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Gym Jargon Explained

Want to sound like you know what you're talking about in the gym? Take a look at our guide to Gym jargon...

Anaerobic training - As opposed to cardio, which aims to elevate your heart rate over extended periods of time; anaerobic training involves quick bursts of exercise. Anaerobic training is much shorter in duration than cardio exercises and some commonly used exercises include swimming, sprinting, resistance training and calisthenics.

Cardio – Cardio; an abbreviation of cardiovascular, is a type of exercise which focuses on your heart rate. The aims of cardio are to not only raise your heart rate but to keep it elevated for extended periods. Some common types of cardio exercises include jogging, swimming or power-walking. Cardio has a range of benefits and can help to strengthen both your heart and your lung capacity. If you're looking to lose weight then cardio is the ideal exercise to choose as it not only boosts your metabolism but also helps to burn off calories. Many people who perform regular cardiovascular exercise have reported feeling more energetic and studies indicate cardio can also be successfully used to reduce stress.

- Another form of training which focuses on quick and intense bursts of movement. Intervals often make use of increasingly slower recovery periods and are a great way of burning off calories and effectively increasing your running speed.

Spa - The word spa can be used to describe a range of facilities so before you sign up, it's important to discover exactly what facilities the spa at your gym offers. The most common type of spa is a day spa where clients pop in for different treatments such as pedicures, massages and other body treatments. Depending on how extensive your gym's spa is; they may have a number of different facilities or just a few. Many gyms offer a tour of the facilities so make sure to check out their full range before deciding on a treatment.

Personal trainers - Many gyms will provide you with a personal trainer for an extra fee. Personal trainers help customise a course of exercise based on what your fitness desires are; then help you achieve your goals. There's five traditional areas of fitness; muscle strength and endurance, body composition, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility. Which area you and your trainer will focus on largely depends on what you hope to get out of the course, for instance, weight loss or bigger muscles.

Classes - Classes are an important facility provided by many gyms. When you join up, be sure to enquire about the range of classes on offer as exercising with a group can not only be a good way to meet new people but is also great for motivation. Make sure to ask your gym about the instructors experience and the class schedule.

Weight training - Weight training is a common form of exercise which aims to make your muscles stronger and bigger. Most forms of weight training make use of gravity in order to oppose the force you generate as you lift your weights. Weight training has always been popular and new equipment is constantly being produced to focus on different muscle groups and a range of movements. Some common equipment used in weight training includes dumbbells, barbells, pulleys and stacks.

Warm up - Before you start exercising; it's important to ease your body into an active state. Warm ups involve using gentle stretching or cardio to get your heart and muscles ready for the impending workout.

Cool down - After a hard workout it's important to gently manoeuvre your body into a relaxed state. A cool down involves some light stretching or other easy training which serves to lower your heart rate as well as allowing lactic acid and other waste products to be extracted from your muscles.

Lactic acid - A liquid which your muscles produce as you exercise; particularly in cardio training. If allowed to build up, lactic acid tends to slow down your body.

Core training - This type of training focuses on your lower back and abdominal muscles. Core training is a popular form of exercise and is widely used by athletes when in training for various sports.

Pectoral muscles - Also known as 'pecs' these are the big muscles on your chest which are used when your arms are pushed forward.

Reps - Short for repetitions, reps refer to the amount of times you repeat an exercise. Reps are widely used during weight training. Heavier weights and fewer reps are thought to be the best form of weight training for building strength whereas lighter weights and more reps are used to increase endurance.

Sets - Sets refer to the amount of times you perform a set number of reps. In most cases, you'll perform between one or three sets of a certain exercise before moving on to a different one. However during professional training, many athletes will perform a lot more sets.

V02 max - This refers to the total amount of oxygen you're able to use within a one minute work out. V02 is often used as a standardised measure of your overall cardio fitness.

Written by Gerald Heneghann, Digital Content Editor

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