Whether you want to tone up, slim down, or boost your mood, you’ve likely taken a stab at tweaking your fitness routine.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of fitness advice out there that won’t help you meet your goals and could actually do more harm than good.

Here’s an overview of some of the most enduring workout myths and misconceptions, as well as the real science that can help you meet your fitness goals in a healthy way.

1.Myth: To stay in shape, you only need to work out once or twice a week.

Truth: Sorry honey, that just ain’t enough. Shawn Arent, an exercise scientist at Rutgers University, told Business Insider, “A minimum of three days per week for a structured exercise program” is essential for sustained health benefits. “Technically, you should do something every day, and by something I mean physical activity – just move.”


Truth: Morning is a great time to workout, but so is in the middle of the day and the afternoon. Basically, whenever you prefer to workout is the best time to workout. The important thing is that you exercise, period.


Truth: Crunches are the “meh” exercise of the abs world. Sure, doing some crunches can help boost your core strength, but this exercise certainly isn’t the most efficient way to strengthen your abs. Planks and upright ab exercises will actually whip your core into shape far faster than standard old crunches.


Truth: Ladies, stop avoiding those free weights. Adding strength training to your workout routine won’t make you bulk up – it will actually do the opposite. Increasing muscle mass will help you trim down, since lean muscle requires more energy, thus more calories are burned.

Adam Rosante, author of The 30-Second Body, explains, “The more lean muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn at rest.”

So you want to burn more calories while doing absolutely nothing? Pick up those weights.


5. Myth: Cardio Is Essential For Weight Loss

Truth: While cardio can help create the calorie deficit needed to lose weight, running everyday isn’t actually the best way to slim down since it doesn’t help you increase muscle mass.

To repeat (mainly for the ladies afraid of weights – you know who you are), strength training won’t make you bulk up. It will create lean muscle that will burn more calories at rest.


6. Myth: You Can Spot-Train To Reduce Fat In Certain Areas

Truth: Sadly, doing 100 crunches won’t help you lose more weight in your midsection. If you want to lose fat from a certain part of your body (we’re talking about you, love handles), you have to lose overall body fat. So if a trainer ever tells you that spot-training is a thing, take your money and run.