Fitness Myths

Top five fitness myths busted and dusted

In this article I will debunk the five fitness myths I hear the most in the gym. Myths and bro-science tales are all based on either a marketing idea for the fitness industry to make money off of, or misunderstood research. But I’ll do my best to explain to you where they come from.


Fitness myths explained

Myth 1: To build muscle you should train each muscle group with at least three exercises, doing four sets of eight repetitions

First of all, yes it works. Secondly, don’t do this. Ever…

So it works, but why shouldn’t you do this? For starters it is a waste of time, you will be doing so many exercises if you do three for every body part and I’m pretty sure you have better things to do than workout for two hours a day. The other thing about this is that it doesn’t take intensity into account. Some weeks I only do two sets on the incline bench, that’s all I do for chest. Nonetheless,  I haven’t had anything but compliments about my chest. Of course, not everyone’s chest will respond to the same amount of volume but it’s just an example. No one needs at least twelve sets to induce muscle growth.

Myth 2: Training in lower reps, below six each set, will only build strength. Training high repetitions will only increase muscular endurance

This one is partly true, your muscles consist of two different fibers. Namely slow twitch (Type I) and fast twitch (Type II). The fast twitch can be categorized further into to Type IIa and Type IIb, but I won’t bother you with the differences between those. Where did this fitness myth come from?

Regarding the repetitions you train in, you will work more or less of the different types of muscle. The lower the reps the more fast twitch muscle fibers you will use. And, vice versa, the higher the reps the more slow twitch fibers will be utilized. So you will work one more than the other depending on how many repetitions you do but it’s not one without the other. Since I mainly train in low reps, and recommend this to everyone, this is one myth that could really hurt your results. Building hard, dense muscle beats soft, puffy muscles build by pump work. Another thing people say is that high reps are good to improve definition, however this comes down to the level of body fat you have and the amount of muscle. The type of training you do has nothing to do with it at all.

For research references, see this or this.

Myth 3: Crunches to lose the gut and other spot fat loss fairy tales 

This is one of the biggest lies told in the fitness industry and it started as an idea for marketing. This way they could sell more pills that would help you burn fat in ‘problem areas’. Truth is, problem areas are our natural fat storages, for men this is the upper body and mainly the belly. For women these areas are usually the thighs and buttocks. If you want to reduce body fat you will have to consume less calories than you use every day, simple as that. Doing thousands of crunches and eating 4,000 kcal a day won’t get you a six pack. See JSCR for more.

Myth 4: To lose fat you have to do cardio and to build muscle you should lift weights

To lose fat you will have to consume less than you use each day as I stated before. How you burn the calories doesn’t matter, either you do cardio or lift weights as long as you’re in a calorie deficit. And to build muscle you have to trigger the muscle, give it a reason to grow and consume sufficient protein otherwise you won’t have the resources to build muscle.

Myth 5: Lifting weights will make you bulky

It won’t.

After working out for many years and building a lot of muscle you might look bulky but getting stronger and working your muscles will not make you bulky nor make you look bulky. As a matter of fact, it could make you look slimmer. Also, building on the explanation of myth four, you will need more than just protein and training for your muscles to grow. Your body needs energy, this does not mean you have to eat in a surplus but keep it in mind. if you’re consuming less than you burn your body will start burning fat for energy. But when your body fat levels get too low building muscle without eating in a surplus will be very hard.

That was it for today, five fitness myths busted and explained. Be sure to do your own research and don’t believe everything you hear!

P.S. And definitely don’t take advice from the big guy who has tried every workout program out there. Chances are he doesn’t even know himself which one worked best for him.

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