Fitness Glossary

The glossary contains terms used in Moji’s original content as well as the Best of Web articles featured on our site. The glossary is overseen by Editorial Advisory Board members including Sean Lee, CPT, CSCS.

AEROBIC EXERCISE:
Long in duration, moderate intensity exercise (i.e. cycling, rowing, jogging, cross-country skiing). This form of exercise burns carbohydrates and fats for energy in the presence of oxygen. Proteins and muscle tissue may also be catabolized in individuals with poor dietary habits.

ACTIVE RECOVERY:
Includes activities such as walking, cross-training, biking, swimming, or anything recreational that requires movement at low intensities.

ACTIVE STRETCHING:
The ability to move a joint or set of joints through a specific range of motion using muscular force to produce the movement.

ACTIVE WARMUP:
Three to five minutes of more active movement stimulating the central nervous system (CNS), enhancing proprioception, and neuromuscular coordination.

ADAPTATION:
A complex process through which the body becomes more efficient at performing a specific task or group of tasks gradually over time.

AGILITY:
The ability to change direction or body position with balance, speed, quickness, and precision in response to an external stimulus (i.e. another person or object).

ADHESION:
The formation of scar tissue resulting in the binding of two or more normally separate anatomical structures.

ANABOLISM:
Is a constructive metabolic process by which there is an increase in lean body mass, normally as a result of exercise, proper nutrition, and healthy lifestyle habits.

ANAEROBIC EXERCISE:
Short in duration, high-intensity exercise (i.e. sprinting, interval training, weightlifting). This form of exercise burns exclusively carbohydrates for energy without the presence of oxygen. Superior to aerobic exercise for calorie and body fat utilization.

ANAEROBIC THRESHOLD (AT):
Occurs when the intensity of exercise is great enough to produce the accumulation of lactic acid in the bloodstream at a rate faster than the body can remove it. The anaerobic threshold is typically found somewhere between 85%-90% of maximum heart rate.

ATROPHY:
A decrease in the size and functional ability of skeletal muscle, organs, and tissues.

BASAL METABOLIC RATE (BMR):
The rate of calorie burning and energy utilization while at rest.

BIOMECHANICS:
The science and study of human movement for performance enhancement and injury prevention.

BODY COMPOSITION:
Percentage of fat, bone, and muscle in the human body.

BODY FAT:
A measurement used to determine the amount of fat one has in relation to muscle and other organs and tissues.

BODY MASS INDEX (BMI):
Weight in kilograms (kg) divided by height in meters (m) squared. This index is one calculation used in determining risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.

CARBOHYDRATE:
The primary source of fuel for energy production in the human body.

CARBOHYDRATE LOADING:
A dietary strategy typically used by endurance athletes to maximize the storage of glycogen for long-term energy utilization.

CATABOLISM:
Is a destructive metabolic process by which there is a breakdown or loss of lean body mass, normally as a result of injury, immobilization, or poor dietary habits.

CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM (CNS):
The portion of the nervous system composed of the brain and spinal cord.

CONCENTRIC CONTRACTION:
Muscle(s) shortening phase of exercise. (weightlifting)

COOL-DOWN:
A period of time lasting 5-10 minutes or longer of which you’re slowly decreasing levels of activity gradually, and bringing the core body temperature back to pre-exercise levels.

CORE TRAINING:
Exercises targeting the trunk of the body including the lumbo-pelvic hip complex, spine, and shoulder girdle.

DEHYDRATION:
Excessive water loss resulting in impaired bodily function.

DELAYED ON-SET MUSCLE SORENESS (DOMS):
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the pain, muscle stiffness or swelling felt 24-72 hours after a bout of strenuous exercise and typically subsides within 2-3 days.

DYNAMIC STRETCHING:
Uses the internal force produced by a muscle(s) and the body’s momentum to take a joint through a full range of motion.

ECCENTRIC CONTRACTION:
A muscle(s) lengthening phase of exercise. (Weightlifting)

ELECTROLYTES:
The most common forms include sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate. A balance is essential for normal organ & cellular function. Electrolytes are measured by doctors with a blood test.

ERGONOMICS:
Adapting your environment for optimal musculoskeletal safety and productivity.

FASCIA:
The fascia is a seamless web of connective tissue that covers and connects the muscles, organs, and skeletal structures, located between the skin and the underlying structure of muscle and bone.

FAST TWITCH MUSCLE FIBERS (TYPE II):
Contracts rapidly and produces quick, explosive bursts of speed (i.e., sprinting). Quick to fatigue and utilizes anaerobic metabolism for energy production.

FATIGUE:
The overloading of bodily systems.

FLEXIBILITY:
The normal extensibility of all soft tissues (muscles, tendons, fascia) that allow full range of motion around joint.

FOOD CALORIE:
A unit of measure determining the energy value of food.

GENERAL WARMUP:
Three to five minutes consisting of light cardiovascular activity gradually increasing heart rate, respiration rate, circulation, and blood flow to the working muscles

GLUCOSE:
Is the most common and abundant simple sugar used for energy by the body. It is also the primary fuel for the brain and muscle tissue.

GLYCOGEN:
The primary form of carbohydrate storage for the human body. Easily converted to glucose to meet energy demand. Stored in the liver and muscle tissue.

HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT):
A short and intense exercise strategy utilizing alternating periods of high-intensity efforts with low-intensity ones. This type of training session typically lasts between 15-30 minutes. Research has shown this method of exercise produces the greatest calorie and fat-burning effect, while improving performance in the least amount of time.

HYPERTROPHY:
An increase in the size and contractile ability of skeletal muscle, organs, and tissues.

JOINT MOBILITY:
The ability to move a specific joint through its normal range of motion in all planes of motion.

LACTIC ACID:
An organic acid accumulated in the blood and muscle tissue as a result of insufficient oxygen available for the breakdown of glucose for energy production. Typically occurs during bouts of short-term, high-intensity exercise.

LEAN BODY MASS:
A measurement used to determine the amount of muscle one has in relation to fat and other organs and tissues.

LIGAMENT:
Attaches bone to bone.

MAXIMUM HEART RATE (MHR):
Is determined by counting the number of times the heart can contract (beat) in one minute. It’s also measured by the number of contractions (heartbeats) obtained during maximal exertion.

MERIDIAN FLEXIBILITY (RESISTANCE STRETCHING):
A neuromuscular stretching technique which utilizes the ability of a muscle(s) to contract and elongate simultaneously through its full range of motion.

METABOLIC FATIGUE:
The depletion of energy stores resulting in impaired performance.

MICROTRAUMA:
A small injury resulting in inflammation of connective tissue.

MUSCULAR ENDURANCE:
A muscle or muscle groups ability to produce contractions against resistance over an extended period of time.

MUSCULAR POWER:
A muscle or muscle group’s ability to produce a maximum contractile force in the shortest period of time.

MUSCULAR STRENGTH:
A muscle or muscle group’s ability to produce a maximum contractile force.

MYOFASCIAL RELEASE:
A soft tissue therapy technique intended for pain relief, increasing range of motion and improving flexibility.

NEUROMUSCULAR COORDINATION:
The highly complex and coordinated effort between the nervous system and muscles to produce force.

PASSIVE RECOVERY:
Includes anything that requires little to no physical movement. Examples include reading, listening to music, and watching TV.

PERIODIZATION:
An exercise program design strategy which progressively overloads the body systems and fuel stores over time. Utilized by many professional and amateur athletes.

PNF STRETCHING (PROPRIOCEPTIVE NEUROMUSCULAR FACILITATION):
A set of neuromuscular stretching techniques integrating the use of passive stretching and isometric contractions. This form of stretching is an advanced technique and best performed with a qualified professional.

POSTURAL DISTORTION PATTERNS:
Altered body mechanics resulting in musculoskeletal dysfunction.

PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD:
Systematically applying a greater-than-normal stress to the body systems over time.

PROPIOCEPTION:
The innate ability to sense position, location, orientation, and movement of the body and its parts.

PROTEIN:
One or more amino acid chains which provide the building blocks for human life and are essential for the growth and repair of tissue.

QUAD DOMINANCE:
The quadriceps muscles located on the anterior aspect of the upper leg are stronger and more frequently recruited for activity than the opposing glue and hamstring muscles.

REPETITIVE STRAIN INJURIES:
As soft tissue injury, especially affecting the tendons, caused from repeated use of a muscle or muscle groups in a specific pattern of movement.

RESISTANCE TRAINING:
Any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external force. Examples include weight training, tubing or elastic resistance, and body weight exercise.

SKELETAL MUSCLE:
Contractible tissue within the body responsible for locomotion, posture, and force production.

SLOW-TWITCH MUSCLE FIBERS (TYPE I):
When the muscle contracts slowly allowing for continuous long-term use (i.e. distance running). Efficient at using oxygen for energy production.

SOFT TISSUE:
Connects, supports, and surrounds the structures of the body. Includes tendons, ligaments, fascia, fibrous tissues, fat, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels.

SPECIFIC WARMUP:
Three to five minutes of movement designed specifically to mimic the joint actions, muscle contractions, and motions of the activity.

SPRAIN:
A sprain is an injury to a ligament.

STATIC STRETCHING:
Passively taking a joint or set of joints to the point of first resistance and holding the stretch of a muscle(s) typically between 10-30 seconds.

STRAIN:
A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon.

STRETCH REFLEX:
A neurological mechanism by a muscle or group of muscles contracts in response to stretching.

STRETCHING:
Increasing the length of muscle and the surrounding tissue as they contribute to healthy joint range of motion.

TARGET HEART ZONE (THZ):
Is considered the optimal zone for developing and improving aerobic fitness as stated by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Can be calculated by taking (220-age) and multiplied by 60%-85%.

TENDON:
Attaches muscle to bone.

TENDINITIS:
A repetitive strain injury resulting in pain, inflammation, and swelling. Discomfort is most often noted at the site of insertion.

TRIGGER POINT:
Hypersensitive locations in skeletal muscle most typically noted by nodules or taut bands of muscle fiber.

VASOCONSTRICTION:
The narrowing of blood vessel walls resulting in restricted blood flow.

VASODILATION:
The opening of blood vessel walls resulting in increased blood flow.

VO2 MAX:
The maximal amount of oxygen an individual’s lungs can uptake and transport through the blood to the working tissues during high-intensity or max-effort exercise. Considered by experts to be the best method of determining cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance.

WARMUP:
A period of time lasting 5-10 minutes or longer and provides a systematic and consistent approach to prepare for exercise or physical activity.