Trainers Reveal the Worst Fitness Advice They've Heard

By John Papp

When your career is helping others with their fitness and you spend your work week in the gym, you tend to come across some...let’s say, questionable, advice that clients have received or we ourselves have received.

The “best,” worst advice, that I have ever received is the ever constant, “Full body workouts are only work for beginners.”   

Sure, full body workouts work great for beginners and are arguably the best option for someone just starting out in the weight room. But you don’t have to leave the full body split behind as you progress past those “newbie gains.” 

I am a very big proponent of full body workouts at all levels, for almost any goal. Whether you are trying to slim down, gain mass, get stronger, or improve sports performance, they can be very useful. As a plus, you won’t have to spend as much time in the gym but you can still get great results.

Let’s compare a few styles of splits and just examine one movement. For this example, we will use the squat.

In a 6 day split, you would only find one or two days that include some form of a squat. In a upper/lower split you will most likely find yourself squatting two days a week. Now, lets compare that to a three day full body split. Don't you think that is going to be better for gains?

That said, there is a caveat. Just like Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, “With great power comes great responsibility.” It is important to control intensity of the various lifts in a full body split. Because we are squatting, hinging, pressing, pulling, and carrying three times per week we must control the intensity and total volume for the day and adjust based on how our body feels. Consider cycling through a low, medium, and high intensity day for each main movement pattern to control.

Give it a shot. I think you may be surprised!

In order to share some of the best stories and worst advice, I recruited a handful of fellow coaches and friends from across the country to find out the worst fitness advice they've heard.


Johnny Tea

Strength Coach, Manual Therapist

"I would have to say the worst fitness advice I've heard someone receive is the need to pick only one diet to lose weight. 

There are so many different types of diets (ex: flexible dieting, ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting, carb cycling, etc.) and the key thing to remember is they ALL work because each diet has strategies and rules in place to help you eat fewer calories (usually by eliminating processed foods which are high-calorie foods). 

What it really comes down to is which diet is sustainable for you, allows you to continue making progress in the gym, and doesn't deprive you of the foods you enjoy."

Where to find Johnny:

Instagram: johnny_tea_


Justin Ochoa

Strength Coach 

“When John told me about this topic, my brain was flooded with a flurry of really funny (but, kind of not) memories of really bad fitness advice I’ve heard over the years. Before I detail the absolute worst advice I’ve ever received, I want to take some time to highlight some fantastic runners up.

'Muscle weighs more than fat.' Umm, what? One pound is one pound. One pound of muscle weighs the same as one pound of fat. I don’t understand how this could ever be advice, but here we are in 2018 still hearing it.

'Lifting weights will bulk you up.' Sorry, but getting ‘bulky’ is extremely difficult. Trust me, I’ve been trying to get bulky for 10+ years and it’s not going great. People think adding any type of resistance training is going to add size. In all reality, your body composition is very dependent on caloric intake. Lifting weights won’t add bulk, but it can help you add size with the right nutritional plan.

Okay, now that I’ve got those off my mind, I want to share the absolute worst piece of fitness advice I’ve ever heard. 

'No pain, no gain.'  Lifting weights doesn’t tickle. You have to push yourself to great levels to add strength and/or size. With that being said, you should NEVER train in pain.

Pain is different than momentary discomfort, acute soreness, or just general difficulty. Pain is unhealthy and SHOULD NOT be ignored. This is your body, which is extremely complex and smart, trying to tell you that something isn’t right.

Ignoring those signs by “toughing it out,” is only going to lead you to darker levels of pain.

No pain, no gain is a terrible approach to fitness. Being “hardcore” seems cool, but even the most badass lifters in every gym will tell you that nothing about pain is fun. Pain-free lifting is the key to longevity and ultimately lifelong results. Chase progress, not pain."

Where to find Justin:

Instagram : @justin_m_ochoa


Mitch Gill

Strength Coach, Athletic Trainer

“The worst advice that I have heard when it comes to general fitness is that 'you should be going all out in every workout.'

Sure training hard is important to see results but sometimes going all out when things just don’t feel right can have the opposite effect you may be looking for. It could lead to a drop in results and even lead to injury. The thing is the injury may not happen in that workout but could present itself down the line.

Pick your spots on when to train hard.

It could be as simple as 1 to 2 hard training sessions a week over the long haul with the occasional a 4-6 week phase where you really hammer it hard.

Remember, your body is just like a car, if you are driving it hard every day, eventually it will break down.” 

Where to find Mitch:

Instagram: @gilltrainingsystems


Kevin Warren

Strength Coach

“When my wife was pregnant with our son, I went with her to the OBGYN for one of her routine check-ups. The results of her blood test showed that her blood sugar levels were slightly elevated. Nothing to be too concerned about, but the doctor took us into her office to discuss some precautionary measures.

'Do your best to avoid processed sugars.'

'Stay away from soda.'

'Exercise regularly.'

'Don’t eat any food after 6 PM...'

That’s right, a doctor literally told my 8 month pregnant wife not to eat at night.

My hand clenched my wife’s, and she already knew what I was thinking. I could tell by the look on her face that she didn’t want me to make a big deal about it, but I had to question it.

I asked, 'Why shouldn’t she eat anything after 6 PM?' The doctor nonchalantly replied, 'Because anything you eat after 6 PM just turns into fat.'


Needless to say, we didn’t take her advice and neither should you. Nutrients don’t just magically turn to fat if you consume them after 6PM.”

Where to find Kevin:

Instagram: @kevinwarrenfitness

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