Translating 100+ Workout Terms & Slang: A Glossary

Author: Kevin Driscoll
October 05, 2023

Whether you workout every day or you're just beginning your journey toward a healthier lifestyle, the world of fitness is filled with terms, acronyms, and slang that can feel overwhelming or intimidating at times. 


My goal is to make the fitness world more accessible and enjoyable for everyone.


So, I've compiled this guide of common workout and fitness phrases and abbreviations below and their definitions to help you better understand things as you walk into the gym or are looking up fitness advice. I hope this guide will clear up a lot of confusion and help you feel more confident.


100+ fitness terms, abbreviations, and slang

Let's break down the barriers of gym jargon together. Get ready to boost your fitness IQ and take your workouts to the next level!


  1. 1RM: One-Rep Max - The maximum weight you can lift for a single repetition.

  2. Active Recovery: Light exercise or movement to promote recovery on rest days.

  3. Active Stretching: Stretching that involves contracting the opposing muscle group while stretching the target muscle.

  4. Agility: The ability to move quickly and efficiently.

  5. AMRAP: As Many Reps (or Rounds) As Possible - A workout strategy where you perform as many reps or rounds of an exercise as possible within a specified time frame.

  6. Anabolic: Relating to the building of muscle tissue.

  7. ATG: Ass to Grass - A term used in squatting to describe going all the way down to a full-depth squat position.

  8. Ballistic Stretching: involves bouncing movements at the end of a static stretch.

  9. Barbell: A long, straight bar used for weightlifting.

  10. BCAA: Branched-Chain Amino Acids - Essential amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) are important for muscle recovery. (side note: Many of your BCAAs will be found naturally in complete protein sources.)

  11. Beast Mode: A state of intense focus and effort during a workout, often associated with lifting heavy weights or pushing one's limits.

  12. BF%: Body Fat Percentage - The proportion of your body weight that is fat.

  13. BMI: Body Mass Index - A numerical value of a person's weight in relation to their height, used to assess general health.

  14. BMR: Basal Metabolic Rate - The number of calories your body burns at rest to maintain basic functions.

  15. BOSU (Ball): Stand for β€œboth sides up.” A tool that is shaped as a half sphere. One side is flat, and the other side is a pliable ball. Often used for balance or core training. (side note: this tool is recommended for stabilizing on the dome side.)

  16. BPM: Beats Per Minute - Typically used to measure heart rate during cardio workouts.

  17. Bulking: A phase of training aimed at gaining muscle mass.

  18. Calisthenics: Bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and squats.

  19. Cardio Bunny: Someone who mainly focuses on cardio exercises like running and cycling.

  20. Casein Protein: a high-quality, slow-digesting protein.

  21. Circuit: Performing multiple exercises one after another with little or no rest.

  22. CNS: Your Central Nervous System

  23. Compound Exercise: An exercise that targets multiple muscle groups (Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift)

  24. Concentric: The lowering portion of a repetition.

  25. Core: Abs/Midsection - Core training often focuses on training and strengthening your abdominal muscles

  26. CPT: Certified Personal Trainer - A credential for fitness professionals.

  27. CSCS: Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist - A credential for fitness professionals.

  28. Cutting: Reducing body fat for improved definition.

  29. Definition: Visible muscle separation due to low body fat.

  30. DOMS: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness - Muscle soreness that develops 12-48 hours after intense exercise.

  31. Dumbbell: a type of free weight or resistance training equipment.

  32. Dynamic Stretching: involve active movements that take a joint or muscle through its full range of motion.

  33. EAT: Exercise Activity Thermogenesis - The calories burned during prescribed exercise activities like weightlifting, workout class, or running.

  34. Eccentric: The lowering portion of a repetition

  35. EMOM: Every Minute on the Minute - A workout structure where you perform a specific task at the start of every minute.

  36. Endorphins: Natural feel-good chemicals released during exercise.

  37. EPOC: Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption - The additional calories burned after exercise to restore the body to its pre-exercise state.

  38. Fasted Cardio: Cardiovascular exercise perform on an empty stomach.

  39. Fitfam: A community of people who share their fitness journey and progress on social media.

  40. Fitfluencer: A fitness influencer who shares workouts, nutrition tips, and inspiration on social media.

  41. Fitspo: Short for "fitness inspiration," often used to describe motivating images or quotes.

  42. Flex: To show off your muscles or physical progress, often by posing.

  43. Flexibility: The ability of muscles and joints to move through a range of motion.

  44. FMS: Functional Movement Screen - Used to assess movement patterns and identify potential issues.

  45. Foam Rolling: Self-Myofascial Release - involves using a foam roller to apply pressure to specific muscle groups, helping to release muscle tension and improve flexibility.

  46. Gainz: A playful way of referring to muscle gains or improvements in strength and physique.

  47. GHR: Glute-Ham Raise - An exercise targeting the glutes and hamstrings.

  48. GPP: General Physical Preparedness - The overall level of fitness and readiness for various physical challenges.

  49. Gymaholic: Someone who is addicted to going to the gym.

  50. HDL: High-Density Lipoprotein - A type of cholesterol often referred to as "good" cholesterol.

  51. HIIT: High-Intensity Interval Training - A workout method involving short bursts of intense exercise alternated with periods of rest or lower-intensity activity.

  52. HRM: Heart Rate Monitor - A device used to measure and track heart rate during exercise.

  53. HRV: Heart Rate Variability - A measure of the variation in time between successive heartbeats; it can be an indicator of recovery and stress levels.

  54. Hypertrophy Training: A method of training developed to use to grow and build muscle 

  55. IF: Intermittent Fasting - a method of skipping breakfast or eating in a specific time window where the individual abstains from food for a period of time (like, no eating window from 8 pm to 12 pm and eating window of 12 pm to 8 pm).

  56. IIFYM: If It Fits Your Macros: A nutrition approach where you meet your daily caloric and macronutrient goals (i.e., proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) goals.

  57. Intervals: A set amount of time in work, followed by a set amount of time in rest. (for example, a 15-second spring with 45 seconds of rest repeated for 10 rounds)

  58. Isolation Exercise (Accessory/Single-Joint): An exercise that targets a specific muscle. (Bicep curl, Calf Raise, Lateral Dumbbell Raise)

  59. ISO Hold: a type of strength training exercise in which the muscle contracts and generates tension without changing its length or causing a visible joint movement.

  60. Kettlebell: A type of weight with a handle used for exercises.

  61. LDL: Low-Density Lipoprotein - A type of cholesterol often referred to as "bad" cholesterol.

  62. LBM: Lean Body Mass - The weight of your body minus the fat mass.

  63. Lifting Straps: Straps used to aid grip during heavy lifting.

  64. LISS: Low-Intensity Steady State - A type of cardio workout where you maintain a consistent, low-intensity effort.

  65. Maximal Effort: Lifting with maximal force.

  66. Max HR: Your Maximum Heart Rate

  67. Mobility:  Your ability to actively more through an exercises range of motion. 

  68. Muscle Fiber Types: Slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers.

  69. NEAT: Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis - The calories burned during daily non-exercise activities like walking, standing, and fidgeting.

  70. Negatives Lifts: Focusing on the eccentric phase of an exercise

  71. Overtraining: Excessive exercise without having any adequate rest
  72. PB: Personal Best - Achieving your best-ever performance in an exercise or activity.

  73. PED(s): Performance-Enhancing Drugs - steroids 

  74. Periodization: A training plan with varying intensity and volume.

  75. Plateau: A point where progress stalls.

  76. Plyometrics: Explosive exercises to build power.

  77. PNF: Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Stretching - a stretching technique that involves a combination of passive stretching and isometric contractions to increase flexibility. It often requires a partner or trainer and can be highly effective.

  78. PR: Personal Record - Achieving a new best performance in a particular exercise or lift.

  79. Protein Synthesis: The process of building proteins.

  80. Pyramid Sets: Gradually increasing and decreasing reps and weight in sets.

  81. Reps: Repetitions - The number of times you perform a specific exercise in a set.

  82. Rep (Repetition) Range: A range prescribed, rather than a single target, for number of repetitions to accomplish in a set.

  83. Resistance Band: Elastic bands used for resistance exercises.

  84. RIR: Reps in Reserve - Indicates how many more repetitions you could perform before reaching failure or fatigue.

  85. ROM: Range of Motion - The extent to which a joint or muscle can move during an exercise or stretch.

  86. RPE: Rate of Perceived Exertion - A subjective scale used to rate the intensity of exercise, often on a scale from 1 to 10.

  87. RD: Registered Dietitian - A certified nutrition expert.

  88. RM: Repetition Maximum - achieving a new best performance with your repetition in a given exercise

  89. RMR: Resting Metabolic Rate - The number of calories your body burns at rest.

  90. S&C: Strength and Conditioning - Training to improve strength, power, and athletic performance.

  91. Sets: A group of repetitions performed consecutively.

  92. SHELC: Supine Hamstring Eccentric Leg Curl - An exercise on a stability ball targeting the glutes and hamstrings.

  93. Split Routine: Targeting specific muscle groups on different days (Upper/Lower Split or Chest, Back, Arm, Leg Splits).

  94. Spotter: someone Watching or assisting you as you perform an exercise for safety.

  95. Static Stretching: stretching a muscle to its furthest point and holding the position for a set amount of time.

  96. Superset: Two exercises performed in one right after another, but will rest between each complete superset.

  97. Swole: Used to describe someone who is muscular or has well-developed muscles.

  98. Tabata: A high-intensity interval training protocol involving 20 seconds of all-out exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for several cycles.

  99. TDEE: Total Daily Energy Expenditure - The total number of calories you burn in a day, including exercise and daily activities.

  100. Tempo: The speed at which you perform reps.

  101. TEF: Thermic Effect Of Food - the energy expenditure or calories the body uses to digest, absorb, and metabolize the nutrients from food.

  102. Thermogenesis: Heat production in the body, often during exercise.

  103. TRX: Total Body Resistance Exercise. Refers to suspension trainers with straps you might see held on a wall or a rack used for bodyweight training

  104. TUT: Time Under Tension - The total duration a muscle is under stress during an exercise set.

  105. V02: Volume of Oxygen - Refers to oxygen consumption during exercise.

  106. VO2max: Maximum Oxygen Uptake - A measure of the body's ability to transport and utilize oxygen during exercise.

  107. Water Weight: Temporary weight gain due to water retention.

  108. Whey Protein: A high-quality, fasting digesting protein.

  109. WOD: Workout of the Day - A term commonly used in CrossFit to describe the daily workout.

Did I miss any?


Feel free to message me about any terms or acronyms that are not on here, and I would be more than happy to help (and add to this list)! 



Fitness and workout slang can certainly feel overwhelming sometimes. Just remember that as you continue on your fitness path, you'll learn this lingo right when you need it! And you can always reference this guide to continue to grow your knowledge and confidence. 


Keep pushing yourself, and enjoy the journey of becoming the best version of yourself. 


As always, I am here to help any time! When you're ready for 1-on-1 coaching, schedule a free call with me and we can put together a plan just for you!


- Kevin

As I Am

About Author
Kevin Driscoll

Hey there! I'm an online personal trainer and nutrition coach, and I've helped hundreds of people achieve their weight loss and fitness goals without restricting them from their favorite foods or spending overtime in the gym. Let's work together!



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