Before you start working out, there are fitness terms that could be confusing. Understanding these terms will help you communicate your goals with a trainer or help you understand fitness videos.
Strength training is also used with the phrase resistance training and means using resistance to build your muscles. The resistance you use can be your bodyweight, dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells and resistance bands. Bodybuilders and anyone wanting to build bigger muscles and muscle mass are using some form of resistance training.
Aerobic training or cardio means that your body uses oxygen for the fuel required for doing aerobic exercises. Aerobic exercises are designed to build your heart and lungs primarily and are great for stamina. Aerobic exercises include:
- Bike riding or using a stationary bike
- Walking, jogging and running
Aerobic means with oxygen, anaerobic means without oxygen. It is usually associated with weight lifting or any activity that requires readily available energy in your muscles without relying on oxygen as the energy source. Anaerobic exercises break down the glucose that is available in your muscles as the source of fuel. These types of exercises are usually of short duration and high intensity. Anaerobic exercises include:
- Weight lifting
- High intensity-interval training (HIIT)
Eating the proper diet and getting all the nutrients you need are essential to a good workout. Having a pre-workout drink can give your body the nutrients you need to fuel your workout. Ingredients in a good caffeine free pre workout drink will include l-citrulline, beta-alanine, alpha-GPC and betaine.
Nitric oxide is crucial for blood flow which is why citrulline is often included in a caffeine free pre workout drink. According to Legion Athletics, “L-citrulline turns into another amino acid in the body known as L-arginine, which increases the production of a gas known as nitric oxide that widens blood vessels and improves blood flow.”
Reps and Sets
Reps and sets is a term you will usually hear with weight training. Someone might say they did five sets of ten reps of an exercise like dumbbell curls. Reps are short for repetitions. This person would have done a curl ten times, rest, ten more, rest, and so forth until they did this for five sets.
If a trainer tells you to do 20 reps of a squat, you would then do 20 squats. If the trainer told you to do three sets of 20 reps, you would do 20 squats three times with a short rest in between each set.
A compound exercise is an exercise that incorporates more than one muscle group at the same time. Including some compound exercises in your workout routine is great for increasing overall muscle mass, improving flexibility and building strength.
Compound exercises include lunges, squats and deadlifts. Compound exercises can also include stringing two exercises together, like a bicep curl into a shoulder press. By comparison, an isolation exercise like the bicep curl only works the bicep.
Don’t let key fitness terms deter you from going to the gym and getting a good workout. As time goes on, you will understand what all fitness terms mean and how to use them in your workouts.