Enrich your fitness vocabulary!!
Hey Lifters! In this dictionary, you will be able to find all the possible terms that are commonly used in fitness and bodybuilding. This way, you won’t feel confused when you find these terms in our articles and programs. Plus, knowing this terms will help you have a better understanding on how the human body works and what are the best strategies to follow to accomplish your goals!
Abs: One of the most popular muscles and most desired in society, also known as abdominals, are paired muscles located between the ribs and the pelvis in the front of the body. These muscles are divided in three sections: upper abs, lower abs and obliques (including the serratus). These 3 parts compose the entire core region witch it’s main function is to stabilize the body, specially in compound movements like deadlifts, squats, etc.
Aesthetic: Branch or philosophy that studies notions such as beauty and ugliness in different aspects of art. Bodybuilders are constantly trying to have a more Aesthetic physique; this means the most beautiful body they could possibly have (something near perfection). When it comes to bodybuilding and fitness aesthetics, it’s all about how the body looks.
Alternated exercises: Exercises that are performed by alternating one arm with the other or one leg with the other instead of using both at the same time. Example: Alternating dumbbell front raises (alternating the right arm with left arm between each rep).
Amino Acids: The fundamental building blocks in every protein strain based on the DNA that compose everything that we see in the mirror. The body uses amino acids to make proteins because they are organic compounds that combine to form it. In simple terms, the main function of amino acids is to aid the recovery process and build muscle tissue. Amino acids can be taken any time of the day; including before, during, or after a workout.
Anabolic Steroids: Anabolic hormones that stimulate protein synthesis, muscle growth, and insulin. This type of drugs are well known in the fitness industry as “artificial testosterone” and are illegal in most of the countries due to the very risky side effects that they can produce in the human body (liver damage, high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, testicular reduction, gynecomastia, etc). Anabolic steroids are banned in most of the bodybuilding competitions around the world.
Anabolism: Metabolic process in which the body constructs molecules from smaller units; it’s the opposite of catabolism. Examples of anabolic processes include the growth and mineralization of bones and the increase in muscle mass or weight gain.
Anavar: One of the most popular anabolic steroids due to their soft side effects in comparison to the others. They’re usually used in bulking to build lean muscle mass or during cutting to maintain muscle mass.
Androgen: A group of hormones that primarily influence the growth and development of the male reproductive system. The principle androgens are testosterone and androstenedione.
Antiestrogens: Prescribed drugs used for blocking the production of estrogen or denying its effects. Bodybuilders take this kind of products to block the effect of the female-hormone estrogen, which can produce gynecomastia or other negative side effects.
Antioxidants: Substances that reduce the rusty oxidative damage in the brain caused by the meeting of free radicals with oxygen. Antioxidants are known as the best foods for the brain because they keep it active and they also slow down its aging process. They can be found in many food sources like blueberries, green veggies, etc.
Arched Back: A technique used in some exercises such as bench press that consist on turning the back in form of an arch; that way, the range of motion in the exercise is reduced and it puts more stress in the lower back allowing to have more strength in the exercise.
Arginine: Also known as L-Arginine, is an amino acid used by the human body to produce proteins. It can be found either in different food sources or supplements. Once Arginine it’s absorbed by the body, it is turned into nitric oxide, witch helps the improvement of the blood flow in the body by expanding the blood vessels. It also stimulates the release of growth hormones.
Arnold Schwarzenegger: Is an Austrian-American bodybuilder recognized as the best bodybuilder of all times by many people in the fitness industry due to his great and classic physique. Arnold has won the Mr. Olympia title 7 times and he has innovated different workout techniques like supersets, drop sets, etc.
Back: The posterior muscles in the upper body of a human being (from the neck to the lower end of the spine). The back is considered the second largest muscle group in the body; therefore, natural testosterone is released when it’s been worked. Some muscles that conform the back are the rear deltoids, the traps, the lats, etc.
BCAA: Brand Chained Amino Acids are Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine and they compose 35% of the essential amino acids in muscle proteins. This popular supplement can help to enhance protein synthesis, aid recovery and build muscle. BCAAs can be taken before, during or after a workout and they’re great for avoiding catabolism (specially before a cardio session).
Beast Mode. Popular term used mainly to refer a positive mentality that focuses on accomplishing goals. “The beast mode begins when the pump shows up”.
Beta-Alanine: Beta-Alanine is a non-essential amino acid, which means that it can be produced by the human body. This amino acid is used to improve athletic performance by enhancing muscle endurance. It is one of the most essential ingredients in a pre-workout supplement.
Biceps: Bicep brachii, coming from the word latin words “two-headed” and “arm”, is a muscle located in the arms and is composed by two heads: the long head (“inside”-mass) and the short head (“outside”-peak). It is a second muscle group, witch means that it can be worked better with isolation exercises and it is used in every pulling movement. The two main functions of the biceps are to lift up and to rotate the arm.
Bilateral exercises: Exercises that are performed by using two extremities at the same time. Example: Hammer curls using both arms at the same (curling both arms at the same moment).
Bodybuilding: The practice of enlarging the muscles of the body through exercise. In bodybuilding competitions, amateurs and professional compete in specific categories according to their weight, high, age, etc. Bodybuilders appear in lineups doing specific poses while they’re been evaluated by several judges.
Body fat percentage: The level of fat (measured in percentage) that a person has in his body. It is the total mass of fat in the body divided by the total body mass. In order to have visual and shredded abs, a minimum of 8% of body fat is required. Having more than 25% of body fat makes a person to be considered as an obese.
Body type: In bodybuilding, the body type of a person can be classified in one of these three different types: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph. These three body types variate in the capacity of someone to build muscle or lose fat.
Bulk: Technique done in bodybuilding and fitness in which a person eats a surplus of calories above his caloric maintenance level to build as much muscle and strength as possible. In this phase, the main objective of the person is to build size, strength and to gain weight (in lean muscle mass, not fat).
Calisthenics: Type of training that consists on using only body-weight to accomplish goals in fitness or strength. The most common exercises in calisthenics are pull ups, muscle-ups, dips, etc.
Caloric deficit: Consuming an amount of calories below the number required to maintain a personal body weight, causing logically weight loss in the body (usually used in cutting phases).
Caloric surplus: Consuming an excessive amount of calories above the number required to maintain a personal body weight, causing logically weight gain in the body (usually used in bulking phases).
Calories: Units of food energy (in nutrition). This term is popularly used to refer the number of kilocalories (nutritional energy measured) in specific foods. The number of calories in foods can be found online or in their nutrition facts (located usually behind their wraps or behind the packages in witch they’re coming from). Ex: “calories per serving” or “kilocalories per 100 g”.
Calves: Muscles located at the back of the tibia below the knee. Calves are used every time we’re walking, running or just standing. Therefore, their stress capacity is very big, so they have to be worked very frequently in order to grow.
Carbohydrates: Biological molecule composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen that can be found in many food sources like bread, cereal, candy, etc. It’s one of the three essential macronutrients for the human body and it provides heat and energy to it.
Chest: Part of the body that is located between the neck and the abdominal and it is confined to the thorax. The chest muscles, also known as pectorals, are involved in any pushing motion and they also help with the elevation of the arm. The pectoral muscles are divided in three groups: upper, middle and lower chest; and in each of these divisions there is a thickness section (mass) and a width section (amplitude).
Cholesterol: Waxy fat-like substance found in every single cell of the body that travels through the bloodstream in fat packages. The body produces cholesterol but it can also be found in different foods like red meets, egg yolks, etc. There are 2 types of cholesterol: LDL, also known as “bad cholesterol” (burgers) and HDL, also known as “good cholesterol” (avocado). It is beneficial and necessary to have healthy levels of cholesterol in the body, but having excessive levels can lead to serious health problems like heart diseases.
Citrulline: A natural occurring amino acid that converts into L-Arginine once it’s absorbed by the human body. L Citrulline reduces muscle fatigue and improves the endurance of a person in both aerobic and anaerobic prolonged exercises. This supplement has been gaining a lot of popularity recently and it is used in a wide variety of pre-workout supplements. Also, it can be found in many food sources like watermelon, legumes, onions, etc.
Clean Bulking: A way to perform the bulking phase in which the goal is to gain the most amount of muscle with the minimum amount of fat as possible. A clean bulking can go from a 100 caloric surplus to a 500 if it’s done well (these are relatives values depending on each person’s body). This type of dieting avoids the wrong idea of eating junk food on a bulking phase; it’s the opposite of the IFFYM diets.
Cobra-Back: Term used to refer a good back with well developed lats (big enough to look like the neck of a cobra from behind). This type of back usually has a very good width development because of the performance of exercises like pull-ups, pull downs, pullovers, chin ups, etc.
Complex carbohydrates: Type of carbohydrate that’s composed by several glucose units joined by glycosidic bonds. Complex carbohydrates are known as the “clean” ones because of their healthy nutritional value and they can be found in foods like bread, potatoes, rice, etc. Like any other type of carbohydrate, complex carbs provide energy and heat to the body and they can be very healthy for it; however, if they’re not taken in moderation, they can cause several health issues because they produce high insulin levels in the body.
Compound Movements: Exercises that demand the use of more than one muscle group to be performed (Example: Bench Press uses chest, triceps, shoulders).
Creatine: Creatine is a molecule (nitrogenous organic acid) that is produced mainly in the liver, kidney and pancreas and it can also be found in many food sources like meats and fishes. Its main function is to provide phosphate to ATP (high energy molecules in the body), that way; the body has more energy to endure tougher workouts. Creatine builds the “efficiency” of the muscles.
Cutting: Technique done in bodybuilding and fitness in which a person eats an amount of calories below his caloric maintenance level to loose as much fat as possible. In this phase, the main objective of the person is to reduce his body fat percentage and to loose weight (trying to maintain as much muscle mass as possible).
Fear: A self-imposed negative emotion caused by the belief that something is dangerous. However, fear is not real; it’s only an illusion. Fear only exists in our thoughts about the future: “you create it and you can destroy it as well”. In fitness, people tend to feel a lot of fear when it comes to change their lifestyle in order to obtain the results that they want because they forget how worth it it would be. Sometimes, the possibility of failing may provoke fear as well, but that shouldn’t happen. Instead, failure should be desire because success always comes after a certain amount of failures.
Fish oils: Type of oil that comes from the tissues of oily fish. They contain omega-3 fatty acids, witch means that they provide different benefits to the human body like functionalize the brain capacity, the nervous system, boost mood, help the maintenance of strong bones, nails, hair, etc.
Fitness: State in which a person has good health, a good body and a good nutrition. A fit person exercises constantly and has a mentality of having a good physique and an overall good health all the time. Many people consider fitness as a lifestyle because it changes every single aspect in the routine of a person for a positive goal.
Flexibility: Capacity of bending without breaking.
Ectomorph: Type of body characterized by narrow shoulders, low body fat percentage and fast metabolism. However, Ectomorphs have a hard time when it comes to build muscle; a person with this type of body is usually refer as a “skinny guy”.
Endomorph: Type of body characterized by thick arms, legs and torso. However, Endomorphs tend to gain fat pretty quickly and very easy. Still, they’re usually stronger than ectomorphs and have no trouble at building muscle.
Endurance: The ability or the power to last an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving up. In a fitness context, endurance may refer to the capacity of a person to continue an exercise or to last a workout.
Definition: Term used to refer a lean body with low fat percentage. These types of body usually have well-shaped muscles with no fat covering them.
Dietary fiber: Type of carbohydrate that comes from plants witch promotes digestion in the body. Fiber can be found mainly in grains, vegetables and fruits. A good daily intake of fiber can go between 25-30 grams.
Digestive enzymes: Proteins that work as catalysts, which means that they speed up biological reactions. Digestive enzymes break down food into nutrients so the body can absorb them better and they can be found in fruits like mangos, pineapples, papayas, etc.
Dirty Bulking: A way to perform the bulking phase in which the goal is to eat as much as possible without tracking macros and calories. People who use to bulk dirty usually don’t care about gaining fat in this phase and they tend to eat junk food like pizzas and hamburgers all the time worrying only about gaining weight.
Drop set: Technique used in weight training and bodybuilding witch consists on continuing the exercise that’s been performed but with less weight once the set is finished.
Drugs: Term used in bodybuilding to refer anabolic steroids or similar substances.
Dumbbell: Equipment necessary for the performance of many exercises (fundamental tool in every gym and sport center). Dumbbells are categorized as free weights, witch means that they involve more muscle activity when they’re been used. They can be used bilateral exercises, unilateral or alternated.
Gains: Fitness term used to refer a muscle or muscles that have grown. Gains are noticed after a while of working out and having a proper nutrition.
Gear: Slang that’s used to refer to anabolic steroids (example: “Dude, that guy got huge in just one month, he is definitely on gear”).
Genes: Unit of heredity made up by DNA. Genes define the body type in a person; witch includes what body parts will grow faster than others, metabolism levels, etc.
Glutamine: Also known as L-Glutamine, it’s one of the fastest absorbing amino acids by the human body. Glutamine is also one of the 20 amino acids that compose proteins and it’s the most abundant in human blood. Still, glutamine can be found in foods like chicken, fish, eggs, milk, beans, spinach, etc. This non-essential amino acid can help tremendously in the recovery of the muscles and can minimalize their breakdown.
Grind: Also known as hustle, is the ability of a Example: Following a very strict diet or working out hard at the gym to accomplish fitness goals.
Hard-Gainer: A person who has a hard time building muscle. Normally, a hard-gainer it’s an ectomorph with a really fast metabolism.
Home-workout: The performance of several exercises at home, usually with just body weight (exercises done at home are usually push-ups, dips, pull ups, jumping, abs, etc).
IFFYM: Standing for If It Fits Your Macros, it’s a type of diet well known for being a very flexible one. In a IFFYM diet, the only thing that matters its to consume a specific amount of protein, carbs and fats regardless of the food sources that they’re coming from.
Juicing: Slang term used to refer the using of anabolic steroids.
Lagging body parts: Any muscle group or groups that have not grown the same way as the others. Usually, these muscle groups are those who are left behind and aren’t been trained as hard as the others (example: calves, forearms, rear delts, etc). Lagging body parts are usually not balanced with the rest of the muscles in the body.
Landmine press: Atypical exercise witch involves all the pushing muscles in order to press a barbell stuck in a corner (targets: Upper inner chest, front delts and triceps).
Lean muscle: Pure and clean muscles with little or no fat.
Legs: Body parts that compose almost the entire lower body of a human been excluding the gluteus and the lower back. They’re the largest muscle group in the body; therefore, natural testosterone is released throughout the body when they are been worked. In simple terms, the legs are composed by the quads, the hamstrings, the tibia and the calves. The number one exercise for legs is squats, working the whole entire lower body.
Libido: Also known as sex drive, is the desire of a person for having sexual activity and it is directly correlated with testosterone levels.
Mass gainer: A high calorie meal that contains all three essential macronutrients in big dosages. Usually, mass gainers can be found as supplements but they can also be made at home with natural ingredients. Mass gainers are commonly taken in a bulking phase because they help getting the extra calories that the body needs to be in a caloric surplus.
Max reps: The highest amount of repetitions that a person can do in a specific exercise with a specific weight.
Metabolism: The sum of all the processes in the body (chemical and physical) that work together to create the energy that a person needs to realize his daily activities. The metabolism of a person is reflected in a specific amount of calories.
Mind muscle connection: Term used to refer the relationship between a person’s mind and muscles. Normally, this term refers to the feeling that a person has when is working a muscle; in other words: it’s feeling the muscle or muscles that are been worked in an exercise. For example, a good mind-muscle connection would be if a person were feeling his rear delts contracting when they’re been worked in an exercise.
Mobility: Capacity of the joints to move and how they do it.
Multi-vitamin: Pharmaceutical preparations, normally in tablets forms, witch contain several vitamins of different types (C, D, B, etc).
Muscle: Tissue made up of long fiber chains that contain proteins witch their contraction produce movement in the body.
Muscle glycogen: Long-term energy storage in the muscles witch is used for everything that involves muscle activity (including their recovery).
Non-essential amino acids: Amino acids that can be produced by the human body.
Non-stick cooking spray: Oil in form of spray that prevents food from sticking into the pam. This form of oil contains less than 3 calories and no fat unlike the other regular cooking oils.
Oats: Cereal grass very rich in carbohydrate (around 66g) and protein (around 17g) content. Usually, oats are boiled and eaten in breakfasts, commonly known as oatmeal (fundamental food source in any fitness or bodybuilding diet).
Overhand grip: Also known as pronated grip, it’s a type holding where the hands are placed over the equipment that is been used for performing an exercise (grip commonly used in exercises like barbell bench press). *The angle of the muscle that is been worked in an exercise depends on the grip that is been used and also on the hand placement.
Partial reps: Doing half a rep in an exercise; ergo, not using a full range of motion. The goal of partial reps is to activate more muscle fibbers by keeping the stress and tension in the muscles the entire time than an exercise lasts. This will also activate the nervous system and will allow going heavier in the exercises performed with partial reps. Example: ¼ squats or 90º chest press.
Protein: One of the three essentials macronutrients for the human body. It is a biological molecule composed by several amino acids chains that can be found in many forces like fish, chicken, soy, beans, etc. Are the fundamental building blocks for muscle fibbers.
Regular sets: Single sets; performing one exercise at a time.
Reps: Number of times an exercise is performed during one set.
Rotator cuffs: Group of muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder joints (they’re involved in any arm movement). These group of muscles need to be warmed up before any upper body workout to avoid shoulder pain and injuries (Example: External cable rotation 2X15 reps).
Shoulders: Side muscles in the body that are involved in any arm movement (elevation, rotation, etc). Three deltoid heads compose the shoulder muscles: the front, side and posterior delts. The front and side delts are involved in any pushing motion while the posterior or “rear” delts are involved in any pulling motion.
Simple carbohydrates: Type of carbohydrate that’s broken down very quickly by the human body in order to be used as energy (that means that they’re absorbed very fast by the body). Simple carbohydrates are known as the “bad” or the “dirty” ones because of their low nutritional value and their high sugar levels; they can be found in foods like candy, sodas, gummies, etc. Because of their high sugar levels, simple carbs can raise muscle glycogen levels in the body, witch is something that’s necessary after a workout in order to replenish the energy of the muscles to repair and rebuild. However, if they’re not taken in moderation, simple carbohydrates can cause several health issues like diabetes because they raise insulin levels in the body too much.
Super sets: Performing one exercise immediately after another; 1 set of a superset equals 1 set of each exercise; that means that in one set of a superset is going to be 2 singles sets.
Triceps: The largest muscle group in the back of the arm. The triceps are composed by three heads (“tri”-three headed) that are involved in any pushing motion (stabilizing the chest and the shoulders). The lateral, medium and long head form the triceps muscles and their two main functions are to push and to extend the arm. The triceps compose 70% of the volume of the arms, so it’s very important to work them in order to build big gunz.
Triset: Performing three exercises one after another.1 set of a triset equals 1 set of each exercise; that means that in one set of a triset is going to be 3 singles sets.
Zinc: Chemical elements found in proteins that help functionalize the immune system in the body. Zinc also helps in the division and growth of the cells and has many other health benefits in the body; it can be found mainly in fish, meats and legumes.
ZMA: Supplement that contains zinc, magnesium, and aspartate witch aids sleep and recovery due to the properties of its ingredients.
Underhand grip: Also known as supinated grip, it’s a type holding where the hands are placed under the equipment that is been used for performing an exercise (grip commonly used in exercises like barbell curls). *The angle of the muscle that is been worked in an exercise depends on the grip that is been used and also on the hand placement.
Unilateral exercises: Exercises that are performed by using one extremity at a time during the entire exercise. Example: Single leg extensions using one leg at a time (extending one leg first for the necessary amount of reps and then working the other leg).