The 80/20 Rule

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Charles Mok

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Left side shows a person cooking with a wooden spoon in a pan on a stove. Right side shows a person performing box jumps in a gym.

Workout is 20% and Nutrition is 80%

In the modern society, there is a significant shift in the society’s inclination towards healthy living. In particular, people are more concerned with what they eat and the exercise they get than they were in the 1900s. Additionally, the increase in the number of people suffering from lifestyle diseases has emphasized the need for healthy living and exercise. Nonetheless, it has been recommended that the nutritional requirements of the body should be considered when engaging in exercise programs.

Workout vs. Nutrition

Due to the perceptions created by different people, there is a debate on whether workouts alone or diet can be best for the body. Various experts recommend using one or the other, depending on the needs of an individual. In particular, Professor Michele Olson (professor of physical education and exercise science, Auburn University) states, “Yes, you can lose weight with diet alone, but exercise is a major component. Without it, only a portion of your weight loss is from fat” (Wexler, 2014). Additionally, he states that to lose weight efficiently, an individual has to have a timetable dedicated to workouts per week for a pre-defined time. The extent of each work out is determined by the needs of a person.

On the other hand, Dr. Shawn M. Talbott (former director, University of Utah Nutrition Clinic) states, “As a rule of thumb, weight loss is generally 75 percent diet and 25 percent exercise” (Wexler, 2014). Also, he states, “On average, people who dieted without exercising for 15 weeks lost 23 pounds; the exercisers lost only six over about 21 weeks” (Wexler, 2014). His assertion is based on numerous studies that show that people who have a well-balanced diet (which is primarily composed of whole foods) found it significantly easier to lose weight.

Bottom Line

Whether dieting or exercising, the ultimate aim of both methods is to achieve a healthy body. Since weight contributes to the development of certain diseases, the issue of weight gain (and loss) needs to be factored in when choosing the most efficient method. However, any training program cannot give the desired effects without the influence of a healthy diet. Experts like Dr. Talbot have shown that diet alone can increase the well being of a person. When combined with exercise, the use of diets can lead to substantial health benefits.

The emphasis on nutrition arises from the controlled ingestion of calories. As such, it would be counter-productive to eat a hamburger and French fries and not to engage in any exercise activities. However, a person can have a balanced diet (with the necessary calories) by consuming whole foods and not participate in exercise without developing any health issues. Hence, even with a training regimen (watch the video below for more information!), nutrition plays a critical role in the development and maintenance of a healthy well being.

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Charles Mok

Dr. Charles Mok

About Charles Mok

Dr. Charles Mok received his medical degree from Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, Chicago, Illinois in 1989. He completed his medical residency at Mount Clemens General Hospital, Mt. Clemens, Michigan. He has worked with laser manufacturing companies to improve their technologies; he has performed clinical research studies and has taught physicians from numerous other states. His professionalism and personal attention to detail have contributed to the success of one of the first medical spas in Michigan.

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