Busting 10 Fitness Myths People Still Believe

Man eating junk food (On the left)/ Woman with toned body working out (In the right)
You don't have to make things harder to build your desired physique. (Image via Freepik/ufabizphoto)

These days, the internet is teeming with fitness information. However, much of it contains fitness myths. You search for ways to build biceps and mostly get a recommendation that won't even make an iota of difference. Similarly, your search for steps to perform basic barbell squats ends with several variations of the movement that might not give you better outcomes.

All this only results in people making their fitness journey harder. It doesn't matter whether you want to lose fat or gain muscle; the logic is simple. If you want to lose fat, you should eat fewer calories than you burn daily. For muscle gain, however, you should do the opposite, that is, eat more calories than you burn daily.

When it comes to training, you need to keep it straightforward, including compound movements and some isolation work. But with the large amount of information on the internet about how to build your physique, you might find it hard to have a simple strategy. In this article, we bust 10 fitness myths so you can have a sustainable workout regime.

Stop Believing These Fitness Myths

Fitness Myth No. 1: Your muscles will turn into fat if you take a day off

You won't turn fat if you take a day off from the gym. (Image via Setforest/Kyle Hunt)
You won't turn fat if you take a day off from the gym. (Image via Setforest/Kyle Hunt)

Every gym-goer has heard several times that if they take a day off, then their muscles, the ones they worked so hard for, will turn into fat. Nothing can be farther from the truth.

Firstly, muscle and fat are both different things. When you work out, you break your muscles, which are then repaired through protein in your diet and a good amount of sleep. However, fat is gained when you eat a calorie-surplus diet and don't burn those extra calories through physical activity.

So, it doesn't matter if you take a day or even a week off from the gym. There won't be any changes in your body either in strength or agility. If only you go without working out for beyond three weeks, do changes happen.

Fitness Myth No. 2: Lifting heavy weight will make women bulky

Lifting heavy weights doesn’t necessarily result in a bulky body type. However, one thing it surely does for the human body irrespective of gender: strengthening the joints and muscles. It's hard for women to have a bulkier body, mainly for two reasons: low levels of testosterone and leaner skeletal structure.

Even if you get these two things covered somehow, you still have to be in a big calorie surplus. It's simple: If you want a bulky body, you have to eat a whole lot of food. You can't possibly become bulky if that's not your goal. So, keep lifting heavy.

Fitness Myth No. 3: You should stretch before your workout

Stretching before training could be dangerous. (Image via Abouttouch/Stretching Man)
Stretching before training could be dangerous. (Image via Abouttouch/Stretching Man)

This is one of the most common fitness myths. If you follow it, then you risk injuries. Muscles should never be stretched when they're cold. If you did that, you could increase the chance of tearing your muscles. The only thing that needs to be done before the workout is the warm-up, and stretching can't be a substitute for it.

The warm-up includes light movements and rotation of joints, and its main goals are to pump up your heart rate slightly and get the joints ready for the stress that will be put on them during the workout. As stretching does neither, it shouldn't be done pre-workout. It should only be done when the muscles are warm and getting enough blood flow. This means after you're done with working out.

Fitness Myth No. 4: You don't have to train your legs if you walk every day

Stop skipping the leg day. (Image via Alamy/Photology1971)
Stop skipping the leg day. (Image via Alamy/Photology1971)

It doesn't matter if you walk a lot during the day, on work or otherwise. If you want fit legs, then you must definitely train them. You have to strengthen your lower body muscles and tendons before they get out of shape. That goal is achieved by training your legs.

Also, if you walk every day on your job, that's only going to benefit your cardiovascular system. It's not going to build much muscle in your leg. To make that happen, you have to put your legs under enough stress so that the muscles break. So, start going to the gym and stop skipping the leg day.

Fitness Myth No. 5: Ab exercises alone can help you get six packs

Every fitness enthusiast has a dream of getting six packs. After all, they make your physique look complete. They also look good. Although it's believed that doing ab-exercises alone is enough to get you six packs, it's just another fitness myth.

To see the six packs, you first have to shed off the layer of fat that's covering them. You can only make that happen by focusing on two aspects: nutrition and training.

For the nutrition part, you have to be on a calorie-deficient diet. For the training part, however, ab exercises alone won't be enough. You have to do compound movements, too. They're the ones that use multiple muscle groups to give you the best results.

Fitness Myth No. 6: Working out on an empty stomach burns fat quickly

Fat is not burned quickly if you exercise on an empty stomach. (Image via emetabolic/ Sandy Taylor)
Fat is not burned quickly if you exercise on an empty stomach. (Image via emetabolic/ Sandy Taylor)

It doesn't matter what time of day you eat. All that matters is how many calories you consume and burn. So, don't believe in the fitness myth that training on an empty stomach burns fat quicker. There isn't much evidence that supports training on an empty stomach burning more calories.The only best way to lose fat quickly and safely is through a calorie deficit diet with balanced macros.

When it comes to working out on an empty stomach, it isn't safe. It could make you feel nauseous and shaky during your workout due to the low sugar levels in your blood. For these reasons, it isn't recommended.

Fitness Myth No. 7: Working out at an early age will stunt your growth

Training at an early age doesn't stunt growth. (Image via Medium/Clarizen)
Training at an early age doesn't stunt growth. (Image via Medium/Clarizen)

This fitness myth has stopped many parents from letting their kids work out at an early age. Firstly, growth can only be stunted if the growth plates that are situated at the end of the long bones are affected. There's a very low chance of that happening even if the child is exercising with an incorrect form.

On the other hand, by working out at an early age, children develop muscle and bone strength, decreasing the chance of injuries and fractures. It also boosts self-confidence and creates positive self-image. But just to stay on the safe side, kids should train under supervision. They should also have a good workout plan and practice good form.

Fitness Myth No. 8: Rest days aren't necessary

Rest days are just as important as days of workouts. Firstly, they allow your body to recover from changes in the central nervous system. Next, they let your body repair broken muscles, too. Another benefit of rest days is that they give your body time to refill the glycogen levels that are depleted during the workout.

Suppose you don't give your body the chance to do that. If you don't include rest days in your workout regime, your muscles will feel fatigued. They won't be able to give the best output the next time you put them under stress. You would've greatly reduced strength too. So take at least 1-2 days off from training every week.

Fitness Myth No. 9: Behind-the-neck movements are better than regular ones

This fitness myth has sent many people reeling to physiotherapists. The only thing that the behind-the-neck movement does is damage the shoulders. When you bring your elbows to the side of your head and then take them behind your body and do any pull or push movement, you internally rotate your shoulder joints.

Firstly, this rotation of joints is very uncomfortable and very risky. Secondly, just because some influencers post a video of themselves doing a behind-the-neck movement doesn't mean it builds their physique. There's not sufficient evidence to support that behind-the-neck movements are more beneficial than regular ones.

Fitness Myth No. 10: Training close to the night will mess with your sleep

Working out promotes good sleep . (Image via BrightQuest/Liz Waterson)
Working out promotes good sleep . (Image via BrightQuest/Liz Waterson)

It is believed that training close to your bedtime routine has a negative effect on your sleep. Yet, it has been proven through recent research that this is not the case. Working out an hour or two before going to bed promotes good sleep.

It does so by raising your body's temperature so that when it drops down you feel sleepy. Nevertheless, as long as you do moderate-intensity workouts or cardio, your body's ability to sleep at night won't be affected.

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Edited by Ramaa Kishore