Ellie is the acting assistant digital editor for Healthy Food Guide. She loves cooking, dabbles in Crossfit and is a true believer that peanut butter makes everything better.

”Weight-training will make you bulky”.

”You didn’t workout hard enough if you’re not sore”

”You should never do cardio and weight-training together!”

We’ve heard them all. It can be difficult to separate the fact from the fallacy when it comes to the old gym-related rumour mill, but we’re hear to sort the sense from the downright silly! With the help of our friends at PureGym, we’ve addressed the 6 most common myths believed by gym goers in the UK – that aren’t actually true! The rule of thumb ladies: don’t be afraid of the weights room! 

The myth: Cardio is the best way to lose weight

The truth: While cardio is a great way to increase your energy expenditure, it’s important to remember that aerobic exercises such as running, cycling and swimming burn both fat and muscle. Muscle has a huge impact on your basal metabolic rate (how many calories you burn at rest) so the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn just by sitting at your desk (for example). So, while cardio is great at creating a big calorie blast in one session, weight training has been shown to increase the number of calories burnt after exercise.

The myth: Lifting weights will make you bulky

The truth: The idea that lifting weights will cause women to gain a bulkier physique is far from the truth. While there are female athletes who may have increased their muscle mass considerably through training, it takes years and years to build the sort of muscle that professional athletes do. In reality, research shows that women do not have enough testosterone to build the same amount of muscle as men – it’s definitely not something that happens overnight! If you’re a beginner, you may notice faster muscle growth when you’re first starting out – often referred to as ‘newbie gains’ – but rate of growth slows as soon as you become more experienced.

The myth: Women should do different exercises to men

The truth: There is no reason why men and women should perform different exercises in the gym. While men and women may want to perform certain movements in order to target different areas for muscle growth, gender does not come into play when it comes to how we choose to workout. While you may want to focus on improving upper or lower body strength, for example, it’s important to train the body as a whole, too. We use our full body all the time, so functional fitness is key!

The myth: Not feeling sore means you didn’t get a good workout

The truth: If you’ve ever practiced weight-training, or any other strenuous physical activity, chances are you’ve experienced DOMS (Delated Onset Muscle Soreness). It’s the achy feeling you experience the next day (or even two days) after exercise and can be a sign that you’ve worked your muscles really (or even too) hard.

However, if you don’t feel sore after a workout, that doesn’t mean it was a bad session. We asked PureGym Insider Kay to explain:

“Muscle soreness comes from microtears in muscle, mostly from new exercise or stimulus. You will usually feel a lot of muscle soreness when starting a new programme or exercise regime as your body is pushed beyond what it is used to. These microtears are necessary for your muscles to grow but require adequate rest and nutrition for your body to repair and re-build your muscle fibres.

The stronger you get and the more your body adjusts to the new stimulus, the less soreness you will experience so that’s not to say you didn’t get a good workout. You shouldn’t be feeling sore after every workout and you certainly shouldn’t feel pain. There’s a fine line between challenging yourself and hurting yourself so make sure to find that right balance.”

The myth: If you don’t sweat you didn’t work out properly

The truth: Sweating is just a response to an increase in core temperature by telling your body to cool down. In reality, some people just sweat more than others. It’s as simple as that!

The myth: You shouldn’t do cardio on the same day as weight training

The truth: The important thing to remember if you’re doing cardio and weight-training in the same session, is to make sure you’re recovering enough between each workout. If you’re looking to build muscle, you need to be in an energy surplus so make sure you’re getting adequate nutrition to reach your goals. There’s no reason why you can’t build muscle and still do cardio as well, though. In fact, doing some sort of aerobic exercise, such as running or cycling, is a good thing to maintain overall cardiovascular health.

*Data collected from a poll of 149 PureGym managers.