Who doesn’t love a good fitness quote? They motivate and inspire us to push harder and be consistent. Sometimes, they even become mantras that we repeat in our heads to keep pushing through a tough workout. Some fitness quotes are spot on, while others fall short or are downright wrong! Don’t let the bad ones lead you astray. Here are five of the worst fitness quotes you shouldn’t follow.
No Pain, No Gain
You may have heard it said that unless you push yourself hard enough to feel pain, your muscles won’t grow or become stronger. Hence the quote, “No pain, no gain.” Don’t take it at face value. Work hard and use progressive overload to build muscle strength and size, but pain is not a prerequisite for muscle growth. In fact, it can be a sign you’re pushing yourself too hard, using poor form, or training with poor technique. Pain can also be a sign of injury, so it doesn’t always have a positive connotation. It’s important to distinguish between the discomfort of muscle fatigue and pain because of an injury and not train through injuries.
How can you avoid pushing TOO hard? Use progressive overload and increase the stress on your muscles in increments, but don’t push yourself to the point of pain. Also, don’t judge the success of a workout by how much muscle soreness you feel afterward. Studies show that up to a third of people who train don’t have delayed onset muscle soreness and still experience muscle hypertrophy and strength gains. Some people are more prone toward DOMS than others, and factors like hydration can impact whether you feel sore after a workout. Delayed onset muscle soreness isn’t a prerequisite for muscle growth.
The Only Bad Workout is the One That Doesn’t Happen
Don’t believe this misguided quote! Nothing could be further from the truth. There are times you shouldn’t work out–if you’re running a fever, have symptoms below the neck, didn’t sleep the night before, or if you’re injured. Some well-meaning people try to exercise through sickness and injury, but working out in an ill or injured state can set you back and worsen a pre-existing illness or injury. Consistency and dedication are important, but sometimes resting your body is more beneficial. Rest days can benefit you physically and mentally.
Sweat is Fat Crying
“Sweat is fat crying” is a cute phrase but not entirely accurate. Sure, exercise that makes you sweat burns calories, but it’s not a guarantee of fat loss. The results you get depends on the quality of your diet. A spot-on quote that shows how important nutrition is: “Weight loss if 80% nutrition and 20% exercise.” You can sweat every day and still not lose body fat if you finish your work out with a doughnut or use exercise as an excuse to eat anything you want. Think of nutrition and exercise as synergistic. You need both for fitness and a healthy body composition. Don’t be casual about what goes on your plate!
Nothing Tastes as Good as Skinny Feels
Skinny shouldn’t be your goal, but to be strong, fit, and healthy. Don’t use exercise to get skinny at all costs. Doing so can lead to frustration and eating disorders. Let go of the idea of over-exercising and under-eating. Both habits raise levels of stress hormones and create mental and physical stress. Instead, change your lifestyle to feel better, have more energy, be more functional, and live longer. Those are goals worth working toward, not to be underweight. Nothing tastes as good as how healthy and fit feels might be a better quote.
Unless You Puke, Faint, or Die, Keep Going
Another one to disregard. Like no pain, no gain, don’t be a hero and push yourself to the point of sickness or injury. There’s no glory in doing that! Instead, push a little past your comfort zone when you train, but not to the point of fainting or hurling, much less dying. Trying to be a hero is how people get injured and are forced to stop training until the injury heals.
Progressive overload is about gradually increasing the challenge you place on your muscles and your cardiovascular system. Your muscles adapt to these increases by becoming larger and stronger, while your cardiovascular system responds by becoming more efficient at pumping blood and oxygen to your muscles. So you develop more stamina and endurance. It doesn’t happen overnight though. It takes weeks to months to see a significant boost in your fitness level. Train smart, don’t over-train and be patient. The results will come if you’re consistent and persistent.
You Don’t Have to Be Perfect, Just Start
This fitness quote is true in one sense, but not in another. The circumstances and time will never be perfect to start a fitness program. Many people put it off because the ideal time doesn’t present itself. However, strive for near perfection when you train. Using good, almost perfect form, will lower your risk of injury. Too often people work out without understanding how to do the exercises correctly and wind up injured. Don’t try to “wing it” on your own or grab a set of weights and do exercises you’ve never done. Master your form while doing the movements without weight at first. Ask someone knowledgeable to critique your form and make sure you’re not making errors, like arching your back that could lead to injury. The extra time you spend learning to do the movements correctly will pay off with less injury and greater gains.
The Bottom Line
Fitness quotes help us stay motivated and consistent but choose your quotes wisely! Not all are backed by wisdom. It’s better to be conservative with your training, especially when you start out and reap the gains without getting injured or discouraged. Train smartly! One of the best fitness mantras you can adopt is to be determined and consistent with your training.
BrainyQuote.com. “Fitness Quotes”
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