What All Those Confusing Fitness Terms Actually Mean

It isn’t easy getting fit. There’s a lot to learn: Your workout itself, whether the number of reps you do matters, and then there’s all the gym and exercise lingo you’ve never heard before. Say no more. We understand, and we’ve put together this primer to help.

Keep in mind that fitness jargon is endless, so this list isn’t comprehensive. It is made up of many terms that you may have heard before but didn’t understand, or heard a trainer toss around.

Source: What All Those Confusing Fitness Terms Actually Mean

It’s important to mention that lifting to failure happens when you cannot perform another rep with perfect form.

Where People Doing High Intensity Interval Training Often Go Wrong

High intensity interval training (or HIIT, for short) sounds simple enough: go as hard as you can for a short period, rest, repeat, and reap the benefits. HIIT is great, for sure, except what most people consider HIIT isn’t actually HIIT. Your all-out effort makes all the difference.

Source: Where People Doing High Intensity Interval Training Often Go Wrong

One thing that isn’t always clear is that unfit people should not try HIIT. Without a decent fitness base HIIT is counterproductive and more likely to cause injury. Beginners should stick to longer and less intense intervals to build up fitness and form as preparation for the demands of HIIT.

Why Vitamins May Be Bad for Your Workout

Many people take vitamins as part of their daily fitness regimens, having heard that antioxidants aid physical recovery and amplify the impact of workouts. But in another example of science undercutting deeply held assumptions, several new experiments find that antioxidant supplements may actually reduce the benefits of training.

Source: Why Vitamins May Be Bad for Your Workout

TLDR: avoid high dosages of antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E) while training.

How to Minimize Your Risk of Injury When Lifting Heavier Weights

The one time my mom watched a video of me deadlifting, she cringed with fear that I was going to hurt myself. In reality, though, you’re just as likely (if not more so) to get injured doing other physical activities. That doesn’t mean you should throw weights around willy-nilly. You still need to prioritize safety to avoid getting seriously hurt. Here’s how.

Source: How to Minimize Your Risk of Injury When Lifting Heavier Weights

Lots of this can be applied to body weight exercises (yoga, Pilates).  Form is extremely important in yoga – I really don’t like seeing someone’s shoulders pointing towards me, but their hips aren’t :/

This is why I recommend doing such exercises with someone who will watch and is knowledgeable – so you can get proper, constructive feedback.

Plan Your Rest Days Like You Plan Your Workouts

We get this question all the time here at Nerd Fitness. Since we advise most people to train 3 days per week with full body strength training routines, many Rebels have a few off days each week.

Source: What Should I Do on My Off Days?

Walking is certainly easy and accessible.  I’ve made the mistake of doing yoga a couple of hours before swimming – my shoulders were horrible in ways I’d never experienced.  So trial-and-error 😉

But I did use to do yoga the day before a race, at least 24 hours between yoga and the race.  It was really good to do something, but something different and generally low impact.  Now into triathlon offseason and cyclocross season, I’m approaching things differently.  I have one more rest day, which is good because I’ve been noticing I’m really burnt out… even though I’m doing less.

Slump Over to Catch Your Breath for Faster Recovery

Listen to your body 😉

Exercise form is important for increasing your gains and protecting yourself from injury. But when’s the last time you thought about the way you hold yourself between sets?

Source: The Best Way to Catch Your Breath During a Workout, According to Science

The article suggests that the posture allows for better/deeper breathing, but nothing about it would also help with blood flow and pressure because you aren’t fighting gravity as much.  It also would support my experience with recovery from a sprint while cycling, but that would only apply to someone in an aggressive riding posture (seat higher than the bars/etc) that you’d find in road cycling.

My last triathlon last year, I passed someone who I saw start walking early on the run.  I figured like most they’d given up, passed them and didn’t think any more of it.  It wasn’t far down the route that they overtook me, and I got to see that’s how they attacked the run.  I don’t recall seeing what they did as a sprint, but it certainly worked for them to run faster for short periods with active recovery by walking.  I think they were out of sight by the 3 KM mark.  I’m tempted to try the strategy this year…

Running on Soft Surfaces Won’t Prevent Injury Versus Running on Pavement

It makes sense that a sport that’s been around since the beginning of humanity would develop a healthy mythology. But if you believe in these five myths, your running will suffer. Your running enlightenment starts now.

Source: 5 Running Myths Debunked

Trails have the advantage of an uneven surface (although they come with their own risk), but not all soft surfaces are uneven. More importantly, people who have been avoiding pavement thinking there’s a problem with it can now run wherever they like.

Need to Recover from a Workout? Fast Food Is Just as Effective as Supplements

After a strenuous workout, top athletes and everyday exercisers regularly reach for energy bars, protein powders, or recovery drinks, thinking that these dietary supplements provide boosts that normal foods do not.

A new study, however, finds that — when it comes to exercise recovery — supplements are no better than fast food.

The multi-billion-dollar sports supplement industry is a true behemoth. With catchy taglines and sparkling testimonials from top athletes, they’ve convinced millions of people to use their products. University of Montana graduate student Michael Cramer decided to find out if their claims of superiority stood the test of science, so he pit some of the most oft-used supplements, including Gatorade, PowerBar, and Cytomax “energy” powder, against a few of McDonald’s most vaunted contenders: hotcakes, hash browns, hamburgers, and fries.

…Though the research was solidly controlled, the findings are limited by the small number of subjects. Moreover, the results may not apply to less-trained individuals.

Source: Need to Recover from a Workout? Fast Food Is Just as Effective as Supplements

This isn’t all that surprising, as it’s a short-term study (1 pre and post-recovery workout for each diet) focusing on exercise recovery and glycogen recovery. Any high-glycemic carbohydrates will restore glycogen levels quickly following exercise so what form you take them in isn’t that important – when you just look at glycogen levels and short-term recovery.  Long-term may be a different story though – the fast food diet may not enable you to maximize adaptations to exercise. Having said that you will still get the some (likely a lot) of the benefits of exercise.  People who exercise do not suffer as much of the bad effects of a 1 week high-fat meal (source 1, source 2).

In terms of “as macronutrient content is the same then there shouldn’t be a difference”?  Not necessarily, not all protein is equal (whey protein having the maximal increase on protein synthesis both at rest and following exercise). So 25 grams of whey protein should cause a bigger increase in protein synthesis than 25 grams of protein from a burger. It’s likely there’ll be differences in fat type (i.e. saturated vs unsaturated) as well.

This is what I think is most disheartening about the diet craze. Any effort placed on exercise and eating better has tremendous gains. Pop culture has instilled this idea that there’s a rigorous plan required to lose weight and stay in shape. Eating better doesn’t necessarily mean going vegan. It could be as simple as eating whatever you want but in smaller portions. Incorporating more fruits/veggies. Something, anything. Any exercise is better than no exercise. Even if it means going to the gym twice a week, that can be significant.

Feeling Sick or Tired? To Train, Or Not to Train…

[Former pro Ben] Day believes that every single athlete undergoing a training cycle needs to better understand when to push through fatigue, illness or injury and when they should rest and recover. Below, Day discusses some guidelines in making the right decisions.

Source: Feeling sick or tired? To train or not to train…

For content from a cycling website, the only thing that applies to cycling is measuring power via a power meter (in the hub, cranks, or pedals).  Which lead me to wonder if anyone has implemented a power meter in running shoes… Someone has, and DCRainmaker has a review!  If you haven’t read DC Rainmaker stuff before, it’s incredibly detailed and insightful.

10 Tips for Conquering an Injury

…don’t fret if you do pick up a knock. You’ll be back out there soon enough, and while you heal, have a read of these top tips that we sourced from former professional sportsman Andy Curtis (BSc (Hons), Dip. Ortho. Med. Dip. Injection Therapy MCSP, MHPC, MAACP, MSOM) turned physiotherapy guru with two practices built up under his leadership.

Andy has helped many top athletes to recover and get back out there to do the thing they love, and his top tips can help you too.

Source: 10 tips for conquering a cycling injury

The article is somewhat cycling oriented, but applies to anything.  Here’s the bullet points:

  1. Acceptance
  2. Immediate care
  3. Early & accurate diagnosis
  4. Understand the injury
  5. Goal setting
  6. Positive mental attitude
  7. Active rest
  8. Actively seek treatment
  9. Commit time to rehabilitation
  10. Staged return to activity

Most of the points I’d sum up as “be proactive”, but add a dash of self-compassion and understanding.  Also, don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion – I’ve heard lots of stories of medical staff being being the choke point in treatment and rehabilitation.  Admittedly, they see people who have more serious problems.