It’s 80%

By Will Kuenzel

“It’s 80% diet.”  Does this sound familiar?  I see it all the time in memes and Instagram.  “Abs are built in the kitchen.”  Right?  It’s not always that simple.  Blanket statements and obscure memes don’t really lend an insightful perspective. 


The funny thing about any of these type sayings is that they could be completely true for the original person that said them but completely wrong for somebody else, or for quite a few people actually.  Our own mental perspective and habits have a tremendous impact on where we have to focus our attention.  Using myself for example, I work in a gym.  I spend more time in the gym than anywhere else.  Training is as easy for me as going to work.  I get up every morning to go to the gym, both because I enjoy it and because it’s my job.  Training is easy so I have to put more effort into my nutrition.  For me, that saying that it’s 80% diet holds true, but not because nutrition is difficult for me but because training is easier. 

10407166_10204714065243642_1726506411148105476_nAnother example would be someone who has a great concept of nutrition but for whatever reason has a hard time getting to the gym.  Their nutrition is easy.  Their training is more difficult.  In this scenario, training will make up 80% of their focus or will power.  The largest percentage of effort isn’t always the one that is most important but the one that is going to require the most effort.  So essentially it’s 80% of whichever one you don’t want to do.  Sucks doesn’t it?

In an ideal world it would be 50-50 training and nutrition.  However the world isn’t always ideal.  Life can get in way.  Periodically there will be times when we are unable to concentrate on both.  What do we do when this happens?  There is no right answer.  A trainer/coach will tell you to keep training.  A nutritionist will say that proper nutrition is key.  My advice is simply to focus on whichever is easiest and then give it as much attention as possible.  If it were simply a matter of training, we wouldn’t have fat powerlifters.  If it were simply a matter of nutrition, we wouldn’t have out of shape RDs (registered dieticians).  Both training and nutrition are important but in times of stress, don’t add additional stress.  Focus on the easy one, get through the rough patch and then refocus. 

imageWhen everything is rolling along smoothly though put that extra effort into the more difficult of the two.  Training habits and creating a positive lifestyle take patience, consistency, and most importantly, practice.  Training is easy for me.  I haven’t taken more than a week off in over 15 years.  Nutrition is easier now than it once was.  I’ve been working at it hard for the last 4 years.  Yeah, that long, but now it’s much, much easier. It makes staying ahead of the game that much easier.  I don’t fight to get restarted if I fall off the wagon. 

It’s 80% of whichever one you suck the most at.  I hate to put it that way but it’s true.  Just going through the motions, isn’t enough.  It needs to be a deliberate action.  Just like the saying that you can’t outrun a bad diet, you can’t over diet a lack of training.  The degree to how much effort it put into either is dependent upon the person and dependent upon the scenario. 

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Low Country Strength

Will Kuenzel is the owner of Lowcountry Strength ( in Charleston, SC. Will started his athletic endeavors as a pole vault; finishing up his collegiate career with a best vault of 16’9” at a whopping 160lbs. He the track and field world to pursue bodybuilding, his first show in 2005, he won 1st place in Men’s Novice as a middle weight. One year later he took 2nd as a Men’s Junior heavy weight. Since 2007 he has been a competitive powerlifter and totaling elite as a 220lber. His best lifts in multiply equipment are a 710lbs squat, a 605lbs bench press, a 615lbs deadlift and a 1930 total. In 2008 Will started Lowcountry Strength out of his garage. Since then it has moved into a 16,000 sq/ft facility and shares space with a mixed martial arts studio. With all disciplines of powerlifting, strongman, MMA, jiu jitsu and other sports in the Charleston area getting trained under one roof, Will heads up the strength and conditioning for a wide variety of athletes and clients.
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