I would have loved to have known all the things I’m going to mention on here, when I started a few years ago! it would save so much time but hopefully from reading this you will all learn something. Here are the biggest fitness myths.
Abs exercises alone burn belly fat
To get abs, you can’t simply just do ab exercises. To get your abs to show, you need to lower your body fat percentage, which can be done using interval training such as HITT. This can be done on an exercise bike such as this one.
Furthermore, you need a healthy and balanced diet to feed your body with the best nutrients. There’s also the factor of drinking lots of water to get these nutrients to the muscles. Then plenty of sleep is more important than training all the time, resting will give your body chance to catch up and strengthen you up!
Eat big get big
This is just simply not true, it’s more like eat big get fat. When I first started gym I knew literally nothing on the matter, I was a very slim guy and I wanted to put on weight. So I asked “How do I put on size?” and the answer I got was, “eat more” which technically helped me put on size, but I had little to no definition and this was frustrating as I was seemingly putting in hours of work and getting nothing out of it.
Eating big could mean a fry up in the morning, a pasty for lunch and Mcdonalds after work for example, all meals full of saturated fat! Despite there also being a lot of protein in fried and processed meats, the fat content is just so high that you can’t expect to get ripped with this diet. Instead, you need to eat most of the foods that I’ve mentioned in a previous article, which can be found here.
If you’re not sweating, you’re not working hard enough
There are two gyms in my town, one has the air con blasting, the other doesn’t, which do you think I train in? Having the air conditioning on all the time makes it a challenge to even sweat so there’s one reason and vice versa! Also, you can work hard but not at a high intensity, the high intensity will make you sweat more. You could be lifting heavy but having a few minutes rest, if you were working on strength for example. There’s also genetics, some people just sweat loads and some don’t at all! Therefore, sweating depends on certain conditions and doesn’t mean you aren’t doing enough!
Don’t train on an empty stomach
This is a topic I’m always talking about with my friends, what do I eat and how much before training? We all have different answers but that’s because our goals are different. I’m currently training to build strength and muscle, whereas a friend of mine is training to burn fat. This makes our general diet and eating habits quite a bit different. For each muscle group I’m training, I’ll spend 30 minutes to an hour training that muscle, if this is two muscle groups on the same day then this makes my workout anywhere from an hour to two hours, so I definitely need food beforehand, usually something fairly high in carbohydrates for a slow release energy source and fresh juice for an energy boost and maintaining performance over a long period.
My friend will train in the mornings too, and not have anything to eat. He does fasted cardio, which is training when food isn’t still being digested at the time of exercise. My friend does this because he raises his metabolism and says it makes him more productive in the mornings.
You shouldn’t exercise every day
The people saying this are either wrong or they mean don’t over train by training every day. I exercise every day if I can but I always have harder days than others. I set Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays for weightlifting and the others are either for rest or active recovery. The myth is that training every day doesn’t give your body enough rest and you are going to injure yourself, I beg to differ. I’ll mostly train hard 4 days a week, and have the weekend without any really challenging exercise. However on these “rest” days I do a bit of active recovery, for example a 20-minute gentle swim. This way I feel like I’m being more productive. It also helps circulation and flexibility, which makes active recovery an important part of fitness. Here’s a treadmill review if you’d like to have an option for active recovery from the comfort of your own home.
Women should do different exercises to men
Men and women can both do the same exercises it’s just they don’t choose to! Many men want to build their upper body whereas many women want to build their glutes and legs. Men also build muscle and strength faster than women partly due to the high levels of testosterone in their body. However, there are many female body builders and power lifters so it is dependent on your goals and work ethic!
The more you ache, the better your workout
Aching shows that you have pushed your muscles past failure yes, but does that mean you’re making more gains? No. Here’s why;
If you train to an intensity that makes you sore for days after every time you train then the likelihood will be that you’ll over train and cause injury. Many people recommend training 3 times a week as a minimum, so if you are training intensely 3 times a week with plenty of rest in between, then soreness after every workout is fine and that’s a good way to workout every time. However, if you are training 4 or more times a week whilst still being sore and you never have a day when you feel fresh, then you aren’t giving your body time to rest and you’re not making the gains you could be with good rest.
This is a fiercely debated topic, some people like to train every day of the week, others don’t. The main thing to ensure is that you get the rest in too! I’ll usually train for at least 3 weeks straight, and then have at least 3 days off to a week from heavy exercise and will just do either lightweight or swimming as some active recovery. I’ve found that this works for me since whilst I’m doing active recovery, my muscles get chance to catch up and instead of struggling to lift the next week, I’m stronger than before. To ensure this I keep my diet high in protein, usually 2.2x my body weight in kg because I’m currently adding mass.
Are there any of the biggest fitness myths that I’ve missed? It would be interesting if you could leave them in the comments, would love to hear!
Can I ask you to check out some of my other posts on here and follow me on social media, which are all linked below!
All the best,
Hi, I’m Nick and the creator of thefitnessfeeling.com. I have a passion for health and fitness, and I want to share my knowledge and experience with you. I’m here to help you with any questions you have.