Purpose The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge on sport and exercise science held by a sample of Brazilian physiotherapists, nutritionists and physical educators. Design/methodology/approach A cross-sectional research design was used. The answers given by 1,147 professionals (300 physiotherapists, 705 physical educators and 142 nutritionists) who participated in a qualifying process for a specialization course on exercise physiology were analyzed. Questions were analyzed on maximal oxygen uptake (4 questions), physical fitness assessment (3 questions), physical training (2 questions), bioenergetics (1 question) and exercise in extreme environments (1 question). Findings The results revealed misconceptions held by Brazilian health professionals on a number of concepts related to sport and exercise science, such as maximal oxygen uptake. Practical implications These results reinforce the need for continuing education programs to maximize the quality of the service provided by sport and exercise science professionals in Brazil. Improvements in the undergraduate courses curriculum are also recommended. Originality/value This is the first study to assess misconceptions about sport and exercise science among Brazilian health professionals.