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  • Lisa Kelly

Decoding Fitness Jargon: A Beginner's Guide to Fitness Talk

When you start to investigate the world of fitness, it can feel like you need to learn a whole new language. There’s weird jargon, acronyms, and all kinds of names for so many moves and styles of working out.

You just want to get healthier and stronger, not become multi-lingual!

You really only need to start with the basics. Don't let the workout talk and intimidating terms scare you away!

In this blog, we're decoding the fitness jargon, discussing what constitutes a workout, and exploring definitions to help you confidently navigate the realm of exercise, even if you've never identified as someone who could work out.

What’s a Workout Anyway? Basically, it’s just about moving your body! Simply put, a workout is any physical activity that gets your body moving and your heart pumping. From brisk walks to high-intensity training, the workout spectrum is vast. It's not about conforming to a specific mold; it's about finding what suits your preferences and goals.


Cardiovascular vs. Strength Training Workouts often fall into two main categories: cardiovascular and strength training. Cardio, short for cardiovascular, involves activities that increase your heart rate, like running, cycling, or dancing (sign me up for this one!). On the other hand, strength training focuses on building muscle through exercises like weightlifting or bodyweight workouts. Both are crucial elements of a well-rounded fitness routine.

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HIIT, AMRAP, and Other Acronyms/Terms

Like any industry, they like their acronyms! Here’s some common ones you might come across as you start your journey:  

  • HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training): HIIT involves short bursts of intense activity followed by rest

  • AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible): AMRAP challenges you to complete as many rounds of a set workout as you can in a specific time frame.

  • WOD (Workout of the Day): Usually used in CrossFit, but common in other styles too – it’s a workout plan to be completed that day and varies each day.

  • DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness): This is referring to the muscle soreness and stiffness you might experience a day (or even two days) after a workout. It’s due to tiny tears in your muscle fibres that trigger inflammation. It’s just temporary and the muscle will repair itself while growing stronger from the process. Keep in mind though, you should not experience DOMS all the time, this is more common for beginners and then after new or more intense workouts.

  • ROM (Range of Motion): This refers to how far you can move or stretch a part of your body (a joint or a muscle). We all have varying ranges of motion for our bodies, the goal would be to increase your range of motion overtime, through your workouts.

  • Rep: This is short for "repetition" and is a single count of a move you're doing (example: 1 push up = 1 rep, so if you want to 10 of them, you would be doing 10 reps of pushups).

  • Set: This refers to a collection of reps (example 3 sets of 10 reps of pushups = a total of 30 pushups broken up into 10).

  • Superset: This means doing two exercise moves back to back without any rest in between them. This is used to save time but also increase workout intensity and challenge muscles.

  • Tabata: One of my favs! It’s a form of HIIT but consists of 8 rounds of 20 second bursts of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. It’s really intense, quick but effective.


Functional Fitness This style focuses exercises that mimic daily movements, enhancing your ability to perform everyday activities with ease. Think squats, lunges, and core exercises that contribute to better posture and overall functionality. You don't need to be a gym nerd; functional fitness is about making your workouts purposeful and applicable to real life.

Setting SMART Goals Understanding workout terms is just the beginning; setting goals is where the magic happens. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Instead of fixating on fitness stereotypes, define your objectives based on what makes sense for your lifestyle and aspirations.

In the world of workout talk, the most important language is the one you create for yourself! Whether you're into cardio, strength training, or a blend of both, your fitness journey is uniquely yours and the goal is to just get moving – and then stick with it consistently.

The more you know, the better, but start small and build from there!


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