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7 Most Commonly Misunderstood Fitness Terms

Feb 17, 2016

Every day you are bombarded with ads and infomercials filled with trendy and sexy terms that are used to completely mislead you. We can’t blame you for not really knowing or understanding the real meaning of most of these terms as they are so often misused

that you can’t help but to eventually start to believe them. Unfortunately, sometimes believing that what you are unknowingly doing wrong can really change the way that you are working out and potentially creating a less than desired result. We believe that this is why so many of our clients come to us with such problems of motivation and accountability as they have tried things in the past only to fail.

Here are 7 of the most common terms that we find people simply DO NOT understand when they start a program with us.

1. Agility

Most people view agility as the ability to change direction but it’s more than that. Agility also includes the ability to decelerate, change direction and accelerate in response to certain stimulation. A typical fitness program will include an almost exclusive amount of exercises that only work the frontal plane of movement (forwards and backwards). It is important to include exercises that will require you to go side to side as well as rotate so that you are working all planes of movement and leaving no room for gaps in your fitness.

2. Cardio

Most people view really long sessions of cardio as the best way to burn fat and get in shape but they have unfortunately been misled. Combining resistance training with High Intensity Interval Training and Circuit Training will give you the same results but with added bonuses like improved strength and a higher metabolism to help you continue to burn fat even when you aren’t working out. With our clients we recommend training 2-3 times a week with weights and using Cardio sessions as something to do on days that you don’t go to the gym.

3. Core

Usually when people refer to their core they are thinking of just their abs. The core involves so much more than that. It is a group or system of muscles located throughout your torso. They include your abdominals, obliques, lower back muscles, glutes, and some other auxiliary muscles. Make sure that you do exercises that work all of those muscles groups and you will see benefits like a more stabile spine, which increases overall strength as well as reduced risk of injury and better balance and posture.

4. Fat-burning Zone

If you look at most pieces of cardio equipment these days you will notice a graph that suggests where your heart-rate should be to burn more body fat. These graphs simply do not take enough information into consideration to properly suggest such things. Simply exercising at a high-intensity will burn more body fat and promote weight-loss. We tell our clients to use the Rate of Perceived Exertion as their gauge. With 1 being the easiest pace and 10 being the hardest try to keep at a 7-8 as much as you can with small amounts of slower pace to catch your breath.

5. Functional Training

This type of training has become wildly popular over the last couple of years. What was once a simple form of training has taken on a mantra that the more difficult or complicated an exercise is the more functional it is. This is the wrong way of looking at it. Functional training exercises are simply exercises that serve or achieve a specific goal. For instance, squats are functional to runners and cyclists as they strengthen the lower body and core. However, squats are not functional to someone with hip, knee, and lower back problems. Doing bicep curls while standing on a BOSU ball with only one foot is functional to no one.

6. Injury Prevention

This is a tough thing for some people to understand or accept. Injury prevention does not exist, only the reduction in the risk of injury. People who do not properly strengthen their bodies to handle the everyday wear and tear are at a higher risk of injury. Those who take the time to go to the gym and strengthen themselves are LESS LIKELY to get hurt.

7. Training

Going to the gym and doing random exercises or going for a run on the treadmill until you’re all sweaty is exercise, not training. Training requires a specific set of goals that require a specific plan or process in order to be obtained. Training is focused and disciplined which requires time and commitment and is not just haphazard exercise. Simply put, training is exercise with purpose.

8. Toned

We’ve saved the best for last because this is the term we hear the most from people. When you refer to getting toned or toning a certain part of your body what you are talking about is building muscle and burning body fat. Restrictive diets and long bouts of cardio will not get you toned as they will not help you build muscle and will not burn much body fat and therefore will not shape your body the way you like. Only a proper diet plan and resistance training will help you to build muscle and gain that toned look you desire.


Schedule a complimentary fit evaluation so we can get to know you and your goals and build you a customized training program to reach them.