Personal Trainers Debunk Common Fitness Myths
There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and Campus Recreation’s personal training team is here to help.
I took the time to sit down with personal trainers Blake Crank and Blake Butcher to debunk a few common fitness myths. Here's what they had to say.
Myth 1: More sweat means you’re working harder and will get better results.
"No, it depends on your goals and what you want to accomplish. Just because you’re sweating more doesn’t mean you’re working more efficiently or being safer. It also depends on your physical condition before training."
"I can make someone sweat a lot on a treadmill, but if their goal is to gain muscle mass, that’s not going to help. And genetics plays a huge role; some people just sweat more than others.”
Myth 2: Lifting weights will make girls look bulky.
“No, girls do not have the same hormones as guys, so their bodies do not respond in the same ways. Where guys can gain a lot of lean mass relatively quickly, most girls can’t. They’d have to resistance train for a long time to gain enough lean mass to where they could consider themselves bulky. And also, it takes up to 8 weeks for you to really see muscle adaptation. So you’re not going to go to the curl rack, do 45-pound curls or however much and wake up the next day and have veins popping out; it just doesn’t happen like that. That’s not even considering what type of nutrition program they’re following as well. There’s so many more factors than that.”
Myth 3: Shapewear such as corsets or shape up shoes will make you slimmer.
“They make you look slimmer. However, you can do some abdominal exercises to make your waist appear smaller, but it really comes down to cardio and nutrition. I would rather invest more time and energy into my exercise program and my nutrition than $20 shapewear. You can wear it as much as you want, but if you are not exercising correctly and meeting your nutritional goals, then it will not affect your physical composition. But your waist may appear slimmer just because it’s confining your body.
Myth 4: You didn’t get a good workout in unless you are sore after.
“That’s a big misconception. Huge misconception. Depending on your goals, of course you’re going to have some muscle soreness, but when you’re beginning to work out, soreness shouldn’t be a goal. You should be trying to start small and build a good program.
A lot of people come to the gym, and they get so sore that they don’t want to go back. Then they get this negative experience with exercise, so they stop going to the gym. If your goal is to increase your lean mass, then maybe you want a bit of soreness here and there. But generally, if you’re really sore after your workouts, it’s just because your workouts aren’t designed well.
And then people generally either end up overtraining or injuring themselves because they’re trying to get sore and they have to do more and go heavier.
At the end of the day, you don’t want to be in pain. So what’s the point of getting so sore that you can’t walk the next day? If your goal is weight loss, and you work so hard that you’re sore the next day, then you can’t expend any calories and work out then. There’s a bigger picture there. As trainers, we want our clients to feel accomplished — not defeated.”
Myth 5: You should stretch before and after a workout.
“It depends on your client and their goals and the type of stretch that you’re doing. For stretching, everyone has a different opinion on which stretching protocol they want to do. There’s a lot of research out there. End of the day, it totally depends on the client and their goals. There are so many different factors that go into stretching, it’s hard to answer that question.”
Myth 6: You should work out every day or have at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
“You should move every day. I think people should stop thinking that exercise can only happen in the gym; it’s a lifestyle. If it’s your goal to be a healthier human being, you should find things that get you moving outside of the gym. There’s no point of coming to the gym and working out for 30 minutes if you just sit around the rest of the day.”
Myth 7: I should only lift one muscle group per day and you shouldn’t repeat the same muscle groups in a week.
“That’s a myth. That’s ridiculous. That’s a horrible myth. So usually, you can train the same muscle group that you worked out 72 hours post-workout. That’s about how long it takes for your muscles to recover. If you’re taking longer to recover, then you’re probably overdoing your training. Also, you can train your muscle groups after 48 hours if you’re not feeling extra sore. ACSM, the American Council of Sports Medicine, says you should train each muscle group 2-3 times a week.
So the whole bro split that guys do is really inadequate. Say they’re only doing chest on Monday. They’re waiting six days to recover, even though they’ve already recovered within 72 hours. They’re losing a lot of volume and potential to lift more weight during the week by just wasting those three days. So that’s why we recommend you do it a second day.
And if your goal is weight loss, you really shouldn’t be just doing one body part per day. You should be trying to expend as many calories as you can by doing full-body movements. Every certification out there will usually recommend 3-6 days a week and 30-60 minutes of activity. So however you go about it is pretty broad.”
Myth 9: It’s better for your body to run on the treadmill than asphalt or pavement.
“It depends on the person. I don’t know. Impact is impact. I’m not really sure if there’s a big difference between them. Of course there’s a difference with like grass or something like that. That would be easier on your feet, I guess. I think it goes back to the genetic thing; everybody is different.
So, if you’re having pain running, you should probably stop running and figure out what’s causing that. Don’t run through the pain. If you’re having to ask that question because of injuries, then running may not be for you.”
Myth 10: It’s better to work out in the morning than at night.
“Work out whenever you have the most energy. It’s whatever works best for you and your schedule. You can schedule it when your body responds best. I like to work out later because I have more energy throughout the day. But I used to work out in the morning because I liked to start my day strong. Everyone’s different, but it’s whenever you can get in the gym.
If you know you’re going to have a long day at work, and there’s no way you’re going to work out after work, then try to work out before. But if you know you have the willpower to work out afterward, then work out then.”
Got any more fitness myths you want addressed? Or have any general questions about fitness or personal training? Comment below or message us on social media @AuburnCampusRec.
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Julia B. and Lydia P.