Fitness fiction can derail progress

November 9, 2013

Misinformation is one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome, so be sure to base your fitness program on sound research based on scientific studies, and most importantly, learn to separate fact from fiction. Below are six different fictitious statements and the truth that will help get better results from time spent in the gym.

Soreness is the sign of a great workout

Getting sore after working out doesn’t necessarily mean you had a great workout. In fact, how fast you recover is a much better indicator. Muscles are broken down during tough workouts and need time to recover so you can work out again and continue making progress. Being sore for extended periods of time can be a sign of overtraining, stalling results and putting you at risk for injury. Be sure to adapt your workout based on how your body feels, and make sure you give your muscles time to recover.

Abs can be worked every day

There is no doubt your abdominals are a little hardier than the rest of your body simply because they are a group of muscles working together. However, it’s important to understand they’re still muscles, and muscles need rest to recuperate from hard workouts. If you are doing abs every day, guess what? You won’t be getting the rest needed to reach your potential.

For best results, work abdominals three to four times a week with at least one day of rest in between, and remember the best way to get a better-looking waistline is to burn the fat that’s covering your abs. To accomplish this, you’ll need to also focus on a proper diet and a sensible cardio program as well as training your abs.

Weight training will bulk you up

Nothing could be further from the truth. If done correctly, weight lifting will have a slimming effect, because muscle is lean and tight, taking up approximately 1/3 less space than the same amount of fat. The more muscle you build, the more you accelerate your metabolism, causing your body to burn an average of 50 more calories a day than the average person who doesn’t lift weights.

High blood pressure runs in my family

There is no doubt that some people have medical conditions that run in their family and have been passed on to them through genetics, but in many cases high blood pressure can be reduced or prevented with a proper fitness plan. I have seen countless people take control of their lives and reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol by subscribing to a fitness plan incorporating weight training, cardiovascular training and a healthy diet. When starting a fitness program, you should always consult with your doctor first, but with a little help from a trainer, you might be surprised at what you will be able to accomplish.

All carbohydrates are bad for you

It seems the whole world has waged war on carbohydrates, but most people don’t realize that without them you wouldn’t even be able to move your little finger. Carbohydrates provide your body with much-needed energy stores that help you think, move and get great workouts. With that said, not all carbohydrates are considered equal. There are good carbs and bad carbs.

Good carbs include whole grains and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, oatmeal and brown rice. Bad carbs are usually processed foods that include white bread, sugary cereals and white rice.

Lifting lighter weights will tone muscles

I’m not sure who started this rumor, but ask yourself when was the last time you put half effort into something and got more results? That’s right, never.

If you want to get in shape, you have to challenge yourself with weights heavy enough to create an intense muscle burn and light enough to practice great form. So if the weights you’re lifting are starting to feel comfortable, add weight and continue getting the results you’re looking for from your program.

When creating your next fitness program, be sure to do your homework and base your regimen on scientific research.

  • Chris Antonio is a personal trainer and former world-class weightlifter. He has been lifting for more than 20 years and has trained a wide variety of clients ranging from All-American athletes to the average person trying to get into shape. To send a question to the Ask the Trainer column, email Chris at or check out

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