When to comes to health, fitness and working out there are buzzwords and phrases that we hear all the time. We are hugely familiar with them but do we really know what they all mean and how they apply?

Let take a look at a few fitness terms here and I will provide you with straightforward and concise definitions.

Aerobic Capacity

This means the body\s ability to draw in oxygen and utilise it. Naturally, aerobic activities aid this process and enhance the body’s aerobic capacity.

Aerobic Exercise

These are exercises that are based around the heightened use of oxygen. This in turn feeds oxygenated blood and creates energy. The benefits of this over time are lower blood pressure, improved circulation and a stronger heart.


More often referred to as ‘Abs’. These are the ‘washboard’ muscles of the midsection that are the aesthetic goal of many, but their functional performance is vital to our mobility and physical functionality. The abs extend from the rib cage to the pelvis and are made up of three main muscles: rectus abdominus, obliques and quadratus laborum.


As buzzwords go, this is a big one! The core is all about your midsection. It is at the centre of the body and at the centre of so much of our movement, from sitting up, to lifting from the floor, to reaching out and picking things up. A strong core is essential to a good quality of life when it comes to movement.

Anaerobic Exercise

This is the opposite of aerobic exercise. Without oxygen. This is generally explosive, powerful, fast actions such as weightlifting and short sprints.

Body Mass Index – BMI

This is a means by which your height and weight are measured and determined whether they are in proportion and you are therefore overweight, underweight or in the right area. It is only a general guide though and is quite flawed in some respects.


Circuit Training

This has gathered popularity and momentum over the last 20 years and quite rightly so, it is very effective. The idea is to go through a series of different exercises one after another, for short periods of time. This has a great overall effect of condition and fitness and it can work both aerobically and anaerobically.


Commonly abbreviated to ‘Reps’. This is simply the number of repeated exercises you do of a specific activity, for example, 8 biceps curls is 8 reps.


This is a block of repetitions. For example, you might do 3 sets of 8 bicep curls.

Repetition Maximum

This is the most number of reps you can do before ‘failure’. You keep going until you can do no more, and at this point you have hit Repetition Maximum.

Interval Training

A hugely effective method of training for improved fitness and fat burning. This is a cardiovascular method that entails working intensively for a short period of time, before brief rest and then repeating. This will elevate the heart into the optimum training zone.

Optimum Training Zone

The heart rate training range that is best for achieving a fitness goal. This is very often fat burning and this usually means working at 70% and 90% of Maximum Heart Rate.

Maximum Heart Rate

This is the highest level to which a person should raise their heart rate. The rule of thumb method for calculating this is 220 minus your age.

This is hardly exhaustive but it hopefully provides an at-a-glance overview of some of the fitness terms we hear most days.

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