8 Fitness Myths That Are Holding You Back From Real Progress

Some people still follow these ‘old wives tales’ of fitness.

Read on to see if any of these common mistakes are keeping you from making real progress in your fitness.

1. “A Treadmill Puts Less Stress On My Knees Than Pavement.”

Though there are hard (concrete) and soft (grass) surfaces, any running creates high impact and puts great stress on the knees. Try to vary your running with bike riding and try to take it ‘kneesy.’


2. “Crunches Will Make You Lose Belly Fat.”

Unless you can do these at a seriously high metabolic rate, crunches, and other ab movements, strengthen and build abdominal muscle, not burn off the belly fat. Belly fat-loss occurs with high intensity training throughout the entire body, thus, you cannot lose the belly fat by doing crunches alone. That means you should HIIT the fat away, not try to crunch it away.


3. “Aerobics Boost Long Lasting Calorie Burn.”

No, aerobics build oxygen usage systems in your body, but does very little to burn fat over several hours. Many times, it adds to fat content. But, for every pound of muscle you build, you burn 50 calories more per day merely sitting. So, run less and lift more.


4. “When It Comes To Back Pain, Yoga Never Hurts.”

Yoga is a great way to help your back with pain caused by muscle-related issues, but can be detrimental if back pain issues are caused by other things, like those involving discs or nerves. Use yoga to stretch muscle and a qualified doctor for everything else.


5. “Swimming Is a Great Way to Burn Fat.”

We’ve all been told that swimming is the best overall exercise ever, and that’s true, for fish. The buoyancy of the water negates a lot of resistance needed to burn fat, so, unless you are swimming for hours and have already conquered your metabolic threshold, swimming might store fat vs. burn fat. Remember to dive into resistance training, and use the pool for fun.


6. “More Sweat = Better Workout.”

Just because you’re not a heavy sweater doesn’t mean you’re not burning fat or getting fit. Some just sweat a lot while others don’t, this does not determine fitness or effort levels. Sweating is the body’s way of keeping cool, and some require less cooling than others. Be cool and don’t sweat if you don’t sweat. It’s just who you are.


7. “Machines Are Safer Than Free Weights”

We are told that machines are safer for weight training than free weights, which can be misleading. Unless it is a properly designed machine, it can actually cause more damage than free weights. Many machines are designed for profit, not fitness. And, if you are not positioned properly on the machine or you do the wrong movements, it’s just asking for trouble. Machines have their advantages, but learning to use them properly is as important as lifting free weights properly. As machines go, use them, but don’t let them abuse you.


8. “No Pain, No Gain!”

Some people still believe this nonsense. Pain tells us something is wrong, so why would we want to encourage pain? Pain and soreness are different things, but you have to make sure soreness doesn’t become pain. If pain continues, you will do irreparable damage which you will maybe never overcome. There is no gain with pain, just a whole lotta regret. When in doubt, don’t. Pain is not weakness leaving the body; it’s a message telling your body to be careful.



George Mangum is the Fitness Director at Heritage Victor Valley Medical Group and spends his time helping teens, educators and seniors make fitness a lifestyle. He believes that fitness is the answer, and doesn’t care what the question is.