6 Overrated Fitness Topics: What You Should Really Focus On

When it comes to fitness and health, it's easy to be bombarded with tons of fitness advice available at our fingertips. The sheer volume of this information can be both empowering and overwhelming at the same time.

Social media, apps, influencers, and even well-meaning friends and family can flood us with endless tips, trends, and "fitness hacks" to reach our peak levels in the gym and life. Yet, the paradox of choice often leads us into analysis paralysis, making it challenging to identify what genuinely works and what's just a "good to know" thing.

In this article, we will discuss the top 6 overrated fitness topics and advice so you can make informed decisions and focus your valuable energy on other things that have a much better impact on your health and fitness.

Why Is It Overrated?

While training to failure or point of muscle exhaustion has merit and proven effective in building muscle and strength, it isn’t the only way to go. Research suggests that as long as you are training in your “effective reps,” you can drive significant muscle growth.

Effective reps refer to the last 5 reps you can perform until you run out of gas or reach true muscle failure. Therefore, if you’re performing a set of 12 reps, reps 8 through 12 would be considered your effective reps, assuming you reach muscle failure on 12th repetition.

This means stopping at your last two effective reps can have little difference from training to failure when it comes to muscle growth. In addition, constantly pushing your body to its limits can lead to overtraining and a higher risk of injury.

Gradually work on your volume or exercise capacity. More volume equals more muscle growth. This is because volume is the primary factor for muscle growth. The more you perform an exercise, the more time the muscle is subjected to mechanical tension, microtrauma, and metabolic stress, which are all essential to building muscles.

Adding one or two more sets to your exercises and targeting muscle groups more frequently can go a long way in the long run. Ideally, you should train each muscle group twice or more weekly to maximize their growth potential.

Focus on performing more sets and training each muscle groups twice or more each week.

Why Is It Overrated?

Isolated workouts are good when training lagging muscles or when you want to give training emphasis to one particular muscle. However, doing tons of isolated exercises for each muscle group would only waste your time and energy since you’ll have to perform different movements for each muscle group.

You only need three or four compound exercises targeting key muscle groups to grow bigger and stronger, especially if you are a beginner. Focus your time and energy on mastering key compound movements that target multiple muscle groups simultaneously.

Compound exercises for muscle growth:

Prioritize compound exercises to make your workout more efficient and effective in building strength and muscles.

Why Is It Overrated?

Fat burner workouts such as High-Intensity Interval Training can help you burn tons of calories in just a short time. However, not everyone responds well to this training, especially when trying to lose weight and fat.

Research in Denmark found that people who burn 600 calories vs. people who burn 300 calories each exercise session have virtually the same amount of fat loss after 13 weeks.

Researchers found that the more intense an exercise is, the more it stimulates appetite, thus reducing or negating the calorie deficit created by your workouts. Steady and consistent calorie deficit is needed to keep off weight and lose stubborn fats.

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In addition, workouts that burn too many calories are physically and mentally taxing, which can leave you exhausted and have too little energy to move and spend calories on other non-exercise activities.

This could also be the reason why people who undergo drastic weight loss programs regain fats and struggle to keep the weight off after the first 6 years.

Opt for more sustainable training methods. If intense exercise programs put you under a lot of physical and mental stress, it may add mental resistance to exercising regularly and achieving fitness.

Remember: it’s far better to have a workout routine that is fun and easy to do so you can build a habit and routine around it. Don’t stress too much about the calories you burn each exercise session. Instead, prioritize having consistency with your training and adjust based on your lifestyle, diet, and environment.

Aim for consistency in your workout routine to build sustainable progress in losing weight.

Why Is It Overrated?

Supplements can be a great boost to achieve your goals much quicker and maintain your desired physique or performance level. However, they can also cost significant money and lead to over-reliance in the long term.

Furthermore, the fitness industry is riddled with suboptimal supplements containing junk compounds, added sugars, and many unnecessary formulations that can often mislead an average fitness enthusiast.

Get your nutrition from whole foods. If you want to build your physique, you need to sustain your journey with high-quality, minimally processed whole foods. Ensure you are getting enough carbs, protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.

Sources of healthy and nutritious whole foods:

Focus on sourcing your protein and other nutrients on whole foods to support your fitness journey.

Why Is It Overrated?

Motivation plays a crucial role in achieving your goal, especially in your fitness journey. However, it’s essential to understand that motivation fluctuates and highly depends on your current mental state and situation.

More often, motivation doesn’t last for long and depletes quickly because it is based on emotion. Relying on motivation before committing to action can be a huge barrier to fitness and lead to procrastination.

Commit to small daily actions no matter what. A huge part of your success depends on what you do daily. If your goal is to gain 1-2 lbs of muscle mass per month or deadlift 200 lbs, you need to focus on the specific process of how to get there.

Don’t obsess over your goals. Focus on daily activities that will gradually improve your chances of success in your fitness journey.

Perform small daily actionable steps to reach your goals. Show up every day.

Why Is It Overrated?

Bro splits are one of the most popular training approaches to exercise. It is designed to target each muscle group once per week and is highly focused on isolation exercises. This generally works for elite bodybuilders as they target a very specific physique and body proportions.

However, using this training method as a beginner or intermediate lifter can be ineffective in the long run since it lacks volume and frequency to consistently support muscle growth.

Here’s a plan for women you should try:

And for men:

Focus on compound exercises and gradually increase your exercise frequency to 3 or more times per week. In addition, an upper and lower body split or push-pull-legs split can work better in providing adequate stimulus for muscle growth and offering more balanced training.

Exercise frequency is what matters. Train each muscle group twice or more times per week.

It’s easy to be bombarded with fitness tips and be overwhelmed in the process. In fact, this article can be overwhelming for some, too! That’s why focusing your time and energy on what works and adds value to your journey is important. Remember, fitness should not be mentally draining for you. It should be fun and something that you look forward to.

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Bert Bauzon is a licensed physiotherapist specializing in spinal care and sports rehabilitation. He writes articles and books about exercise science and health care.

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