GOLDEN RULE #3: 80/20

Number three is all about balance. Enjoying food and exercise, balancing both and taking our Treats in moderation.

Under this umbrella I want to address not banning or excluding food, or heaven forbid food groups. A common “diet” is eliminating carbs. We’re smarter than this. We know carbohydrates give us valuable energy and nutrients. We just need to make healthy choices about the types we eat, selecting wholegrain, unrefined options. Whole fruit, veggies and grains. Yes please! 🙂

This idea does not however, include harmful ingredients or processes:- fried food, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup… and pretty much anything else we don’t recognise/sounds like a Harry Potter spell. These we want to avoid. Full stop.

Let’s start with exercise. Too much may mean we don’t allow our bodies the sufficient recovery it needs to repair, heal and grow… allowing us to progress. This is why we’ve already touched on careful planning of our sessions… never training the same muscle groups two days consecutively. Training with weights for over 70 minutes greatly increases our chance of injury, can excessively elevate our cortisol levels (remember that stress hormone?) and with insufficient nutrition, can even cause catabolism of muscle. Train smart. Planned rest is vital. With the 10 Week F.i.T.T for Summer Programme we aim to workout 5 days a week. That’s 2 days of rest planned in already. Three of these sessions are weight bearing resistance work, two cardio. No muscle group is going to be overworked, but there is sufficient stress to cause adaption, progress and change. BOOM! 🙂

With food if we keep 80% of our meals clean and macronutrient balanced, we will reap the rewards in our health and physique. Indulging more with the final 20% will not sabotage all of our good work:- for me, this is often a few beers, or a more calorific decedent meal. It also means that if I’m enjoying a meal out, I tend not to worry too much about my choice (I’m still mindful of chemicals and fried food…) because I’m sticking to clean, balanced and healthy for 80% of my week.

For me, it’s a combo of enjoying the more unhealthy foods I love, and trying to make healthier alternatives of those that I can. Chips? I love them. I avoid the fried version… but home baked with rosemary, garlic, smoked paprika and served up with a chicken breast or steak? I’m all over it. 🙂  

Enjoying balance that way I can enjoy a clean choccy treat I’ve made without maxing out my calories, or harming my health, and when it comes to my Treat day (normally Saturday) I loosen the reins a little… and pop open the vino 🙂

For those losing weight, there’s substantial scientific evidence to support the idea of taking on a small increase in calories once a week. It tricks our bodies into releasing more stored fat in the following days once we’ve returned to our normal eating habits. Thinking that there is a constant steady supply of food, the body becomes less concerned with retaining fat for harder times. Note that it’s not eating double quantities of everything… and keeping the balance to 80/20, not 20/80 🙂

On a final note… it’s intentional that I say Treats and not vices. A treat gives us pure pleasure, whilst perhaps being a little indulgent and naughty, but it’s not posing us a health risk… chocolate, alcohol, cake. In moderation these Treats help keep us motivated to be clean and healthy for the other 80% of the week.

Fried food, drugs, cigarettes? Call me a party-pooper, but to me these guys fall straight into the vice category. Their health consequences far outweigh whatever short-lived enjoyment factor they give.

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