11 POPULAR FITNESS QUOTES THAT ARE DEAD WRONG
Ah, fitness quotes…
You gotta love ’em!
There’s a scene in Rocky III where Apollo Creed yells; “THERE IS NO TOMORROW!!!” What?! There is no TOMORROW?! And we go with it, because it’s awesome!
But not everyone can be Apollo Creed…
You see, there are many fitness quotes (I’m sure you’ve heard some of these before) that are just downright silly or, in some cases, bloody dangerous advice.
So today I’m going to walk you through a selection of my favourites.
1. “NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS SKINNY FEELS”
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
This is dangerous advice because it encourages starvation as a form of weight loss, and that can lead people towards an eating disorder.
Besides, it’s factually incorrect! If nothing tasted as good as skinny “feels”, we wouldn’t be in the middle of an obesity epidemic.
Advice like this does more harm than good, because getting in shape is NOT about starving yourself or restricting your favourite things in exchange for abs. Getting in shape is about hard work, consistency, and creating a healthier relationship with food! (1, 2)
2. “NO PAIN, NO GAIN!”
The person who came up with this clearly couldn’t tell the difference between pain and gain.
You see, I love the intense build-up of metabolites within a muscle as I push it towards failure. It feels awesome and I live for that s**t. But that isn’t PAIN.
PAIN is when you stand on an upturned plug at full force.
PAIN should not be felt when you are lifting weights, because it usually means you’re doing something wrong.
3. “WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE?”
We’ve all seen the meme of super fit parents balancing their army of children with this tagline.
The first time I saw it I thought, “Oh, f**k you with a capital fist!” because this type fitness quote is both judgy and nasty. It just reinforces something any good coach has known for years – FAT SHAMING DOESN’T WORK!
Not only is it a poor motivational approach, it can cause some pretty grim mental health issues for the victims.
Speaking at the 2019 Canadian Obesity Summit, researchers from Concordia University explained that roughly 3/5 people experience body shaming at some time in their adult life. That’s a crazy statistic. Unfortunately, it can lead the victim down a dark path towards eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. The researchers also noted that many victims of body shaming begin ‘internalizing’ the issue (i.e. the more they’re around people who call them fat and useless, the more they begin putting themselves down). (4)
So don’t be a bellend.
4. “IF A THIRD GRADER CAN’T PRONOUNCE IT, DON’T EAT IT”
Just because something sounds scary, doesn’t mean it’s bad for you.
I mean, while writing this article today I’ve already had a cup of dehydrogen monoxide (water), and some methylxanthine alkaloid 1,3,7-trimethylpurine-2,6-dione (caffeine).
I’m feeling good!
But here’s the thing…
Uneducated ‘food bloggers’ love convincing their followers that all processed foods are loaded with evil toxins and chemicals that will wreck your body from the inside out.
The solution? Why, you gotta buy their very expensive supplements, of course!
Just ignore the fact that all supplements are PROCESSED. And ignore the fact that EVERYTHING is a chemical. Oh, and ignore the fact that during a 2009 study on the detox supplement industry NOT ONE of the worlds top supplement manufacturers could name any of the ‘toxins’ their products were designed to eliminate (seriously!). (5)
Anyway, this quote was beautifully assasinated by Yvette d’Entremont:
“Don’t base your diet on the pronunciation skills of an eight year old.”
5. “COUPLES WHO TRAIN TOGETHER STAY TOGETHER”
I’m not sure why there is a myth that training with your partner ensures compatibility.
I mean, if you’re an atomic f**knuckle at home, you’ll still be an atomic f**knuckle at the gym. The only difference here is that your significant other can now drop weights on you from above.
Besides, have you ever seen a gym couple implode?
It’s f**king spectacular.
(If you don’t know who your local ‘gym couple’ are, take a look around next time you train, you’ll see them – he’s orange, she only trains glutes.)
Some of these people deserve an Oscar for the levels of awkwardness they’re able to create in the weights room. At the beginning it’s all
f**king awful cute stuff like her sitting on his lap while he works the bench press; or gazing into eachothers eyes as they stroll on the treadmill (which is really uncomfortable if you’re on the treadmill inbetween), and him guiding her around the gym with his hand on her lower back like she’s a delicate little flower who might blow away if the air conditioning gets turned up too high. Until one day a social media post didn’t receive a ‘like’, so we end up in a situation where the guy trains with his male friends, the girl trains with her female friends, then they trade scornful glances across the cable stations until one of them moves gyms and the other drops a nuke on the entire relationship by posting a picture of the sea with a caption about “never making someone a priority when they treat you like an option.”
You’ve been warned.
6. “EAT LESS MOVE MORE”
The root of this popular saying is true, but there are two reasons it still makes the list.
First, it’s a sure-fire way to sound like a c**t.
Second, over-simplifying like this doesn’t help the person who is trying to lose weight. If anything, it makes them feel worse. Obesity often comes with a set of habits which have been built over a lifetime, and it’ll take both time and effort to change these.
It can be a serious amount of work, and “eat less, move more” doesn’t do it justice. It’s kinda like telling a drowning person to “sink less, swim more” or asking a homeless person to “poor less, rich more”.
7. “OBSESSED IS A WORD THE LAZY USE TO DESCRIBE THE DEDICATED”
Is it, though?
I mean… Jack the Ripper was both obsessed and dedicated. Doesn’t mean he was right.
Sure, some people might just be jealous and labelling you ‘obsessed’ makes it easier for them to mask their own unhappiness. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened. But maybe… just maybe… it’s because you genuinely never shut up about Juice Plus, Susan.
8. “GET KNOCKED DOWN SEVEN TIMES, GET UP EIGHT”
This one is often thrown around by Instagrammers who post butt pics with 900 word captions that essentially just say “don’t quit”.
But do you even math, bro?
If you get knocked down seven times, you can’t get up eight.
So while we’re talking crazy, I’ve heard that if you sneeze and fart at the same time your body takes a screenshot.
9. “UNLESS YOU PUKE, FAINT, OR DIE… KEEP GOING”
Ooh, you’re hard.
This will be on the t-shirt of that guy at your gym who dry scoops his pre workout and listens to the 300 soundtrack during biceps curls.
Unfortunately, it’s a quote which leads many people to their local physio.
Working out is not about killing yourself every single time. Morons do that. We need to get rid of the illusion that every session needs to be an absolute war in order for it to be productive, because having helped thousands of men and women transform their bodies over the last 20 years I can confirm nobody is “on it” all the time.
In fact, it’s perfectly normal for a lot of your workouts to feel like regular days, where you didn’t feel like anything special and you performed a solid workout that got the job done. You’ll also have a sprinkling of absolutely terrible workouts where you’ll feel bloated and/or hangry, and a few monstrous workouts where you train like an absolute machine.
The results come from the entire journey, not just the good days.
10. “HATERS ARE MY MOTIVATORS”
Many of first joined a gym after being on the receiving end of a nasty comment, or constant little put-downs from a family member.
Heck, I joined my first gym after a doctor told me I’d never walk again.
But listen up…
While ‘proving someone wrong’ is definitely a good way to get started, studies show that most people need to learn how to channel our OWN source of motivation in order to unlock real, lasting change. (3)
I wrote a dedicated piece of content on this topic right here which goes into more depth on the different motivational drivers involved in a successful body transformation, but the crux of the matter is about replacing external motivation with intrinsic motivation at some point in our journey.
(This means learning how to set your own goals, training for your own reasons, etc.)
You see, those so-called “haters” are not a good source of motivation in the long-term. They might light an initial fire in your belly, but nobody can stay angry all the time (not even me) and you’ll quickly realize that those fools were only putting you down out of fear you’d succeed. Once they realize they can’t convince you to quit, they’ll fold and try to become your best mate (I’ve seen this too many times to count!).
Plus, it’s never good to be motivated by ‘hate’, right? Your fitness journey should be fun.
I mean, we live in a society of fragile egos, where people let ‘likes & shares’ determine their their self worth, and the opinions of strangers have a much bigger impact on our self confidence than it should. It’s not a good place to be. I enocurage you to break the cycle; because the moment you learn how to stop giving a f**k what others think, you will become more powerful and more free than you ever thought you could be.
^^^ Read that again.
11. “A WOMAN AT THE GYM IS SEXIER THAN A GIRL AT THE CLUB”
Are we saying the women in clubs don’t also go to the gym? Orrrrrrr are we saying you like to perve over ladies while they train? My money’s on the latter.
- Smith C. F., et al. Flexible vs. Rigid dieting strategies: relationship with adverse behavioral outcomes. Appetite (1999).
- Leibel R. L., et al. Energy intake required to maintain body weight is not affected by wide variation in diet composition . Am J Clin Nutr (1992).
- Teixeira, P. J., et al. Exercise, physical activity, and self-determination theory: A systematic review. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act (2012).
- Vogel L. Fat shaming is making people sicker and heavier. CMAJ (2019).
- Blachford A., et al. The Voice Of Young Science brings you; the detox dossier. (2009).