I get some version of this comment/question regularly: "I'm looking to get rid of some of this belly fat so I'm going to ramp up my cardio, any other tricks you got for me TD?" First off, relieve yourself from thinking that the sole solution lies at the gym. What if a major key to sparking body composition change actually lies at the grocery store or in your kitchen?

That was my exactly my point when I tweeted this:

Whether it's your abs your looking for or just to get the jiggle out of your belly, you are talking about burning fat. Terms like "weight management", "weight loss" or "lose a few pounds" are referring to losing unwanted fat. Nobody is walking around saying "I just can't get rid of this excess muscle - ugghh what will I do!?" Well except for maybe your boy "Brotato Chip" from the GEICO commercial:

The Brotato Chip case aside, launching an attack on pesky body fat will be a frustrating process if you choose to rely primarily on ramping up your time at the gym. As soon as you recognize that your secret weapon and likely heaviest hitter in this battle is tightening loose screws in your diet, you'll be off to the fat burn races.

Launching an attack on pesky body fat will be a frustrating process if you choose to rely primarily on ramping up your time at the gym.

Take it from the experts

Yoni Freedhoff, an MD and founder of a non-surgical nutrition and weight management center in Ottawa summarized some of the evidence surrounding this notion perfectly in a recent post by saying:

"Putting this another way, you lose weight in the kitchen, you gain health in the gym."

take home

What we're talking about here is exactly why making up for crap eating habits by doubling up your workouts is a failed approach for so many people. What we're not talking about here is tossing your workouts aside and putting all your money down on eating better. Exercise and strong eating habits are a package deal when it comes to overall health, performance and body composition change. If you view them each existing in a vacuum you're missing out on the impressive power they possess when in tandem.


Dugas, L., Harders, R., & Merrill, S. (2011). Energy expenditure in adults living in developing compared with industrialized countries: A meta-analysis of doubly labeled water studies [Abstract]. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 93(2), 427-441. Retrieved March 2, 2016, from 

Like what you read?  
Sign up now to get the latest tips and advice

Tim DiFrancesco, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS spent 6 seasons as the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and  is the founder of TD Athletes Edge.  He is nationally renowned for his evidence-based and scientific approach to fitness, training, nutrition, and recovery for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

For training and nutrition advice, follow us on:
• Twitter
• Facebook
• Instagram
• YouTube
• Sign up for our newsletter and follow our blog at