Applying an 80/20 Rule — The Fitness Practices Assessment

Gathering best practices and fitness know-how was the purpose for the Wise Athletes podcast

My purpose in producing the Wise Athletes podcast has been to learn how to be a healthier, fitter person despite my increasing age. I wanted to talk to experts in many areas to find the “secrets” …the “low hanging fruit”….the health and fitness practices that I had missed. I quickly discovered the real issue was how to set priorities to deal with the far-too-many solutions I found.

The Levers of Control

Based on my discussions with many experts and other research and training I have received, I have identified 4 “Levers of Control” that are available to all of us to recover our youthful ability to move well, feel good and strong, and recover quickly.

12 Elements of Fitness

To identify where and how to use the Levers of Control, I identified 12 categories of fitness practices. This is not intended to be 100% comprehensive, nor is each category mutually exclusive. I came up with a rough tool to quickly (10 minutes to complete questionnaire) identify probable areas of high opportunity for fast, easy improvement.

Definitions for the 12 Elements of Fitness

So, what do these 12 elements of fitness represent? Well, a lot. Here are short definitions of the 12 elements. When you read these definitions, your memory will recall the many related things you’ve heard about over the years. Maybe you’ve even tried some. Now what?

Assessment Report

Take the Assessment Questionnaire:

Based on your questionnaire, you can see where the lowest hanging fruit is available for you to most easily improve your fitness level. Now you can apply the 80/20 rules….which essentially means, “where can I apply my attention and effort to get 80% of the available benefits from only 20% of the possible effort?”. See for yourself. Click the link to take the 10-minute questionnaire (


  • Fast progress…to gain momentum (and motivation)
  • Economy of effort…with easy changes to drive big impacts at many levels
  • Fill in the gaps…address weaknesses in your health foundation
  • Sustainable…do what is easy, then match your tolerance for change

Better is better

Don’t believe in optimal. No one knows what is perfect for health and fitness, so don’t guess. Instead focus on incremental changes which improve fitness more and more over time until performance matches goals.

Let me know what you think.

The ever curious athlete who demands answers.
About the Author
Curious athlete who demands answers. Husband to Susan ( Father of 3 daughters. Athletic pursuits over time, in reverse order: cycling, skiing, mountaineering, rock climbing, triathlon, golf, tennis, football.

2 comments on “Applying an 80/20 Rule — The Fitness Practices Assessment

  1. Al says:

    This is all really good stuff. As you might imagine…reading through this, it of course reminds me of my own approach when writing my book – we think along much the same lines. There’s many pieces to the aging (and health) puzzle, despite it fundamentally being a rather simple – in the end – journey for the great majority. As you say, 80/20! Hit the basics and fundamentals and you’re a long way toward where you want to be, at least for most/many folks…thanks for sharing!

    1. joe says:

      Thanks, Al! I appreciate it. I am starting down the path of better understanding the emerging Longevity and Healthspan science that has been coming out in the last few years. Im late to the party. I expect I’ll need to update my Fitness Practices Assessment soon.

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