80% of Results is Nutrition (or is it?)

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

80 Results 800X675 1 | 80% Of Results Is Nutrition (Or Is It?)

“80-percent of your results in the gym is your nutrition.” Ever heard that before? Where did this rule come from? Read on…


What percentage of my performance and fitness goals is a result of actual time spent in the gym, and how much is a result of my nutrition?

It’s an age-old question athletes, fitness gurus, trainers and individuals seeking to gain muscle, lose fat or shed pounds have been asking for years.

  • For those turning a cheek to the role of nutrition, some say: “NOTHING replaces hard work”, citing Malcom Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule: Put in hours upon hours of work, yield results—no nutrition necessarily addressed.
  • Others look to others as role models and examples to point the way. They believe the training habits and diets of successful individuals they admire must be the way for them too:-“If Rich Froning eats pizza, trains 8+ hours a day and is #1, then it must be all about working harder!”

    -Or, “If she does fasted cardio every morning then another training session at night, more work must be the key to success.”

    -Or, “Giselle eats eggs and vegetables for breakfast, salads for lunch and fish every night for dinner, so that same diet must work for me.”

  • And, still, others state random statistics they’ve heard before, such as this popular one:“Nutrition is 80% of results in the gym” with little understanding of what this actually means…


After all what does “80% of results” really look like?!


  • Your six-pack abs, tight glutes and biceps come from chicken and broccoli, while the 5 lbs. you added to your back squat came from sleep?
  • Or your ability to lose some body fat around your mid-section comes from cutting out sugar, while the body comp changes in your thighs come from performing Jane Fonda adductor exercises?


The bottom line? It’s tough to really put percentages on it—since every BODY is different.

So what’s the answer?!

How much does your training really matter? And how much does your nutrition play a role into your training—for body composition change, performance or improved health markers?

Numbers and percentages aside, all you really have to do is look around you—to your left and right—and see what the average majority results are yielding.

  • If you look around your gym, for instance, you will probably notice some regulars that are there, day-in and day-out; coming for months, or even years…but look exactly the same. Spending all that time and effort with NO results to show for it. Why? More often than not: Nutrition habits (or lack thereof).
  • Or maybe you have a friend who has a totally healthy relationship with food, fitness and her body. She’s not consumed by calorie counting or running like a hamster on the treadmill. Instead, she chooses to nourish her body with real whole foods, and integrates exercise into her daily life—walking, yoga, playing with kids, outdoor adventures; while also being able to skip a day at the gym, or have a treat on occasion for the heck of it. With less focus and stress around fitness or food—and more on living life and taking care of herself through nutrient-dense foods and functional movement, she’s “got it all”—a healthy body.
  • Consider NFL football playerslinebackers. Sure, many of them are strong. But many of them are big—really big. From a health perspective, perhaps maybe even overweight or obese—not necessarily all brick solid or super fit. How come? If the steady diet of cheeseburgers, milkshakes and pizza takeout is still a part of their daily intake like their high-school coaches educated them, then nutrition is a direct result.

  • Look to the diets and fitness routines of Kayla Itsines or the Tone It Up Girls—ladies whom have created an empire around their fitness programs and a following of women, striving to be like them and look like them. Guaranteed that these girls equally are fueling their bodies with more nutrient-dense foods in lieu of poor nutrition habits like: skipping breakfast, starving themselves or trying to eat less than 1200 calories, or sipping only juices or shakes for meals.
  • Or, one more, Noah Ohlsen—a top CrossFit Games athlete, and currently #2 in the worldwide 2016 CrossFit Open. Instead of ‘just eating whatever’—or not paying attention to his diet at all, like some other athletes who “want to get to the Games” do, he’s noshing on eggs with spinach and feta, potatoes and an orange for breakfast; chicken alongside wild rice and Brussels sprouts for lunch; and white bean turkey chili with Jasmine rice and more greens for dinner; laced with a couple energy-boosting snacks in between meals : Balanced nutrition.

There is no denying the fact that your nutrition habits have a greater impact on your health, fitness and body composition goals than any other lifestyle or fitness measure.

People can make drastic changes in their health, performance, physique with diet alone.

Instead of preaching the lucrative “80% nutrition rule”, I instead say, 80 percent of your outcomes come from 20 percent of your inputs.

 In other words—the small tweaks and slight-edge approach you can take to improving your nutrition (even just a little bit) can make the biggest difference!

If you find yourself spinning your wheels trying to lose body fat, gain muscle, enhance your performance and recovery or set a new record for yourself, try turning first to your diet—you may not have to push so hard in the gym after all.

 Need some guidance in what an ideal fitness, performance, body composition or HEALTHY nutrition plan looks like for you? Connect with me today and let’s chat your goals and get you there. 


Homemade “Wendy’s Frosty”

Looking for a great smoothie to jumpstart your day, curb a sugar craving or re-fuel after a workout?

And, who doesn’t like a good ol’ Frosty?

(Minus the stomach ache?)

Now you can have your own at home with this perfect breakfast or mid-day smoothie treat:


  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk or cashew milk (I used this one by Malk)
  • 1 serving Exos Whey Protein Isolate (Chocolate)
  • ½ cup- ¾ cup ice (crushed; the more ice=thicker)

Optional Add-ins:

  • ½ banana or handful of frozen blueberries
  • 1 tbsp. raw creamy almond butter
  • Handful of spinach
  • Chia seeds or raw almonds, if you didn’t use almond butter (throw in after blended for extra crunch)



Optional: Place in freezer if you aren’t consuming right away or to make into an ice-cream like consistency, as opposed to a ‘milk shake’


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