Jeff Cavaliere calls it “stepping over dollars for dimes”. Layne Norton calls it “majoring in the minors”. I call it the “95/5” rule.

It’s a simple technique I’ve used with lots of clients over the years to get them to simplify nutrition and training as much as possible.

Because here’s the thing….

When we actually get down to the cold, hard facts on building muscle and burning body fat we are left with a pretty straightforward set of rules to stick to and they’ll get you very impressive results if you remain consistent in your efforts.

However, most people get bogged down in the stuff that doesn’t matter.

The “dimes”… the “minors”… the “5% stuff”.

If your transformation needs to be simplified, watch the video:

Russ Howe PTI


Let’s say you decided that your main goal is to lose body fat.

The truth is 95% of your results will come from just 2 things:

  1. Controlling your calorie intake.
  2. Eating enough protein to support muscle growth.

That’s it.

There’s no reason to make your diet any more complex than this, and many of my clients have kept it this simple for years. But that’s not how MOST people do it. MOST people start a new diet with good intentions and quickly become bogged down in the small stuff that doesn’t really matter. (1. 2)

For example:

Someone tells you to cut out carbs… a colleague says that you have to eat every 3 hours to prevent muscle breakdown… a magazine recommends intermittent fasting for better results… your social media pals go vegan for January…

That kinda stuff!

All these things belong in what I call “the 5% club”. Some of it does have benefits, but all it really does is over-complicate the process until you are no longer focusing on the important things. (3, 4)

Using this laser focus approach will feel very weird at first, because we are not used to things being so straightforward, but once you get used to it you’ll never go back to the old way of doing things.

Because by making your diet as easy as possible to stick to, you unlock the #1 rule to a successful transformation: consistency!

Russ Howe PTI 95 5 rule


Think of how the same issues can affect your progress in the gym.

For instance, we can easily apply “the 95/5 rule” to our exercise selection…

Your main focus should be on the movements which guarantee you the biggest bang or your buck. So make sure you always find time to get your cardio in, and regularly perform big compound lifts like deadlifts, barbell rows, squats, etc.

Do you really need to perform that one-legged stability ball squat you saw on Instagram that takes 10 minutes to set up makes you feel like a t**t? And must you really perform 8 different versions of a triceps pushdown in order to “hit all the angles”?

Probably not.

I’m not saying “the 5% stuff” is useless. It won’t harm your results and I don’t mind you doing that kinda stuff if you have time, I’m just recommending you prioritize more effective exercises first.

For example, I recently shared a video where I showed you a brutal leg exercise I call Atomic Lunges.

It’s a great leg builder and it’s one of my favorite ways to end a tough leg workout – but it’s a 5% exercise!

Why? Because if you are just starting out in the gym you do not need this. Your time should be spent nailing barbell squats, deadlifts, etc. because they will help you build more muscle and improve your strength. This technique is aimed at advanced trainees, who need to be pushed harder to reach muscle failure.

Just like we did with nutrition, the goal is to practice the 95% stuff over and over again. It doesn’t need to be flashy and it doesn’t need to be complicated.

You’ll be VERY surprised how much progress you see with this approach.

Make sense? Good.

If you need help with training programs that get you practicing “the 95% stuff” a lot more effectively, become a website member so you can use the programs in there.

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  1. Howell S., et al. “Calories in, calories out” and macronutrient intake: the hope, hype, and science of calories. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab (2017).
  2. 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).
  3. Pilegaard H., et al. Effect of short-term fasting and refeeding on transcriptional regulation of metabolic genes in human skeletal muscle. Diabetes (2003).
  4. 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).

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