The Minimum Effective Dose for Wellness

The Minimum Effective Dose for Wellness

I already talked about How to Stay Motivated, but for some people, the motivation isn’t the problem. Even those with will power of steel sometimes struggle with living a healthy lifestyle because they simply don’t have enough time.

If you fall into that category, taking a minimum effective dose (MED) approach to wellness can help make the adjustment less overwhelming so that you don’t give up simply because you don’t have enough time.

The basic concept here is finding the minimum amount needed to accomplish the greatest change. This applies in both nutrition and fitness, and in many cases, more is not better!

In my experience, nutrition accounts for about 80% of one’s physique, and that in most cases, 20% of effort creates 80% of the results in fitness. (Mark Sisson and Tim Ferriss have both explained various forms of the Pareto Principle as well).

As Ferris explains, two important MEDs to remember when it comes to fitness and health are:

  1. To remove stored fat- do the least necessary to trigger a fat loss cascade of specific hormones.
  2. To add muscle- do the least necessary to trigger local and systemic growth mechanisms.

Put another way: water boils at 212 degrees F. This is the MED needed to boil water. Raising the temperature more will not make the water “more boiled” so it is simply a waste of energy.

For health, this means isolating the most important factors that will create the greatest change. If you are trying to achieve noticeable results quickly, here are a few MED suggestions that I’ve found to be effective with myself or with clients.

Nutrition MEDs

  • Getting rid of all processed white foods (grains, sugar, starches) while limiting fruit and natural sugars and avoiding drinking calories (soda, diet soda, juice, etc.)
  • Eating protein first thing in the morning. Ferriss suggests 30 within 30 – eating 30 grams of protein (3-4 eggs) within 30 minutes of waking.
  • Getting enough fat – 1-2 TBSP of coconut added to the diet does wonders for many people
  • Veggies at every meal!
  • Eating 1 TBSP almond butter mixed with 1 TBSP coconut oil right before bed
  • Fasting once a week
  • Optimizing Vitamin D

Fitness MEDs

  • Kettlebell MED- 75 consecutive swings with max weight done 3 times a week. Work up to 150 continuous reps.
  • All out sprints once a week. Tabata’s are best (20 seconds max effort, 10 seconds rest, repeat 8 times) by running or on stationary bike.

Lifestyle MEDs

  • 7.5-9 hrs of sleep, every night! This makes more of an effect on health than most people realize.
  • Drinking 32 ounces or more of water immediately after waking up.
  • Making goals actionable and concrete (I will deadlift 200 lbs, or I will lose “x” inches) rather than obscure (I want to be healthy and thin).
  • Taking a before picture and keeping a food journal if weight loss is the goal.

What are your health goals? Have you found any MEDs related to health or fitness? Share below!

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