18 Fitness Myths Exposed: What You Need to Know

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Have you ever heard the adage “no pain, no gain”? While pushing yourself during a workout is important, many fitness myths can hold you back from reaching your full potential.

From the belief that strength training will make you bulk up to thinking that spot reduction is a thing to the notion that you should stretch before exercise, these myths can be detrimental to your progress.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at common fitness myths and provide you with the truth behind them. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, understanding these myths can help you make the most of your workouts and achieve your fitness goals.

So, let’s get started and bust some myths!

Myth #1: Strength Training Will Make You Bulk Up

This is a common misconception, especially among women, that lifting weights will make them bulky. However, this is not the case. Women do not have the same hormones as men, so they cannot “bulk up” in the same way.

Hypertrophy, or muscle building, requires specific training that focuses on increasing muscle size. This can take several months to produce results, and even then, the results are usually not as extreme as some might think.

Furthermore, strength training does not necessarily need to involve heavy weights and low reps. It can increase strength and muscular endurance with lighter weights and higher reps. Ultimately, it comes down to finding the right balance of intensity and volume for your goals.

Myth #2: You Can Spot-Reduce Fat

Spot reduction refers to the claim that fat in a certain area of the body can be targeted for reduction through the exercise of specific muscles in that desired area. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Research and experts suggest that the effectiveness of the “spot fat reduction” method is a myth. While spot reduction of fat is not possible, toning a muscle is. “The reason spot reduction is still something we believe works is that it takes a long time for the fat cells to respond to the climate change in the body,” says Dr. Anthony Youn, a plastic surgeon and author of “The Age Fix.” HIIT it! High-Intensity Interval Training is not only super time efficient, but it’s been proven to be effective at reducing subcutaneous and abdominal fat.

You should focus on burning fat over the whole body and not just in one specific area. An article by Yale Scientific debunks the theory that you can determine where you’re going to lose fat.

When you decide to trim down, keep in mind that the short answer is no. Spot reduction doesn’t work. If your primary goal is to lose body fat, spot reduction won’t work because you’re targeting an area of the body, not burning fat.

Myth #3: Doing Lots Of Cardio Is The Best Way To Lose Weight

This is a common misconception that doing a lot of cardio is the best way to lose weight. While cardio does burn calories, it is not the only way to lose weight.

Studies have shown that combining strength training with cardio is more effective for weight loss than doing cardio alone. Additionally, strength training is important for maintaining muscle mass and increasing metabolism, which can help you lose weight in the long run.

So, while cardio is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, it is not the only way to lose weight. Combining strength training, cardio, and a healthy diet is the best way to reach your weight loss goals.

Myth #4: If You’re Not Sore, Your Workout Didn’t Count

This myth has been around for a long time but is not true. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is a common experience after a particularly tough workout.

However, this does not mean that if you don’t experience DOMS, then your workout doesn’t count. DOMS is more common in beginners, and as you become more advanced, you will likely only feel sore after an abnormally tough workout.

Instead of chasing soreness, focus on how good your workouts make you feel and how it is helping you make progress. Progressive overload, gradually challenging yourself more as you get stronger and increasing the intensity of the training stimulus, is the key to making progress.

So, don’t worry if you don’t feel sore after a workout. Your body is likely adapting to the workload. Your focus should be on progressive overload and challenging yourself more as you get stronger.

Myth #5: You Should Stretch Before Exercise

This is another common misconception that has been debated among fitness professionals for years. Some experts believe stretching before exercise can decrease performance and increase the risk of injury.

Others argue that stretching can help warm up the muscles and improve the range of motion. The truth is, it depends on the type of stretching you’re doing and the type of exercise you’re participating in.

Static stretching, where you hold a stretch for a certain period of time, is best done after exercise when your muscles are warm.

Dynamic stretching, which involves moving through a range of motion, is a great way to warm up before exercise. It’s important to consult with a fitness professional and find what works best for you and your body.

Myth #6: You Should Avoid Carbs To Lose Weight

This is a common misconception that has been circulating for decades. Carbs are an essential macronutrient that provides our body with energy.

They are also important for maintaining brain function and promoting overall health. While it is true that some carbs can be high in calories and contribute to weight gain, it’s important to focus on the quality of carbs rather than eliminating them altogether.

Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes are all great sources of carbs that provide essential nutrients and promote weight loss.

Myth #7: You Should Exercise Every Day To See Results

While exercising regularly is important for achieving your fitness goals, it’s important to remember that rest and recovery are just as important.

Overtraining can lead to injury, burnout, and decreased performance. It’s important to listen to your body and allow adequate rest and recovery time between workouts. A well-rounded exercise program should include a combination of cardio, strength training, and rest days.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s body is different and what works for one person may not work for another.

It’s important to consult with a professional and find a workout routine that works for you and your individual needs and goals. With the right approach and dedication, you can achieve your fitness goals and live a healthier, happier life.

Myth #8: You Should Avoid Eating After 8 pm

This is another common misconception that has been circulating for years. The idea behind this myth is that eating late at night will lead to weight gain because your body is less active and burns fewer calories during sleep.

However, the reality is that the timing of your meals has little to do with weight gain. What matters most is your diet’s overall number of calories consumed and the balance of macronutrients (carbs, proteins, and fats).

Eating late at night can disrupt sleep. If you have difficulty sleeping after eating, avoiding heavy meals close to bedtime is best. But if you’re hungry and need to eat, it’s okay to have a healthy snack before bed.

Myth #9: You Need Supplements To Build Muscle

Supplements can be a great addition to a healthy diet and workout routine, but they are not necessary to build muscle.

A balanced diet that includes a variety of whole foods, such as lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates, can provide all the essential nutrients needed for muscle growth.

However, supplements can be a useful addition for some individuals who have difficulty consuming enough of certain nutrients from their diet.

Myth #10: You should only eat low-fat foods to lose weight

This myth is based on the idea that eating low-fat foods will automatically lead to weight loss. However, it’s important to remember that not all fats are created equal. Healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, are essential for heart health, brain function, and overall well-being.

These healthy fats can be found in fish, nuts, and avocados. On the other hand, there are unhealthy fats, such as trans fats, that can contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease.

Focusing on the quality of fats in your diet rather than eliminating fats altogether is important. A balanced diet with healthy fats, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates is key to weight loss and overall health.

Myth #11: You have to eat less to lose weight

Eating less is not always the best way to lose weight. Starving yourself can lead to weight gain in the long run.

Crash dieting can slow down your metabolism and make it harder for you to lose weight. Eating small, frequent meals throughout the day can help keep your metabolism running and your energy levels up.

Instead of eating less, focus on making healthier food choices and reducing portion sizes. Eating a balanced diet that includes lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates will provide you with all the essential nutrients you need to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Myth #12: You should always exercise on an empty stomach

This myth suggests that exercising on an empty stomach will burn more fat. However, the truth is that exercising on an empty stomach can decrease performance and make you feel weak and fatigued.

It’s important to fuel your body before exercise to provide energy and improve performance. A small snack, such as a banana or a handful of nuts, can provide enough energy to power your workout without feeling too full.

Eating a full meal before exercise may not be ideal as it may cause discomfort during your workout.

Myth #13: You can out-train a bad diet

Many believe they can eat whatever they want as long as they exercise enough. However, the truth is that diet plays a crucial role in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

Exercise can help burn calories and improve overall health, but it’s not enough to counteract an unhealthy diet. A balanced diet that includes a variety of whole foods, such as lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates, is essential for weight loss and overall health.

Myth #14: Crunches are the best exercise for a six-pack

Crunches are a popular exercise for targeting the abdominal muscles, but they are not the only or the best exercise to get a six-pack. You need to reduce your body fat percentage to achieve visible abs through diet and exercise.

This includes a balance of cardio, strength training, and core exercises that target all the abdominal muscles. Planks, leg raises, and Russian twists are some examples of exercises that target the core and help build a strong, defined six-pack.

Myth #15: You should always work out at the same time of day

Many people believe that working out at the same time of day is the key to sticking to a workout routine. However, the best time to work out is the time that works best for you and your schedule.

For some people, that may be early in the morning. For others, it may be in the afternoon or evening. The most important thing is to find a time that works for you and stick to it consistently.

Myth #16: You should avoid all processed foods

Processed foods have gotten a bad reputation, but not all processed foods are unhealthy. Some processed foods, such as frozen fruits and vegetables, are quite healthy. The key is to read the labels and avoid foods high in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.

Instead of eliminating processed foods, focus on making healthier choices and choosing foods that are minimally processed and made with whole ingredients.

Myth #17: You should only stretch before a workout

Stretching is an important part of any workout routine, but it’s not just before a workout. Stretching after a workout can be just as important, if not more so. Static stretching, where you hold a stretch for a certain amount of time, is best done after a workout when your muscles are warm and pliable.

This can help improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. Additionally, stretching before a workout can be beneficial, but it’s important to do a proper warm-up first, such as light cardio or dynamic stretching, to prepare your body for exercise.

Myth #18: You can’t gain muscle and lose fat at the same time

Many people believe that to gain muscle, you need to be in a calorie surplus, and to lose fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit. However, some people can gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, particularly if they are new to strength training and have a high amount of body fat to lose.

This is known as “newbie gains,” and it is more likely to happen in the first few months of a workout routine. As you become more advanced, it becomes increasingly difficult to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, and it becomes necessary to focus on one goal at a time.


In conclusion, it’s important to be aware of the various fitness myths that circulate in the industry. Some may hold a grain of truth, but it’s important to research and consult a professional before making any changes to your workout routine or diet.

Remember, the key to achieving your fitness goals is consistency and a balanced approach that includes a healthy diet, exercise, and adequate rest and recovery. Consult with a professional to find the best approach for you.

It’s also important to note that different people will have different results. What works for one person may not work for another, it’s important to listen to your body and find what works best for you.

Fawad Khan

Fawad Khan is the founder and chief editor at TenWeights.com, a website dedicated to helping people make informed decisions about their health and fitness. Through clear, concise writing and a commitment to cutting through industry jargon, Fawad and his team strive to provide valuable guidance on topics such as bodybuilding, home gym equipment, and more. 

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