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Training & Fitness Terminology

Below is a list of fitness and fitness testing terms which sometimes get confused, may not always be clear, and may require defining. If you have other words that you don't quite understand or cannot find a definition for, let me know and I will add them to this list.

Aerobic fitness
A measure of how well your blood transports oxygen around the body, and how well your muscles utilize the oxygen.

Aerobic metabolism
The metabolic process that occurs in the cells, by which the body uses oxygen to produce energy.

Meaning with oxygen. Aerobic training is at a lower intensity, with the purpose of stimulating aerobic metabolism to improve.

Aerobic endurance
A term for someone's aerobic fitness capacity - their ability to do prolonged exercise without fatigue.

Anaerobic processes occur in the cells of the body without the presence of oxygen. Anaerobic training is of high intensity and short duration, with the aim of the efficiency of the body's anaerobic energy-producing systems.

Anaerobic threshold
The physiological point during exercise at which lactic acid starts to accumulate in the muscles. It occurs around the point of the exercise intensity increasing such that anaerobic processes are becoming more dominant.

Beats per Minute (bpm)
The units of heart rate, beats per minute

Basal metabolic rate (BMR)
The lowest rate of body metabolism (rate of energy use) that can sustain life, measured after a full night's sleep in a laboratory under optimal conditions of quiet, rest and relaxation.

Body composition
Body composition refers to the components of the body. It is usually divided into two components: the amount of fat mass (weight) and the amount of fat-free mass (muscle, bone, skin and organs) in the body.

Concerning the heart and respiratory system.

Cardiorespiratory endurance
The same as aerobic endurance.

Concerning the heart and blood vessels.

The body's ability to exercise with minimal fatigue. Often used with other terms such as; endurance training, muscular endurance and cardiorespiratory endurance.

Fartlek training (speed play)
Training in which the pace is varied from a fast sprint to slow jogging.

Fat-free mass
The combined mass of the body of everything that is not fat (e.g. muscle, bone, skin and organs) .

How often you work out, such as the number of days lifted per week.

The form in which carbohydrates are stored in the body. Primary sites for storage are the muscles and the liver.

Heart rate
A measurement of the work done by the heart, commonly expressed as the number of beats per minute (bpm).

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
A form of cardiovascular exercise that alternates between periods of high-intensity exercise and periods of lower-intensity exercise or rest

Interval training
A training session that involves repeated bouts of exercise, separated by rest intervals. Depending of the length of exercise and rest periods, it may be anaerobic or aerobic training.

An isometric exercise is a form of exercise involving the static contraction of a muscle without any visible movement in the angle of the joint.

literally means equal tension [more]

A salt formed from lactic acid. See also lactic acid.

Lactate threshold
The point during increasingly intensive exercise at which blood lactate begins to accumulate above resting levels.

Lactic acid
Anaerobic exercise produces lactic acid, which quickly forms lactate in the muscles. because of this, the terms "lactate" and "lactic acid" are often used interchangeably.

Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max)
The maximum capacity for oxygen consumption by the body during maximum exercise. Also known as aerobic power or maximal oxygen intake/consumption. VO2max is commonly used as a measure of aerobic fitness.

Maximum heart rate
The highest number of heart beats per minute (bpm) when exercising maximally.

A physical and metal state which occurs due to excessive training without adequate recovery


The initial level of overtraining

Oxygen Consumption
Oxygen consumption (VO2) may be defined as ones ability to extract oxygen from the atmosphere via the respiratory system sand transport it in the blood to the working tissues (eg. muscles) for the energy production by the oxidation of carbohydrate and fat. The highest rate at which you can uptake oxygen is termed the maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max). Research has shown VO2max to be one of the most important determinants of aerobic or endurance performance.

Progressive Loading
Gradually increasing the load (weight), frequency, or number of repetitions in your exercise training routine.

Repetitions or Reps
the number of times a lift or effort is made continuously, one after another and without any rest.

Resistance training
Training designed to increase the body's strength, power, and muscular endurance through resistance exercise. The most common form of which is weight training.

Resting heart rate
The number of heart beats in one minute (bpm) when a person is at complete rest. A person's resting heart rate decreases as they become more fit.

Resting metabolic rate (RMR)
The body's metabolic rate (rate of energy use) early in the morning after an overnight fast and a full eight hours' sleep. This is different than Basal metabolic rate.

The principle that gains in strength, endurance, or other fitness components will diminish when training is discontinued, emphasizing the importance of consistent and continuous exercise for maintaining improvements.

A set is a group of repetitions. A workout usually includes several sets of each exercise.

A person, normally your workout partner, who watches your lifts for technique and safety. Their role is also to help you finish your movement.

A reduction in training intensity before a major competition to give the body time to recover and adapt so as to reach a peak in performance.

Oxygen consumption/uptake by the body. Usually expressed in, sometimes in l.min-1.

See maximal oxygen uptake

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Fitness is the key to success in sport. Following basic principles, you can develop fitness components such as strength, speed and endurance. See our colection of exercises and fitness equipment. Ensure you warm-up and stretch before any workout.

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