If you’ve spent any time looking for fitness tips online, on social media, or in magazines, you’ve probably run into some terrible health and fitness advice. Unfortunately, it’s pretty ubiquitous these days. 


While some of that advice might immediately seem ridiculous, some of it might actually seem logical at first glance. And weeding out the bad from the good can be tough, especially if you’ve just started your fitness journey and aren’t sure what to believe.


At Envision Fitness, we’re here to help ensure poor fitness advice doesn’t hinder your progress or leave you burned out and spinning your wheels. Below, we’re breaking down a few widespread fitness and nutrition tips, why they’re poor advice, and what you should do instead. Let’s dive in!


1. You Can Exercise More To Balance Out an Unhealthy Diet

Plenty of people are under the misguided assumption that spending more time in the gym can make up for a poor diet. But if that’s how you’re approaching your health and fitness journey, you’re bound for disappointment.


Although exercise certainly burns calories, that’s not the singular goal of working out. Progress is what you’re after, and if you’re always eating poorly, you won’t make much headway toward your goals.


Why not? Because while exercise does indeed burn calories, it takes a lot of physical activity to burn through the calories you might consume in a single junk food meal. Here’s a rough estimate of how much cardio you’d need to do to burn through an excess of calories in just one nutrient-void meal:


  • You’d have to run for about 45 minutes to burn off a quarter of a large pizza.
  • You’d need to jog for over an hour to burn off the calories in a glazed cinnamon roll or a blueberry muffin and a medium mocha.
  • You’d need to pound the pavement for over an hour to burn off the calories in a fast-food burger and fries.


What Should You Do Instead?

You don’t have to ditch all your favorite foods to get fitter and healthier, but you should eat with nutrient density in mind. You can eat foods you love in moderation—even if they’re not the healthiest—while centering your meals around foods that fuel your body properly. That way, you’ll get the nutrients you need to make measurable progress toward your goals.


Not sure how to do that? Nutrition coaching can help. Learning how to fuel your unique body according to your fitness goals is one of the most effective things you can do to ensure you’re continually progressing.


More importantly, eating healthy and exercising regularly can reduce your all-cause mortality risk more than doing just one or the other alone.   


2. You Should Switch Up Your Workouts Frequently

Ever heard you should change your workouts frequently to challenge and “confuse” your muscles, force new growth, and prevent plateaus? If so, don’t believe it.


The theory here is that if you keep your body guessing, you’ll prevent it from quickly adapting to what you’re doing and essentially “shock” your body into progressing. But there’s no research to support this poor piece of advice that’s been making the rounds for years. 


Muscles don’t get “confused.” And even if they did, confusion and progress don’t exactly go hand in hand, no matter what scenario you’re looking at.


What Should You Do Instead?

When you’re constantly doing new exercises, you don’t give your nervous system or your muscles adequate time to really learn and adapt to the movements you’re practicing. And when you’re training, adaptations are actually a very good thing.


As your muscles adapt, they get stronger and more powerful. And with adequate protein intake, eventually, they grow. (Check out Muscle Gain: How Long Does It Take? for more info)


When those adaptations occur, adding a progressively greater (not totally different) stimulus encourages more adaptation, strength, and growth. That means performing the same exercises and making them progressively harder as your body adapts will yield more progress than constantly changing exercises. 


You can do this by increasing the amount of resistance (weight) you use or by performing more sets or reps. You could also add in a new movement to emphasize a different area (don’t go crazy; take it slow) if you’re working on building your endurance.


Not sure how to incorporate progressive overload or which exercises you should choose? That’s where working with an experienced personal trainer can be incredibly beneficial!


3. Women Should Focus on Cardio So They Don’t Get Bulky

If you’re a woman and you lift weights regularly, you are not going to get bulky! You simply don’t have high enough levels of anabolic hormones to make that happen. Men have way more (15 times more) testosterone than women, so they not only build muscle faster but also build more of it.


If you love cardio, by all means, go for it—it’s excellent for improving your heart health. But cardio alone won't get you there if you want to build a toned physique.


What Should You Do Instead?

Hit the weights! Don’t be afraid of resistance training, ladies. Working against resistance builds muscle, which is more metabolically active than fat. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn, even when you’re scrolling on the couch.


Muscle also takes up less space than fat. That means the higher your proportion of lean tissue to adipose tissue (fat), the smaller your measurements will be. And let's be honest—who doesn’t like feeling strong? Resistance training also helps strengthen your bones, another major benefit.


Need help learning proper lifting form? Work with a personal trainer who can show you the ropes. Although you’ll find plenty of lifting advice online and on social media, there’s no substitute for in-person guidance. Having expert eyes on your form will ensure you’re maximizing each movement and staying injury-free. 


4. No Pain, No Gain

Lots of coaches and exercise enthusiasts tend to have a no pain, no gain mindset when it comes to training. They’ll work out even when they’re sore, pushing past the discomfort they feel because they believe that they must not be making progress if they don’t feel pain.


But there’s no truth to that belief. And if you approach exercise with this attitude, you could wind up doing more harm than good.


What Should You Do Instead?

First off, to make progress, you don’t need to work out so hard that your body feels decimated the next day or even the day after.


You should expect to experience some degree of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) following a tough session. But intense, long-lasting soreness after a workout probably means you’re doing too much. And if it’s unilateral or you’re experiencing full-blown pain, you may have an injury you’re unaware of.


If you feel sore anywhere, that’s your body’s way of telling you it’s not quite ready for you to train in that area again. Listen to it. You don’t need to push past the pain to make progress, nor should you. In fact, doing so could set you up for potentially serious injuries.


Rather than working on a sore muscle group, work on your mobility, do some cardio, or train a different part of your body. Take an active rest day and go for a long walk or leisurely bike ride outside.


When you give your muscles adequate time to rest and recover after each workout, you’ll make more progress over time. You’ll also reduce your chance of suffering an injury that could totally sideline you.


Get Personal Training & Nutrition Coaching Near Hopkins, MN

Ready to change your life? Our team at Envision Fitness is here to help you do it! At our Hopkins, MN fitness studio, we’ve built a strong, supportive community of individuals who are taking their fitness, nutrition, and mindset to the next level, and we’d love it if you’d join us!


Whether you’re looking for individualized personal training, group fitness classes, weight loss classes, athletic training, or nutrition coaching, we’ve got you covered. To get started or learn more about us, feel free to give us a call today at 952-444-2791 or request a free consultation online, and we’ll get in touch with you!