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Fitness Terms everyone should know before Hitting the Gym

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Fitness Terms – Gym membership — check. Sneakers — check it out. Full body workout displayed on your phone; check it out. A compound-WTF exercise circuit? Sometimes it seems like you want a translator to understand fitness terms and precisely what you should be doing at the gym.

“I always tell people you want to know why you are doing something – knowing a bunch of moves doesn’t matter as much when you don’t know how to implement them,” says Cori Lefkowith, Orange-based personal trainer. County and founder of Redefining Strength. So even if you have planks and push-ups, understanding what is going on while you work out can help you reach your goals faster. We’ve translated standard fitness terms for you to work out with confidence and get the most out of your fitness routine.

Fitness Terms

1. Active recovery

It is a way to spend your day of “rest.” So instead of relaxing on the couch all day, you’ll schedule some low-intensity activity like light walking or gentle yoga. The reason you might want to do this, instead of nothing, is that incorporating gentle movements these days can help with circulation (which can ease pain and reduce muscle fatigue). And remember, whether it’s a peaceful activity or a complete rest, your body needs time to recover. While you exercise, you break down muscle fibers, and recovery is when the real one. Magic happens when your muscles rebuild themselves stronger.

2. Aerobic exercise

“A lot of times, we call all of the cardio ‘aerobics,’ but aerobics is a specific energy system.” “[Energy systems] relate to how your body yields energy to fuel your workouts.” Through aerobic exercise, your body uses oxygen for energy, which helps keep you moving for an extended period, such as a long walk, run, or bike ride.

3. Anaerobic exercise

Instead, your anaerobic energy system is strained when you do high-intensity workouts that cause your heart rate to skyrocket. “Anaerobic activities are short intervals of effort used to improve speed and power.”  During these actions, your muscles break down glucose (aka sugar) to use it for energy (because oxygen cannot supply your muscles with energy quickly enough).

4. Training camp

These classes are infused with military-style training, so they are generally quite challenging and often include cardio and strength exercises. “Camp training programs are designed to build strength and fitness through a variety of intense group intervals,” says Denver-based personal trainer Tara Laferrara. “It often begins by running, followed by a wide variety of interval training, including bodyweight movements such as push-ups and sit-ups, and various types of intense explosive exercise.”

5. Circuit

Reflect on this as a “round” of exercises. For example, in this bodyweight circuit workout, a circuit consists of 5 burpees, 10 push-ups, 15 planks, and 20 jump squats. “You move from one exercise to the next with [minimal] rest between each exercise,” Laferrara says.

6. Compound exercises

A compound exercise is a program that incorporates multiple muscle groups, such as lunges, deadlifts, and squats. It can also refer to two joined movements, such as a bicep curl to a shoulder press. Compound exercises efficiently build overall muscle mass and burn calories (because they require more effort to complete), unlike isolation exercises, which focus on working only one muscle group (like a bicep curl).

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7. Cooling

It is what you do at the end of your training. The goal is to regularly bring your body to a state of rest by reducing your heart rate and calming your nervous system. It is usually done with lighter movements and passive stretches (the ones seized in place for about 10 seconds or more).

8. Cross-training

Cross-training means mixing, unlike workouts and training methods, rather than focusing on just one type of training. Not only does this support creating a well-balanced fitness plan, but it can also help you reach specific goals. For example, suppose you are preparing to run a race. In that case, you will want to cross-train with strength exercises and yoga, which will complement your running and help you improve your performance, and decrease the possibility of injury by erection muscle and increasing flexibility. “Unknown, you only include one form of training. You may be preventing yourself from getting the results you deserve”.


DOMS stands for late-onset muscle soreness, a pain you feel a day or two after an intense workout. This happens because when you exercise, you are damaging the muscle fibers (that’s good!). Then the muscle is repaired and rebuilt, and this is how you get stronger. The pain and pain you feel from DOMS comes from chemicals that activate pain receptors during the repair process, Robert Hyldahl, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist at Brigham Young University, previously explained to SELF. This pain can last between 24 and 72 hours after your workout. (This is what you should do when DOMS kicks in after a workout.)

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