On Day 1 of DIAKADI’s The 12 Days of Fitmas, we calmly warned you about the danger of letting stress ruin your holidays, and darn it if Day 2’s Holiday Hunger rules didn’t come along and completely freak folks out about the ‘hopeless effort’ towards a successfully healthy holiday season!

But remember, I mentioned at the end of Day 2 that the single most important rule for Holiday Party Survival was going to be revealed today. Believe it or not, this single rule has the power to supersede just about every other piece of advice we will give you during these 12 Days of Fitmas. In order to reduce the idiotic and worthless holiday stress many of us carry around and to begin enjoying the truly magical and FUN excitement of the holidays, a delicate balance must be achieved between the extremes of perfectly healthy behavior and full all out holiday debauchery. For this, I give you the 80/20 Rule.

[one_half]"If you are aiming to achieve aggressive goals in your fitness or health, such as efficient body fat reduction or muscle mass increases I would recommend living life more as 90/10 or even 95/5."[/one_half]

The basic idea of the 80/20 rule is that by following ideal nutrition, lifestyle, fitness and health practices when making 80% of the choices in your life, then you earn permission to make some not-so-healthy decisions for the other 20% of your choices. I find that this philosophy can be a great way of reducing the stress and pressure of always having to make ‘perfect’ lifestyle decisions by allowing folks to enjoy special treats in all aspects of their life.

To clarify, when I say that the ‘80’ should be ideal, I mean that you are making some near perfect decisions 80% of the time.

A typical 80 version of life includes:

  • Eating the appropriate volume of fresh, whole, naturally raised foods and the proper ratios of macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrates) for your body’s metabolism and your daily life activities
  • Avoiding inflammatory foods such as dairy, soy, alcohol, processed foods (cereal, crackers, canned foods), and artificial sweeteners
  • Sleeping a minimum of 7 hours a night80-20-1
  • Hydrating well with water daily
  • Consistent strength workouts plus cardiovascular activity that matches your goals
  • Keeping your stress levels low and using stress reduction practices such as meditation, qigong, yoga, stretching or simple breathing exercises as necessary

My definition of not-so-healthy decisions that fall under the ‘20’ category include:

  • It is your first weekend of the season snowboarding in Tahoe and at the end of the day, a giant mug of hot cocoa by the fire pit at Northstar would be the ideal ending to a perfect day
  • On date night each week, you enjoy trying a new glass of wine with your spouse in hopes of learning more about wines and their distinguishing characteristics
  • Your favorite food is a truly good hamburger, so you love to try a new burger with all the fixings at new restaurants around San Francisco each month
  • You love to dance, so you choose to stay out late dancing one night a week, but keep the alcohol at low levels in order to avoid a hangover
  • At your nephew’s 6th birthday party, you really want a big piece, or even 2 of his chocolate birthday cake…so you have 2
  • Work gets out of hand for a couple of weeks due to a deadline, so you are forced to limit your workout days, finding only 15-30 minutes a couple times each week

Make sense?

One disclaimer on the 80/20 philosophy:

If you are aiming to achieve aggressive goals in your fitness or health, such as efficient body fat reduction, muscle mass increases, improving your triathlon time in a month, etc… I would recommend living life more as 90/10 or even 95/5. 80/20 is often what I would call a healthy maintenance lifestyle.

Now for the holidays and 80/20, I have to admit that the holidays in general tend to be the full throttle ‘bachelor weekend in Vegas’ version of ‘20’! Instead of it being a single weekend night of splurging, it is a 6 week marathon of ‘20’ that kicks off with the food fest known as Thanksgiving and thanksgiving-630x419drags us through the gluten gluttony of Christmas until we crawl across the drink fest finish line of New Years (see Day 2: The Holiday Hunger Games for details).  So my advice is to try and keep the majority of your life and easy decisions as close to ‘95’ levels as possible during this season. That way, your frequent ‘20’ level temptations do not start adding up and the pounds start packing on.

In the end, remember that life is too damn short to miss out on the many treats for us to experience and enjoy during our lifetimes. But remember that life is also too damn short to miss out on the pride of taking care of your body, being happy with your physique, and feeling good every morning you wake up and with every step you take. It is about finding the ideal 80/20 balance in every decision you make.

[one_half]"Don’t you dare let that little guilt voice inside your head ruin every part of the holidays. Trust me, your Mom will be giving you enough guilt back at home."[/one_half]

So give yourself permission to enjoy the most special parts of this holiday season that make you smile and giggle like you did as a kid. Don’t beat yourself up for enjoying one or even two homemade smores with handmade Tahitian Vanilla Bean marshmallows from Tout Sweet! They are just too good to pass up!

Don’t you dare let that little guilt voice inside your head ruin every part of the holidays. Trust me, your Mom will be giving you enough guilt back at home. No need to add more yourself.  Just remember it is all a balancing act. Shoot for 95/5 when things are good so that 80/20 will keep you content and smiling during the holidays or other challenging times that come your way.


DIAKADI’s The 12 Days of Fitmas: Welcoming the holidays and year’s end as a time for relaxation and celebration, The 12 Days of Fitmas will teach people to take the time to enjoy the fun of the season, while reflecting on the year and looking forward to the year ahead. The series tackles the biggest problems that many face: stress, holiday parties, eating well, preparing for the New Year, and more.

“The holidays tend to be one of the most challenging times of the year for our clients,” says Billy Polson. “The stress, over-booked schedules, party foods, alcohol and travel plans wreak havoc on their workouts and their bodies. The 12 Days of Fitmas are our effort to help people not only survive the holidays, but thrive throughout them.”

Through The 12 Days of Fitmas, DIAKADI will demonstrate the belief that fitness is about far more than dead lifts, burpees and the spin class. Rather, fitness and health encompass all aspects of one’s lifestyle including sleep schedules, stress levels, deep breaths, proper fuel for the body, and enjoying life every day. DIAKADI will use video to demonstrate topics like “Ultimate Destination Workout,” ensuring that whether one is at a beginning or an advanced level, they will learn proper form and technique for the perfect workout regardless of location. The principals discussed in the series will be applicable beyond the holiday season and throughout the New Year.

Originally published at

Day 1: The Most Wonderful Yet Stressful Time of Year: Managing Holiday Stress Day 2: The Holiday Hunger Games: Holiday Party Survival Tips Day 3: The 80/20 Rule: By Damn, Enjoy the Holidays Day 4: Healthy Holiday Recipes that Don’t Suck Day 5: Planes, Trains, and Drive-thrus: Smart Choices for Food on the Go Day 6: Travel Stretches to Make Coach Feel Like First Class Day 7: Grandma Got Run Over by the Holiday Cold: Staying Healthy for the Holidays Day 8: The DIAKADI Destination Workout: Anytime, Anywhere, No Equipment Necessary Day 9: Silent Night: How to Stay Rested Throughout the Holidays Day 10: The Holiday Hustle: Getting Off the Couch and Out of the House for the Big Day Day 11: Start the New Year Off with a Bang Not a Bust: Do What You Love this New Year’s Day 12: When the Clock Strikes Midnight: Successfully Setting and Reaching Your New Year’s Goals