Fundamental Fitness Jargon
- A Rep (short for repetition) – A rep consists of three phases. The first phase, typically called the concentric phase, consists of lifting the weight via muscle contraction. The second phase is typically referred to as the transition or peak contraction phase, and is reached at the midpoint of the lift when the muscle is fully contracted. The third and final phase called the eccentric phase consists of lowering the weight as the muscles relax.
- A Set – consists of many reps preformed one after another without any rest between. A set could consist of performing a certain number of reps that has been established as a goal, or may consist of performing as many reps as possible with a certain time limit.
- Aerobic Exercise – aerobic means that oxygen is required, so aerobic exercise occurs when you perform exercise at a pace that allows your lungs to supply adequate oxygen to meet your body’s needs. Aerobic exercise is performed at low to moderate intensity due to the fact that they’re typically performed over a relatively extended periods of time. Examples of aerobic exercises include distance running, elliptical machines, stair climbing, and cycling.
- Anaerobic Exercise – occurs when the exercise performed at a level of intensity that is high enough to trigger anaerobic metabolism. Examples of anaerobic exercises include sprinting, HIIT training, and Tabata training.
- Muscle Failure – occurs when your body is physically unable to perform an exercise to a fully contracted position. I don’t mean when you’re really tired, I mean that if I stuck a crisp $100.00 bill in your face and said it’s yours if you can do one more rep, I should be leaving with my money. Some lifters take failure even further by doing partial reps (“cheater” reps) until the muscle is incapable of contracting even a couple of inches. Using this method requires your body to call on smaller less used muscles to assist the larger ones in lifting the weight.
- “Cheat Reps” – Reps performed typically at the end of a set that are performed using muscles not typically called upon during a specific exercise. For instance a person performing curls may begin bending at their waist and arching their back in order to squeak out a few more repetitions. Though the method can be used to assist an individual with reaching a deeper level of muscle failure, it also can lead to a greater risk of injury.
- Drop Set – A lifting technique in which a lighter weight is used immediately after reaching failure with a heavier weight. An example of this method is doing dumbbell curls with 35 lb dumbbells until failure, and then immediately grabbing 30 lb dumbbells for a set until failure, followed by a set of 25 lb dumbbells to failure.
- Extended Set – a method that involves arranging your workout routine so that each successive lift puts your body in a stronger position than the previous. One extended set is completed by doing a set of each of the exercises you chose to include one after another without any rest.
- Superset – performed when two exercises are done back-to-back with no rest in between. The exercises may focus on the same muscle, or may target complementary muscle groups. An example of a superset could be following up a set of cable tricep pushdowns with a set of reverse grip tricep pushdowns.
- HIIT (high intensity interval training) – HIIT training is aerobic training that consists of a relatively short warm-up period followed by several short maximum intensity bursts that are separated by moderate recovery periods, and concluded with a cool down period. Much of the research suggests that HIIT is considerably more effective at improving VO2Max than training at a moderate level.
- Lean Body Mass – determined by subtracting fat storage from total body mass (weight).
- BMI (Body Mass Index) – A number from 13 to 60 that is calculated by using a person’s height and weight. A “healthy weight” is found in the range from 19 to 24. I don’t really support BMI as a measure of someone’s health, especially for those who have developed greater than average muscle mass through strength training. The CDC states “BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people…”
- BMR– stands for Basal Metabolic Rate, and is defined as the amount of energy your body expends/burns when at rest. It assumes that your body is in a post-absorptive state, meaning that your digestion system is inactive (requires about 12 hours of fasting), and that you’re in an environment with a moderate temperature.
- Body Fat Percentage – is determined by taking the total weight of a person’s fat and dividing it by their total weight. The percentage given consists of both essential body fat, and storage body fat. Body fat percentage is a far more accurate measurement than BMI (Body Mass Index) for those with greater than average muscle mass, as the BMI scale typically incorrectly places such individuals in the overweight or obese categories. That National Institute of Health recommends that a healthy adult male should have a body fat percentage of between 6 and 24 percent, while a healthy adult female should have a body fat percentage between 14 and 31 percent.
- One Rep Max (1RM) – the maximum amount you can lift for a specific exercise, hence you can only do 1 rep.
- Negatives – the eccentric phase (when the muscle is relaxing) of a lift in weight training. Typically you can lift about 40% doing a negative phase workout compared to what you can lift during the positive phase of a workout. Some call it the most important part of weight exercises as it lengthens muscles and helps you to reach complete and total muscle failure. It’s easy to do on your own with machines, but typically requires a spotter for free weights.
- Plates – generic term used in reference to the 45 lb weights/plates common at most gyms.
- The Pump – Described somewhat famously by Arnold Schwarzenegger as “the greatest feeling you can get in a gym”, “the pump” refers to the feeling you get when blood rushes to the muscle(s) your working and swells it up.
- Spotter – someone who assists with lifts, particularly when you’re pushing the limits of your physical ability. Lifting with a spotter allows you to lift more weight than they could normally do safely, as they’re there to assist you if your muscles give out before you’ve completed a rep and put the weight back in the starting position. Spotters are invaluable for their ability to help you work your muscles until absolute failure.
- Stacking – typically the term “stacking” refers to taking two or more supplements together to enhance the benefits of each. For example, many lifters often stack glutamine with protein powder after a tough lifting session.
- Ripped – used to describe someone who may or may not have a lot of muscle, but who definitely has low body fat. This makes the muscles you do have look very defined and cut.
- Guns – term used to describe large arms, especially in reference to large biceps.
- VO2Max – A measurement of your body’s ability to take in and use oxygen. As the intensity of exercise increases, so does the rate that your body consumes oxygen. VO2Max is the point at which an increase in intensity will not result in an increase in your body’s oxygen consumption due to your own physical limitations.
- Calorie –
- Processed Foods – Foods that are altered from their natural state via methods that include dehydration refrigeration, freezing, canning, and aseptic processing. The primary reasons for processing are safety standards, or for the sake of convenience.
Popular Classes Defined:
- Zumba – a fitness program that is a mixture of dance and aerobic elements, characterized by strong Latin influences. It was created by a Columbian named Alberto “Beto” Perez in the 1990s. Classes generally incorporate movements inspired from hip-hop, samba, salsa, meringue, and mambo dance styles, as well as some martial arts and belly dance moves. A typical Zumba class will burn between 500 and 1,000 calories.
- Spin – Spin or indoor cycling classes are classes that use stationary bikes that allow participants to adjust the difficulty of the workout via a flywheel system. The classes are lead by an instructor who directs the class through a progression that draws on 6 basic body positions to the sounds of driving dance, techno, or rock music.
- Boot Camp – classes that typically involve bursts of high intensity by combining calisthenics with strength training with interval training. The name comes from the fact that many of the exercises resemble those performed in a military boot camp.