Always Avoid The Really Bad Workout Advice You Receive At The Gym

Adrian Cruce
6 min readJul 27, 2020


I first went to a gym when I was 16 or 17. Since I had no idea what to do, I respected everything the big guys were saying and blindly trusted the trainers. Looking back, I received so much bad advice that it is a miracle I only got one injury (broken knee ligaments because of improper form when doing squats).

Nowadays, I work out alone and I prefer home workouts. However, every single time I talk to people that go to the gym, especially those that do not have the experience, I hear the same bad advice that I received when I was 16 (I am 35 now).

It is mind-blowing to see that even now when we know so much about working out, nutrition, dieting, and so on, gym-received advice is so bad. This is why I had to talk a little about the very bad advice I still hear about and that is still offered in gyms today.

False: The Best Way To Burn Your Belly Fat Is To Do Crunches

Crunches after crunches after crunches. It seems that the only thing some gym trainers tell you about losing that stubborn belly fat is to do crunches. You still do not have those flat, sexy abs? You did not do enough crunches, right? WRONG!

When you do crunches, the abdominal muscles contract. Endurance and strength are increased. Basically, your muscles get bigger. What does not happen is burning calories. In fact, when you do crunches, because of the nature of the exercise, you burn only a few calories.

If we were to get technical, if you want to lose 1 pound of fat, you have to burn around 3,500 calories. You do 50–100 crunches at the gym or at home. This is far from the 3,500 calories.

Solution: When you work out, your muscles grow and get toned. Your abs are already there. If you want to lose belly fat and have that flat stomach, you need to diet and engage in calorie-burning workouts. Obviously, you need to also strengthen your abs and do those boring crunches but without dieting, rest, and cardio, belly fat does not disappear.

False: Extreme Heat Will Burn More Fat

This was the first bad advice I most likely received. I was a little fat and I wanted to lose weight. I was told that I have to wear more clothes so my body temperature goes really high and that will make me lose more fat faster.

Right now, hot yoga is popular and the truth is that it can be dangerous. What people do not know or tell you is that when you work out in extremely hot settings you burn the same number of calories as when you work out in a much cooler environment. You lose calories because you move your body against gravity or external resistance. Heat does not change that.

In fact, working out under extreme heat is very dangerous. According to Mayoclinic:

“Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body. If you don’t take care when exercising in the heat, you risk serious illness. Both the exercise itself and the air temperature and humidity can increase your core body temperature.”

Besides this, you are sweating more. Dehydration is a serious possible problem.

False: Use Weight Machines And You Avoid Injuries

The premise is that when you use weight machines you will not get injured as it could happen when you use free weights. The problem is that these weight machines are always built for the average-sized person. If you do not fit the dimensions, you can put your body in very bad positions that actually increase the possibility of being injured.

The huge advantage of using free weights is that you use them with a natural motion range. Also, the supporting core muscles are more engaged. This will help you to improve your balance and will prevent many common problems like joint strain, muscle pulls, and even falls.

Unless the weight machine was specifically designed for your body, it is better to use free weights.

False: No Pain, No Gain

I do not even want to know how many gyms have this motto somewhere on the walls. Most likely the vast majority of them because it sounds really cool. It makes you feel manly or strong when you respect it.

The problem is that there is a huge difference between soreness and injury. It is completely normal to feel mild discomfort, fatigue, and pain after a very good workout. However, if you are so sore that daily functioning is affected, you most likely overdid it.

Here’s the deal. The pain you feel the second day after a workout, the muscle soreness, is your body’s way of telling you that muscle damage appeared. In order for muscle to grow, fibers need to be torn. However, this only applies when you want to build muscle or when it is a natural secondary effect of the type of workout you do.

When those muscle fibers are too torn and you feel too much pain, you quickly reach overtraining, especially if you continue. When this happens, your body tells you to take a break.

Listen to your body and learn the difference between normal muscle soreness and too much pain. Also, it is safer and wiser to stop the exercise when you feel a lot of pain. This might save you from a serious injury.

False: Eat More Protein, Reduce Carbs And You Gain Lean Muscle

Ok. This is not as common now as it used to be 10 years ago as people are more educated on proper nutrition. But the idea is still way too common.

In reality, when you go through a really hard workout, carbs are mandatory. You simply need them. If you do not consume carbs or you just eat a little, your vital body organs (heart, kidneys) and your muscles do not have a source of energy they can use to function properly.

Also, if your goal is not to put on muscle mass and reach some specific gain goals, you do not need a lot of protein. The body only needs around 6–8 ounces per day when you regularly work out. You can easily get this from your diet. Those protein shakes are extras for those that actually need them. Most people do not.

Final Thoughts

When you start to work out, you need help. It is completely normal to ask for advice BUT you should never blindly trust any advice that you receive. This is true when you go to the gym, when you date, when you post on social media, and practically anything in life.

Always take advice with a pinch of salt. Go home and use the internet. Read articles about what you are interested in and make sure they are written by people with high authority, doctors, specialists, experienced, and renowned trainers. The guy/girl at the local gym is most likely not that experienced or renowned.

Take me for example. I do not have that authority in the fitness industry. You should NOT blindly trust my advice. This applies to almost everything you see online. Take the information I mentioned above and double-check it. I actually recommend that you do this to see if I am right or not. Get used to doing this and you will start to learn and educate yourself about working out, dieting, nutrition, weight loss, how to take care of a dog, and practically anything you want.

Originally published at