Layne Norton calls it “majoring in the minors”… Jeff Cavaliere calls it “stepping over dollars for dimes”…. and I call it my “95/5” rule.
They’re all the same thing, and the end goal is to get you to simplify your nutrition plan.
Because here’s the thing….
Most people get lost in the nitty gritty details of their diet that don’t really matter, and this bad habit prevents them from ever moving beyond the first few steps on their journey!
However, when we get down to the cold hard facts on hypertrophy and fat loss, we are left with a pretty straightforward set of rules which will be responsible for 95% of your results (hence the name!).
I use this rule myself. Here’s the video:
How To Apply My “95/5” Rule To Your Diet
Okay, let’s say you have decided that your main goal is fat loss.
Despite what the supplement-selling “gurus” say, science shows that a whopping 95% of your results will come from just 2 things.
(Read those articles if you need help doing either of the above.)
Optimizing the things which have been shown to produce the greatest results makes a whole lot of sense, and removing the ‘clutter’ will unlock superior consistency, leading to far greater results in the long-term.
Many of us have been so programmed into believing that weight loss needs to be super complicated, so it might take a while to adjust to this simplicity – but it’s 100% true, and it works! (1, 2)
One of the worst things we can do, particularly near the beginning, is to over-complicate the process by focusing on bulls**t that simply doesn’t matter. For example, if you mention to your workmates that you’re trying to lose weight I am sure you’ll get a plethora of advice that you supposedly “need” to do in order to have success:
Someone tells you to cut out carbohydrates… another colleague says that you should eat a meal every 3 hours to prevent muscle breakdown… a pal claims you’ll get better results if you use intermittent fasting… heck, your boss even went vegan for January!
That kinda stuff!
All these things belong in what I call the “5%”. Some of them do have useful benefits (like intermittent fasting), but they’re by no means essential and all it usually accomplishes is to make things unsustainable. (3, 4)
Now you are laser focused!
How To Apply My “95/5” Rule To Your Training
Think of how the same issues can affect your progress in the gym.
I’m sure you’ve been given loads of bulls**t advice over the years that didn’t help your results.
For instance, we can easily apply the “95/5” rule to the exercises we perform.
Exercise selection should revolve around the movements which give you the biggest bang for your buck, so this means exercises like deadlifts, barbell rows, squats, etc.
Do you really need to perform that one-legged stability ball squat you saw on Instagram which takes 10 minutes to set up makes you feel like a t**t?
And must you perform 8 different versions of a triceps pushdown in order to “hit all the angles”?
Again I’m not saying the “5%” stuff is useless, I’m just saying we gotta prioritize.
For example, I recently shared a video where I showed you a nasty leg exercise I call Atomic Lunges. See the video below. This is a great leg builder and it’s one of my favorite ways to end a tough leg workout – but it’s a “5%” exercise! This sort of thing can be added into your program after you’ve done the “meat and potatoes” (barbell squats, stiff-leg deadlifts, etc).
The goal is to practice the 95% stuff as often as possible because that’s what leads to the best results.
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- Howell S., et al. “Calories in, calories out” and macronutrient intake: the hope, hype, and science of calories. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab (2017).
- Morton R. W., et al. A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults. Br J Sports Med (2018).
- Pilegaard H., et al. Effect of short-term fasting and refeeding on transcriptional regulation of metabolic genes in human skeletal muscle. Diabetes (2003).
- Moore D. R., et al. Daytime Pattern Of Post-Exercise Protein Intake Affects Whole-Body Protein Turnover In Resistance-Trained Males. Nutr Metab (Lond) (2012).