.  Did I mention calories?

In the gym, considering most of us have limited time here, it makes even more sense to focus on the biggest rock which is strength training and more specifically doing the 'more bang for your buck' exercises.  These would be the ones that use the most muscle and get you the strongest in the least amount of time.  If I had to pick five they would be squats, deadlfts, push-ups (or bench), pull-ups (or rows), and of course direct butt work such as hip thrusts and glute bridges.

Note: I will add that the exercise selection is only half the battle.  The other half is actually getting stronger at each exercise.  Like, lifting more weight...n' stuff.

If you are like me and struggle to find time for the gym it will ALWAYS be in your best interest to start here.  That is if you are expecting to get serious results, of course.

If you have a little more time each day/week to devote to getting your sexy on then you can start to focus on some of the medium or smaller rocks.  Slightly less 'bang for your buck' but they still serve a purpose.  These would be things like isolation exercises (bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, etc.), metabolic exercises (burpees, jumping jacks, etc.), and even most 'core' work (this should be secondary!).  Again, this stuff is great IF you have the extra time to devote to it but it is still a good idea to hammer away at the big rocks first!

And last but not least is the sand.  Oh the sand.  This would be what yields the lowest return for the time and effort invested.  This would be doing things like traditional cardio (jogging, elliptical, cycling, etc.) or taking classes such as yoga, Zumba, or Pilates.  I'm not saying these things are bad or a waste of your time, just not where you want to be spending your limited time in the gym if you have lofty goals.  Sand should always be the things you enjoy and are fun.  If sand is not fun, you are totally wasting your time.

Fun fact: I totally Zumba'ed once and it was more awkward than when you make eye contact with the person in the car across from you at a red light...

Time, energy, and self control are all finite and the less you have to use up those reserves on the minutia the better.  With that said, my last question for you is: are you focusing on the 'big rocks' or the 'sand'?

Let us know below in the comments section and we will help you get focused on your big rocks!