Are your clients held back by their belief in fitness fictions? We get to the bottom of the five most common misconceptions.

1. You aren’t losing weight because you’re putting on muscle.

Truth: “If you’ve started strength training, you won’t put on enough muscle mass to significantly offset weight loss,” Brookbush says. One study found that those who performed resistance-training three times a week for 16 weeks gained about two pounds of lean body mass, which won’t offset the one to two pounds per week connected to healthy weight loss.

 2. Women will bulk up if they strength-train.

Truth: Women don’t have the testosterone or growth hormone levels that men do, so bulking up is very difficult. Instead, they’ll look more toned and be stronger.

3. You can “spot tone.”

Truth: Where the fat comes off first is genetically determined and happens everywhere—did you ever notice how even your fingers get thinner when you lose weight?

4. Machines are safer than free weights.

Truth: Lifting free weights with proper form gives you better coordination and connects more to real-world activities.

5. No next-day muscle pain, no gain.

Truth: “If you’re sore a lot, you may be overtraining and getting worse results,” Brookbush says. One 2012 study found that overtraining can boost inflammation, interfering with muscle growth.

By Brent Brookbush, DPT, PT, MS, NASM-CPT, CES, PES, CSCS, ACSM-H/FS, NASM Master Instructor, and author of Fitness or Fiction: The Truth About Diet and Exercise.


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