The Worst Fitness Advice Ever: Part 1

What’s the worst fitness advice you’ve ever heard?

Almost everyone is a self-proclaimed fitness expert and is willing to dish out a healthy dose of fitness advice. We hear it all the time, “Yeah man, you totally got to cut out all carbs to achieve weight loss,” or “Chicks shouldn’t lift weights or else they will swell up like the Hulk trying to cope with his incredible anger issues!

We decided to ask the experts what the worst fitness and nutrition advice that they have ever heard and why exactly it is complete B.S. In Part II we will break down some of the less common but still just as bad words of not-so-much-wisdom. Let’s check out the worst fitness advice we have ever heard so you don’t end up finding yourself following some of these “great” pieces of advice.

Worst Fitness Advice: Here we go

“For a 6 pack, do nothing but crunches EVERY DAY”

You have probably seen this one when you see the same person doing crunches religiously every single day and not just for a set or two but for an hour or two! It’s among the worst fitness advice!

“Gym goers doing crunch after crunch looking like they’re having some kind of fit on the mat.”

However most good trainers treat the abdominals like any another muscle group. Abs need to rest, recover and grow,

said Shane McLean an A.C.E Certified Personal Trainer in Dallas Texas. We couldn’t agree more!

“Spot reduction works!”

Even though we just had an expert weigh in on this issue last week I still wanted to drive the point home about this worst fitness advice, “The piece of advice that makes me cringe is anything having to do with spot reduction. Our bodies deposit fat where we genetically are inclined to store it.

If you want to lose that extra bulge on your stomach, lose weight in general. You can’t ask your body to choose the fat from one specific area. All of those wraps that go around certain areas is just sweating out water, not fat,” said Vivian Eisenstadt MAPT, Owner and Chief Physical Therapist of Vivie Therapy.

“You have to cut all carbs to achieve weight loss!”Worst Fitness Advice Carbs

I’m so tired of hearing this one! I even had to write an entire piece on it a couple of months ago.

If you even read it (bless your heart if you did) I hope you remember: carbs aren’t the enemy your poor selection of crap carbs is!

Chris Weiler a Performance Expert and author of The 3/4 Rule – How to Eat as An Athlete totally had my back on this one, “I am so tired of hearing this “Common Knowledge” and “Consensus Reality” crap [Editor’s note: See, I’m not the only fitness professional who uses the highly versatile word “crap” occasionally].

The explanation is simple. The average western diet is made up of 70-90% carbohydrates. Said another way, 70-90% of the average American’s calories come from highly processed, low fiber, non-whole grain carbohydrates…

So, current fad diets and every trainer that blindly jumps on the bandwagon says “cut the carbs” and magically you lose weight. Well, not exactly magic, more like simple math. You know, since you have effectively cut out 70-90% of your daily calories, of course, you lose weight!!!

Since the average American diet consists of 70-90% highly processed, low nutrient-dense carbohydrates, it’s no wonder many feel better and drop some pounds when they “cut carbs.”

It’s not that all carbs are bad, just that the average person mostly shops for bad, low nutrient dense carbs.

This guy has it figured out for sure!

“Push through the pain”

We always tell our clients that if they feel the pain to stop the exercise immediately because there is always an alternative we can do to work the muscles. Kim MacKenzie, a certified Pilates and fitness instructor and owner of Fitness with Kim agreed, “Exercise is hard and can be painful, but there’s a difference between good pain and bad pain. Good pain is when your muscles are getting stronger and more flexible. Bad pain is when you’re hurting yourself.

Yes, the only way to get stronger, leaner, faster, is to push yourself.

However, when you push yourself, you need to know and understand your body’s edge and watch out for that bad pain (it’s usually sharper than the aches of your muscles working). Push through the good pain, but when you feel bad pain, stop immediately.

“Diet soda is a great alternative”

Have you ever seen that person or been that person (who hasn’t) that orders 2 hamburgers and a large fries but opts for a diet soda (or even water) because you want to be healthy!

Not only does having diet soda as an option sometimes make you eat more (artificial sweetener mindset) but it isn’t that great for you in general.

Dr. Rawle Shewprashad a CPT and holistic Podiatrist explains, “I have heard numerous people (trainers and doctors) tell their clients/patients that drinking diet sodas are healthy. The latest research shows that is completely false.”

“Perform cardio at a lower intensity in the burn zone”

We’ve all seen the calorie-burning chart over by the cardio equipment that depicts the “burn zone”. Birgitta Lauren, pre-and postnatal fitness expert and President at Expecting Fitness explains why this isn’t the best thing to follow, “Years ago the advice came out to do lower intensity cardiovascular exercise to stay in the “burn zone” as that burned more fat on a % basis.

When in fact working at a harder intensity level during cardiovascular exercise, you burn many more calories cumulatively.

I still see stair masters, and treadmills with the “burn zone” chart on it.

“You don’t have to warm up before stretching”

Stretching is important but we definitely want to do it correctly! Make sure you warm up those cold muscles said Amy Hendel owner of the Health Gal.  “Despite numerous studies and recommendations by various exercise and fitness outlets – this is still taking place [stretching cold muscles]…

Stretching cold muscles is a surefire recipe for raising the risk of a tear or creating a weakness in a muscle or ligament. New recommendations call for an active warm-up, followed by a gentle stretch and then continuing with the class and stretching at the end.”

“Detoxes are the BEST!”

Do detoxes really detox the body? Dr. Erin Stair, M.D., M.P.H., (Dr. Eeks) Owner of Blooming Wellness explains, “If you read the ingredients on any expensive Detox formula from the store, I promise it will contain at least 1 “natural” laxative. And the directions will also tell you to drink a lot of water.

If you want to waste money on such “detox” products, go right ahead, but if you want to save money and get the same results (Namely, going to the bathroom…), then drink hot water and eat a few prunes.

I promise you’ll “detox.” Detoxing is a fancy, marketing word used to get you to buy stuff.

“You totally got to try this new trendy diet”

I’m totally against fad diets because they frankly aren’t sustainable and you end up back to where you started in the long run. I’m glad Louise Green, Certified Personal Trainer and Founder/CEO of Body Exchange mentioned this worst fitness advice! “One of the worst pieces of advice I encounter on a daily basis is advice given to people that offer a range of extreme weight loss measures.

Since the diet culture is so prevalent in our society, this advice doesn’t seem that outlandish because it’s so commonplace, but it can have long-term damaging effects.

Anything that you can’t see yourself doing for the rest of your life will only last as long as your willpower. I strongly believe that the fad diet culture offers the worst piece of advice on the market, and unfortunately, I see people implementing it every day trying to conform to an ideal that may not exist for them.

The reality is, only 5% of dieters actually keep the weight off for the long term and obesity specialists are now focusing on weight gain prevention. Implementing healthy nutrition and exercise has many side benefits that often include weight loss.” Well said!


Well there you have it, some of the worst fitness advice we have ever heard…and these are only the big ones!

Check out Part II where we discuss some really, off-the-wall pieces of advice that people have been spewing out!

Next time you hear someone leaking this worst fitness advice either help out by straightening them out or just shake your head and smile!

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