Debunking Fitness Myths: 14 Things You Should Never Believe

April 24, 2023
6 min read
Debunking Fitness Myths: 14 Things You Should Never Believe

With exercise and fitness comes plenty of myths and half-truths. Whether it's on TikTok or YouTube, the flood of fitness advice, testimonials, and “hacks” out there can make it hard to know what's real and what's just nonsense.

Start your fitness journey right by separating false claims from the truths. FitRated conducted a survey and asked 1,000 Americans about common fitness myths. From the importance of a pre-workout stretch to loving that post-workout soreness, it was clear that many were are misconceived on fitness, diet, and health trends.

Here are some of the common fitness myths you might have been doing all along:

1. Before and After Workout Snacks

There are a few myths surrounding exercise and eating habits. Some say eating protein before a workout improves performance, while others say you’ll burn more calories if you exercise without eating.

Although eating protein provides energy, a snack before and after a 30-minute workout is not necessary. If you’ve already eaten earlier in the day, it’s likely to suffice. Snacking puts you at risk for more calories resulting in weight gain or plateau.

The food your body needs depends on your routine and fitness goals. It is best to consult a nutrition specialist or doctor to fuel your body better. They can develop a personalized meal plan to help maintain your body while reaching your goals.

2. Pre-Workout Stretching

This myth is partially true. However, you want to do the proper stretches to avoid injuries. If your stretch routine includes reaching your toes and other basic stretches, you’re likely to have an injury. Basic stretches are considered static and only overextend the muscle.

More often than not, these stretches have no impact on your upcoming exercise routine. You can warm up by doing dynamic stretches related to the exercises you’re planning to execute and light cardio.

These stretches can maintain or improve your range of motion. Light cardio can get your blood flowing and prepare you for your exercise routine.


3. Spot Training Works

Are you a firm believer in spot training? We’re here to debunk it. Certain workout routines claim to target specific body areas, such as the legs, core, or arms. Although spot training can help with muscle-building, it will not make a significant change.

Also, focusing on specific areas rather than the entire body does not support overall wellness. These may even discourage you from continuing when you don’t see any improvements.

Avoid this myth by focusing on your whole body. Not only does it drive better overall results, but it also encourages weight loss and strengthens muscles.

4. Longer Workouts Are Better

Longer and more intense workouts don’t always equate to better results. Hours of weight lifting and using a treadmill can lead to injuries or muscle strains. You may not even notice that your form is wrong.

For better results, divide your fitness routine into 3: resistance, mobility, and cardio exercises. Doing so allows you to work on all the muscle groups.

5. No Pain = No Gain

It has been a long-standing belief that the more pain you feel after a workout, the more effective it is. However, pain shouldn’t be a measurement of a workout’s effectiveness. Sometimes it is a sign of a muscle tear or [delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)](,different%20kind%20of%20muscle%20soreness.).

Repetitive workout routines can worsen and lead to a more serious injury. If you’re experiencing DOMS, the discomfort can last up to 48 hours. If you don’t give your body some time to adjust, you may need medical attention to address the pain.

6. Morning Workouts Equal Better Metabolism

If other people have you believing that morning workouts are better because they can increase your energy and they make you feel more alert, they’re wrong. A workout routine at any time of day offers the same benefits.

Studies have shown that if you’re not a morning person and force yourself to wake up early, it affects your circadian rhythm. It throws off your metabolism and may make you feel sluggish and tired for the rest of the day.

7. Detoxing Helps Weight Loss

This is another fitness myth that you may be following. The detox trend has resulted in the release of plenty of juice cleanses in the market. Relying solely on juices and removing solid foods from your diet will drastically affect your metabolism in the long run.

It is best to have a personalized meal plan to accommodate your body’s needs and fitness goals. Detoxing can lead to your body depending on your body fat or cause your weight to plateau.

8. Ab Exercises Result in a Six-Pack

No, ab exercises alone will not give you the sculpted abdomen you’re eyeing. Pairing your fitness routine with a proper meal plan designed for ab development is best. You should also incorporate cardio for a well-balanced fitness regimen.

9. More Sweat Is Equivalent to More Burned Calories

Your sweat is likely to drip when working out but this doesn’t equate to the number of kilos you’re losing. There are other factors to consider like the environment where you’re exercising.

Sweat means your body is regulating its temperature. Although this is a sign your body is burning calories, you will stop sweating as you go through your routine. Aiming to sweat more may lead to fatigue and injury.

10. Exercising for Less Than an Hour Will Not Help

When it comes to exercise, consistency is the key. Efficient and regular workouts will help you reach your fitness goals. As we said, longer workouts don’t always equal better results. Even if you only invest 20 minutes a day, you’ll see a significant improvement in your body.

11. Older Adults Shouldn’t Lift Weights

There’s also this belief that as you grow old, you can no longer lift heavy things because you no longer have the strength to do it. However, this belief is completely false.

According to Harvard Health, resistance training and weight lifting help promote bone growth and slow bone loss in older adults. To be safe, it is best to do it under the supervision of a personal trainer.

12. Exercising Will Eliminate Bad Eating Habits

There’s no truth to this myth according to a New York-based personal trainer, Maik Weidenbach. You can’t erase your bad eating habits by exercising. What you eat and when you eat will usually dictate your physical appearance. Achieving your fitness goals means you have to watch your calorie intake.

People usually overestimate the calories they burn in every workout. It is best to list your fitness goals and know the best diet for you.

13. Running on a Treadmill Is Better for Your Joints

There’s this myth floating around that running on pavement hurts your joints more than when running on a treadmill. However, the after-workout pain is usually caused by your weight rather than the surface you’re running on.

The best way to protect your joints from the impact of running is to create variations in your cardio workout routine. You can try swimming or biking to rest your joints.

14. It’s Too Late to Start Your Fitness Routine

Even if you didn’t have a workout routine in your younger years, it shouldn't stop you from having a workout routine in your senior years. A study from BMJ Journals shows that, “physical activity is medicine for older adults.” However, before engaging in any physical activities, it is best to consult your doctor.

Eliminate Fitness Myths From Your Routine

Get the most out of your fitness regimen. Asking professionals or personal trainers can help you develop a better meal plan and fitness routine. Achieve your fitness goals one at a time!

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