In today’s post I’m sharing some basic fitness terms for beginners.

I know how overwhelming it can be when you’re just starting to live a healthy lifestyle. You can spend hours online researching different kinds of diets or workouts. Which is better: paleo or whole 30? Strength training or cardio? What about pre and post workout fueling? There’s so much information out there that it’s easy to get confused.

I know it took me awhile to get a handle on the basics when it came to working out. I didn’t know a set from HIIT. Today I thought I’d share some of the most common fitness and workout terms. I would have loved this information when I was just starting out. Interested in more fitness posts like this one? Check out my fitness page.

Rep aka (repetition) One rep is one movement of an exercise. For example, if you’re doing a squat it’s going from standing straight to squatting to standing up straight again. If a move is done on both sides, one at the time, a rep is doing the exercise once on both sides. If you’re doing a lunge, doing it for both your right leg and then your left is one rep.

Set To go along with reps, a set is a predetermined number of reps. The number of reps varies depending on the exercise being done. For example, I can do a lot more bicep curls than I can do push ups. You usually do more than one set, with either a short rest period or other exercises between them to let the muscles you’re working have a bit of a break.

Cardio There are two main forms of exercise, cardio and strength training. As the name implies, cardio works your cardiovascular system. This can be anything from running to cycling to playing basketball.

Strength training Instead of working your cardiovascular system, strength training focuses on one group of muscles at a time. Strength training is the kind of exercise that weightlifters focus on. Snatches, dead lifts, and bench presses are all examples.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) This consists of (usually) cardio alternating between intense and recovery periods. For example, you might do a combination of running and walking. Usually the higher output exercise is twice as long as the recovery one. HIIT workouts are usually on the shorter side, anywhere from just five minutes up to thirty.

Circuit training Circuit training means going through a predetermined  group of exercises with minimal rest in between before repeating them again. If rest is needed it’s usually done before starting the first move again. Circuits can be repeated just twice or up to 3 or 4 times.

Cross training If you participate in one specific sport or kind of exercise, cross training means to do another kind of exercise. For example, if you’re training for a bike race, cross training could be anything from yoga to weight lifting. If you’re preparing for a marathon, your cross training could include spin classes or Pilates.

If you’re already into working out leave me a comment with fitness terms you were confused about when you first started working out. 

Fitness Terms for Beginners

4 thoughts on “Fitness Terms for Beginners

    • June 23, 2015 at 4:34 pm

      I agree! I wish I would have read something like this as I was starting out too.

  • June 29, 2015 at 7:02 am

    This is great!! So many beginners feel intimidated by not knowing exactly what they’re getting into.

    • July 1, 2015 at 2:25 pm

      That’s exactly how I felt when I first started getting into fitness.

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