Throughout the years, a plethora of claims have circulated the fitness industry. From seemingly altruistic advice that is actually meant to promote a weight-loss pill to trainer opinions that are just meant to drive business to their gym, being able to tell truth from fiction when deciding which fitness advice to follow is key to successfully accomplishing your health goals. Here are four popular fitness claims that have already been exposed by industry experts:


1. Stretching Minimizes the Risk of Injury


It’s commonly thought that stretching the muscles pre-workout makes you limber and minimizes the risk of pulling a muscle or tearing a tendon. However, a 2007 report published in Research in Sports Medicine concluded otherwise. The report says that mere stretching in place was ineffective in lowering the risk of workout-related injuries. Instead, experts recommend warming up for 5 to 15 minutes before you dive into your main workout regimen. Warm-up exercises stimulate blood flow to your muscles, which prepares them for the strenuous workload ahead.


2. Fat Can Be Turned Into Muscle and Vice Versa


Quite simply, fat cannot be converted into muscle just as muscle cannot be transformed into fat. These are two completely different kinds of tissue. Experts attribute loss of muscle mass to a lower metabolic rate when you stop working out. This slower metabolism causes your body to burn fewer calories while in an inactive phase, which results in weight gain. The fact remains that you can build muscle and burn fat, sometimes even during the same workout, but conversion of these two tissues into either is physiologically impossible.


3. More Cardio Means More Weight Loss


You might be camping on the treadmill at your local gym because you think spending more hours on it can result in more pounds lost. But data from Mayo Clinic and Runner’s World both suggest the contrary. Mayo Clinic states that 3,500 calories are equivalent to a single pound of fat. Runner’s World then says that the average individual uses roughly 100 calories for every mile completed. Tied together, this means that you’ll have to run 35 miles just to burn 3,500 calories or a pound of fat, something that no mortal can do in a single workout session.


4. Early Morning Workouts Are the Most Effective


If you’re one of those runners, weightlifters, or athletes who are out the door before the sun even rises, you’re definitely getting a good metabolic kickstart. That said, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are performing better or achieving greater results than other fitness nuts who work out at a different time in the day. According to a 2019 report released in the Journal of Physiology, afternoon workouts, particularly those that take place between 1 p.m and 4 p.m, are just as effective as the early morning version. 


Getting the most out of your fitness regimen requires access to unbiased and scientifically proven advice. Don’t just rely on the opinions of a self-proclaimed expert or the meanest-looking weightlifter at your local gym. Confirm that a claim is supported by an actual study or report before you add it to your routine.