Diet vs. Exercise? Which is better for losing fat around the belly?

Diet vs. Exercise: You have probably heard “Six-packs are made in the kitchen?” and you have probably saw people in the gym with tiny waists doing thousands of crunches. But when it comes to the size of your waist, what is going to reduce that fat more, diet or exercise?

diet vs. exercise

(Note: There are countless studies out there that cite different results, I am using only one of them to show how important nutrition is.)

In a study by Barbara J Nicklas, Xuewen Wang, Tongjian You, Mary F Lyles, Jamehl Demons, Linda Easter, Michael J Berry, Leon Lenchik, and J Jeffrey Carr, the researchers wanted to see changes in adipose fat around the waist by testing obese middle-aged women. The women were split into 3 groups. Group one focused on diet only, Group two focused on diet + moderate cardio, Group three focused on diet + high intensity cardio. By the end of the study, all three groups lost approximately the same amount of weight and fat around their waist. 

A registered dietitian once told me that the key to weight loss is for clients to focus on dieting (nutrition) because that is something they can control 100% of the time. Going to the gym they may not be able to control because of having to work late, sickness, injuries, and other externalities.

I tell my clients constantly that your diet is 90% of the equation to fat loss (Fat loss = Nutrition + Training). This study confirms that when it comes to actual fat around the stomach, watching what you eat is more important than just training.   Diet wins in this battle of diet vs. exercise.

So I shouldn’t train?

Of course you should train. The health of the patients in the controlled study were healthier and retained more muscle when they worked out.  The point I am making is that you can’t out workout a bad diet, and if you are wanting to burn fat, you cannot do it by working out only.

What are some tips on focusing on nutrition?

Lean protein, healthy complex carbs, healthy fats, and plenty of water will go a long ways! I suggest finding your BMR, and when trying to cut weight, try to eat around that number or less. I like to use Phormula-1 and Level-1 proteins as meal replacements and for post workout meals to maximize my training. They have a great balance of high quality protein, with low fat and carbs. The Royal XXI King and Queen System can help you eat less, burn more fat, and feel better while dieting. The Royal 21 King and Queen Systems help you burn fat 24 hours a day by controlling appetites, optimizing hormones, and actually helping you sleep better! Order today with free shipping at


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Lift Heavy My Friends!
Dustin Holston
Personal Trainer/Sports Nutritionist

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