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4 Exercise Myths That May Be Holding Back Your Workouts

4 Exercise Myths That May Be Holding Back Your Workouts

by Tanner Neuberger, PT, DPT, TDN Level 1Leave a Comment

You’ve heard it before; exercise takes a lot of effort and has to last a long time to be effective. Or lifting weights will make you bulky. There are many myths surrounding exercise and fitness that may hinder your workouts, holding you back from your full potential. Below is a collection of common exercise myths that have been debunked and the truth behind them.

Myth #1: Soreness Is The Mark Of A Good Workout

This is an especially harmful attitude to have when exercising. Sure, soreness can happen, especially when starting a new routine or exercise, but it is not something that should be consistent. When it comes to building muscle, soreness can be a good indication that you’re working the right muscle group, but it doesn’t have to be present to mark a good workout. In fact, prolonged soreness can be a marker of muscle damage that is too great to recover from productively, i.e. you don’t build any new muscle.

Myth #2: You Can Out-Exercise A Bad Diet

Exercise can burn a decent number of calories based on the modality, but ultimately not as much as you think. Squats, for example, will be roughly 10-15 calories in a minute. Running typically equates to burning 100 calories per mile, but that’s a total from base metabolic rate and activity. So, if you were to consume an extra 1000 calories in a day above your typical baseline, that equates to running 10 miles to “burn” that extra food off. This would not be a sustainable practice in the long run. Diets are all about calories consumed vs calories burned, and the easiest way to adjust that equation for your goal may be through food.

Myth #3: You Need To Spend A Long Time In The Gym For Success

Long hours spent in the gym are not necessary for improved health. There is a concept called Exercise Snacks 1,2 which consist of high bursts of intense movements (burpees, pushups) that usually last around a minute and are done at a high frequency throughout the day (3-8 times per day). You will be working very hard, but the duration is short so if you’re pressed for time, you can get these in and reap some of the great health benefits of exercise. While longer exercise times demonstrate a greater magnitude of effect, these snacks can work in a pinch.

Myth #4: Lifting Weights Will Make You Bulky

Social media has warped people’s perception of body image, and what it looks like to have muscle. The truth is, it is very hard to build muscle in the sense that it takes a lot of work and is a long process. It can be a worthwhile endeavor, but most people with normal hormone levels will not get bulky from lifting weights, and you should not let this myth prevent you from building muscle and strength, both of which are shown to decrease all-cause mortality risk as you age.

With these myths in mind, it’s time to go out and conquer your fitness routine, whatever that may look like for you and your particular health and wellness goals. Remember that our team is here to help you stay active and avoid pain and injury! If you have questions or are experiencing aches and pains, reach out to a location near you to schedule a free assessment. Free assessments are available in-person and virtually through our telehealth platform.

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The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

1. Huang CH, Yen M. Hu Li Za Zhi. 2023;70(2):78-83. doi:10.6224/JN.202304_70(2).10
2. Islam H, Gibala MJ, Little JP. Exercise Snacks: A Novel Strategy to Improve Cardiometabolic Health. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2022;50(1):31-37. doi:10.1249/JES.0000000000000275

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