Beginner’s Guide to Fitness Terminology
When you first start working out, you may come across words or acronyms that you aren’t familiar with.
However, it’s nothing to worry about — with this glossary of key fitness terminology used in the Sweat app you’ll be able to nail every step of your fitness journey.
Your workouts are important for your overall health and wellbeing, so it’s important that you understand what you’re doing and why.
18 fitness terms you’ll want to know
Let’s get started with these common fitness terms.
1RM (One-Rep Max)
This is the maximum weight that you can lift for one repetition of an exercise. When you do a maximum lift, you should have nothing left for another repetition!
This acronym stands for “as many reps as possible”. An AMRAP workout is a type of high-intensity training where you push yourself as hard as you can during the work phase, and rest between sets.
Rather than focusing on completing a specific number of repetitions, during an AMRAP session the aim is to complete the maximum number of repetitions of an exercise that you can do within a set time.
If you want to try this workout style, you can do this AMRAP Workout from Chontel Duncan’s FIERCE at Home program. You’ll need dumbbells or a substitute for the workout.
A burnout set is an exercise or set of exercises done at the end of a workout. A burnout targets the same muscle group worked during the main workout. A lighter weight is used in an effort to do a high number of exercise repetitions.
Burnout sets help to stimulate muscle growth. During a burnout exercise, lactate builds up in the muscle, stimulating the production of hormones that encourage muscle growth, which is also known as muscle hypertrophy.
Burnouts are an advanced training technique that will be introduced in Sweat programs to push you further once you’ve established a fitness foundation.
A circuit consists of a series of exercises performed in sequence, with a short rest in between each exercise. A circuit can be timed, where you do as many laps as you can in a given time frame — for example, seven minutes in High Intensity with Kayla Itsines (formerly BBG) workouts) — or lap-based, where you complete a set number of laps.
If you want to try this style of training, you can do this circuit-based workout from High Intensity Zero Equipment with Kayla (formerly BBG Zero Equipment) — it takes 28 minutes, and you don’t need any fitness equipment so you can do it anywhere, anytime.
HICT (High-intensity circuit training)
High-intensity circuit training is a style of training utilising high-intensity exercises you complete in circuits in order to build cardiovascular fitness and strength.
This training style typically combines both strength and cardio exercises in one workout.
HIIT (High-intensity interval training)
High-intensity interval training uses high-intensity exercises designed to increase your heart-rate to its maximum, for a short period of time. You then take a brief rest and repeat.
A HIIT workout usually consists of several work-rest intervals. During the work interval you exercise as hard as you can, raising your heart rate to its maximum zone. During the rest interval you either rest completely or continue moving at a low intensity, allowing your heart rate to decrease.
This training style has significant benefits for your cardiovascular health and overall fitness. High-intensity training also boosts your metabolism, so you continue to burn energy after your workout is done. HIIT workouts can be done at home, in the gym or outdoors.
HIRT (High-intensity resistance training)
High-intensity resistance training is when you undertake strength training at a high-intensity. Resistance is provided by weights, resistance bands or gym machines. The focus is on giving the maximum muscular effort rather than reaching your maximum heart rate zone.
Benefits of HIRT include building muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness, increasing power and burning fat fast and effectively.
AMRAP is one form of HIRT — you’ll find this and more in Chontel Duncan’s FIERCE and FIERCE at Home programs.
Hypertrophy is the increase of muscle size and strength as muscle cells respond to the natural stress of exercise. During this process, muscles become stronger and increase their capacity to store glycogen.
Glycogen is the immediate energy supply for muscle contraction, and more available glycogen storage in turn increases muscle endurance.
The most effective way to achieve hypertrophy is by following a resistance training program designed to progressively overload the muscles.
Kelsey Wells’ PWR and PWR at Home programs are specifically designed to achieve muscle hypertrophy, but you will also experience these benefits with any other form of weights training.
Low-intensity or steady-state cardio
Steady-state cardio refers to exercise where you try to keep your heart rate within a specific range for an extended period of time. The heart rate zone or intensity chosen is usually low to moderate.
This type of exercise builds endurance. When you repeat steady-state cardio workouts regularly, your ability to exercise for longer periods before tiring will increase.
Each program in the Sweat app has recommended low-intensity cardio sessions. You can choose to make these sessions low-impact in order to care for your joints, and you can even do steady-state cardio at home, using bodyweight exercises.
Metcon (metabolic conditioning)
Metcon, short for metabolic conditioning, is a powerful workout style that increases your breathing and heart rate with exercises that build muscle and increase fitness at the same time.
This training style consists of strength-building exercises done at a high intensity. After a metcon workout, you'll continue to burn energy in what is known as the 'afterburn effect' for up to 48 hours after your workout.
Metcon is an advanced training technique, and you'll need a baseline level of fitness to begin safely. Sweat Trainer Cass Olholm includes this highly effective training style in her High Intensity Strength program, which brings gym-style training to your home.
“Reps” are the number of times that you repeat a given exercise consecutively. Repeating an exercise multiple times helps to build muscular strength and endurance.
RPE (Rate Of Perceived Exertion)
This is a score from 1-10 that measures the intensity of an exercise. It’s based on how you feel during that exercise. A score of 1 means you can easily do this all day, whereas a score of 10 means that you can only hold this effort for a few seconds.
This type of workout is designed to help your body to recover from your other training. It usually involves stretching, foam-rolling and other gentle exercise to get the blood flowing to the muscles, promoting muscle recovery.
Recovery workouts can also help you to stay on track with your training habit, even when your muscles are too sore for a scheduled resistance workout.
Resistance training is any form of exercise that builds muscle strength and endurance. It can be bodyweight training like calisthenics, or strength training using weights and equipment.
A superset is where you alternate between two exercises, with either no rest or a short rest between each. Supersets usually consist of exercises targeting opposing muscle groups, for example, biceps and triceps or quadriceps and hamstrings.
The idea is that the muscle worked in the first exercise is allowed to rest and recover, while the opposing muscle or muscle group is worked. This helps to save time during your workout.
Supersets help you to build strength in a balanced and holistic manner, reducing risk of injury.
It’s the selfie that you take at the end of your workout to celebrate your achievement. Share and tag @sweat in your social posts and you might be featured via Sweat’s stories.
A tri-set includes three exercises done consecutively. Like a superset, it's a way to make effective use of your training time.
Tabata training is a type of high-intensity interval training. It consists of short workout blocks that consist of 20 seconds at maximum effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest.
In the Sweat programs, the length of the workout block starts at two-minutes and increases to four minutes to help you build capacity for high-intensity training over the course of the workout program.
Tabata is a highly effective training style for building power and cardiovascular fitness.
This knowledge will help you to understand your training program
When you start a new training program, understanding the benefits of different types of exercise can help motivate you to continue.
With a greater knowledge of fitness terminology you can focus on getting the most out of your workouts by using correct technique and maximising your training benefits.
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.