What does 1% get you?

A few years ago Dave Brailsford took over as performance director of cycling’s Team Sky. At the time, no British cyclist had ever won the Tour de France, and it was his job to change that.

His approach was deceptively simple but incredibly effective, and it’s something you can put into place with your own goals as well.

The aggregation of marginal gains.

Improving many areas or factors by just 1% adds up to a massive improvement overall. Sometimes small improvements in seemingly unimportant areas can have a massive carryover into overall improvements.

For example, take getting up 15 minutes earlier each morning. (For those counting 15 minutes is just over 1% of your day…). That 15 minutes could be used to make and eat a good breakfast and pack your lunch for the day. This sets your morning up for improved energy levels and better chances of performing well in whatever your daily tasks are. Evidence also suggests that for some people, a good, protein-based breakfast naturally limits total calorie intake over the day, presumably by making you less likely to snack mid morning.

Other examples could be:

  • walking for 15 minutes a day. Increased blood flow, improvements in cardiovascular health and mood can all be gotten from just 15 minutes walking each day.
  • spending 10-15 minutes each day to work on a little bit of mobility. Loosening up your tight hips and upper back. particularly useful if you spend a lot of time sitting.
  • meditating for as little as 2 minutes a day has shown to be beneficial in mental heath, mood, productivity and more.
  • prepping food for the next days meals can increase nutritional compliance greatly. Making you more likely to eat balanced, nutritious meals and less likely to reach for snacks and make poor choices driven by hunger.

So when you are wondering if a small change is worth it, consider the improvement that 1% could make when applied consistently of the course of 6 month, 1 year, a lifetime, and then go about getting it done!

Oh, and British cyclings result from improving the many areas involved by tiny amounts? 3 years after taking over, Team Skys Sir Bradley Wiggins became the first British rider to win the Tour de France. Later that year, British cycling won over 70% of the gold medals available to them in the 2012 Olympics.

Just imagine what you could do…

Stay strong,


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