Fitness terms you should know. I’ve been working in or around the fitness industry for many years now, but I still remember how at the beginning it was hard to keep up with all of the terminology. It always seems like the more you learn, the less you know. While you certainly don’t need to know everything, I believe that knowledge is power and having the basics, at the very least, can only be beneficial to you.
FITNESS TERMS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Aerobic exercise. Aerobic actually means “with oxygen” Any rhythmic activity that increases the body’s need for oxygen by using large muscle groups continuously for at least 10 minutes. The term aerobic means “with oxygen.”
Anaerobic exercise. These are short bursts of high intensity (think sprints or weight lifting) exercise that will often leave you feeling breathless.
Body composition. Simply, it’s the amount of lean muscle vs the amount of fat in your body.
Body mass index. This is your height to weight ratio. It’s calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in centimetres squared. Keep in mind that this number is just a guide, as it can be inaccurate if you have a larger frame or if you are very athletic with lots of muscle mass.
Concentric. This is the force your muscle produces, as it is shortening. Picture the classic biceps curl.
Core. The core is comprised of much more than just your abdominal muscles. It also includes your hips, obliques and lower back.
Eccentric contraction. This is in reference to your muscle lengthening as they straighten. Picture your arm straightening after a biceps curl.
Endorphins. These are the “feel good” hormones your body produces when you workout.
Isometric exercises. This is when you are working your muscles, but they aren’t lengthening or shortening. Picture yourself carrying a heavy bag or pushing against a wall.
Lactic acid. This is a build up of lactate in your muscles when you are performing anaerobic exercises (aka your muscles aren’t getting enough oxygen). Lactic acid acts like fuel for your muscles when you are involved in high intensity workouts.
Rate of perceived exertion (RPE). On a scale of 1-10, how you are feeling physically and mentally with regards to exercise fatigue.
Of course, this is just a small selection of fitness and health terms but if you workout on a regular basis, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with them. Talking to trainers or physiotherapists is much easier when you can speak their language.
Looking for an explanation for a term I’ve missed? Please leave it in the comments!