Busting the 7 Most Common Workout Myths (2022)

When it comes to our workouts, nutrition or even our general health, everyone - from our fellow fitness-enthusiasts, to friends and family - invariably has some sort of advice to share! Very often, though, a lot of these are anecdotal experiences (it’s sometimes even mere hearsay that’s been passed on), which may not necessarily apply to everyone.

From all the information coming our way, identifying what’s valid to us, as individuals, can be a bit hard; but there are simple ways to stay on top of this and do our best to make informed choices. Looking at legitimate sources and cross-checkingthe tips that come our way are basic but helpful examples.

To get you started, we are busting some of the most popular workout myths with the help of some evidence-based facts:

Myth 1: “Crunches are the key to flat abs”

Busting the 7 Most Common Workout Myths (1)

Crunches definitely tone a small portion of our abs - however, they aren’t the best way to a defined and flat midsection.

According to a study, abdominal muscles are activated to a higher degree when we do exercises that work out our shoulder and glutes simultaneously. For example, a plank with hand reach activates our abs by 20% more than a crunch does [1].

These are called “compound exercises” - where we focus on multiple parts of the body, rather than just one. These create a well-distributed strain on (and therefore help us work on) several muscles simultaneously, which ends up improving our endurance, and also reducing the chance of injury [2, 3].

To sum it up: Planks and bridges are more effective at working out our abs, compared to crunches!

That being said, because fat cells are distributed throughout the body, spot training is highly unlikely to work in isolation. It's quite simple - if we want to lose fat from one part of our body, we need to first lose our overall body fat [4]. Strength training and high-intensity interval training workouts, with a well planned diet, can be much more beneficial in helping us achieve our fat-loss goals [5, 6, 7].

Myth 2: “The more you sweat, the more fat you burn”

Busting the 7 Most Common Workout Myths (2)

Sweat is how our body cools our skin and regulates our internal body temperature. We are more likely to sweat while running under the sun in the afternoon than in the evening – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we torch any more calories in the afternoon! In fact, we also burn calories while doing activities that don't require much, if any, sweating, such as swimming, lifting light weights, and walking [8].

Sweating does not burn calories on its own. However, sweating enough causes us to lose water weight and electrolytes [9]. When we rehydrate by drinking water or eating, that weight is immediately regained.

(Video) 7 Fitness Myths Completely Busted With Science

To sum it up: Sweating doesn’t necessarily mean that we are burning body fat.

Myth 3: “You shouldn’t eat carbs before a workout”

Busting the 7 Most Common Workout Myths (3)

Even though you may be tempted to skip the calories before a heavy workout, this is a bad idea – it can result in low blood sugar, which leads to light-headedness and fatigue [10, 11].

Here’s why:

‘Intense’ exercise can be thought of as exercise that goes past the capacity of our heart and lungs to supply oxygen to the muscles. With oxygen in short supply, the body can use only glucose as fuel [12].

At the start of an intense exercise session, we get our energy from a form of glucose (called glycogen) that’s stored in the muscles we’re using. Once this runs out, our body uses the glucose that’s in the blood. At this point, if our blood glucose is low, then weakness, hunger, and dizziness follow [13].

Moreover, it’s also counterproductive to our workouts: if a person does not consume carbohydrates to replenish their muscles’ glycogen stores, (for example, as a result of any dietary restriction or prolonged exercise), the body’s proteins are broken down to produce glucose, which can reduce muscle mass [14, 15].

In case you’re wondering if you can simply replace the pre-workout carbs with protein, instead - that doesn’t work either. Proteins are fundamentally used by our body to maintain and repair body tissues. Which means that their primary function is not to power muscles, but to build them. This is the reason we are recommended to take protein shakes after our workouts; they predominantly aid muscle recovery.

To sum it up: Carbohydrates help maximise our muscles’ glycogen stores for high-intensity exercise and should ideally be consumed (in moderation) before workouts.

Additional tip: if you’re likely to be doing low-intensity exercise over a long period of time, fats can be excellent for fuelling your workout [16]!

This brings us to the next myth we are busting:

Myth 3 (version 2): “Doing cardio on an empty stomach boosts fat loss”

Busting the 7 Most Common Workout Myths (4)

It is believed that when we perform cardiovascular exercises without eating a pre-workout meal, our body uses our fat stores (in the absence of carbohydrates) to fuel the cardio session, which helps accelerate fat loss.

(Video) 8 Common Fitness Myths Busted (What The Science Says)

However, research suggests that fasting before we exercise does not make any difference to the results. A study observing two sample groups (one that fasted before exercise while the other didn’t) found that there weren’t any significant differences between the weight-loss results of both the groups [17].

This essentially suggests that our body composition isn’t significantly affected by whether we perform exercise on an empty stomach or not. However, there are chances of losing muscle mass (explained in the previous section) in the absence of accessible glucose and/or calories to fuel a high-intensity or prolonged cardio session.

To sum it up: Fasting doesn’t affect the results of cardiovascular exercise significantly, especially in terms of body composition.

Myth 4: “Heavy weights and/or protein shakes will make you bulk up”

Even if we’re lifting heavy weights, it is highly unlikely that we’ll become as muscular as a bodybuilder!

Let’s talk about the weights first:

Busting the 7 Most Common Workout Myths (5)

The amount of muscle mass one can gain is limited by the size of our frame and the amount of muscle mass we already have. It takes a lot more than three to four workouts a week, along with even a very stringent diet plan, to get anywhere close to building that much muscle mass (to be considered as bulked up).

This is especially true for women, since they typically have less muscle tissue than men and produce lower levels of the hormone ‘testosterone’, which enhances muscle growth [18].

In fact, weight and strength training will help us burn more calories (compared to cardiovascular exercise), especially in the long run. This is because our muscles are very active, and burn more calories than our fat tissue does - so the more lean muscle tissue we have (and build), the more calories we burn [19].

Now coming to protein shakes:

Busting the 7 Most Common Workout Myths (6)

Protein is the most important component of muscle growth, but it is far from the only one. First and foremost, our workouts must be specifically designed to work on each muscle in a way that allows for muscle growth, by straining them and creating microscopic damage. Then, our diet must be excessively calorie-dense to support the intense physical activity required to repair the muscle damage and build stronger muscles. Hormonal levels, as mentioned above, particularly testosterone, also play an important role [20,21, 22].

The point being - protein powder alone will not transform us into a muscular, hulk-like bodybuilder (which is a hard thing to achieve!).

(Video) 7 Common Fitness Myths Busted (Training)

Here’s why protein is important though: in order to rebuild and grow, our muscles need amino acids from the proteins in our diet. When the body doesn’t receive enough protein from the diet, it uses whatever little it gets towards building proteins towards functions that are essential for survival (like our heart and other critical organs). So when we aren’t getting enough protein while working out, our muscles will heal, but won’t grow (and, consequently, won’t help burn those extra calories).

Someone with a sedentary lifestyle would need about 0.8 grams of protein for every kg of their body weight, for normal body function. Those who exercise, however, would need around 1-1.6 grams of protein per kg of their body weight, depending on the intensity of the workout [23].

Protein shakes can be a useful supplement for a wide range of people, particularly athletes, older adults, vegetarians, and vegans, who may not get enough protein in their diet to meet their exercise requirements or daily nutrition needs. They are definitely a quick and easy source of protein.

Having said that, everyone doesn’t need them, especially people who eat a diet high in meat, fish, dairy and eggs, and do not engage in strenuous weight training.

To sum it up: Lifting weights and consuming protein shakes would need to be accompanied with a highly targeted and intense training strategy, and a stringent diet, to actually bulk up; otherwise, they are just important factors in supporting our workouts and maintaining and optimising our general health.

Myth 5: “Stretching helps your body recover faster from soreness”

Busting the 7 Most Common Workout Myths (7)

After an intense workout, our muscles feel sore for 1-2 days because of the way our muscles get energy and build, neither of which has anything to do with stretching [24].

Our body is designed, in a very systematic fashion, to allow muscle growth while also protecting us from damage caused by intense exercise. Post-exercise muscle soreness (the pain and stiffness) is caused by the microscopic damage to muscle fibres that happens during the workout. This damage causes swelling and inflammation in the muscle fibres, as well as the release of substances that sensitise the nerves within the muscle, resulting in pain when the muscle contracts or stretches [25].

It’s something in this process, or all of it, that makes us sore; stretching wouldn’t be able to do anything to make the pain less or the recovery faster.

Having said that, limbering up post exercise does help. Here’s how [26]:

– When muscles contract during exercise, their ‘tightness’ increases, limiting their range of motion. Stretching increases the flexibility of our muscles by elongating the muscle fibres and tendons.

– Stretching stabilises our joints by making our muscles flexible, which is especially beneficial for those with orthopaedic conditions or injury.

To sum it up: Stretching after exercise does not reduce muscle soreness, however, it does help increase muscle flexibility [27].

(Video) Fitness Experts Debunk 17 Exercise Myths

Myth 6: “You need to workout every day (to get results)”

Busting the 7 Most Common Workout Myths (8)

Exercise can produce great energy bursts, but if your workouts are making you drag through your day, then you’re probably overdoing it [28].

Rest is important for our fitness, because that’s when our body heals and builds new muscle. An intensive exercise routine without rest days is even associated with some risks; for example, in women, it can disrupt the menstrual cycle and lead to hormone-related bone problems [29, 30].

In general, it’s recommended to perform intense strength-training exercises at least twice a week, along with 75-150 minutes of intense cardio (in a week), for a healthy heart. Other than that, we should engage in everyday physical activities of moderate intensity for 30 minutes (like brisk walking, gardening, housework, etc.) [31]. These not only keep us physically healthy, but are also associated with improved mood and relieving anxiety [32].

Having said that, these are general guidelines that don’t necessarily apply to all of us, so it’s important to see how our body reacts to exercise, and adjust the intensity and workout time gradually. It may also help to discuss the regimen with a fitness expert as well.

To sum it up: Your exercise routine and intensity is defined by your health goals and requirements.

Myth 7: “I work out so I can eat whatever I want”

Busting the 7 Most Common Workout Myths (9)

This is true to a certain extent, because we burn calories by working out. However, the calories burned during exercise are usually insignificant; they can easily be negated at the next meal. It’s the muscle we build, and the consequential increase in our metabolic rate over time, that burns more calories.

Caloric excess (when we consume more calories than we burn) can cause weight gain even when we work out. What we eat and how much we eat is likely to affect our metabolic rate as well, which, in turn, affects how quickly or slowly we use calories [33]. For example, a protein-rich diet will increase our body’s metabolic rate.

Also, balanced nutrition is not something that we get by working out, so eating right remains essential.

To sum it up: Eating right is the way to go, whether you workout or not.

We hope this helped you understand that we shouldn’t necessarily believe everything we hear at the gym or read through a random source. It is always a good idea to find a set of sources you can rely on and those that are backed by evidence - that’s where we come in. :)

If you have any questions about your fitness routine or if you want to verify whether something you’ve heard is true, drop them in the comments section below. We would love to help you with it!

(Video) 15 Health & Fitness Myths BUSTED

Until then, purge these common mistakes from your routine to get leaner, stronger, and fitter.


What is the 15 15 15 Method of exercise? ›

The 15-15-15 method requires you to spend 15 minutes on one of the best exercise bikes, 15 minutes on an elliptical machine, and 15 minutes running (on one of the best treadmills or outdoors). If you have access to two, or all three machines, it's a great way to do 45 minutes of cardio without getting bored.

What is the science behind the 7-minute workout? ›

Based on the principle of muscle engagement across major groups, the Scientific 7-Minute Workout alternates movements from upper body and lower body. HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training has become commonplace in major fitness scenes. Most circuit training or group training will involve an element of HIIT.

Is the 7-minute workout useful? ›

It targets all major muscle groups and gets your heart racing in as little as seven minutes. Over time, this can help to strengthen your heart, lungs, and muscles to improve your fitness. For best results, try to repeat the 7-minute workout a few times for the best results.

Does the 7 workout work? ›

According to research, 7-minute workouts can reap some major rewards – with one study finding that seven minutes of bodyweight high-intensity exercise can improve your muscular strength, insulin sensitivity and V02 max.

How much exercise does it take to burn 3500 calories? ›

You may hope to burn off a pound in a day, but an attempt to burn 3,500 calories all at once on a regular basis is not healthy. Depending on your size and speed, it could take anywhere from 3 to 10 hours, or 180 to 600 minutes, on the treadmill to burn all those calories.

Does svelte training really work? ›

Yes, it does. The One And Done program is based on 10-minute Sprint Interval Training (SIT) workouts. These aren't actual “sprints” (more on that later). The workouts can burn up to 28% more calories than High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and 60% or more than traditional cardio in the same amount of time.

Does the one and done program really work? ›

Overall, The One And Done Workout promotes better flexibility than other workouts. Greater Confidence in Health & Fitness: The One And Done Workout can improve your confidence in your ability. If you have just seven minutes per day, then you can follow The One And Done Workout.

How many calories does Lucy 7 minute workout? ›

How Many Calories Do You Burn With The 7-Minute Workout? According to the findings of a study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, you'll burn about 105 calories during the 7-minute workout.

What is the MetaBoost diet? ›

MetaBoost is a diet pill that uses forskolin, green tea extract, and five other ingredients to raise core body temperatures. MetaBoost can boost your metabolism by raising core body temperatures, helping you naturally burn more calories, and making it easier to lose weight.

How much does svelte training cost? ›

The membership is billed at $49 per month starting when your free trial period is over. We understand that in some cases a customer may miss that, but I've taken it upon myself to honor our 60-day money-back guarantee period.

Is svelte safe? ›

The npm package svelte was scanned for known vulnerabilities and missing license, and no issues were found. Thus the package was deemed as safe to use.

Does Meredith shirk have a book? ›

From the United States. This book is the first two thirds of 'Wake Up Lean: 10 Day Flat Belly Blueprint' by Meredith Shirk copyright 2015.

How much does the one and done workout cost? ›

How much does the One and Done Workout cost? The One and Done Workout currently retails at $29. In addition, Meredith is giving everyone the option to purchase the Fat Loss Accelerator Guide, which has been priced at $12. Finally, each purchase is trusted to be backed by a 60-day money back guarantee.

IS THE ONE AND DONE workout a one time payment? ›

One and Done Workout manual by Meredith Shirk is available online and requires a one-time payment only. You will be surprised to know that you can sign up for it by paying $29 only. All users will instantly get two bonus products, a meal guide, and the other is a recipe book for smoothies.

Can I lose weight with the 7 minute workout? ›

If you're working on losing weight, the 7-Minute Workout can help, along with a healthy diet. It's an extreme, calorie-burning workout that will help shed the pounds and keep them off.

Is 8 minutes of HIIT enough? ›

If your workout lasts any more than 30-minutes, you're probably not working hard enough to optimize the benefits of HIIT. Any less than 15 minutes, and you probably haven't spent enough time at that high exertion level to make a meaningful difference.

How can I lose weight in 7 days at home? ›

Zumba, aerobics, and swimming are good options for rapid weight loss. Create a meal plan: Try to create a meal plan for 7 days. Meals specific for breakfast, lunch, and dinner should be included in the plan. This may help to stick to healthy eating and avoid unhealthy foods.

How long should the exercise to rest transition take? ›

We all have very different goals when it comes to working out, but for most people looking to improve their muscular fitness, it's best to rest for 30 to 90 seconds between sets of an exercise. You should feel energized to get after your next set, but not so relaxed that your heart rate drops and your body cools down.

Which of the following is a purpose of the exercise warm up? ›

A warmup gradually revs up your cardiovascular system by raising your body temperature and increasing blood flow to your muscles. Warming up may also help reduce muscle soreness and lessen your risk of injury.

Which factor has the least impact on designing an exercise program? ›

Which factor has the least impact on designing an exercise program? cross-training.

How do I start exercising after years of inactivity? ›

If you have been inactive for a long time, start with short sessions (10 to 15 minutes). Add five minutes to each session, increasing every two to four weeks. Gradually build up to being active at least 30 minutes a day for most days of the week. Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after exercise.

What happens if you rest too long between sets? ›

The time that you take between sets is a crucial variable of resistance training. Rest periods can be tweaked to complement changes to rep count and intensity. Too little rest between sets could mean submaximal muscle growth. Too much rest can take you out of the zone and waste precious gym time.

How long should you wait between workouts in the same day? ›

Allow at least six hours of space between moderate-intensity workouts. So, if you finish your first workout at 8 a.m., you shouldn't start your next workout until at least 2 p.m. For higher-intensity activities, allow more time between sessions.

What's the best time to stretch your muscles? ›

Stretch your body when your muscles are already warm, either after a warmup or at the end of your workout as part of a cool-down routine. Or, you can do a simple stretching routine on its own. Doing stretches after you warm up and before you start a high-intensity activity can cause your heart rate to drop.

What is the best warm-up before a workout? ›

To warm up before you work out, do low-intensity exercise for five to 10 minutes. Try activities like walking, jogging or jumping jacks. Instead of static stretches, do dynamic stretches, which get your body moving.

How long should you warm-up before exercising? ›

A good warm-up should last five to 10 minutes and work all major muscle groups. For best results, start slowly, then pick up the pace. Many warm-up routines focus on cardio and range-of-motion exercises, such as jumping jacks and lunges.

Which is the most important exercise factor? ›

Exercise, for the purpose of physical conditioning, must be safe. Safety is the most important factor to consider when designing and performing an exercise program for the purpose of improving both health and fitness.

How much exercise should we aim for each week? ›

Each week adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle strengthening activity, according to the current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. We know 150 minutes of physical activity each week sounds like a lot, but you don't have to do it all at once.

What are the 4 principles of building fitness? ›

In order to get the maximum out of your training you need to apply the four key principles of training – specificity, progression, overload and individualisation – to what you do.


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