Man showing the 7 most popular fitness myths

You saw it online or heard it from firends & familiy, but these “facts” are simply not true! Following advice without verifying that the information it contains is true can often be a problem. Not only you could ruin your health, but you may also sabotage your fitness progress. And eventually need much longer to achieve the goals you set. In this article we reveal the truth about the 7 most popular fitness myths that just won’t die.

What you will learn in this article:

Fitness myth 1: Soreness equals progress and effectiveness

Man showing Soreness in Fitness myths

Muscle pain after a workout is just a reaction to a stimulus you’re not used to. This stimulus could be for example a new exercise, a higher resistance, more training volume or a higher range of motion. The more you’re used to exercising the less likely you will experience soreness unless you’re doing something new.  

So it’s ok to get sore from time to time but you shouldn’t make it your priority. What’s really important is progressive overload and the proper rest periods between your workouts. No matter if you get sore from it or not.

Fitness myth 2: More sweat equals a better workout

Man sweating to explain 7 Fitness Myths

Sweating is just a way your body prevents itself from overheating, not an indicator for an effective workout. For example, just sitting around in a warm environment can make you sweat more than if you did an intense workout session in an air-conditioned gym or a cold environment.

It also depends on the workout itself. If you train in a low rep range with long rest periods like in powerlifting or when doing calisthenics skill training you won’t sweat as much as someone who does a HIIT workout with short rest periods. Also consider that everyone is different too — some people naturally get sweatier than others. So summarized: Sweat is not a reliable indicator of how hard you’ve worked or how effective your training was. 

Fitness myth 3: You can tone your muscles

Fit woman doing biceps

Of these 7 fitness myths, this is very popular among the ladies. I often hear the phrase: “I just want to tone it down” or I don’t want to get too bulky . Well the truth is there is no such thing as just “toning your muscles”. When people use the word ‘toned’, they usually mean ‘sculpted’ or defined. This look is just the result of resistance training in combination with a good diet. So it all comes down to building muscle and burning the layer of fat that covers them.

I know some women fear that they get too bulky when training like men. But the reality is that this won’t happen overnight. Even most men struggle to put on a decent amount of muscle mass and as a woman you really have to work your butt off to get that bulky look. Sure, genetic freaks exist in both sexes, but they are the exceptions, not the rule. 

So my tip is: don’t follow these “toning workouts” that usually involve small weights and very high reps. This actually isn’t the best way to create the look most people are after. Instead you need to engage in strength training and make sure your diet is on point too.

Fitness myth 4: You can target your fat burn

Man doing abs for Targeted fat loss in 7 Fitness Myths

This is one of the most popular of the 7 fitness myths. Most scientific evidence shows that spot reduction training is not effective and that fat loss tends to be generalized to the entire body.  So no matter how many ab exercises you do, if you got over 20% body fat you will never have abs like someone with 10% or less. Building your abs will help to make them look bigger and more prominent. But there is no way around a good diet to lose weight and make your muscles more visible. 

However, serious strength training can also help you with your diet because the more muscle mass you have the higher your basal metabolic rate. This means you could eat the same but still make some progress on your body composition.

Fitness myth 5: You need to spend hours in the gym

Man training showing how much time you should spend in the gym

Again this is not true because the duration of a workout does not determine its effectiveness. The important thing is not the length, but the quality, intensity and overall volume of your workouts. Sure it really depends on the sport you’re doing and on which level of performance you are at. So for example: If you’re a powerlifter or training for calisthenics skills, your workouts are usually longer due to the necessary rest periods.

There are also other sports that require a lot of training for specific techniques and abilities that can only be mastered if you invest many many hours into them. On the other hand: If you just want to get fit and build some muscle, your workouts shouldn’t be longer than 60-90 minutes.

In general there are 2 extremes you have to avoid. First: don’t end up with 2-3 hours in the gym because you’re simply doing too much. You don’t have to do 25 sets for your biceps or chest because most of the time this is just junk volume and does not help you with your progress at all. Second: You’re doing way too little. So you don’t stick to the proper rest times and are more focused on conversations or checking your phone. 

Fitness myth 6: Your Muscles can turn into fat

Man showing a body with more muscle and one with more fat for Workout Myths

The truth is muscle cannot turn into fat or vice versa because fat and muscle are two different things. This myth probably comes from the idea that your body composition may change when you stop working out, meaning you look less muscular and less lean, and that’s true 

When you stop exercising you will lose muscle and you will burn less calories due to the lack of physical activity. This results in a different look especially if you still eat the same amount of food as before. All these factors cause the illusion that your muscle has turned into fat, when in reality you just have less muscle and more fat.

Fitness myth 7: You can burn off last night’s fast food with a trip to the gym

  • Man showing abs
  • Man running and explaining how to burn a cheat meal

Sounds good but doesn’t really work. Here is the last of our 7 most popular fitness myths. Depending on your weight, 1 hour of strength training burns about 200-300 calories and  that’s not even enough to burn off the calories of 1 bag of potato chips. It’s very similar when we take a look at other activities. Even when some of them can burn double the amount of strength training there is no way you can out-exercise a bad diet. 

Sure the extra calories you burn will help and the muscle mass you’ll build will increase your basal metabolic rate but you still can’t eat crap and expect the results you’re hoping for. If after all you’ve read you’re looking for a science based workout guide without any bro science or bullshit, check out our training programs.

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