Going to gym is a complicated pastime, the internet has meant that within a few seconds thousands of articles can appear that each tell you different things about how to get fit, build muscle or lose weight (sometimes altogether). Fortunately, I’ve been going to the gym or doing some form of regular exercise for most of my adult life so I’ve made the mistakes for you. In this article I’ll run through some of the common myths and downright lies that are often believed by beginners.

Supplements Are the Be All and End All

One of the first things people who are starting out a new exercise regime do is go and buy all manner of supplements. From creatine to glucose mono-hydrate the options are endless and all claim to be essential to getting ‘cut’ or ‘ripped’ etc. In fairness a lot of supplements do work especially creatine and whey protein (although I’m iffy whether I’d even count that as a supplement) but many are expensive luxuries you don’t need.

Think of it like this, those statues you see from Ancient Greece and Rome those men have big biceps, defined abs and chiselled chests but they never ate any supplements did they (those statues would have been based on something – clearly some people in that period looked like that)? So in short supplements should be used to supplement only; they should not form the basis of your diet.

Going to the Gym Every Day is Healthy

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people new to the gym boast that they went five times last week for a couple of hours at a time. Doing an exercise regime like this is really not very good for your body, why? Well your body needs to rest and recover after exercise – especially an intense weight session – because the muscle fibres will have torn slightly. It is these fibres that, once they’ve repaired themselves, come back bigger and stronger increasing muscle size and strength. If you don’t give them time to repair then you aren’t likely to see as many gains.

I’m Going to the Gym Later so I Can Eat What I Want Now

This is an easy one for people to slip up on if they’re not careful. Just because you’re now going to the gym three times a week that doesn’t mean you can gorge on unhealthy food (well if you’re serious it does).

I read somewhere once that getting fit is around 80% diet and 20% exercise although I’m not sure it’s that heavily weighted you get the idea. If you’re serious about getting into shape then you have to combine your efforts in the gym with what you’re eating out of it.

If I Don’t Feel it the Next Day I Didn’t Try Hard Enough

It isn’t uncommon to find slogans like “Push until it hurts” and such posted on gym walls up and down the country. As ‘inspiring’ as these are they are actually unhelpful and put the false notion that if we don’t hurt we haven’t worked hard enough.

I’ll start by saying that in a few cases you will probably hurt the next day; if you’re a beginner, if you’ve started a more intense regime or a new activity then a bit of muscular pain should be expected. If you’re sore after every gym session then you should look into lessening the intensity or frequency of them.

Women are often very reluctant to do anything in the gym other than the treadmill, cross trainer or crunches – despite the benefits of strength training including weight loss and body tone. For many the reason is simply that they don’t want to use any weights or other forms of strength training because they’re scared that they will develop a prominent muscular frame. However, this is a myth; generally speaking women find it hard to build muscle naturally because they have very low levels of testosterone. Testosterone is important in the muscle growth process and so women should not be scared of developing massive biceps.