Debunking the 6 Most Common Fitness Misconceptions

Science always changes. What we thought was true may become wrong and outdated. The same is true with fitness. Old wisdom can fail and can become myths and misconceptions.

Most gym myths are harmless, but they can still hurt your training progress. Whether the goal is to improve your health or get an aesthetic body, you want your training time to be effective. Otherwise, you'll waste time or won't put in enough work due to a false belief.

This article will debunk the most common misconceptions in the gym and simplify fitness concepts.

Following misguided advice can lead to countless hours in the gym without seeing the results you want. Believing misconceptions can make workouts and nutrition inefficient. This can lead to frustration, decreased motivation, and other fitness barriers. They can derail you from your fitness goals.

Some fitness misconceptions can lead to unhealthy habits and put you at risk of injury. In the end, fitness is crucial to our health. We should base our fitness choices on facts and current evidence.

Muscle tissue has muscle cells, and fat tissue has fat cells. Muscles and fats are different tissues, and one cannot transform into another.

Most beginners need this clarification. They think fat turns into muscle when they lose fat and gain muscle during strength training and body recomposition.

Facts: You lose body fat by burning more calories than you consume from food. Lifting weights is an excellent way to burn calories and use stored energy or fats.

By lifting weights, you are challenging your muscles and allowing them to grow. You cannot burn fat if you fail to burn more calories through dieting and exercising.

But, if you train consistently, you can still build muscle. This can happen even without losing fat, as in bulking seasons.

Losing fat is all about maintaining a calorie deficit.

Many believe that morning workouts are more optimal because they involve exercising when one's stomach is empty or in a fasted state.

Fasted workouts can lead to fat loss over time. During a fasted state, the body relies on stored fat for energy. But, it isn't the best or most fitness-boosting way to work out.


One study has found that physical performance typically peaks during the afternoon when the body temperature is at its highest. Most people achieve their peak body temperature between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

In addition, research has shown that our grip strength is significantly higher in the late afternoon and evening, which translates to better exercise performance and the potential to lift more weights.

However, the best time to work out still depends on each person. Each of us has our own biological clocks and spikes in motivation.

So don’t worry if you have a busy morning schedule. You can work out at night all you want. It all comes down to your energy level and discipline. If you are exercising at night, you want to make sure that you are not fatiguing yourself throughout the day.

The best time to work out is when you are most willing to do it.

This notion comes from the belief that the added stress and strain of lifting heavy weights will cause joint damage over time. Many believe that lifting weights can greatly add to the wear and tear of the body.


Research has shown that lifting weights with proper form and technique can improve joint health. In fact, people with joint problems like osteoarthritis should do strength training. It reduces pain and improves function.

Strength training through weightlifting or calisthenics strengthens the muscles. It also improves bone density. This makes the body more resilient to stress.

There’s nothing more damaging than being sedentary and underestimating your body’s capability to adapt and develop.

Lifting weights can strengthen the muscles and bones and improve joint function.

Many "ab challenges" online spread the idea that doing hundreds of ab workouts a week is the key to a sculpted midsection. This appeals to many fitness enthusiasts because it often promises quick results if we simply do ab routines every day.

Share it

However, no matter how many ab reps you do daily, your core won’t show up if they are covered in layers of fats. Studies have debunked spot fat reduction. This means there’s no way to specifically target what part of the body loses fats.


Like the rest of your muscles, your abdominal muscles need rest and recovery to grow and develop. If you don’t allow enough time for recovery, you can actually hinder your progress and increase the risk of back injuries.

If you want to unearth your abs, focus on trimming off belly fats and love handles. Do this by being in a calorie deficit and sustaining your fitness progress with proper nutrition.

Remember: Whether cutting or bulking, your fitness success depends on your diet. Achieving your fitness goals is more about getting enough nutrition and consistency with your routine.

If you want to build your abs, focus on nutrition; less on exercise reps.

One of the most harmful ideas in fitness is eating whatever you want because you can burn them all in the gym anyway. This notion is often used to justify overeating and unhealthy food habits.

This misconception is often called "dirty bulking." It's the idea that you can eat whatever junk food you want since you need the extra calories. Having this mentality can seriously undermine your fitness goals and overall health.


Even the toughest workouts cannot undo the effects of poor dietary choices.

The truth is, it is much easier to consume excess calories than it is to burn them off through exercise.

For example, a slice of pizza has about 300 calories. It would take about 30 minutes of intense running to burn them off. Imagine trying to out-exercise a whole pizza or a pint of ice cream!

It’s true that dirty bulking can help you gain more mass and build muscles. However, a high-calorie, high-fat diet can spike bad cholesterol levels. This can lead to plaque deposits that cause irreversible damage and block the arteries of the heart and brain.

Junk foods can provide quick and high-calorie sources of energy, but they cannot support optimal health. Healthy whole foods, on the other hand, provide both macronutrients and micronutrients that your body needs for overall health.

Prioritize calorie quality than calorie quantity

Here’s a plan for women that will help you get results at the gym:

And for men:

No pain, no gain has been a popular mantra for decades, suggesting that physical discomfort and reaching failure in each set are necessary for achieving results and progressing in the gym.

This mindset often leads to beginners overdoing it. They often do too much and too soon. This increases their injury risk and slows recovery.


Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and challenging your body is crucial for growth. But there must be a clear boundary between healthy training and ignoring your body's warnings. Ignoring them can lead to strains and sprains, which can derail your fitness progress.

Studies have shown that there’s no significant difference between performing an exercise to failure and stopping short of failure, with a couple of reps still “in the tank.”

This means that you can have the same results by maintaining good form and stopping your sets when you feel like you can only complete 1-2 more repetitions with proper technique rather than pushing to absolute failure.

Focus on consistency rather than intensity.

Fitness is more simple than we often make it out to be. Countless misconceptions have dominated the fitness industry for years. They have made exercise and healthy living seem daunting. The spread of these myths has made fitness less accessible and less efficient for many individuals seeking to improve their health and well-being.

Fitness doesn't have to be complicated. By focusing on a few key principles—consistency, proper form, progressive overload, and a balanced approach to nutrition and recovery—you can achieve your fitness goals faster and more efficiently.

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

Weekly knowledge exclusively for people who want to improve their health, fitness and mindset.

First name