Keep It Simple: How to Apply the 80/20 Rule to Your Healthy Lifestyle Design
Are you tired of feeling guilty for “cheating” on your diet?
Does the guilt cause you then to overeat for several days afterward which sabotages some of your progress?
Are you looking for an easier way to manage your healthy lifestyle choices? So you can stay on track and finally meet (or maintain) your weight and fitness goals?
If so, then applying the 80/20 rule to your diet and exercise plans may be the right fit for you.
What Is the 80/20 Rule?
The 80/20 rule comes from the famous Pareto principle that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. While this originally related to the distribution of wealth in Italy, it’s now being applied to other things, including healthy lifestyle choices.
By following the 80-20 rule, you will focus on eating well and exercising 80% of the time. For example, eating well and working out during the week and indulging (a bit) on the weekend. Or, if you tend to go out with your coworkers for lunch on Friday or out with your friends on Friday night, perhaps your indulging days could be Friday and Saturday. The choice is yours.
In short, it doesn’t matter which times/meals you choose to have as your 20% indulging time, you need to keep it under 20% of the time.
What Can You Eat Following the 80-20 Rule?
For the majority (80%) of the time, you should focus on eating healthy, nutritious foods.
This includes a low-calorie breakfast, packed with protein and fiber to keep you full longer and fight off the desire to snack (or eat those bagels one of your coworkers loves to bring to the office). By limiting your calories at breakfast, you start your day off on the right foot.
Lunch and dinner options can vary widely depending on your personal preferences. Focus on whole foods that offer a variety of nutrients: lean proteins, whole grains, and veggies and fruits chosen from the colors of the rainbow.
For snacks, choose foods like nuts, yogurt, fruits or veggies with hummus or salsa.
During your 20% “indulging” time, try to choose things you really enjoy. Don’t grab the first sweet or salty snack that comes your way. Make it something you have been craving all week or that you don’t want to live without.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you get to eat an entire pizza or a whole pint of ice cream.
While following the 80/20 rule, as with any dietary plan, practicing portion control is a key factor for success.
How Much Exercise Do You Need to Do?
This equates to a minimum of a half-hour each day (Monday through Friday) and a weight training session two days a week.
Or, if you prefer or your schedule doesn’t allow time every workday, you can add some time to your workouts and cut the sessions down to a few days per week.
How you choose to get your half-hour of “moderate activity” is up to you.
Walking at a rate where you are breathing harder than normal but can still talk well enough to keep up a conversation works fine.
Of course, biking, rollerskating, dancing, running, or any other kind of physical activity you enjoy works just fine, too!
Many may find keeping an exercise log beneficial in making sure they get the right amount of each type of exercise each week.
You just need to get moving. Your heart and body will thank you!
Give the 80/20 Rule a Try
Try following the 80-20 rule diet for a few weeks and see how great you’ll feel. Say goodbye to guilt and not having flexibility in your healthy lifestyle choices. Losing weight and staying fit doesn’t have to be complicated.
The right mindset doesn’t hurt either. For more about that, here’s a podcast about how to maintain the right mindset to succeed following the 80/20 rule.
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Cardio For Weight Loss: 6 Crucial Facts To Keep In Mind
If you’re just establishing your exercise routine, here are some crucial facts about cardio for weight loss. Keep them in mind when developing your routine.
If you immediately turned to cardio when you started trying to lose weight, you’re not alone. When it comes to weight loss, it seems like most people associate the treadmill or the track with their path to a smaller waistline.
Cardio is definitely an important part of any workout routine, but there are some important things to keep in mind if you want to use cardio for weight loss. You have to make sure that you plan your workouts effectively to get the maximum benefit.
When you’re developing your routine, keep these six crucial facts in mind. They’ll help you get the results you want!
1. You Can’t Just Do Cardio
This first fact might seem like a weird choice to start off with. After all, isn’t the whole post about using cardio for weight loss?
Here’s the thing, though — if you want to lose weight in a healthy way, you can’t have a workout routine that’s 100% cardio. You’re going to need to incorporate strength training into your schedule if you really want to see results.
Strength training helps to build muscle mass, which will help you out down the line by speeding up your metabolism and burning additional fat. Basically, the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn on a regular basis.
If you’re only doing cardio, on the other hand, you won’t just be burning fat — you’ll be burning muscle, too. The last thing you want to do is to burn what will help you lose weight.
If you really want to go all in for both your strength training and your cardio, we recommend putting those workouts on separate days. (Think cardio on Monday, strength training on Tuesday.) If you really want to do both on the same day, though, do your strength training before your cardio. Strength training uses more energy, so you’ll need to be at 100% before you start.
2. You Don’t Have To Stay In The Fat-Burning Zone
We’ve all fallen victim to that pesky little display on the treadmill, or checked our Fitbits religiously to make sure that we’re in the golden “fat burn” zone. What does that even mean, anyway?
It’s easy to believe that you won’t burn any fat unless your heart rate is in that magic zone. That’s not completely true, though.
The name for the zone is a little misleading. It’s not that you’ll only burn fat in that zone, it’s that a larger percentage of the calories burned comes from fat. You’ll still be burning fat in the cardio or peak zones.
What’s most important isn’t the percentage of burned calories that come from fat. If you’re going to pay attention to one of the numbers lighting up your screen, it should be total calories burned. The number of calories you burn is way more important when it comes to the big picture.
And speaking of the number of calories you burn…
3. You Don’t Have To Burn 500 Calories
We can understand where this number came from. It’s a nice, round number, it sounds like a lot, and people feel accomplished when they can say that they burned 500 calories over the course of their workouts.
What’s problematic, though, is when people think that they have to burn 500 calories for their workouts to have any effect. Depending on the type of workout you’re doing, your cardio workouts can burn fewer than 500 calories and still be great for you.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT), for example, is a series of high-intensity workouts done in short bursts. You might not burn 500 calories during your thirty-minute workout, but you’ll keep burning calories at a higher rate for hours after you leave the gym.
4. Your Workouts Don’t Need To Be Long
When you think of cardio, do you think of long runs that take a ton of time out of your day? There’s a common misconception that your cardio has to be long, slow and steady to mean anything.
Even if you don’t have an hour to spare for your workout, go for a HIIT workout instead. The quick workout will still get your heart rate up, burn calories, and give you the cardio training that you need.
People who swear by the treadmill can still get the benefit of a shorter workout. Doing shorter sessions at a higher intensity will help you get more out of your workout in less time.
5. You Should Snack Before Your Workout
There are lots of runners who enjoy waking up early in the morning and going for a run first thing. That’s a great way to start your day…as long as you eat something before you head out the door.
When you’re in a calorie-burning mindset, it’s easy to think that to burn more calories, you shouldn’t eat before you workout. If you don’t eat ahead of time, your body has to burn off the fat that’s already on your body for energy, right?
Nope, not for cardio. Your body needs something to fuel it, and it will turn to the carbs and fat in your muscles, not the fat in your fat cells.
We’re not saying to eat a full meal and then go for a run — just eat a light snack to give your body something to work with.
6. You Still Have To Eat Right
Speaking of eating, you still have to have a proper diet if you’re planning on using cardio to lose weight. Just running an extra mile every time you opt for a cookie instead of a carrot stick won’t really help you out.
If your diet is still poor, doing lots of cardio will only do so much. Nourish your body with the right foods for the workouts you’re doing. For example, you incorporate a lot of strength training into your routine, make sure you eat enough protein.
Cardio combined with eating well can help you sculpt your body into the shape you want to see.
Use Cardio For Weight Loss Effectively
If you keep these crucial facts about cardio for weight loss in mind, you’ll be able to see better results. Make the most of your workouts and use your cardio effectively. Your body will thank you.
Need a little bit of an extra push? Register for our Body Transformation Challenge to take your body to the next level.
Work Harder, Get Stronger: How to Start Weightlifting
The secret to getting stronger isn’t much of a secret. It’s weightlifting. We’ll show you how to start weightlifting and begin your journey to a stronger you.
Weightlifting has been one of the most popular fitness methods, for good reason.
Weightlifting does more than bulk you up. Strength training has a myriad of benefits; you gain more strength, you burn fat, and you’re able to keep more fat off for a long time.
Here’s the catch: many newbies aren’t sure where to start. Here’s how to start weightlifting.
To PT or Not to PT
When a beginner starts their weightlifting journey, they often debate about hiring a personal trainer, or a PT.
There are many benefits of hiring a personal trainer. A trainer can identify your current fitness stance and fitness goals and can develop an effective weightlifting routine for you.
The Benefits of Hiring a Trainer
Beginners can easily get lost in the myriad of weightlifting machines, weight types, and lifting techniques. Trainers are experienced in all of these areas.
Trainers are also your best bet to ensure you lower your injury risk and are in correct form.
Personal trainers are also beneficial if you plan on competing in competitions or if you need to lose an exceptional amount of weight. Trainers can provide fitness and diet tips to get you in the best shape of your life.
Trainers also closely monitor your routine, your progress, and provide constant motivation for slackers.
When to Not Hire a Trainer
What if you have a decent amount of strength training experience but are simply altering your weightlifting regimen? You’ll still benefit from a trainer. But if you’re comfortable with lifting, you can try developing your own fitness routine.
More PT Information
If you have regular (once a week) personal training sessions on top of solo workouts for at least a year, you’ll gain enough education and comfort in your fitness routine.
While hiring a trainer is almost guaranteed to give you the results you want, by going out and conquering your fitness goals, you’ll likely still gain the results you want. So hiring a trainer is a choice that you should consider.
How Much to Lift?
The weight you lift depends on the results you want.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to lift extremely heavy to increase your strength, tone your body, and even bulk up.
Weights are separated into a few categories:
- Moderately Light
- Moderately Heavy
Here’s a more detailed explanation of each weight type.
These are weights you can pick up with ease. You won’t feel any strain and can even make it throughout your full set without feeling any tension.
Differentiating between moderately light and light weights are difficult at work. With moderately light weights, you should still be able to pick up the weight with ease. But at the end of your set, you’ll feel a little bit fatigued.
When you first lift a weight at moderate strength, you can easily lift the weight but you will have to use extra effort compared to the previous two weight types. You’ll likely feel fatigued after your set, but not completely exhausted.
This is where most people train. You’re able to pick up the weight but still feel like you need to make an effort for each rep. But you’re still able to achieve correct form and have a lower injury risk.
It’s ill-advised beginners lift heavy on their own without the aid of a trainer.
You’re not able to easily lift the weight and have to use all of your strength and effort to even do a rep. You’ll find doing each rep difficult and will feel completely exhausted after your set.
Which Weights Should You Lift?
For best results, you should lift all weights. Different workouts call for different weight types. You’ll also notice certain muscles can lift heavier than other muscles.
For example, you probably notice you can lift moderately heavy when you do bicep curls. But you have to decrease your weight significantly when you lift shoulders.
That’s because most people, men and women, are used to lifting with their arms and not lifting overhead.
The Different Types of Weights
When most beginners think of weightlifting, they usually only think of dumbbells and bars. While these are crucial weight types, there are many types of weights and they all have their benefits.
Here are the most basic weight types:
- Standalone weight plate (the weights that go on machines – you can also use these alone)
Which ones should you use? You’ll have to take your fitness goals and weight preferences into consideration. But beginners should try each weight type.
If you’re working legs, deadlift with barbells. When squatting, use kettlebells or a weight plate.
Then, use dumbbells for lunges. There’s a myriad of hamstring exercises you can do on the cables. There are also many machines that increase your leg strength, such as the leg press.
After you experiment with all weight types, you can substitute certain weight types with those you prefer.
Reps and Sets
“Reps” and “sets” appeared a few times in this article. As a beginner, you may not know what this teams. When you start weightlifting, you’ll realize how often you use this information.
A rep is each time you lift a weight. Reps are often combined with something called a set. Most weightlifters do two or more sets of a specific number of reps.
For example, let’s say you do 20 reps of ab crunches. You break the 20 reps up into two sets. This means when you do ab crunches, you do two sets of 10 reps.
How Many Reps and Sets?
Now that you know what reps and sets are, you’re probably wondering how many you should do.
Well, this depends on the workout and the weight you’re lifting.
Let’s make this easy and break up the reps-weight ratio in three categories: light, moderate, and heavy lifting.
Since heavy lifting requires lots of strength, several reps aren’t required for heavy lifting. But you won’t get results with light lifting unless you increase your reps.
Here are general numbers to remember:
- Light lifting: 40-50 reps
- Moderate lifting: 20-30 reps
- Heavy lifting: 5-10 reps
You can break the rep count in as many sets as you need. Unless you’re lifting heavy, most lifters do sets of 10-15 reps.
How Reps and Weight Affect Your Results
When you start lifting and make fitness friends, you’ll hear a ton of advice. Some people will tell you to lift lighter with more reps or lift heavier with fewer reps.
The truth is, both methods are effective. But every weightlifter is different.
Lifting heavy with fewer reps forces your body to use maximum strength. This results in quicker results; your strength will increase, you’ll bulk up, and get toned quickly.
But lifting only at your maximum not only increases your injury risk, but you’ll be less flexible. If you decide to jump into maximum lifting, go back and forth between heavy lifting and using lighter weights or resistance bands.
So you may think lifting lighter weights with more reps is the solution. But this depends on the results you want. If you want leaner and toned muscles, lifting light is the way to do it. You won’t bulk up or increase your strength as quickly.
This method is more challenging for beginners than they would expect. Lifting light requires endurance – something you develop when you gain experience lifting.
It’s easy to immediately feel fatigued after the 25 rep mark, especially when you’re supposed to reach 40 or 50 reps for one exercise.
No method is better than the other. It all depends on your weightlifting goals.
Creating a Routine
Finally, it’s time to create a routine. Many weightlifters focus on one area, such as arms or abs, in one day.
It’s also important to do cardio; have a cardio day or two each week and do about 10-15 minutes of cardio after lifting to burn more calories.
And never forget to stretch! Stretching decreases your risk of injury and you’ll improve your flexibility.
First, decide what you’re training. To start, you can divide your days between upper body (arms, chest, and back), core (abs) and legs (hamstrings, glutes, and hips).
After you’re comfortable lifting, you’ll know your muscle groups and can devote days to one or two specific muscle groups.
Then, take about five minutes and stretch out those muscles.
And now you can start lifting! To start out, don’t go too intense. Take about 15 or 20 minutes to lift.
End with a little bit of cardio. Once you become more experienced, you can stop post-workout cardio or replace it with light lifting or resistance bands. The goal is to burn extra calories but cool off from the intensity of weightlifting.
Now You Know How to Start Weightlifting
Now that you know how to start weightlifting, what are you waiting for? Start picking up those weights! If you need extra help, try our 9-week challenge!
The Office Workout: 8 Fun Office Fitness Tips To Get You Moving
If you have a sedentary job, it’s hard to shed the weight no matter how hard you work out at home. Here are some fun office fitness tips to try at work.
One out of every three of adults is overweight. 30% of children are also overweight.
But it’s not just about obesity rates. Being overweight can lead to other physical health problems like diabetes, heart problems, and even some cancer. And those are just a few of the health issues those extra pounds have on our bodies.
Many people find it hard to find time to fit in exercise. And they often spend eight hours at work being sedentary. That’s why it’s time to incorporate office fitness into your place of business.
Adopting the office workout will help you save costs, help your employees, and boost overall morale. To learn more, keep reading. We’re sharing with you eight ideas for the office workout your employees will love.
Why Office Fitness is So Important
While it may seem counter-productive to incorporating exercises to do while sitting at a desk, the opposite is true. You’ll find you can increase productivity and save a lot of money just by encouraging your employees to exercise while at work.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why.
Obesity is Expensive
Office fitness is becoming more popular as businesses struggle under the expensive ramifications of obesity. An obese male employee can cost you anywhere from $322 to $6,087 in a loss of productivity.
For females, the estimates range from $797 to $6,694. These ranges aren’t for the entire duration of that employee working for you. These estimates are based on how much money you’ll lose per person per year thanks to health issues associated with obesity.
Mental Health Issues and Obesity
If that weren’t enough, being overweight also has mental health issues associated with it. Depression, low self-esteem, and eating disorders are not uncommon struggles associated with obesity.
This leads to a lowering of your office morale when employees are struggles with mental health issues. And, more losses in productivity.
Office Workout Suggestions
Not everyone is physically capable of doing the same workout. Since people are at different levels in their skills, agility, and health, it’s best to incorporate several different exercises at work so everyone can pick their favorite.
Here are eight suggestions with varying degrees of difficulty.
1. A Walking Meeting
Despite our technological advances, sometimes it’s best to have a face-to-face meeting with someone. But that doesn’t mean you need to be sitting down to do it.
Instead, ask if you can do a walk and talk. Not only will you get exercise, you’ll also find that walking helps stimulate your thinking. It’s a good chance you’ll be more productive while walking than you would during a sit-down meeting.
Also, it’s harder for you to be distracted when you’re taking a walk with someone. There’s less of a chance you’ll scroll through Facebook or check your e-mail while you’re walking.
Instead, you’ll be focused on the person you’re walking with. You might even find you look forward to these meetings since your senses will most likely be heightened just by walking around outside.
2. Work Out With Your Colleagues
It’s easy to quit and become lazy when there’s no one holding you accountable. But when you’re in a group, everyone tends to look out for one another.
Groups also help motivate one another. And in one study, it showed that 95% of people who began a weight-loss program with friends stuck with the program to completion.
You’ll also get a better rate at a local gym if you get a group to sign up. You can also hire a yoga instructor (or another type of instructor) to come to your work and give everyone a good workout.
Look if there are any exercise clubs at your office. If there aren’t any, consider starting your own.
It doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated. You can start a walking club that walks three times a week after work.
Or, you can get some co-workers to join an intramural club with you. There are intramural clubs for almost every ability.
Basketball, baseball, and even kickball clubs are all over the place. You can easily find one by doing a quick Google check. Type in “adult (your sport here) leagues in (your city).
You don’t need to work out every day, but even meeting a group once a week to exercise will improve your overall health. Also, it’s a good way to get to know your co-workers on a more personal level.
3. Swap Your Chair With a Stability Ball
Good posture is important to the health of your body. Having a strong core means that you are less prone to injuries and you get a better overall workout.
But it’s not like you can do a sit-up while in your office. At least, not without getting some funny looks.
However, you can invest in a stability ball to get in your abdominal exercises at work. By swapping your chair for a stability ball, you now can sit and work while getting a great workout.
The stability ball forces your body to keep finding its balance. As a result, it slowly strengthens your core muscles.
Better posture can also lead to fewer employees calling out sick due to back problems. This is great since lower back problems cost employers $34,600 per 100 employees annually.
You may find you also are more able to focus when using a stability ball.
4. Use a Height-Adjustable Desk
Many people are beginning to use what’s known as an exercise desk to help them burn more calories. It’s also known as a height-adjustable or standing desk.
The premise is that standing burns more calories and is healthier for you than sitting for eight hours a day, five days a week is. Which, is mostly true.
Especially if you experience back pain. Standing can help reduce that pain as you’re less likely to slump while standing than you would if you’re sitting in regular office chair.
However, before going from sitting eight hours per day to standing for eight hours, your body needs time to adjust. Start slowly and build your way up.
Ensure you are wearing comfortable shoes made for standing long periods of time. Standing in six-inch Jimmy Choos isn’t going to do your feet or back any favors. You also may wish to sit and stand at specific intervals for best results.
But since studies show that you burn more calories while reducing your risk of certain cancers, stroke, heart disease, it’s worth trying this one out.
5. Take a Break Every Hour With Chair Exercises
All work and no play isn’t good for anyone. Even when you’re at work, taking breaks is highly beneficial.
A five-minute break will help you elevate both your physical and your mental health. You’ll also find you’re more able to make better decisions when you take a few breaks throughout the day.
A break will restore your productivity, motivation, and creativity levels. You’ll also find you can focus better when you give your body and mind a break every once in a while.
Lastly, taking a break can actually help you learn. Use your best judgment as to when and how often to take a break. But at least once or twice a day, use your break to get in some exercise.
There are plenty of different ways to get exercise without leaving your office. Try an under desk workout.
Swivel your chair to work on your abdominals. There are even exercises to do while sitting. You can easily stretch your neck, roll your ankles, and even tone your butt without ever leaving your chair.
6. Get Creative
You don’t need a personal trainer just to get a workout. Just moving your body will do the trick.
Here are a few exercises you can easily do at work. They’re fun, simple, and a good way to get your body moving.
For extra cardio try dancing in your seat every once in a while. This is especially great to do if you just had something great happen at work and are looking to celebrate. Wiggling in your chair along to music, even if it’s in your head, burns calories and gets you moving.
While you’re waiting for the copier or printer to finish, kill time by working on your calves. Simply stand with your feet shoulder-length apart in one place and go from standing flat on your feet to being on your tip toes.
Continue repeating these movements until your calves start burning. Or, just do 12-15 reps.
Stapler Curl for Biceps
Your stapler has the ability to act as a hand weight. And you can do this one while sitting or standing.
Grab your favorite stapler in one hand with your palm facing up. Beginning at your thighs, bend your elbow and curl your arm towards your chest.
Pause for a few seconds and then lower the stapler back to your thighs. You can do this for 12-15 reps or until your biceps begin to burn. Don’t forget to switch and do an equal amount of reps on both arms.
And if someone stole your stapler or it doesn’t weigh enough for you to get a decent workout, try using a filled water bottle or anything else you can find in your office that fits in your hand but is weighted. You can also bring in canned food for this.
Workout Your Shoulders
Building up tension in your shoulders is a common workplace occurrence. Between gaping at your computer all day long and sitting in your chair, it’s bound to happen every once in a while.
Now you have something you can do to ease that tension. Roll back your shoulders until the blades are as close together as possible.
Pretend you’re holding a pencil between your scapulas. You can always use a real pencil to do this. Hold your position (with or without the pencil) for 5-10 seconds and then release.
Do this 12-15 times for best results.
Pull in Your Core
It doesn’t matter where you are or whether you’re sitting, standing or lying down, you can always work on your core. The best part is, no one ever has to know.
Start by taking a deep breath then tighten the stomach muscles by bringing them in towards your spine while you exhale. Squeeze your abs for 5-10 seconds and then release.
Repeat these steps 12-15 times each session.
7. Take the Long Way Home
There are lots of ways you can sneak in extra exercise without heading to the gym. You just need to adjust your travel routine a little bit.
Instead of taking the elevator, opt to use the stairs. While you may not want to walk up 14 flights of stairs, you’ll still get plenty of benefits by walking down them.
If there’s a long way to get somewhere, take it for the extra steps you’ll have to walk. Avoid using the phone if you can walk over to see a co-worker in person.
If you take public transportation to get to work, get off a few stops early and walk the rest of the way. Do the same on your way home. Just make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes.
You can also choose to reduce your carbon footprint by walking the entire way or biking to work. Not only will you help the planet, and get exercise, you’ll find that you rarely get home grumpy anymore.
That’s because your physical commute will have physical and mental benefits to help you work through your day’s problems so you can leave them behind you as you walk in to greet your family.
8. Replace Pacing With Sitting While on the Phone
When you do have to have a phone conversation with someone, don’t just sit there and talk. Instead, use it as another opportunity to get some exercise.
Stand up and pace around your desk or office. Every extra step you take counts. It also adds up over time.
And your back and neck muscles will thank you for the opportunity to stand up and stretch. You don’t need to incorporate formal exercise into your routine, you just need to move more.
Even unconsciously fidgeting helps burn some calories. And again, moving around helps you stay alert, awake, and focused. You may find you no longer need an afternoon coffee to get you past the afternoon slump because you’ve replaced it with a few extra exercises.
Transform Your Body and Mind
Life is extremely difficult when you don’t have your health. And there are so many things you can do to get and stay healthy.
Adopting an office fitness program is one step in the right direction. Another step is taking our nine-week challenge.
In just nine weeks you’ll see a dramatic difference in yourself. Learn more about how it works today!