“80% of your outcome is determined by 20% of your effort”. A rule originally created to explain economics and basic business, the 80/20 phenomenon also holds true in day to day activities that affect (or actually, determine) your health, happiness and body composition. There are two specific ways in which this rule applies where your diet and exercise are concerned. We’ll cover them both one by one.
#1 – Think about the 80/20 rule as it is originally defined. For example, a small percentage of your time is actually spent working out, yet it will have a major impact on your body in the long term. This fact becomes even truer as your workouts become shorter and more intense as opposed to classic gym training (hours per week in the gym). You only have to comparatively put in a little bit of time to yield desirable results. Speaking of time put in, twenty minutes of targeted, planned, hard effort three times per week is much more beneficial than a couple hours per week of half effort workouts. Low time commitment, big results – that’s the first way to interpret the 80/20 rule as it applies to your diet and fitness.
#2 – Stick to healthy eating habits 80% of the time and “cheat” the other 20%. Doing so will prevent you from feeling restricted and help you stay on track. All too often, people get in the “all or nothing” mindset. This only serves to discourage and discount the work you do put in to reach your goals. The 80/20 rule, when applied in this way, is a realistic approach to managing a balanced, healthy diet. Eating clean 80% of the time is more than enough to see the results you desire while still enjoying foods that are otherwise “junk” (but hey – we all need some treats every now and then). It’s generally easy for most people to manage and maintain this concept. However, if your goal is to participate in bodybuilding or fitness competitions, then you will obviously need to be a bit more strict in your endeavors.
Life is short, and there’s a lot of good food to taste and things to do. Employ the 80/20 rule and you can have a fit body and a social life (and even a cupcake here and there).
Most people already know that drinking water and maintaining an adequate hydration status is important to survival (and athletic performance).
Water provides many functions in the body such as: joint lubrication, flushing out waste products, moistening tissues, regulating body temperature and helping to dissolve and carry nutrients and minerals. As an athlete, you are at greater risk for dehydration than the average person. The more you exercise, the more you sweat out the water that is in your body – and the more you must drink in order to replace it. Your hydration needs go up even more during the scorching summer months.
However, despite probably having heard the order to “drink water” more times than they can count, many athletes still suffer from dehydration at some point in their careers. The most common type of dehydration that occurs among athletes involves a loss of electrolytes and body water simultaneously. When this happens, blood volume and blood pressure drop. What does this mean for your athletic performance? A lack of electrolytes prevents muscles from contracting and utilizing energy properly and lowered blood volume slows the rate that oxygen is delivered to the muscles. Your muscles are more likely to cramp and you will experience a decrease in coordination. So ultimately, you become slower, weaker and less alert. In the summer, a loss of body water happens even more rapidly and can lead to heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is serious and can lead to flu like symptoms (vomiting, nausea, fatigue, headache, rapid shifts in body temperature and weakness). All of these possible consequences are bad news if you are looking to perform at your best.
What you can do to prevent dehydration:
- Drink 1 cup of water every 20 minutes
- When exercising at high intensity for longer than 60 minutes, utilize a sports drink to replace lost electrolytes
- Be proactive – begin your training session having had at least 20 ounces of fluids beforehand (water is best, but other fluids will do)
- Have a sports drink or bottle of water (depending on the length of your activity) directly on hand, so you can sip every so often
- Be aware of your body – if you feel dehydrated already – then you should take a break and replenish with a sports drink
- Do not try to push past the symptoms! Ignoring signs of dehydration can easily lead to heat exhaustion or even a heat stroke
Nothing puts a damper on a game or training session like the consequences of dehydration. Protect your health and your performance by implementing the tips listed above and stay hydrated! J
For some, eating out is a time saver, but is it really? For others it is cheap and convenient, really? When we really break it down and do the math we realize it is often false. The truth is,prepping your meals and cooking it, is a time saver, money saver and healthier for you, so it should not be optional. I am sure there will still be some who still won’t buy in to the argument and insist there is no such time to cook their meals. However, if you must eat out then consider ordering home style cooked meals that are prepared with optimal health in mind. So without wasting much of your time this is an easy ten min. recipe to help get you or keep you in good health, as the saying goes; fit – healthy bodies are made in the kitchen.
4-4 oz pieces of thinly sliced chicken breast; serving size = 4 oz.
2 oz. crushed peanuts
2 tbsp. sesame oil (can substitute 1 tbsp for extra virgin olive oil)
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp garlic powder
½ tsp. original Mrs. Dash salt free
½ tbsp. pepper
1 tbsp. Cayenne pepper (optional for those that like it hot!)
Place chicken in a bowl. Add garlic, Mrs. Dash, pepper, soy sauce and 1 tbsp of sesame oil. Mix until chicken is evenly coated with seasoning. Next add crushed peanuts. Coat evenly. Put 1 tbsp. of sesame oil in cooking pan. Heat pan. Add chicken to pan and cook on medium medium high heat for approximately 5 minutes per side. For extra “heat” add 1 tbsp. of cayenne pepper to chicken approximately 1 minute prior to end of cooking time. While chicken is cooking, bake, steam, broil, grill, microwave, whatever floats your boat some vegetable
Serve with 1 cup rice, 4 oz sweet potato, wrap it up, or eat as is .
Approximately 350-420 calories and 33 g or protein per serving
Give this recipe a try and let’s hear your feedback and/or if you have a healthy recipe or twist to this recipe feel free to share.
It happens to even the most disciplined dieters. That awkward time between meals rolls around and your stomach starts rumbling. You tell yourself to “be strong”, that you’re only “a little hungry”, and that your next meal isn’t “that far away”. You’re so committed to your goals that you start to believe these things yourself. That is until your hunger grows stronger and you begin thinking about cookies….and chips…and doughnuts. Yes-we’ve all been there. But luckily it doesn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of deliciously satisfying snacks that will get you through these difficult snack attacks without even breaking a sweat about possibly blowing your diet. Putting together a low calorie, energy rich snack is quite simple actually. Just stick to a basic formula of protein, a little fat and some carbohydrate. Sound familiar? Its very similar to putting together a meal, just on a smaller, snack sized scale (around 200-250 calories). Here are some great examples:
- 1/2c cottage cheese + 1tbsp diced walnuts + 1/4c blueberries
- 1hardboiled egg + small piece of fruit
- 1/4c hummus + sliced vegetable of choice (peppers or carrots tend to be favorites)
- 2 tbsp almond butter + celery sticks + 1 tbsp craisins (or raisins if you want to keep it classic)
What are some of your go to snacks? Do you have planned snack times or do you just find something to eat once you get hungry?
Protein supplements are great for many reasons – the main one being that they are the most convenient way to consume the protein you need after a tough workout. Although you can get protein supplements in some very interesting forms now (like jello, crackers and pudding packs) the most cost effective and versatile of them all would still be the simple protein powder. But don’t mistake its simplicity as a sign that it’s less useful! All protein powders contain…well…protein. But with thousands of these powders on the market, you can bet that many fall short of what is required and others exceed standard expectations.
So what are you looking for?
Think about it. What are you really looking to get from your protein supplement? Do you want it to help you lean out? To assist in gaining weight/building lean body mass? Or do you simply want it to help you recover after a grueling training session?
Whey protein powders are extremely popular – and for good reason! Rich in essential amino acids, it helps your body build muscle while burning calories and fat at the same time. Most brands are also low in sugar and calories – so you’re free to add your own mix ins (fruit, milk and almond butter anyone?) To get the most bang for your buck, look for a protein powder that lists “whey protein isolate” as the first ingredient. Whey protein isolate is the highest quality and most active form which is definitely what you want to be consuming after a workout – not a bunch of fillers and flavorings. If you are going to add additional ingredients, like fruit, to your post workout drink then look for a powder with 2-5g of carbohydrate and at least 20g of protein per serving. However, if you’re short on time or even just a little lazy (it’s okay…you can admit it) then there are also plenty of “ready to drink” whey protein shakes out there with carbohydrates already added in. Just watch the added sugars and calories when it comes to these. If you’re trying to lose fat, making your own post workout drinks is always a safer bet.
Casein protein powder is often used when trying to build muscle. Due to its slow absorption, it protects muscle from being broken down and also helps to add new muscle with a high amino acid content. It’s best used before bed or with another form of protein – not post workout when you want to get nutrients to tired muscles as quickly as possible.
Soy protein powder is great for people who are intolerant to whey protein or prefer to not use an animal derived product. It can be used in the same way as whey protein powder.
Using Protein Powder to your Advantage
Remember that when it comes to protein powder and post workout nutrition – timing is everything. This is especially true when it comes to your standard whey or soy protein. These should be consumed immediately following a workout because the amino acids will be rapidly absorbed and used, making it easier for you to build muscle and recover. If your goal is fat loss or maintenance, add a serving of frozen fruit and skim or an unsweetened alternative milk (almond, soy, coconut).
If your goal is muscle building, make sure your post workout drink contains whey or soy protein but more calories than are standard. Consider adding a higher fat milk or yogurt as well as some fruit and nut butter. This will get you the extra energy and recovery that you need after a workout to add mass. Consider adding a casein protein to your nightly routine to prevent muscle breakdown overnight.
Whatever your goal – protein powder is an effective tool to help get you there.