This post is sponsored by Premier Protein. Thank you for supporting A Lady Goes West sponsors, and I hope you learn something new.
Okay, let’s talk about fitness terminology. While it’s not as difficult as say, medical terminology, when you’re new to the game, it’s easy to get confused. If you want to be an educated fitness person or gym-goer, here are some common terms you should be mostly familiar with (and oh by the way, there’s a giveaway for Premier Protein at the end of this post too) …
Fitness and workout terms you should know
- LISS (steady state cardio) — LISS stands for low-intensity steady state cardio, and basically it means that you move at a moderate pace for a longer amount of time. For instance, a 45-minute ride on the stationery bike at an easy pace or a very light jog outdoors for 30 minutes would work as LISS. LISS definitely has its place in the fitness world and in your workout routine. It’s easy to do, it can be low impact, and it is also a good time to get your muscles moving and heart-rate up and flush out any toxins from a seriously tough HIIT or weight-lifting workout. One day of week of LISS is a good goal, combined with other tougher workouts.
- HIIT — Speaking of HIIT, HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training, and it’s basically what it sounds like. You do very short bouts of SUPER tough work, then you rest. You go back and forth between intervals of work and rest, for a short amount of time. HIIT sessions can be anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, but should never be more than 30 minutes, because they are so intense. In HIIT workouts, you should work to the point of failure, before taking a full rest break to recover. You don’t want to do HIIT more than three times a week, otherwise, it can overly tax your system.
- Active recovery — Active recovery means that you are doing something to flush out your muscles, stretching them or bringing your stressed body back to normal. You can choose to do a very leisure bike ride or a gentle yoga class as active recovery. Basically, it’s not a full rest day on the couch, because you are still moving, even though the focus is on resting and feeling better through easy movement.
- Reps — The number of repetitions or single movements of an exercise that you do, totaling up to the final number. If a workout plan calls for 10 reps/repetitions of bicep curls, then you would do 10 total bicep curls. Easy as pie.
- Circuit — A circuit is when you have anywhere from 3 to 8 or so moves in a progression, one after the other. These moves would all be slightly different and usually work slightly different muscles, so you can move through them all before taking a rest and doing it all again. Circuit training is a great way to keep your heart-rate up, because you don’t rest between moving from one exercise to the next. It maximizes your working time to help you burn more calories.
- Drop-set — A drop-set is a weightlifting method, in which you lift a heavy weight for a certain amount of reps and sets, and then, when you feel like you’ve reached fatigue, you put down the heavy weight and pick up a much lighter weight and continue doing reps until total fatigue and failure. Doing drop-sets at the end of a weight-lifting session is known to help you get stronger, because you push past your normal fatigue.
- Hypertrophy — This confusing terms means one thing: growing your muscles. You may hear people say that they are doing hypertrophy training, because they want to increase the size and aesthetics of their upper-body muscles for a fitness competition or for a summer vacation. Typically, hypertrophy training requires you to do about 8 to 12 repetitions of a slightly lighter weight than plain strength training, in which you lift heavier weights for less reps. The focus is on gaining size in muscles.
- Macros (macronutrients) — Macronutrients are the basics of nutrition in food and there are three of them: fat, protein and carbohydrates. Every single body needs all three macronutrients in order to survive, and depending on your fitness goals, you may want to eat a higher percentage of one macronutrient than the other. When someone counts their macros, it’s often called IIFYM (or the “if it fits your macros” thought process), and it means they merely look at how any carbs or protein or fat is in food, and they eat to fill a certain ratio a day. Getting the right macros is essential when you have a very specific body or fitness goal. But for me, I don’t do it. It can get a little obsessive and time-consuming to track every morsel you put into your body.
- Pre-workouts — Typically a “pre-workout” is a powder or beverage that someone drinks just before they begin exercise in order to get a boost. A lot of mixers and powders have caffeine and other stimulants that give you a pick-me-up to push past a plateau. While a lot of people swear by pre-workouts, I DO not like them. I’ve never taken them, and I’m all about the natural high. Also, I remember someone going totally crazy when they took too much pre-workout when I worked as a trainer, and it was terrible. Proceed with caution with these.
- Dynamic warm-up — If you take away anything from this post, I hope it’s this one. A dynamic warm-up is a moving warm-up that you do before your workout. Typically, you start to do gentle movements in the same position or direction that you will be moving for exercise. For instance, if you are going to do a weightlifting workout for legs, you would want to do bodyweight lunges and bodyweight squats as your dynamic warm-up. Other good options include big arm circles, high kick and knee grabs, because it gets your joints loose and ready to move. And by the way, nobody does “static” or still stretching before workouts any more … it’s all about dynamic movement. Here’s a dynamic warm-up you can follow.
- Functional move — Functional moves are so beneficial, and we should all be doing them regularly in our workouts. A functional move is an exercise pattern that will help you in your daily life with motions that you normally do. For instance, a deadrow is a move that sort’ve mimics real life pulling something into your body — something we all need to be able to handle. A deadlift is a move that helps you to bend over to the ground and pick something up — clearly useful for everyone. A pull-up is a move that helps you to life your body up — you get the picture. An example of an exercise move that’s NOT functional is a shoulder-shrug — that move helps with aesthetics, but isn’t something you need all the time to lead a healthy and strong life. When it doubt, work functionally.
- Compound move — A compound move is sometimes functional, and it means that you are working more than one muscle and joint. The opposite of a compound move, is an isolated move, which only works one muscle or one small set of muscles. A bicep curl is isolated. A squat is compound. In order to get more bang for your workout buck, doing compound moves is ideal.
- Plyometrics — Plyometrics training is a tough form of training in which you do a lot of jumping and exerting of power. For instance, burpees, power push-ups and tuck jumps are plyometrics, and they require you to move fast and use your bodyweight to exert as much power as possible. Much like HIIT, you don’t want to do plyometrics training more than say three times a week, as it is very taxing on the joints.
- RPE — RPE or rate of perceived exertion is an important exercise benchmark. Oftentimes, a trainer will ask how you feel on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being totally exhausted, done and fatigued. You don’t want to work out at the high end of the RPE scale for too long. But you also don’t want to always stay in the very low range of RPE, because then you will never get stronger or fitter.
- Work in — This term in the gym “work in” means that you ask someone who is using some of the same equipment as you if you can pop in and knock out your set while they rest. Sometimes people sit on a piece of equipment as they rest between sets, and this is a major gym no-no. It’s rude. You should let others “work in” around you so everyone can get their workout done in an efficient manner.
And clearly there are more terms to discuss, but I think this is a good start. Let me know in the comments if you have others I should add!
Enter the Premier Protein giveaway
Thanks to the folks at Premier Protein for sponsoring this post. And because Premier Protein is all about offering people convenient protein-based products, like protein powder, ready-to-drink shakes and bars, I thought it would be great to give you guys a chance to win a sample package from the brand.
You can eat a bar before your workout, so you can try out functional and compound moves and maybe even work on your hypertrophy. But be sure to check the macro profile of the bars before you eat them. (Are you picking up what I’m throwing down with these terms?)
One lucky winner will get a sampling of 10 protein bars and 5 protein shakes of varying flavors. I have a huge stash of both of these at home, and Dave is quickly burning through it faster than me. His favorite bar flavor? Peanut butter crunch of course!
Speaking of Premier Protein, did you see these amazingly delicious no-bake protein bars I made a few weeks ago with Premier Protein as the base? If not, check them out!
In order to enter, just leave a comment on this post. Any comment will do. You can leave multiple comments for more entries. I will select a winner next Monday, April 3. You have to live in the U.S. to win. If you want some guidance, you can leave a comment for each of these things … (and to leave a comment, click on the headline of this post, then scroll all the way down past the post, and enter your name and email. Your email will not be made public, but only used if you win, and I need to reach out.)
- You like A Lady Goes West on Facebook.
- You like Premier Protein on Facebook.
- You follow A Lady Goes West on Instagram.
- You follow Premier Protein on Instagram.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Premier Protein. I received complimentary product, as well as compensation. But all of the words and opinions, OF COURSE, are my own. Thanks!
Questions of the day
What’s a fitness/workout term that you always get confused about?
What other terms should I add to this list?