Let’s Break Down the Fitness Lingo A-Z (Part 1)
Do you ever walk into your group exercise class or are working out in the gym and you hear all kinds of terms being thrown around and you have no clue what they mean? You are not alone! There is a lot of fitness lingo out there and sometimes it’s hard to keep up with it, especially if you are new to the gym arena or fitness in general. I’m here today to help break down the lingo for you so that you can head to the gym with confidence or get the most bang for your buck with your at home workouts. Knowledge is power and the more you know about fitness terminology, the more you can seek to grow and improve in your fitness goals.
Let’s start from A- F this week and work our way through some of the most common fitness terminology. We will finish with F – Z next week, so stay tuned!
Active Recovery– Low intensity exercises and activities that follow a more strenuous exercise day. It helps heal the body/muscles back to pre-training levels. The goal is to increase the heart rate and get blood flowing to the muscles to clear out any leftover metabolic waste (i.e. lactic acid) causing muscle soreness and fatigue. Examples include walking, biking, yoga, and swimming.
Activities of Daily Living (ADL)- A term used to describe fundamental skills required for an individual to independently care for oneself. These daily self-care activities include bathing, feeding, dressing, homemaking, mobility, and leisure activities.
Aerobic Activity- Physical exercise (also known as ‘cardio’) of low to high intensity that raises the heart rate and increases the rate of breathing. Aerobic refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism. Examples of aerobic activity include walking, running/jogging, swimming, rowing, and cycling.
Anaerobic Activity– Anaerobic means ‘without oxygen’ meaning that this type of exercise breaks down glucose stored in your muscles for energy without using oxygen. Anaerobic exercise is high intensity, high power exercise such as high intensity interval training, sprinting, biking, or some forms of weight lifting.
Body Composition– Our body weight broken down into its various components such as fat, protein, lean muscle tissue, bone density, and water. It is a more accurate depiction of your overall health. A body composition scan will analyze your body fat vs. lean muscle mass.
Body Mass Index (BMI)- A person’s BMI is determined based on their height and weight. It is calculated by dividing the person’s weight in kilograms by the square height in meters. BMI does not take into account a person’s body composition (i.e. lean muscle mass or body fat).
Boot Camp– A type of physical training designed to increase strength and fitness through various exercises that may or may not be modeled after military style fitness training. Boot camp style workouts can be performed at gyms, by personal trainers, indoors or outdoors. Boot camp offers a lot of flexibility and diversity for exercise training.
Cardiovascular Exercise– This is another name for aerobic exercise and we often refer to it as ‘cardio’. This type of exercise relies on the aerobic energy generating process, which uses oxygen as its energy source. The CDC recommends adults do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular activity each week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise (or a combination of both). For cardiovascular benefits, aim to spend 20-60 minutes doing cardio exercise in your target heart rate zone.
Calisthenics– A variety of exercises that work large muscle groups, relying on a person’s body weight as their resistance. Exercises include movements such as pushing, pulling, bending, jumping, or swinging. These types of exercises help to improve and develop strength, endurance, flexibility, and coordination.
Circuit– One completion or ‘round’ of all exercises in a set, typically with strength training or high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. Example circuit: 10 squats, 10 push-ups, 10 tricep dips
Circuit Training– A type of exercise regimen that works to train different muscle groups. Circuit training allows you to work on cardio, muscular endurance, and strength training at the same time, which is the best combination for building lean muscle and burning fat at the same time. One ‘circuit’ is one completion of all of the set exercises in the program and then you repeat from the beginning. Circuit training is different from interval training where you push through high intensity moves, going all out and alternate with rest periods or low intensity moves.
Cool Down– Your exercise session should end gradually by slowing down. You can cool down by changing your pace to a less intense activity (i.e. running to walking) or by stretching. Your cool down should last approximately 5 minutes to allow your body to relax and recover.
Core– Your core is the midsection of your body that includes the muscles around the front, back, and sides of your body. The muscles making up our core include internal and external obliques, transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, multifidus, and the pelvic floor muscles. Our core muscles are deep within the abdominals and back and attach to the spine or pelvis. Our core muscles are the main stabilizers for the entire body.
Compound Exercise– An exercise move that incorporates multiple muscle groups such as squats, deadlifts, and lunges. It can also involve a movement that combines two movements such as a bicep curl to a shoulder press or a deadlift to an upright row. These types of compound exercises are efficient and effective for increasing muscle mass, strength, and burning more calories as compound exercises require more effort than isolated exercises (a single bicep curl alone).
Cross Training– Involves mixing various types of exercise and training methods to develop a specific area of fitness. The benefits of cross training include a reduced risk of injury, improved total fitness, and enhanced weight loss. Cross training aims to pair workouts that support one another such as swimming with running or boot camp and a spin class.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)- DOMS is muscle pain/soreness that typically occurs 1-2 days after a strenuous workout. It is caused by eccentric exercise (the tension and lengthening of muscles) which causes microtears in the muscle fibers. Our muscles adapt to these microtears by increasing inflammation to the damaged sites, leading to delayed muscle soreness.
Dynamic Warm-Up– A warm-up that involves active movement, taking your body through ranges of motion to prepare your body for your workout routine. Unlike static stretching, a dynamic warm-up does not involve holding a stretch. Dynamic warm-up moves should mimic the movements you will be doing in your workout. The purpose of a dynamic warm-up is to increase blood flow and oxygen to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments and increase range of motion.
Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC)- This can also be called the afterburn effect because your body continues to burn calories after your high intensity workout is finished. EPOC is the increased consumption of oxygen within the body and the calories it burns to recover from exercise. High intensity exercise generates a greater EPOC or afterburn than lower intensity exercise because of the increased demands on the body and the higher amounts of oxygen needed to recover.
Flexibility– The range of motion for a given joint. The ability to move joints effectively through a complete range of motion.
Foam Rolling– Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release technique using a foam roller. Foam rolling can be utilized to help relieve muscle tension, break up lactic acid causing soreness, decrease inflammation, and increase your range of motion. Foam rollers are cylinder shaped but can come in varying densities and sizes. It is beneficial to incorporate foam rolling into your warm-up and cool-down routine when exercising.
Functional Move– Functional moves are based on real life situational biomechanics such as lifting a heavy box or carrying grocery bags. Functional movements typically involve using multiple muscle groups and moving in multiple planes of motion increasing the involvement of the core muscles.
Ok that is all for today! That was a lot of definitions….hopefully you learned something new and can incorporate these terms in your fitness regiment and know what they mean! Being able to navigate the gym or your group exercise classes with confidence is SO important!