Gym Lingo Every Newbie Should Learn



We often turn to the search engine for answers to our questions on fitness and nutrition. From there, we find ourselves on blogs and forums, discussions using acronyms and terms we’ve never heard of before. Don’t let the scientific-like jargon intimidate you.

As a personal trainer, I try to answer questions across the internet, but I too have to keep up with all the new health and fitness terms floating around. So, I’ve compiled a list of terms and acronyms that will get you up to speed when reading fitness discussions and articles.rjiUfPP

Dieting and Nutrition

Cut or Cutting: Cutting means losing as much body fat as possible without losing muscle or strength.

Bulk or Bulking: Bulking means that you want to gain muscle mass through weight gain. An increase in body fat during bulking is acceptable.

BF or BF%: This stands for body fat. Adding a percent sign is referring to the percentage of body fat you have on your body.

Recomp or Recomping: Recomping is when you seek to lose fat and gain muscle simultaneously. This program is mainly for newer enthusiasts. After about one to two years of routine training, this becomes difficult to accomplish with significant results.

TBM: Total Body Mass–The total amount you weigh.

LBM: Lean Body Mass–This is the total amount of lean muscle on your body in terms of weight.

BMR: Basal Metabolic Rate–Amount of calories needed within 24 hours for all basic human functions such as breathing and physical activity.

RMR: Resting Metabolic Rate–The number of calories your body would burn if you stayed in bed all day.

Fast or Fasting: Period of time when you refrain from eating solid foods and only drink fluids or nothing at all. Going to bed and sleeping for 8+ hours is technically fasting, you do it every night!

PSMF: Protein Sparing Modified Mass–Complete fast with the bare minimum intake of all nutrients and fluids.

VLCD: Very Low Calorie Diet–Extremely low calorie intake compared to regular low calorie diets. This would be around 800 calories or less daily to be specific, which is only intended for overly obese patients (Please don’t do this unless instructed or approved by a physician or dietician!).

LCD: Low Carbohydrate Diet–Eating the minimal amount of carbs you need for energy daily to lose fat. Could also mean “Low Calorie Diet.”tumblr_m9r2jr7Sxm1rya6r0o1_500

Continue on the next page to learn training lingo…


Split or Split program: A split is when you change the pattern of muscles you want to target. For example, a four-day split could be training your chest, legs, shoulders, and then back.

Linear Progression: This is the most basic training program when you increase the amount of weight used for the same exercise each week. For example, the first week you use 30 lbs, next week 35 lbs, etc.

SS: Starting Strength–The strength you start at before increasing weight settings with linear progression.

SL: [1] Strong Lifts–This usually refers to the exercises that require a lot of energy to perform (deadlifts, squats, bench press). [2] Single Leg–Using one leg for a movement. [3] Stiff Leg–Your legs are straight and remain extended.

Load: The amount of weight used during training.

Reps or Repetitions: The amount of times you perform a full movement of the exercise.

Sets: The amount of times you perform a specific amount of reps as a group.

Resistance: The use of an external force that causes your muscles to contract, which could be your own bodyweight, dumbbells, cable machines, a rock, anything!

Free Weights: Weighted equipment that is not attached to anything structurally such as dumbbells and barbells.

PPL or PPL program: Push, Pull, Legs–A type of training when you have a day set for pushing exercises only, pulling exercises the day after, and then leg exercises the day after that.

DL: Deadlift exercise which may contain letters in front of it to distinguish it further.

PR: Personal Record–The highest amount of weight you have ever used with a particular exercise.

BP: [1] Bench Press exercise. [2] Blood pressure.

OHP: Overhead Press exercise.

BOR: Bent Over Rows exercise.

BB: Barbell

DB: Dumbbell

ROM: Range of Motion –The full movement a joint can make.

DOMS: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness–Pain, stiffness, or soreness following hours or days after training. There’s nothing to prevent this, but you can do things to ease the pain.

RM: Repetition Max–An example would be “1RM”, which is the max amount you can lift for one repetition. “Use 80% of your 1RM for the exercise.” If your 1RM is 100 lbs, then you would use 80 lbs for the exercise.

HIIT: High-Intensity Interval Training–Changing levels of intensity periodically.i-dont-know-what-im-training-for-but-i-hope-it-never-happens

All these fitness terms and acronyms are great to know, but you don’t have to memorize them all at once. Bookmark this article and come back when you see something you understand very well. Learning about nutrition and fitness is only fun when you don’t feel pressured. Enjoy having discussions with fellow enthusiasts and slowly take in the information along the way.

Did I miss something? Let me know!

Brian Pankau (CPT, SFN)

Leave a Reply

Your name will be published along with your comment. Required fields are marked *
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.