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”.
Essentially they’re all the same thing, and the end goal is to simplify your training and nutrition.
Believe it or not, a whopping 95% of your results are going to come from doing a very straightforward set of things over and over again. The other minutiae we often get distracted by will be responsible for just 5% of the results.
Unfortunately, such is the high level of misinformation in the fitness world it’s very easy to get caught up in the less productive stuff. This usually results in overwhelm, and prevents a trainee from seeing any positive changes to their body when they look in the mirror.
How To Apply My “95/5 Rule” To Your Diet
For the purpose of this article, let’s say your main goal is fat loss.
I guarantee that everyone reading this has previously attempted a diet which had them focusing too much on the stuff that didn’t really matter, or you’ve told your friends that you want to lose weight, and you were met with things like this:
- “You gotta cut out carbohydrates!”
- “You should be eating every 3 hours to preven muscle breakdown!”
- “You’ll get better results if you use intermittent fasting!”
- “You should stop eating bread!”
Suddenly you’re trying to do all of these different things and it’s very stressful, usually resulting in failure and causing you to unfairly beat yourself up.
I hate that, and the good news is it doesn’t have to be that way.
You see, even though all of the things above are quite popular and I’m sure you’ve heard them at least once before, they go into the 5% bucket. Things like intermittent fasting and protein timing do have minor benefits, but they are not super important and will not make or break your diet. (1, 2)
When we get down to the cold hard evidence it is clear that the vast majority of your potential results will come from just two things. They are:
By taking things back to basics and focusing on the stuff which yields maximum results you should feel a sense of freedom that people don’t usually associate with dieting. And better yet, it should have a profound effect on your levels of consistency – and this is ultimately what creates a succesful body transformation! (3, 4)
If you’ve previously struggled to get past the one or two week mark of a new diet plan, I highly reommend giving this super simple arpproach a try.
Some of you will find that this tiny move is enough to take you all the way to your body goals. I’ve seen this happen before, and it was the basis of one of my most popular diet plans. Other people will find that they start off using the 95% stuff and then add in some of the more complex techniques later on when results become noticeable and confidence begins to grow. Both approaches are fine, because both place priority on the 95% stuff.
How To Apply My “95/5 Rule” To Your Training
Think of how the exact same issues can affect you in the gym.
Most people who have trained for a while will agree that they’ve been given countless pieces of advice over the years which only served to waste their time. From exercises they supposedly needed to do, to rep ranges which were better than others, or techniques which were gamechanging…
For most people this either causes analysis paralysis (where they never get started because it’s so overwhelming) or it gives them a program which they hate and therefore don’t stick to.
So once again we cut out all of the clutter and focus on the things which work best.
The #1 training variable in the gym is intensity.
No matter which workout program you’re currently following, even if it’s not one of mine, I guarantee that if you train with sufficient intensity you will see much better results than a person who simply going through the motions.
Such is its importance, I believe that if you are training with adequate intensity on a consistent basis you will see good results even if your training is pretty basic! That’s why it’s common to see guys in gyms who own solid physiques despite the fact that they might not train very well at all. Likewise, you’ll meet countless people who seem to nit-pick every last detail about training but have zero results to show for it – because they do not train with any intensity!
A secondary focus could also be placed on exercise selection.
The staples of your routine should be the exercises which provide you with the biggest bang for your buck (squats, deadlifts, barbell rows, etc). Doing these on a consistent basis and striving for progressive overload will lay the foundations for you to become bigger and stronger in the shortest possible timeframe.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a crazy 100 rep dropset as much as the next guy, but if we never have any “meat and potatoes work” we are losing out on results.
Check this out:
In this clip I showed you a nasty leg exercise I call Atomic Lunges. This is one of my favorite ways to end a tough leg session because it will absolutely fry your legs, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s “5% stuff”. This is the kind of thing which should only be added into your program after you’ve done your “meat and potatoes” work (barbell squats, deadlifts, etc).
That’s it for this article, let me know how this tip works for you.
- 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).
- 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).