The Worst Fitness Advice People Give You
By: Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
I’ve been in this industry for nearly two decades, and I can honestly say that I’ve heard some of the dumbest pieces of advice given to people in gyms. Much of the poor advice is due to “bro-science,” where it’s just said among groups of people who share their opinion with others who then go spread the worst fitness advice, and it becomes a whisper down the alley type of situation.
The nonsense needs to stop and stop now. In an effort to prevent you from spinning your wheels for no reason, here are some pieces of the worst fitness advice people give you.
You need to confuse your muscles to see progress
This is actually pretty funny when you think about it. Confuse your muscles? They expand and contract. That’s their responsibility. Confusing your muscles will do absolutely nothing. What does that even mean? The muscle doesn’t understand or know the difference if you are doing a dumbbell biceps curl or a straight-bar curl on the cable machine.
Now, if you really want to improve your muscle-building efforts, you want to focus on progressive overload. Rather than constantly changing up the exercises to “confuse” your muscles, push them harder each and every time you work out. Changing an exercise and doing a lighter or even the same weight will not “confuse” your muscle into growth. Overloading them with a greater stimulus will force them into growth.
According to the BMI chart… you’re fat
Not only do I hear this in the gym, but I also hear it in the medical field, such as the doctor’s office. It’s one of the worst fitness advice methods people give you.
The BMI chart is your body mass index and is an indicator of your overall health. It takes your height and weight and throws you into a category as if it’s a one-size-fits-all method. Quite frankly, it’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen in the fitness and medical fields.
For example, I’m currently 5’ 9” and weigh 200 pounds. If you look at the BMI chart, that would make me in the upper tier of being overweight and one block away from being considered obese. If you know me or see photos of me, I’m nowhere near being overweight or obese. I have muscle on my frame, which the BMI chart does not take into the equation when figuring out where you fall on the chart. So, if you are a bodybuilder or have a lot of muscle on your frame, the BMI chart is one of the worst markers for your overall health.
You should be eating 7 meals a day to lose weight
This ranks as another chunk of the worst fitness advice people give you. This was a piece of information shared among the industry and believed by all — with no science backing it up. Luckily for us, researchers looked into this statement further and found it not to be accurate at all.
Whether you eat three meals a day or seven, it has no bearing on your weight loss. In fact, there are people who follow an intermittent fasting protocol who eat as little as two meals a day in an eight-hour window (or less) and make amazing fat loss progress.
No pain, no gain
There is a difference between “pain” and “discomfort.” One of the old mottos we have come to hear in the gym is “no pain, no gain.” This is stupid. If you have pain, you’re doing something wrong. You should feel discomfort during intense bouts of exercise but not pain.
Pain is an indication of what could be an injury. The same with DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). You will feel discomfort from your workout around day two after hitting a body part hard. If you feel pain for several days following a workout, you took things too far and could have done actual damage to the muscle itself.
You should follow this diet or that diet
When it comes to your nutrition, the worst fitness advice people give you is that a certain diet will provide you with x, y, and z results. They tout it as the “secret sauce” you have been missing when it comes to your weight loss potential. The fact of the matter is that there is no “best” diet out there.
We are all individuals, and different macros in different ratios can affect us all differently. If there were a diet that worked for everyone, we would all be walking around with six-pack abs year-round — but we aren’t. Don’t believe the hype and BS about new “fad” diets.
Weigh yourself each week to check your progress
While there is some merit to this idea, it’s not 100% accurate, which is why it lands on our “the worst fitness advice people give you” list. Just because you see the number on the scale go up or down does not mean you are making progress. If you are losing weight according to the scale, you could actually be losing lean muscle mass and not body fat. This would be horrific and detrimental to your overall success. On the flip side, if you are trying to bulk and see the scale go up, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are gaining muscle — you could be adding body fat.
What you should be focusing on is your overall body fat level. Getting this checked by a trainer at the gym can help you better understand how you are progressing. The number on the scale can be very deceiving. Know where the changes in numbers are coming from so you can make the necessary changes if need be.
Cardio is the best way to lose weight
Have you been told that if you want to lose weight, you need to increase how much cardio you do? This is yet another piece of the worst fitness advice people give you. If you really want to spend an hour a day on the treadmill, be my guest. However, most people generally hate the thought of spending that long on any piece of cardio equipment — and you don’t have to!
Sure, cardio burns calories, but do you know what else does? Muscle and proper nutrition. Muscle burns calories even while at rest. Wouldn’t it be great to know you burn calories while sleeping or sitting on the couch? So, why wouldn’t you want to focus on adding quality muscle and allow it to do some of the work for you regarding your fat-burning efforts?
The other is your nutrition itself. If you eat clean and are in a caloric deficit at the end of the day, you have the best chance of losing weight and burning stored fat as an energy source.
If you want to see the best results possible from your cardio sessions, regardless of how long they are, you need MuscleSport CarniShred Revolution. This powerful l-carnitine energy and fat-burning catalyst can boost cellular energy, increase your metabolism, and can provide you with a powerful thermogenic to help you reach your weight loss goals faster than ever. Try it today and feel the difference during your workouts!
- Cameron, J. D., et al. (2010). Increased meal frequency does not promote greater weight loss in subjects who were prescribed an 8-week equi-energetic energy-restricted diet. British Journal of Nutrition. 103(8), 1098-101.