The Fitness industry has some many Fitness terms. Here is a list to help guide you to your optimal self. I have also added links to the relevant page to expand on the info. To help make your decisions. Happy reading.
A to Z of fitness terms
Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)- Physical tasks of everyday living, such as bathing, and walking up the stairs. ADLs are usually factored into a person’s basal metabolic rate, so tracking calories burned for these types of movement isn’t recommended when trying to lose weight.
Aerobic exercise- 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.”
Agonist muscle- A muscle that is very effective in causing a certain joint movement. Also called the prime mover. On a biceps curl, the biceps is the agonist muscle that flexes the elbow joint.
Amenorrhea- The absence of menstruation, commonly found in women with a very low body fat percentage and/or exercise excessively.
Fitness Terms: B
Beta-blockers- Type of medication that reduces heart rate. Exercisers who take beta-blockers will have a lower heart rate at rest and during exercise, so the target heart rate formula cannot be used in this case.
Bioelectrical impedance- This method of measuring body composition is based on the fact that the lean tissue of the body is much more conductive due to its higher water content than fat tissue. The more lean tissue present in the body, the greater the conductive potential, measured in ohms.
Fitness Terms: C
Cardiovascular system- A complex system consisting of the heart and blood vessels; transports nutrients, oxygen, and enzymes throughout the body and regulates temperature, water levels of cells, and acidity levels of body components.
Circuit training- Takes the participant through a series of exercise stations (which could also include strength training), with relatively brief rest intervals between each station. The purpose is to keep the heart rate elevated near the aerobic level without dropping off. The number of stations may range from 4 to 10.
Cortisol- A hormone secreted by the adrenal gland that makes stored nutrients more readily available to meet energy demands. These hormone levels increase under stress, which can stimulate your appetite, leading to weight gain or difficulty losing weight.
Detraining Principle- This principle says that once consistent exercise stops, you will eventually lose the strength that you built up. Without overload or maintenance, muscles will weaken in two weeks or less.
Diastolic blood pressure- The pressure exerted by the blood on the vessel walls during the resting portion of the cardiac cycle, measured in millimeters of mercury. The diastolic number is the bottom of the fraction. 120/80 is an average value for normal blood pressure (80 is the diastolic number). Mild high blood pressure is considered to be between 140/90 and 160/95. High blood pressure is defined by a value greater than 160/95.
DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)- Muscle soreness or discomfort that appears 12 to 48 hours after exercise. It is most likely due to microscopic tears in the muscle tissue, and it usually requires a couple of days for the repair and rebuilding process to be completed. The muscle tissue grows back stronger, leading to increased muscle mass and strength.
Electrolytes- Salts (ions) found in bodily fluids. Pertaining to exercise, your body loses electrolytes (sodium, potassium) when you sweat. These electrolytes need to be replaced to keep concentrations constant in the body, which is why many sports drinks include electrolytes.
EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption)- This explains why your breathing rate remains heavy for a few minutes after finishing a workout. Your body needs more oxygen after a workout in order to restore the oxygen stores in the blood and tissues and to meet the oxygen requirements of the heart rate, which is still elevated.
Fitness Terms: F
Fitness Terms: G
Graded Exercise Test (Incremental Exercise Test)- An exercise test involving a progressive increase in work rate over time. Often graded exercise tests are used to determine the subject’s maximum oxygen consumption or lactic threshold.
Fitness Terms: H
Heat stroke- A deadly heat stress illness resulting from dehydration and overexertion in warm or hot conditions; can cause body core temperature to rise from normal to 100 or 105 degrees Fahrenheit in just a few minutes.
High impact- Activities that place more stress on the bones and joints, where your limbs are actually making contact with the ground or other surfaces with force. Examples include walking, running, step aerobics, and sports that involve impacts, like basketball or tennis.
Hydrostatic (underwater) weighing- This method of measuring body composition is considered the “gold standard” and is based on the assumption that density and specific gravity of lean tissue is greater than that of fat tissue. By comparing test subject’s mass measured underwater and out of the water, body composition may be calculated.
Fitness Terms: I
Incremental Exercise Test (Graded Exercise Test)- An exercise test involving a progressive increase in work rate over time. Often these tests are used to determine the subject’s maximum oxygen consumption or lactic threshold.
Interval training- Repeated intervals of exercise interspersed with intervals of relatively light exercise. This type of training provides a means of performing large amounts of high-intensity exercise in a short period of time.
Fitness Terms: K
Ketosis- A condition in which the body adapts to prolonged fasting or carbohydrate deprivation by converting body fat to ketones, which can be used as fuel for some brain activity. The real danger in ketosis is that ketones are acidic, and high levels of ketones make the blood abnormally acid.
Fitness Terms: L
Lactic acid- Once thought of as a waste substance that builds up in the muscles when they are not getting enough oxygen, leading to muscle fatigue and soreness. Now, experts believe that lactic acid is beneficial to the body, acting as a “fuel” to help people continue high-intensity (anaerobic) exercise even when oxygen consumption is low.
Lactic threshold- The point at which the level of lactic acid in the blood suddenly increases (during exercise). This is a good indication of the highest sustainable work rate. Also known as the anaerobic threshold.
Low impact- Activities that place less stress on the bones and joints. These are better for people with joint pain, and overweight individuals whose weight can hurt their joints. Examples include swimming, elliptical, cycling, and other activities where your feet (or other body parts) aren’t touching the ground with force or where you are somehow supported.
Fitness Terms: M
MET- An expression of the energy it takes to sit quietly. It is frequently used as a measure of intensity on cardiovascular machines (treadmill, stationary bike, etc.) For example, moderate intensity activities are those that get you moving fast enough or strenuously enough to burn off three to six times as much energy per minute as you do when you are sitting quietly, measured as 3-6 METs.
Moderate intensity- Activities that range from 40-60% of max heart rate. These activities cause a slightly increased rate of breathing and feel light to somewhat-hard. Individuals doing the activity at this intensity can easily carry on a conversation.
Fitness Terms: O
Overload Principle- This principle says that in order to train muscles, they must work harder than they are accustomed to. This “overload” will result in increased strength as the body adapts to the stress placed upon it.
Fitness Terms: P
Plateau- Point in an exercise program where no additional progress is being made (gains in strength, weight loss, increased endurance, etc). One way to break through a plateau is to change the kind of activity you are doing or something about your current activity- adding hills, increasing speed, increasing distance, etc.
Plyometric training- Exercises that enable a muscle to reach maximal force production in as short a time as possible. For example, jumping from a 3 ft. stool to the ground and immediately springing back up to another stool.
Fitness Terms: R
Fitness Terms: S
Skinfold measurements- This method of measuring body composition assumes that substantial fat is proportional to overall body fat, and thus by measuring several sites, total body fat may be calculated.
Specificity of Training Principle- This principle says that only the muscle or muscle group you exercise will respond to the demands placed upon it. By regularly doing curls, for example, the muscles involved (biceps) will become larger and stronger, but curls will have no effect on the muscles that are not being trained. Therefore, when strength training, it is important to strengthen all of the major muscles.
Systolic blood pressure- The pressure exerted on the vessel walls during ventricular contraction, measured in millimeters of mercury. The systolic number is at the top of the fraction. 120/80 is an average value for normal blood pressure (120 is the systolic number). Mild high blood pressure is considered to be between 140/90 and 160/95. High blood pressure is defined by a value greater than 160/95.
Fitness Terms: T
Talk test- Method to ensure you are working out at a level where you can answer a question but not comfortably carry on a conversation. This is a good intensity level for weight loss and improved physical fitness.
Testosterone- The steroid hormone produced in the testes; involved in growth and development of muscle mass. Since men have more testosterone than women, they are able to gain muscle mass more easily.
Type IIB muscle fibers- Fibers that have a relatively small number of mitochondria, a limited capacity for aerobic metabolism, and are less resistant to fatigue than slow fibers (more prevalent in sprinters and powerlifters).
Fitness Terms: V
Fitness Terms: W
Waist to hip ratio- A calculation of the proportion of fat stored on your body around your waist and hips. Formula: waist measurement divided by the hip measurement. Women should have a ratio of 0.8 or less; men should have a ratio of .95 or less.
Fitness Terms: Y
Yoga- A variety of Indian traditions geared toward self-discipline and the realization of unity; includes forms of exercise widely practiced in the West today that promote balance, coordination, flexibility, and meditation.