The 80:20 Rule - Diet & Exercise - Performance Kitchen

In our nutrition blogs we've talked about how what we put in our bodies impacts our overall state of wellness. The 80:20 rule says in order to maintain good health you need to focus 80% on your nutrition, but you also need to factor in 20% for physical activity.

So, let's talk about exercise. Why is it that people say they hate exercise so much? Most of the time, it’s because they hate the exercise they are doing, and the way they are doing it. Someone at some point created the illusion that exercise is unenjoyable and intolerably exhausting.

Let’s talk about movement. What were the things you liked to do as a kid that kept you active? Outside games like tag, dancing, playing a sport, playing with the family pet? When we rephrase exercise to movement, or the act of being active and moving your body, and reframe what the expectations of ‘exercise’ are, the idea of it isn’t as daunting and displeasing.


When we think of things that we enjoy that involve movement and body activity, we are more likely to engage in them, and look forward to them. How do we translate the feeling of joy we got from the fun activities we did as children, to movement that is more suitable for adult? Well, it might take some trial and error, and some learning.

For example, maybe you discover you like weightlifting, but do not know how. Going to the gym can be intimidating when you don’t feel like you know what you’re doing. It may take some instruction and experimentation. Maybe there’s a class you can sign up for, like one that involves dance, yoga, or cycling. Have you ever been on a hike or a long walk? How about rock climbing, biking, or ultimate frisbee? 


Check out these movement tips to get you started:

  • Make time: We make time for things that are important. Therefore, if your struggle is having time to squeeze movement in, then you need to make time for it, and prioritize it. Getting your heart rate up and moving your body in ways you like has extraordinary health benefits including: stress & anxiety reduction, positive heart health outcomes, increases insulin sensitivity, releases endorphins to boost mood, increases energy and focus, preserves lean body mass, and many more! 


  • Does this count? Many people think if they weren't completely exhausted from their activity, that it doesn’t count as a workout. False! Getting out and walking, gardening, playing with the kids or dog, can all count. 


  • Low energy? A lot of time we can refer to the laws of physics when it comes to being active; a body in rest tends to stay in that unmoving state. A body in motion tends to stay in motion. If you feel too drained to get out and get moving, you may literally need to get the momentum going. When you get your body moving more often, you will have more energy to do again and again. So the tip is to get out and get moving (lightly), even if you you’re really tired and unmotivated, I think you will see it will be easier next time. 


  • Don’t know where to start? If you’re interested in doing targeted exercises, try doing some video searches online. We’ve all been at home for a while now, and there are tons of great, simple home workout videos posted that show you exactly how to do the exercises. Also, you’re at home, so you can stop whenever you want! If you’re on social media, there’s some helpful fitness influencers that have a variety of workouts you can try and see what you like. You can fine tune your search to include equipment or not.


  • Gym - the gym is a great place to reserve as you-time or self-care time. Reserve 1 hour to focus and be mindful of how your body feels or zone out and listen to music or podcast. Again, looking up videos of how to do a workout or exercise will be extremely helpful. There are also plenty of workout/fitness apps out there to purchase to get you started. 


  • Classes - yoga, body pump, cycling, dance, rock climbing, all great movement and allows room to try new things and meet new people. 


Hopefully these tips for your New Year can help you start to unlearn, and learn more constructive, educated, science-based pointers to help kick start a different type of health journey. One where new healthier habits stick because you have more freedom and flexibility, allowing you to be you.

This New Year, make room for open-mindedness to try new foods, and different types of movement. Because at the end of the day, we’re happiest when we engage in the things we actually like.


This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding diet.

This article has been reviewed by a Registered Dietitian, Waverly Taki, MS. RD. CD. and Dietetics Student, Danielle Lycklama, for additional accuracy.