How to Calculate your Ratios

Fitness Expert

Nutrition - Most of you reading this realize the importance of eating small frequent meals. If not go to our website for archived nutritional articles or email me if you have a specific question. If we strive for 5 small meals per day this works out to 35 meals per week.

5 meals/day * 7 days/week = 35 meals/week

So far so good. Now if we take 10% of 35 this works out to 3.5.

35 * 0.10 = 3.5

For simplicity we round 3.5 to 4 to work with whole numbers. So if 4 meals out of 35 is 10% then the remaining 31 meals works out to 90%.

If you are a 90/10 individual nutritionally then 90% of the time during the week you will the right foods, the right amounts at the right time. And 10% of the time you will deviate from the plan slightly and enjoy a cheat meal. The only way to achieve 90% is by planning out your meals for the week ahead of time, shopping for all the groceries you'll need, doing all the prep work such as cutting, chopping and cooking and then eating what is already planned out for the week.

If someone were to miss one meal per day, so 4 eating meals per day, then that would work out to 28 meals per week. Assuming this individual ate exactly what they were supposed to with respect to dose, quality and timing with zero cheat meals the absolute best ratio they could achieve is 28/35 or 80%. See how easy it is to mess up on your nutrition? Plan it out. Do the prep work. Stick to the plan.

Rest - To determine your rest ratio assign each day of the week a value of 14%. If you want to get really technical you can assign 7% for the morning and 7% for the evening. In this category you count 14% for every day that go to bed and wake up at the appropriate time. Let's suppose you need to be asleep by 10 pm and up by 630 am and do this M-F but stay up later and sleep in on the weekends.

5 days to bed at 10 pm/up at 630 am * 14% = 70%

Can you see how much the weekends can derail your progress? You put in so much effort M-F only to lose 30% of your efforts on the weekend. I'm not saying you can never stay out late on a weekend but when you do you've got to get up the next morning at the same time (630 am). Not fun but it ensures you will feel tired and sleep well the next night.

Training - This category is unique from the other two in that we don't have to workout 7 days a week. In fact I don't want you to. I'd prefer for you to have a rest day. Therefore we consider 6 days as a complete and total training week and divide each possible workout day as one-sixth in value. The definition of a workout will vary greatly depending on your training history, injury status and age but ultimately we are seeking some type of physical activity per day to count as one sixth. Consider the following business executive's training week.

3 resistance based workouts per week * 1/6 = 3/6 or 1/2
1 energy system based interval workout = * 1/6 = 1/6
1 weekend bike ride with the family * 1/6 = 1/6
2 days off = 0
If we add up all the total fractions in sixths we have

3/6 + 1/6 + 1/6 = 5/6

A ratio of 5/6 works out to 83%. We round this up to 90% for taking at least one rest day per week. There is no extra bonus for more than one rest day. So getting 5 days of activity would be a ratio of 90/10. Here's how 2, 3 and 4 days of activity work out as ratios.

2 workouts per week * 1/6 value per workout = 2/6 or 33% rounded up to 40% for a ratio of 40/60

3 workouts per week * 1/6 value per workout = 3/6 or 50% rounded up to 55% for a ration of 55/45

4 workouts per week * 1/6 value per workout = 4/6 or 66% rounded up to 70% for a ratio of 70/30

The interesting thing here is that 2 days per week is sometimes referred to as "detraining" where we slowly start to lose the gains we've made and this is represented by a negative ratio of 40/60. Negative because most of the time (60%) we are not making an effort to workout. As well, 3 days a week is often viewed as the threshold for slow steady progress and this ratio of 55/45 puts us slightly into the positive category but not by much. Mess up on your nutrition and or rest and watch how long it can take you to lose 5 lbs!

There you have it. Hopefully this has helped you figure your ratios with respect to nutrition, rest and workouts. Knowing these will help put you on the path to abundant health and energy.

Have a great long weekend.