I’ve received a few questions recently regarding some of the “bonus vocab words” in the fitness -sphere.

Some from complete novices to training and nutrition (which is sweet), and some from those who’ve been doing it for years, but now wish to be more precise (which is sweeeeeeet).

Since I know some of the jargon used can be tough to keep up with at times, and can come across a bit “sciency”, or even misplaced, or used differently for other professionals – I decided to use my first educational blog post to clear up any confusion regarding some of the lingo used in this outlet.

Some will be a bit basic, some you may have never heard of, but this post should steer you clear of “wtf” moments.

NOTICE: This post can, and will be updated as more questions come up, or I notice confusion or use of uncommonly used terms. Please comment if you need any clarified!

Let’s begin, class:

  • Reps/Repetitions– is one complete motion of an exercise. For example: “I completed 8 reps on my first set of squats.” Can also be expressed as the second number when written in exercise programming, such as: 4×8, which would be read as “four sets of eight reps.”
  • Sets/Rounds– is the expression of a group of consecutive repetitions. For example: “I completed 4 sets of 8 squats.” When expressed in programming form, it will often be placed first, and as aforementioned.
  • Metabolism– is defined as the chemical processes that occurs within a living organism in order to maintain life. In relation to how we speak about it often in the realm, it’s metabolic rate that were referring to. Metabolic rate is the amount of energy used per unit of time. So, if your metabolic rate is higher than your sister’s, you would expend more energy maintaining those chemical processes, and therefore would require more energy (calories). We want a higher metabolic rate, well, in this day and age (we want to consume calories).
  • NEAT- Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis– the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating, or sports-like exercise. Think walking from the car to work, aggressively typing computer reports (or blogs), folding laundry, pulling weeds, fidgeting, or tapping your foot, changing diapers, etc. I talk about this one pretty often, as it’s incredibly important, and very overlooked. Fitness & Nutrition is looked at with many barriers, and in such a close-minded manner. Just exercise, just diet, that’s it. That can impinge your own success, especially for those that don’t understand the benefit of NEAT. The higher your NEAT, the higher your energy expenditure, the higher your metabolic rate. If Dale exercises rigorously for 2 hours, 5 days a week, but is mostly sedentary, seated, and relaxed the rest of the day, but Brennan exercises to a proper intensity, 3-4 days a week, but he takes the long walk home everyday, and does some karate in the garage; he may actually burn more calories daily than Dale. *(If you get those references, please comment or message me so I can award you.)
  • DOMS-Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness– I’ve said this to clients before, and they’re almost like “who tf is Dom?” When you just start working out, or change programs, move to a new exercise cycle, increase reps, etc, and you feel super sore – that’s doms. It usually lasts 24-72 hours, but peaks around 48 hours. That’s why if you do legs Wednesday night, and go out that Friday, you’re gonna look drunk before you are.
  • ROM- Range of Motion– The movement potential of a joint. I’ll often cue “full range of motion!” This is highly individual of course, but just know that when being coached, ROM is only being referred to as “the movement potential of a joint safely.
  • HIIT- High Intensity Interval Training– a form of exercise in which short periods of extremely demanding physical activity are alternated with less intense recovery periods. I often hear some mention “HIIT” training, and just wanted to briefly touch on it. They’re generally shorter in duration, because they’re quite taxing.
  • Anaerobic (exercise)– exercise intense enough to cause lactate to form. Lasting from 2 seconds to 2 minutes, this training is non-endurance based, and promotes strength, speed, power, and hypertrophy. Resistance training, weightlifting, calisthenics, sprints, powerlifting, football, etc. This is the exercise type your mostly utilizing when you’re in the gym with dumbbells, machines, free weights, etc.
  • Aerobic (exercise)– exercise depending primarily on oxygen (cardio). There is an in-between where you’re working anaerobically, and aerobically, but for defining these I’ll keep them separate for understanding. Light-moderate intensity activities (below 65% max heart rate) can be performed for extended periods of time, without tapping into the anaerobic processes. Exercise lasting over 2 minutes in duration will then transfer into a large aerobic component.
  • Hypertrophy– enlargement or overgrowth of an organ or part of the body due to the increased size of the constituent cells. Bodybuilders focus most on hypertrophy. Increase in muscular size.
  • MED- Minimal Effective Dose– the smallest dose that will produce the desired outcome. I’ve been using this a lot lately when speaking with clients as a means of getting the idea of their exercise programming or nutrition across. Progress is progress, and you want to strive to continually progress as long as possible. When applying MED you minimize your chance of injury, and you increase the amount of time you see progress. It will take much longer to hit a plateau since you’ve started with the minimum, and built yourself up consistently. It’s the safest way to go about fitness and nutrition if the circumstances are appropriate, and gives you the highest chance to maintaining your results once the goal has been achieved. You are not using your resources effectively if you go for the maximal effective dose, and your performance in other areas will suffer, which will result in loss of adherence, which will diminish results and mindset, and regress you.
  • RPE- Rate of Perceived Exertion– quantitative means to measure perceived exertion/intensity during physical activity. This is a great way to measure exercise intensity, especially if you’re not working based of a % of your 1 rep max. Scaled from 1-10- If you give a set of rows an 8 RPE, that means you had 2 reps more you most likely could’ve cranked out until failure. 10 RPE means that was maximal effort, or no additional reps could be performed. Also can be measured in .5’s so if you rated a set of squats a 7.5 RPE, that means, you could definitely do 2 more reps, possibly 3. I love this tool, and it’s a great way to learn yourself and the intensity ranges you’re working in. Much more on this in upcoming programs.
  • RIR- Reps in Reserve– quantitative means of to measure perceived exertion/intensity during physical activity. RIR focuses more so on “how many did you have left?” So the scoring would be backwards, if you could’ve knocked out 2 more, your RIR would be 2, also an 8 RPE. I prefer RPE, but it’s all preference and this could be another useful tool for understanding.
  • Biofeedback– monitoring bodily function using quantifiable, objective metrics to determine body changes based of a stimulus. Buuuuuttt in terms of what I do, it’s a way to measure how you’re feeling, and if you’re feeling “up to par.” Sleep quality, resting heart rate, energy levels, appetite, exercise desire/performance, mood swings, appetite etc are all examples of biofeedback you can utilize to paint yourself a better picture of how you’re recovering. If you’re good across the board, you’re a gem, and keep it up. If 2 or more aren’t doing so hot, you might need to bring those back to sufficient levels before you can begin progressing or performing adequately.
  • Macros- Macronutrients– a type of food (carbohydrates, fats, protein) required in large amounts in the diet. Some aren’t too sure what macros even are, let alone how to track them. Macros are what make up the calories you eat. So if you ate a 500 calorie lunch, those calories will be made up of your macronutrients. Tracking calories is self explanatory, tracking macros is a little bit more intricate. Macro tracking is more important because of the benefits it can impose to body composition, vs just calories alone.