If Abs Are Made in the Kitchen, How Come We Never Hang Out There?

If 80% of weight loss and transformation is what you eat, then why are you spending more time at the gym than in the kitchen?

“Wait, what? Steph, you work at a gym, like sort of the best gym ever, and you’re telling me to go there less?”

NO. That’s not what I’m suggesting. Let’s look at some numbers, shall we?

We go to the gym five times a week or five hours a week. Cool. Plugging this into the equation: five hours equals 20%.

If what we eat is the 80%, then we need to spend 25 hours a week preparing our food? Oh hell no!

Here’s the beauty of it all: we can spend LESS time in the kitchen than at the gym and NAIL the bigger chunk of the ratio.

Even if we added up our food prep, shopping, and grabbing items throughout the week, it could add up to about the same time we spend exercising.

But I’d bet some cold cash that after time, practice, and experimenting, we can achieve success in the food prep arena in less time than we exercise per week.


So how do you make this happen? “Small hinges swing big doors.” Choose one recipe a week to start making. Choose one meal that you will prep ahead of time. Choose one meal that you will pack for work three or four times.

And what’s the secret trick to creating this habit? Practice over perfection. Practice this for a week or two. Pay attention to what detours show up.

Some common detours could be:

  1. I get bored with the same thing every day at work.
  2. Everyone decided to go to lunch and I want to join but I packed my turkey chili for the fourth time this week. I hate this freakin’ chili!
  3. I spent all day cooking on Sunday when I really wanted to be at a boozy brunch with friends.

OK, these are all totally fair and familiar roadblocks. This is life. Creating habit change isn’t about eliminating fun. Habit change requires that we start to notice patterns and when they no longer serve us, we practice a new approach.


How could these detours be looked at a bit differently?

  1. Start with packing a few days a week. Leave Wednesday for grabbing your favorite Chipotle or Poke bowl! This will keep things varied and it will feel like a break or a treat.
  2. GO TO LUNCH WITH EVERYONE! Your packed lunch can stay there for tomorrow. It probably won’t taste as “boring” the next day because you switched it up and did lunch out the day before.
  3. Break up the food prep shifts. Look ahead. If boozy brunch is important to you (as it should be… #connection), how could you do two things at once? Maybe Saturday afternoon you grab some groceries and load up your crockpot on Sunday morning before you head out. You get home. Sunday night is yours on the sofa and Monday morning you have a meal packed and ready to go!

These are just a few ideas that can make food prep less of an overwhelming hurdle to tackle. There are so many resources you can utilize. Between social media, Pinterest, and a good old fashioned Google search, there is a lot of help out there!

With some willingness to embrace a bit of trial and error, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can create a new habit around food prep.


What’s one new habit you can explore that will make your food prep life a bit easier?

I can’t wait to hear your amazing ideas! Post a photo of your best food prep tricks or recipes to Instagram using the hashtags #ninjascook and #cookwithsteph so the whole Ninja Army can share in your brilliance.

Let’s get 1% better in the kitchen!


Steph Wilberding is a Ninja Trainer and resident Show Choir Captain at Mark Fisher Fitness. She’s also an ACE Group Fitness Instructor, Certified Functional Strength Coach, and Certified Health Coach. You can find her online, on Instagram, and on Facebook at Stephanie Wilberding and Cook with Steph.


Let’s get to know each other and see how we can help you!

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