The 80/20 rule is a widely accepted mantra on how to approach many things in life.  I use it all the time.  However, when it comes to nutrition, 80/20 may not be the best strategy.  Here's why.

It's safe to say that most Americans fall into the weekend warrior category- work a 9 to 5, stick to a somewhat healthy lifestyle during the week, and treat the weekends like a free for all.  When progress is slow to come by, it's baffling to most people because they are so good with their diets 5 days out of the week, or shall we say 80% of the time. 

Technically, eating healthy during the week and eating bad on the weekends is close to 80/20 from a time perspective BUT it's not even close from a total calories perspective.

As you've seen me post/write about religiously (probably annoying to many at this point), overall caloric intake is the #1 determinant in whether or not you will lose weight (if that's your goal).  Here's an example of the flawed Weekend Warrior 80/20 approach and how calories fit into it:

We'll call the the weekend warrior in this example Skippy.  Now Skippy works a white collar job where he is able to bring lunch in everyday during the week and has pre made meals for dinner each weeknight.  Not bad so far.  On the weekend, Skippy's willpower is very low because he has been eating "healthy" foods all week that he doesn't even like.  So, he naturally gives in and eats all the food he has been refraining from eating.  Skippy also goes out Friday/Saturday night so a bunch of alcohol is thrown into the mix.  He figures that since he was so regimented during the week, the weekend doesn't really matter.  Ehhhh- wrong answer Skippy!

Skippy's daily calories to trigger fat loss: 2,000

  • Made up mostly of lean meat and vegetables
  • 5 days x 2,000 calories = 10,000  
  • Some lower calorie meals but 10+ beers, pizza, and Chinese food
  • 2 days x 4,000 calories = 8,000   

Skippy should be able to eat 14,000 calories for the week (2,000 x 7) and still lose weight.  In this example, he ended up eating 18,000 calories for the week- completely wiping out his calorie deficit and actually managing to get into a slight calorie surplus (gain weight)!  All of the healthy eating during the week was for nothing.

So as you can see, the 80/20 rule is irrelevant if on those 20% days you are completely blowing past your required caloric intake.  

How can this be addressed?  To start, eat foods you actually like during the week to hit your daily calorie target.  Then, you won't be going into the weekend dying to eat food that has been restricted all week (commonly known as "cheat meals").  Also, alcohol is very calorie dense so drinking in moderation can make a huge difference.

Holla at me on Instagram @theshreddedsalesman



04/04/2016 10:17am

Very nice blog as we can see the very handsome and energetic man standing along with a dumber. I am also very keen to do gym but i don't have enough time do to my office work. But one day i will do it.

07/27/2016 9:39pm

I always find ways on how to keep myself physically fit. As a student, I try my best to take care of myself by making time for my workouts. Within the campus, my peers would usually find me in the University's gym. However, now that I am about to become a graduate, I am afraid that I will be too busy to work out. This post really boosted me up in a sense that it reassured me that I will still be able to enjoy my workouts. I find confidence in my body, and I intend to keep it that way, even up until I become a professional.

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05/05/2016 3:33pm

This is a thoughtful process. I thought I couldn't be gaining weight due to eating as I did paper writing, a stressful job, eating light food and only going on full party mode on the weekends. But guess I was wrong.

05/17/2016 3:41am

Interesting strategy. I like it.

05/26/2016 8:41am

Good post ! I just forwarded this onto a coworker who has been conducting a little research on this.


Many people living in America are having very tough rough of 9 to 5 all over the weekend and following very tight healthy schedule so they forget about weekend and enjoy it with whole heatedly which is a negative sign for their health.

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04/27/2017 6:10am

Practice those simple home tips right now because this is vital for all those particularly if were have leisure time from writing services. But unless you have own house, you mustn't need to get worried and you need to be hopeful and right down to globe to Allah because he's the one who'll help you.

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