Five Fitness Myths Debunked

Not everything you hear about staying fit is true...


By Maddy Bond


The fitness world is filled with true and false information. Unfortunately, most of the time it’s the wrong things that stick. Here are five fitness ‘facts’ that are without a doubt, untrue.

Weightlifting will make a woman look manly — FALSE!

“Lifting weights will make me look manly”. It’s a phrase we hear a lot in this industry. So often, women believe that touching a dumbbell will make their arms bigger than a bodybuilder’s.

In reality, the chances of a beginner weightlifter looking like a professional level bodybuilder even a year of training are extremely low. Competition level bodybuilding takes hours of daily strategic work. They have very specific lifting programs designed to build a lot of muscle.

They know, down to the gram, how many carbs, proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins (and everything else!) they’re putting into their mouths, and timing their workouts alongside meal planning for optimal building. Lifting weights during a normal workout is only going to develop and build enough muscles to give you those toned arms you covet.

Additionally, it’s actually impossible for a woman to build muscle that looks ‘manly’. Testosterone supports muscle development, and ladies just naturally don’t have as much of it in the body as men. Genetically, it’s more difficult for women to build like men. So don’t fear those weights, love them.

You can target fat loss in specific areas — FALSE!

“How can I lose stomach fat?”; “How can I work on the fat on my arms?” As much as some health gurus on Instagram may try and convince you, you simply can’t target fat loss. Sorry! It’s physiologically impossible for us to choose where our body loses fat. When we exercise our body burns calories that are taken from energy stores, which include fats, carbs (sugars), and proteins. Typically, the body prefers to use fat as an energy source, and will take it from wherever it wants. Different bodies will use different fat sources from different locations in different orders. For example, my body takes fat from my back first until it reaches a level of tone, then my arms. My legs and abs are the slowest to lean out. However, I have a friend whose abs are the first thing to lose fat from. Everyone is different!

The key is to train the target area and develop some muscle there so that even with a small layer of fat, you still look more toned. Then it’s just a matter of consistency. The longer you work, the sooner you’ll see where your body loses fat from first.

Soreness and sweat are necessary for a good workout — FALSE!

Some people hate soreness; others crave it. To some, sore muscles means they worked hard and it feels good. But after a few months of exercising, you may notice you’re not as sore post-workout as you used to be. If anything, you’ve been lifting heavier weights, so you should be more sore, right? Wrong.

As you progressively increase the weights, you’ll still be sore occasionally, but your body has adapted to the point where the muscles won’t be as sore. As you get stronger, keep progressively increasing the difficulty of your workouts. Sore or not, you’ll see progress.

Squatting is bad for your knees — FALSE!

When your knee hurts from a squat, it’s not necessarily because of the movement. Squatting can actually strengthen your knees. What is bad for them is having tight muscles, not stretching or rolling them out, and then doing squats.

The iliotibial tract (IT) band is a fascial connective tissue that runs along the outside of your leg from the hip to the knee and shin bone. This muscle is commonly very tight, and if so will pull on your knee joint as you move up and down. This can cause discomfort; your body is telling you something is wrong. If you have knee pain, try stretching your quads, IT band, hamstrings, glutes and inner thigh muscles. It may seem like a lot, but it’s better than knee surgery.

Poor form is another culprit behind knee pain with squats. If you’re not positioned correctly the muscles won’t activate right. Check out our previous articles or the Fitness Buddy app for squat form demonstrations.

Dairy is a good source of protein — SEMI-FALSE!

“Got milk?” I can still remember those commercials from my childhood, with cows talking about how the protein in milk builds bones. While it’s true that milk has a lot of calcium and does have protein, it has a lot of another nutrient, something we want to avoid too much of. You guessed it: fat.

Take the mini Babybel cheese snack as an example. Below are the nutrition facts regarding the macronutrients in one of these.

Calories - 70

Carbohydrates (g) - 0

Proteins (g) - 5

Fats (g) - 6

While there is a bit of protein for such a low carb snack, there’s more fat. The exception to this rule is cottage cheese, with which you can get a whopping 18g of protein for only 1.5g of fat. On the whole however, if you’re trying to lose weight, try and avoid dairy as a snack unless you account for it in your macro count.

Remember, everything should be eaten in moderation! A little dairy won’t do much damage, but taking bites out of blocks of cheese for a snack may not be the healthiest (albeit most delicious) choice.

Maddy has worked in the health and fitness industry for 5 years. She has a bachelors in Exercise Science and has recently received her Masters in Exercise Physiology. She has worked with a wide demographic of clients as a Personal Trainer and loves helping people reach their goals and continue to grow.  She is an outdoor enthusiast and dedicates her workouts to rock climbing, hiking and whatever new experiences may come her way.

Main Photo Credit: ESB Professional/; Second Photo Credit: Jacob Lund/; Third Photo Credit: Slatan/; Fourth Photo Credit: AndreyCherkasov