Mitchell Hooper Dispels 10 of the Biggest Fitness Myths

2023 was the year of “The Moose” Mitchell Hooper, and 2024 appears to be on a similar path for the 28-year-old Strongman. Hooper defended his title at the 2024 Arnold Strongman Classic, won the 2024 Arnold Strongman UK, and is set to compete next at the 2024 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) — his first WSM title defense attempt.

As the first Canadian to hold the WSM title in nearly 50 years, he will surely bring his best. During his prep, Hooper is still building upon the boom of his online presence and recently took to his YouTube channel to dispel 10 fitness myths. Check them out below:

[Related: Hafthor Björnsson Shares His 2024 Competition Schedule]

Myth #1: Specific Warm-Ups Are Crucial

A seemingly newer fitness trend is the notion that long, complex warm-ups are crucial before training. “You will never prevent every possible injury,” says Hooper. “Don’t overcomplicate your warm-up”. 

Instead, Hooper advises using the same exercise for warm-ups and working sets. For example, when performing squats, start with three to four light sets of squats, then gradually increase the weight.

Those with 45 minutes or more for an in-depth mobility routine can do yoga. Hooper reminded viewers that you can get away with shorter warm-up times in summer months (or in warmer climates).

Myth #2: There’s A Perfect Diet

Hooper doesn’t buy into “fad” diets that severely restrict, eliminate, or disproportionately prioritize specific foods and macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat). 

“In a Western world, we just need to focus on eating a general variety of foods,” meaning mostly balanced diets of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, etc. 

[Related: Luke Stoltman Wins 2024 Europe’s Strongest Man]

Myth #3: Exercise Helps You To Lose Weight 

Hooper isn’t calling exercise a myth but referring to increased hunger pangs from exercise, leading to overeating. For example, cardio or resistance training as a means of energy expenditure to achieve a calorie deficit can be undone by consuming too many calories.

Rather than trying to burn an unsustainable number of calories to achieve an energy (read: calorie) deficit, Hooper recommends making the adjustment in the kitchen.

The only way you’re going to lose is by dieting. 

Weekly exercise and daily movement are valuable for health, so to put it bluntly, discipline is needed to lose weight.

[Related: Does Running Burn Fat? The Science Behind This Cardio Myth]

Myth #4: Creatine Is A Gateway Drug

If you’re an early to mid-Gen Z’er, you may remember when gym bros compared creatine to steroids. Hooper was admittedly just as naive.

“I saw a guy throw a track shot put. He was shredded,” Hooper recounts. “I told my girlfriend at the time, I just need you to know that if I took creatine too, I would look exactly like that. But I’m just not because that’s not who I am”.

While Hooper knew little about creatine then, he now understands how beneficial the natural amino acid is for gains. 

I believe [creatine] is an absolute must for anyone who resistance trains to any extent.

Studied for decades and proven safe, creatine is the most effective ergogenic performance and muscle-building supplement in existence. Some literature even shows benefits for the brain. (1)

“Creatine has a phosphate molecule attached, phosphate cracks off, becomes ATP, that is then used for energy and movement,” explained Hooper, who recommends sticking with creatine monohydrate since it’s the most studied form.

Myth #5: The Pros Are Doing Something Different

There are no secret meetings or hyperbolic time chambers for elite athletes. Many train at the training facilities similar to routine gym-goers. “The basis of what they’re doing is working hard and being very consistent,” explains Hooper.

Hooper noted that elite athletes at the top of any sport have some genetic advantage lending to their success. “If you’re struggling to deadlift 100 kilograms (220.4 pounds) and you’re an adult male, give up your dream of winning World’s Strongest Man and just focus on becoming the strongest version of yourself.”

Regarding how genetics correlate with performance, Hooper deadlifted over 400 pounds (181.4 kilograms) before he started seriously training for pro strongman. Most people can only achieve this after years of training. 

Hooper’s go-to exercise to train for rotational sports is squats. “You get your power (To rotate) from the ground,” the kinesiologist shared with his viewers.

Myth #6: Carbs Are Evil

“Carbs are…incredibly delicious, and they make me very happy,” Hooper said. “Two, they are the energy source for exercise that lasts shorter than three minutes. [Carbs] are the primary energy source for any moderate to high-intensity aerobic work”. 

If you’re a high-performance athlete, quality carbohydrates are your best friend before, during, and after workouts, and you’d be hard-pressed to find any equal keto alternatives.

Myth #7: Fat Is Also Evil

Neither good nor bad fats will make you gain weight, but eating too many calories will.  To maintain health and bodily functions, we need healthy fats from foods like fish, grass-fed meats, pasture-raised eggs, nuts, quality dairy products, etc.

Two popular eating strategies, intermittent fasting and, more commonly, keto diets, effectively rely on dietary (and our own fat stores) as the primary energy source when glucose is in short supply. Some scientific literature suggests ketones are a more efficient energy source than glucose for the brain. (2)

There’s no evil when it comes to food.

[Related: Learn How to Make a Homemade Electrolyte Drink from a Certified Nutrition Coach]

Myth #8: Muscle and Strength Hacks 

Similar to myth five, there aren’t hacks to build muscle, per se. “I believe the thing that has made me a champion time and time again is that I don’t miss a day at the gym,” expressed Hooper. “I don’t miss a rep, I don’t miss a set, I don’t miss attempting anything for a decade.” 

Although elite athletes may have more training and performance insights from access to trainers and competitive environments, consistency is what matters most.

Myth #9: Aesthetics Reflect Your Health

It’s fairly common to associate those who look overweight as unhealthier than their thinner counterparts, but that’s not always the case. Hooper gave two examples of this misconception:

A shredded bodybuilder may have low body fat, but they’re well below the recommended healthy body fat

Some people have normal weight obesity syndrome or someone who appears to be of normal weight but has excess body fat, especially around the midsection. Lugging around too much belly or visceral fat is especially dangerous as it surrounds vital organs. (3)

Never judge a physique (including your own) by its appearance because aesthetics don’t tell the whole story. 

Myth #10: You Need To Be Perfect 

Last but not least. Most people drop out early in their fitness journeys due to boredom, lack of passion for their goals, or exercise not being a part of their job.

“In the end, you have to just do things you enjoy,” said Hooper. “You’re going to be consistent over the long run, and you won’t hate your life for it.”

Hooper is scheduled to defend his crown at the 2024 WSM contest from May 1-5, 2024, in Myrtle Beach, SC.


Buford TW, Kreider RB, Stout JR, Greenwood M, Campbell B, Spano M, Ziegenfuss T, Lopez H, Landis J, Antonio J. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2007 Aug 30;4:6. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-4-6. PMID: 17908288; PMCID: PMC2048496.

Jensen, N. J., Wodschow, H. Z., Nilsson, M., & Rungby, J. (2020). Effects of Ketone Bodies on Brain Metabolism and Function in Neurodegenerative Diseases. International journal of molecular sciences21(22), 8767.

Franco, L. P., Morais, C. C., & Cominetti, C. (2016). Normal-weight obesity syndrome: diagnosis, prevalence, and clinical implications. Nutrition reviews74(9), 558–570.

Featured image: @mitchellhooper on Instagram

The post Mitchell Hooper Dispels 10 of the Biggest Fitness Myths appeared first on BarBend.


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