The 80% Diet - 20% Exercise Rule

September 19, 2012

It is well established that when trying to lose weight a combination of both exercising and dieting provides best results.
Alone, neither of them is sufficient.
Some people are able to shed pounds just by cutting calorie intake, but the results are unlikely to last without some physical activity. Conversely, you can spend hours in the gym, but if you’re stuffing your mouth with high-caloric and unhealthy food you won’t go far.
To put it differently, both factors are necessary to achieve optimal weight loss.
Exercising without a healthy diet is futile, but an healthy diet is per se not enough.
However, it’s not always apparent how much these two factors plays in the weight loss equation.
In other words, how much should you exercise? How much you should restrict calories?

80% Diet 20 % Exercise Rule

There is a rule that seems to gather consensus across the board: the so-called 80-20 rule.
According to it, 80% of weight loss is achieved by diet, and 20% is achieved by exercise.
That is to say, a big part of losing weight is having a correct eating regimen so as to burn more calories than those eaten (i.e., caloric deficit).
This should be paired with some form of exercise. Crucial, not only to lose weight, but for general well-being and physical fitness.
There’s not a lot of scientific literature specifically on the 80-20 rule as of today, but I like it because of its mild approach that makes it accessible to many.


  1. Great tip!

  2. That's a very cool graphic!

  3. Exercise is important because without challenging your body, you’ll never see results. Diet alone cannot do that.

    1. Sure it can! I have lost a lot af weight just by eating right. The diet is the most important thing if you want to see results.