The Ultimate Fitness Glossary For The First Time Gym Goer
HIIT? TRX? Drop set? Have I entered an alternate universe?
You’ve got out of your comfy bed, changed out of your Disney PJs and actually made it to the gym (which is the hardest part so you deserve a medal already).
Sometimes you seem to do just fine, and sometimes you think you've entered an alternate universe where everyone walks around jiggling their protein shakes and saying phrases you just pretend to understand.
Before we get stuck in, how about checking out the ultimate Wonder Woman workout for some inspiration?
We’ll admit that it can feel intimidating if you’re not down with the basic gym lingo, so to make your life and time at the gym easier to navigate, we’ve created the ultimate fitness glossary from beginner level so you don’t feel like you’re winging life so much.
Whether it’s types of training, exercise or equipment, we’ve got you covered:
HIIT – Short for high-intensity interval training, HIIT alternates quick bursts of high-intensity exercise with short rest periods - e.g. one minute on, 30 seconds off. It’s a really popular method of training because it’s a fast way to get a sweat on in a short amount of time (by raising and lowering the heart rate quickly) so you’ve got more time for... well, life.
Tabata – Scientist Izumi Tabata discovered that athletes could improve their cardiovascular endurance dramatically with just four minutes of very intense exercise so we jumped on that bandwagon asap. This specific type of interval training involves doing an exercise for 20 seconds at max intensity and 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds, which totals 4 minutes.
TRX – Otherwise known as Total Resistance Exercise, TRX is a type of suspension training that is an effective way to build muscle while combining cardio with strength training. Using the suspension of two straps, the full-body strength workout utilises your own body weight (and it was created by a Navy Seal so it’s definitely one to try out).
Megaformer – The machine, which was developed by Sebastien Lagree based on a Pilates Reformer, uses adjustable spring-loaded resistance so you can engage your muscles with slow movements. Kim Kardashian, Miranda Kerr, Vanessa Hudgens, Calvin Harris and Alessandra Ambrosio love this new trend so it’s GOTTA be good.
Barre – A barre workout will use a combination of postures inspired by ballet, yoga and Pilates. The barre is used to balance while doing exercises that focus on isometric strength training, sometimes using resistance bands, exercise balls and light weights. You'll never think ballet is poncey again - the burn is real!
Reps – Short for repetition, a rep is the number of times you perform a complete movement of one exercise during a set. So if you lift the barbell 10 times before you put it down, that’s 10 reps. Simple!
Sets – The number of times you perform a group of reps. For example, eight repetitions may make up one set, so performing an exercise for three sets of eight reps means that you would do the exercise eight times, rest briefly, do the exercise eight more times, rest again, then do the exercise again for eight more reps.
Superset - Alternating back and forth between two/three exercises until the number of sets is completed. So you might pair biceps curls and overhead presses in a superset by doing ten curls and then ten presses without a break, then repeating the superset.
Drop set – Performing your exercise with a certain weight, then using lower weights and continuing for more reps until failure.
Training to failure - Sometimes you might be told to “perform a set until failure.” This means you do as many reps as you can until you can no longer complete another rep without good form or assistance. Usually it’s the last set in a workout that you go until failure on.
DOMS - You know that soreness you get a day or two after that intense workout? That’s called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS for short. It’s caused by microtears within your muscles in the rebuilding phase and will usually last 24-72 hours. Ouch, we know.
Plyometric training – These movements are designed to increase speed and explosiveness by loading the muscles suddenly. Good examples include box jumps, squat jumps and jump lunges. ALL OF THE JUMPS.
Resistance training - Working out with weights (such as dumbbell curls) or using your body to resist some other force (such as push-ups).
Circuit training - A conditioning workout that involves going from station to station quickly and performing back-to-back exercises without any rest inbetween. You will either do a prescribed number of exercises or time on each station. Circuits aim to keep heart rate high and promote overall fitness while building strength and muscular endurance.
Bodyweight – A form of exercise consisting of simple movements that are usually performed without equipment, using bodyweight as resistance. These are intended to increase strength, endurance and flexibility, and include moves like squats, lunges, planks and push-ups.
Metcon – An abbreviation for ‘metabolic conditioning’ which is a form of high-intensity cardio carried out for a prolonged length of time (for up to 20 minutes, instead of short sharp HIIT bursts of up to a minute). Metcon often includes exercises like rowing, cycling or circuits.
Isolation exercises - These targeted exercises will work just one muscle at a time and include classics like the bicep curl and leg extension.
Cutting - A term used when someone’s fitness goal is to reduce body fat to reveal lean muscle and obtain more definition.
Bulking - A term used when someone’s fitness goal is to gain body weight by adding muscle, fat or both.
Spot/spotter - Someone who watches a person closely to see if any help is needed during a specific exercise. If someone asks you to spot them, basically make sure they don’t get crushed by their own weights, k?
Core - A general term used for the muscles that include your abs, your pelvic floor, your diaphragm and your back. So if someone tells you to "engage your core", you know what to do.
Obliques - An abbreviation for external obliques, which are the muscles that run along the sides of your core.