The 80/20 Rule. Does It Work?

If you have ever googled “What is more important for losing weight, diet or exercise?” you have probably come across the 80,20 Rule? I am sure you have also seen many articles, Social Media posts about this particular theory. But where did this theory come from?

It is known as The Pareto Principle. This principle believes that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. Huh? In other words 80% of your weight loss is achieved through diet and 20% through exercise?

Hmm I must admit I have always struggled with this theory. It has never been something that I advocate or indeed use in my PT sessions, on line programmes or personally.

Don’t get me wrong, a healthy eating regime is incredibly important to any weight loss plan. But just 20% of your time to exercise, how can that work? And surely this theory is not aimed at the 40+ market (more of this later)

And if it did work why are we then told that we need to exercise 5 times a week for at least 20/30 minutes – actually we are now been told that it is more like 7 days a week for 30/40 minutes a day.

I am going out on a limb here to say I don’t believe the 80,20 rule actually works. Perhaps we have just been bombarded with this theory over time and now its so ingrained in us that we actually believe it to be true.

Its the same principle as “Buy this miracle cream it will get rid of all your wrinkles”? We buy it. But it never actually works.

In my 30 years experience I have worked with 100s of people and I believe the split is much closer than you think. Drum roll….. I would like to introduce you to the 50/50 theory. The best friend theory.

Exercise And Healthy Eating are like Best Friends. They do everything together, they are always together. Even if they don’t see each other every day, they speak. One influences the other. Daily.

The BF theory is particularly relevant for the 40 + market Where exercise plays such an integral part of a healthy lifestyle.

Its Around the age of 40 that our body begins to change. The natural decline in muscle mass starts to kick in and our metobolism begins to slow down in the decade leading up to menopause (obviously this part is just for women)

This is the time when you start to put on weight more easily and you begin to lose muscle shape and tone. You are also more at risk of osteoporosis as the bones become more brittle due to bone loss. This is the stage in our lives when we need exercise.

So how would the 80/20 rule apply here? How would focusing more on your diet help to counter the affects of bone density and muscle tone? It two words. It Wouldn’t (actually thats three)

Don’t underestimate the importance of your BB. Its time to give them a call.

Have you tried the 80/20 Rule, Did It work for you?


  • Sam

    Reply Reply 11th August 2017

    This makes total sense thank you Niki for highlighting why something that may of worked in my 20’s will no longer have an affect in my forties!!

    • Niki

      Reply Reply 11th August 2017

      You’re very welcome Sam. And yes its important to adapt and chance our routines. What worked in our 20s will probably not work in our 40s. Have a great day.

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