We’ve covered the most common fitness myths for women — and we wouldn’t leave you men out in the lurch. As Australian Institute of Fitness MasterCoach, Brodie Hicks said, “Fitness and training myths have been around since the first person saw a heavy piece of iron on the ground, picked it up and thought ‘I should do this repetitively to increase my strength!'” To be a fly on that wall, witnessing that pivotal moment in history.
The problem is that, unfortunately, some of these myths still continue to prevail — even with a myriad of evidence against them. Some common ones according to Hicks? That cardio will kill gains, rep ranges less than eight won’t lead to muscle gain and curls get the girls. Results may vary with the last myth, Hicks advises.
With the help of Hicks, The Latch is here to debunk the top fitness myths for men.
Fitness myth #1: No pain, no gain
This myth has existed since the first piece of iron was picked up. If not somehow before. Hicks calls it “one of the most misleading quotes of our time!” Why? Because “pain is a sensory response from our body to warn us to seek help”.
Explaining further, he says it’s the body’s way of telling you that something isn’t quite right — and that continuing may cause further harm. Oh, and he tells us that the quote has led many to train though “niggles” or larger injuries.
If you are experiencing pain while exercising, “seek the help of a professional to assist you in understanding the underlying causes of this pain”.
Fitness myth #2: Eat badly one day, you must exercise the next
To be fair, we’re pretty sure this is a gender-neutral query. But as Hicks tells us, “Fitness and health is a lifelong journey, that will not be enjoyable if such regimented views are always in place.”
Showing more kindness to our bodies than we probably show ourselves, he explains “Having a meal, or even a day, where eating unhealthy foods is on the cards shouldn’t mean you need to punish yourself in the gym the following day. Expanding on that, he says it’s more likely to create an unhealthy relationship between food exercise.
Fitness myth #3: The heavier the weights, the better
“Heavier isn’t always better, the same way that more volume is not always best,” Hicks tells us.
In fact, he says that a very common misconception is that lifting heavy weights at lower rep ranges (we’re talking one to six reps) will not lead to hypertrophy gains (muscle mass gains) while lifting moderate weights at higher rep ranges (8-12 reps) won’t lead to strength gains.
Why are these misconceptions? Well, because “muscles can’t count”. With any repetition range, there is a “high level of crossover between strength and hypertrophy”. Instead, you should ask yourself what your training priority is.
Is it strength? Apply heavier weights, have the secondary benefit be an increase in hypertrophy. Increased hypertrophy your priority? Lift moderate weights, have strength be the secondary adaptation.
Fitness myth #4: Protein shakes and supplements are a necessity
According to Hicks, the major winners over the last decade — within the fitness industry at least — are supplement brands. Why? Because they don’t let a little science get in the way of a sale. He exclaimed that last point.
“Many of the supplements on the markets, such as BCAA (brain chain amino acid) shakes, are simply not necessary.”
If you’re wondering what the research actually says, Hicks has you covered. “Studies suggest that if your diet consists of a high amount of protein through both food and/or shakes, there’s no additional benefit of ingesting BCAA supplements.” His suggestion as to what to do with the extra $70-$100 a month? “Buy yourself something nice.”
Fitness myth #5: Split routines are superior to full-body strength training
“[This] argument is one for the ages,” said Hicks. As for his answer? “It depends! Training age, availability and goals are all considerations when selecting the desired training split; both boast unique benefits.
Full body programs “are fantastic at creating a large metabolic demand”. They incorporate all of the large muscles within the body, positively affecting muscle growth, cardiovascular fitness and fat loss. Split body programs are great if you’re “looking to isolate specific muscle groups or any weaknesses you may have”.
Fitness myth #6: You can target fat loss
Honestly, we keep asking this in the hope that one day someone will say you can. But as Hicks said, there’s no such thing as spot reducing. But, on the brighter side, “you most definitely can target fat loss as a goal of training”.
How? A caloric deficit. “That is, the body is burning more calories than it is consuming. This is doable in one of three ways: eating fewer calories, exercising more, or a combination of the two.”
His suggestion for exercise that builds muscle and burns excess fat? Squats, deadlifts, bench press and lat pulldowns.