Fitness Terms & Phrases

Welcome to the world of fitness. A world with its entirely own ecosystem and language. If you’re brand new to working out, there are some common words and terms that you’ll probably hear and should know, that way you can keep up!

As they say, “Knowledge is power!”

Here is a list of some of the most commonly used words, terms, and phrases in the gym:

Aerobic exercise: quite simply, think cardio. Any form of activity over a long period of time (at least 20 minutes) that gets you breathing heavily. Intensity is based entirely on your own body and fitness level, as different levels of intensity effect individuals differently.

Anaerobic exercise: the opposite of aerobic, so not cardio and not heavy breathing over a long period of time. An example is lifting weights, which takes an intense amount of energy for a short period.

Reps: short for “repetitions,” the number of times you perform a specific exercise repeatedly in one set.

Sets: the number of cycles you do an exercise for as a group.

An example of sets and reps would be this: I bench pressed 45 lbs. 8 reps over 3 sets. Meaning at three separate times, I bench pressed 45 lbs, 8 times in succession for each set.

Barbell: a long/full length metal bar which you can add weighted plates to in order to increase overall weight of the bar.

Dumbbell: mini-barbells. Typically comes in weighted pairs. Small bars with pre-set weights on them.

Smith machine: used for strict vertical or non-vertical movement. Has an attached barbell that slides in 2 directions.

Free weights: any weights which you can move freely and are not attached to any kind of machine, such as a free barbell or dumbbells.

HIIT/HIIT Training: stands for “High Intensity Interval Training.” When you do short bursts of high intensity exercise, followed by a short rest period, back and forth.

Plateau: the result of doing the same exercise routine for a long period of time. Your body becomes so used to the routine, that it no longer reacts and your body stops benefiting from it, resulting in no strength increase, mass increase, weight loss, etc. This can be avoided by changing your workout routine every few months (or whenever you start to notice positive changes are stopping).

Static Stretching: a low intensity extension in which you keep the same muscle “stretched” in the same position for an extended period of time, such as forcing your foot down at the ankle to stretch your calf. This type of stretch should be done post-workout.

Dynamic Stretching: a low intensity extension and retraction of a muscle continuously for a short period of time, such as moving the foot at the ankle up and down to stretch your calf. This type of stretch should be done pre-workout.

Pre-workout: before the main part of your exercise routine.

Post-workout: after the main part of your exercise routine.

Macros: short for “macro-nutrients” — these are referring to your carbohydrates (carbs), proteins, and fats. Together, the three make up your “macros.”