Quit Sounding Like An Idiot And Learn These Confusing Fitness Terms

Now you will know all the fancy terms

Sometimes the biggest challenge in a fitness fanatic’s life isn’t setting a new deadlift PR or even losing the bulking season weight in time for the summer. Sometimes it’s just understanding all those damn buzzwords and terms people keep throwing at you.

Activate this, burn those, feel that…what are all those people talking about? Don’t worry, you don’t need to bring a dictionary next time you go lifting, we got your back.

What Do Confusing Gym Terms Actually Mean

1. Core

Commonly used in the phrases like “tighten the core” or “it’s great for your core“. Core, in this case, has nothing to do with the center of the earth or that movie from 2003. It primarily has to do with the center of your body and your lower back.

Basically, it’s a fancy term for abs. Having a strong core helps a lot with other exercises because a strong center will lend a hand when the other muscles you’re working can’t do it on their own.

2. The Burn

Ah, the dreaded burn. Don’t worry; this is the only kind of burn you will ever want to experience. A “burn” is a sensation you get when you work your muscles past your maximal amount of reps. Let’s say you can do 20 push ups without any problems, but you decide to push yourself and do five more reps.

The feeling you get in your muscles when doing those last five reps is the dreaded “burn”. Your muscles being to break down a sugar substance known as “glucose” in your body using oxygen molecules.

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However, when you force your body to do those five more painful reps the body doesn’t have enough oxygen to go around so it uses a substance called “lactate” which then turns into a lactic acid which causes the burn.

It’s good because it burns fat and causes muscles to break down, which then causes the muscles to grow bigger. Which brings us to our next term…


DOMS is an acronym for “Delayed onset muscle soreness” which is that pain you experience in your muscles after a badass workout the day before. It’s caused by a buildup of that pesky lactic acid we talked about above. They can last anywhere from one day to two or even three days.

It depends on your overall fitness and how hard you went yesterday. It’s basically a workout hangover. Word of advice, if you feel pain in your muscles more than three days after your initial workout, it’s usually not a good sign. In that case, you should either consult your physician or quit doing CrossFit and start practicing a real sport.

4. Plateau

Plateau sounds like something you would order in a fancy French restaurant as an appetizer, but its meaning is very simple actually. When someone complains that he has reached a “plateau” or that you reached your “plateau” it means your workout is stalling. You are not getting any progress in your weight lifting routine.

If your bench press went from 155lbs to 200lbs and suddenly you found yourself doing the same weight with the same amount of effort, you have plateaued.

It usually means that your muscles are not getting stimulated enough to grow. Whether it be because you lack the proper work in the food department or you’re not going hard enough at the house of iron, you need some changes.


Another acronym, this one meaning “High-Intensity Interval Training“. Wikipedia defines HIIT as:

A concept where one performs a short burst of high-intensity (or max-intensity) exercise followed by a brief low-intensity activity, repeatedly, until too exhausted to continue.

HIIT is mostly used in running based exercises. For example, you sprint for 20 seconds, then jog slowly for 5 and you repeat that either for a set time or until you’re laying on the ground in a pool of your own sweat begging for people to kill you. Whichever comes first.

6. WOD

Yet ANOTHER acronym, but this time it’s brought to you by the good people from the sporting cult of CrossFit. WOD means “workout of the day” and it refers to the set number of exercises and reps a Crossfitter needs to perform one after the other, either as fast as possible or for a set amount of time.

The workouts are always different and they are made up on the spot. They may or may not include bodyweight exercises, Olympic lifting, strongman exercises and compound lifts. It’s everything and anything mixed with questionable form and a high risk of injury. For more information on CrossFit refer to the video above.

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