How We Gained 10 lbs Last Week: A Cautionary Tale

We have a confession. We gained 10 lbs last week.



It wasn’t on purpose, but it was something we sort of expected.

What the hell did you do?!

We went on vacation.

Sometimes our vacations include long hikes, athletic endeavors, and feats of strength. Sometimes we bring kettlebells with us. Not this time.

A different vacation

A different vacation

This was an opportunity to eat, drink, and be in Playa del Carmen. We did lots of that. About 10 lbs worth it turns out. And we didn’t do it in a healthy fashion. Tortillas and tacos were consumed in lieu of veggies. Rules about when drinking is allowed to commence were ignored. Mango juice and vodka found their way into our glasses. Margaritas. Holy hell, it’s all just a blur of margaritas.

Fuck this guy

Fuck this guy

What we didn’t do:

We didn’t train. We won’t justify this by calling it a deload week, but we did construct the prior three weeks of training so that we could “deload” by essentially doing nothing.

We also didn’t — and this is important — we didn’t worry about the weight we were going to gain. We didn’t concern ourselves with the mysterious disappearance of abs I swear were there just yesterday. We didn’t “try to behave,” or limit ourselves in any way. We just enjoyed what Playa had to offer.

Why we didn’t worry:

It turns out that lots of people assume that fitness professionals live a monk-like existence, surrounded by chicken breasts, steamed veggies, and medicine balls. Many people expect us to select our hotel based around on-site fitness facilities, or to simply go climb a mountain.

Just getting in some exercise

Just getting in some exercise

Our willingness to play-hard is sometimes shocking, especially for people who don’t let the reins out, even while on vacation.

Here is our secret, and the reason we are unperturbed by our newfound fat suits: We use the Pareto Principle (the 80/20 rule), but have our own version:

We are 90% consistent…90% of the time.

60% of the time, it works every time

60% of the time, it works every time

If you do the math, being 90% consistent 90% of the time is pretty much just like being 80% consistent. But — and this is incredibly important to understand — logistically it is completely different from being 80% consistent.

Now, being 80% consistent 100% of the time does work. In fact, it is typically the lower threshold for what you must to do maintain your physique. But — and here’s the crux of the problem — at 80% you don’t ever get to let the reins out, and if you do, you have a hell of a time recovering from it. We do know people who are fairly successful being 80% consistent. But they are the people to whom others say, “Come onnnnnn. You’re on vacaaaaation.” They’re constantly stressed out about not slipping up because they have no margin for error. They’re using their 20% margin for error on lots of little things. They say things like, “Come onnnnn. Granola can’t be that bad for you,” and, “I only keep the junk food around for the kids; I don’t eat it.” Sure. They tend to perform creative accounting and don’t count “small things” as inconsistencies. They tend to think they are between 90% and 100% consistent.

Cat diet ice cream meme

They share something else in common: They all fail over the long-term. Eventually, something starts eating into their consistency. It can be an injury, a major life event, or just a vacation. They can maintain what they’ve got, but what they’ve got is slipping away, bit by bit. They look back and blame those life events.

“It all went wrong after the kids were born.”
“I was doing great until that time I broke my ankle.”
“Work just got crazy and that was the end of it.”
“It’s just what happens as you get older.”

Perhaps worst of all is that they are so painfully close to success. They eat better than most of their counterparts, but never quite get where they’d like to. This all may be starting to sound familiar.

The New Math:

Here is why 90% of 90% is better than 80%:

Being 90% consistent 90% of the time means two things: It means that 10% of the time you can cut loose (for instance, if you eat 21 times per week, you can go off-plan 2 times per week). And you get another 10% of the time where you can go off the reservation (which, for those who are counting, adds over a month of sheer debauchery each year). It means that in exchange for a small amount of extra consistency, you get to actually enjoy vacations, weekends away, and holidays without having to buy new pants each time.


Now, we know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “That’s all great in theory, but you guys gained 10 lbs and now you’re going to have to put in so much work to get back to where you were. Did you really need all those margaritas?!”

First, yes. Yes we did need all of them. Second, that’s a good point about the 10 lbs. So we’ll let you in on the other part of our secret:

We’re going to lose those 10 lbs this week. As such, no one will know about our foibles but for the select few who use the internet.

Tune in next week to find out how we lost the weight, what 90% consistency really means, and how to make these concepts your fat burning bitch. Or, better yet, simplify your life and join our mailing list:

(We’ll also tell you the mechanisms by which we gained the weight, so you can avoid them on an everyday basis, and so you can take advantage of them when breaking all the rules.)

Until then…

sumo suit

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