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Busting Fitness Myths: Insights From a Professional Fitness Coach

There are a lot of bold claims and misconceptions going around in the fitness world! I'm Scott Ryan, director of Strength and Conditioning at Fit Societe, and today we're dispelling some pesky fitness myths that could be holding you back from achieving your health goals. Let’s dive into the world of fitness fables and shed light on what's true and what's just gym folklore!

Woman working out

Myth 1: More Crunches = Toned Tummy

A gazillion crunches won't magically zap belly fat. No single exercise on its own is going to deliver that kind of results. Sit-ups and crunches are great accessories and fun movements to add to our workouts, but they are not enough on their own to make a significant change.

Reality: Diversify Your Efforts

Let's shift our mindset; the journey to a toned stomach starts with full-body workouts. Burn body fat with cardiovascular exercises like running, swimming, or cycling. Combine this with strength training to build muscle and boost metabolism. Don't forget to sprinkle in some core-specific exercises like planks and variations for targeted toning. Most importantly, keep an eye on your diet remember, abs are made in the kitchen as much as in the gym!

Myth 2: Pump Iron, Turn into the Hulk?

Lifting weights won't turn you into a muscle-bound superhero overnight. A consistent weight training program will create that toned, lean look we all love, but it takes a lot more than just weight training to create a bulky physique.

Reality: Lifting Weights Doesn't Make Bulk

Incorporating a balanced weight training routine into your workouts will help you achieve a toned, fit look. Women, especially, don't shy away from those dumbbells they're your allies in building lean muscle and sculpting a toned physique. Focus on exercises that work multiple muscle groups, and remember, consistency is key. Also, keep in mind, muscles help burn fat, so this is a win-win!

Myth 3: Pain = Gains

Pain during a workout? No, thank you! Remember, there's a world of difference between 'feeling the burn' and 'I think I just tore something'. If your muscles are singing the blues a day or two after a workout, that's normal. But if it feels like they're screaming for an SOS, it’s time to take a break.

Reality: Progress Isn't Measured in Pain

Pain is not a measure of a good workout; understanding your body's signals is crucial. Learn to differentiate between good soreness and bad pain. Post-exercise soreness is normal, but sharp or persistent pain is a red flag. Always warm up properly and cool down after your workouts to avoid injuries. Incorporate rest days into your routine to allow your muscles time to recover and grow. If something hurts, give the workouts a rest and seek medical care if the pain doesn't resolve on its own.

Myth 4: Stretch or Bust!

Stretching is great, but it's not a magical shield against injuries. Stretching is more like setting the stage, not the star of the show. Dynamic stretching (think moving while you stretch) can be a fantastic opener for your workout routine. This is why we start every Fit Societe class with a dynamic warm-up!

Reality: Start with Dynamic Warm-Ups

Adopt dynamic stretching before workouts to prepare your muscles. Save static stretches for after your workout when your muscles are warm and more flexible. This not only helps in preventing injuries but also improves overall flexibility and performance. For a more in-depth breakdown, read our blog post on dynamic vs static stretching!

Myth 5: I Exercise, So I Eat What I Want!

As much as I wish this were true, it's not. If life were a video game, exercise and diet would be the ultimate power-up combo. You need both to level up your health. Nutrition plays a huge role in our bodies' ability to burn fat and build muscle. Eating a tub of ice cream after a 5k run won't do the trick, unfortunately.

Reality: You Can't Out-Exercise a Bad Diet

Treat food as fuel for your body. Aim for a balanced diet rich in proteins, good fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Remember, moderation is key it's okay to indulge occasionally, but maintain a balance. You will see better results from your workout routine if your diet is aligned with your fitness goals!

Myth 6: Sweat-a-Lot, Get-a-Lot?

Sweating like a fountain doesn't always mean you're working out harder. It's your body's AC system, keeping you cool, not a scoreboard of your workout. Some of us are just more 'glisten-y' than others!

Reality: Sweat is Not a Fitness Yardstick

Focus on the intensity and quality of your workouts rather than how much you sweat. Monitor your heart rate, the difficulty level of your exercises, and overall performance. Use these as indicators of your workout's effectiveness.

A Personalized Fitness Path

Transforming these debunked myths into actionable strategies can profoundly impact your fitness journey. Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all in fitness. It's about finding what works for you and having fun along the way. Stay curious, be patient with your progress, and keep pushing your boundaries. You've got this!


Scott Ryan, CSCS, *RSCC, CF-L1, CF-W, BFRC, Director- Fit Societe

A professional coach who specializes in Applied Functional Science, Strength and Conditioning, CrossFit L1, and Olympic Lifting. He attended New England College in New Hampshire obtaining a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis on Biomechanics. He has a passion for injury prevention and coaching, as he was a collegiate athlete who suffered sports injuries. His goal is to get athletes back to optimal shape as well as prevent future injuries.

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