Gym Acronyms

It can be a daunting prospect to embark on a new regime of health and fitness. Firstly, you must make a personal commitment to consistently apply yourself to an activity that raises your heart rate and works those neglected muscles. Whether you have joined a gym or intend on pounding the pavement under your own motivation, the decision to act is, without a doubt, the most difficult. It would be much easier to continue a life of inexertion rather than sweat it out. We know that it is good for us to exercise and that the benefits reveal themselves over time.  We just need to be prepared, step outside our comfort zone and make the experience as enjoyable as possible.

The last thing we need is a series of unfamiliar acronyms that make us feel like we need to go back to grade school just to participate in a conversation.  Here are a few acronyms that you should be aware of if you are intending on participating in group exercise activity or working out in a gym environment.

1. WOD

WorkOut of the Day

As the name suggests this is a daily exercise routine that is completed by participants, usually in a cross-fit class. It generally involves a combination of cardiovascular and weights exercises to be completed in a set period of time.  The exercises are intended to be intense in order to raise the heart rate, increase strength and provide an all over body workout.

2. BMI

Body Mass Index

This acronym refers to a ratio that provides a measure of a person's weight compared with their height.  It is calculated as follows. 

BMI  =  (Weight in kilograms)  /  (Height in metres)2


BMI  =  [(Weight in pounds)  / (Height in inches)2]  X  703

A score between 18.5 and 25 is classified as a healthy weight to height ratio.

A score between 25 and 30 indicates you are overweight and at risk of developing conditions such as coronary heart disease and diabetes.

A score over 30 is an indicator of obesity and immediate action should be taken to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other medical conditions.

A score under 18.5 means you are underweight and should take steps to attain a healthy weight, within the recommended range, in order to improve your body's immune system.

It should be noted that the BMI should be used as a general guide only as it does not cater for muscle weight that is built as your fitness program progresses. It is also not applicable for children.


Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

This is an acronym that you will hear many people in the gym complaining about. DOMS is the aching feeling, deep down in the muscle tissue that reminds us we have recently endured an arduous workout. It is a sneaky kind of ache, often presenting itself 24 to 48 hours after completion of the exercise. It really is the pain that keeps on giving, reminding the sufferer of how hard they worked at a time when the memory of the exertion is starting to fade. Nevertheless, many gym junkies wear it like a badge of honor, demonstrating how hard they are working to achieve their goals.


High Intensity Interval Training

HIIT is lauded as the most efficient way to burn fat and put you on the path to achieving your weight loss goals. As the name indicates, HIIT involves a series of intense activities undertaken in short bursts aimed at raising the heart rate, stressing the muscles and shocking the body into burning fat and boosting cardiovascular capacity. A session of HIIT, lasting anywhere between five and thirty minutes, is punctuated by low to medium activity recovery exercises that allow the participant to catch their breath ready for the next series of intense exercises.

5. MHR

Maximum Heart Rate

The calculation of MHR is used to determine a target range for an individual.  It is broadly determined by using the following formula.

MHR  =  220 - Age

It is recommended that those embarking on a new regime of exercise should initially aim to achieve 60% of their MHR. The level of activity required to get the heart pumping at this rate will provide desired results.  Over time the intensity of the exercise may be increased to further improve the level of fitness.

In order to measure your heart rate, place two fingers across your wrist and apply sufficient pressure to feel the beating pulse.  Count the number of beats in fifteen seconds and multiply the result by four. Alternatively, there are various heart rate monitors available that accurately measure your pulse and allow you to observe changes as you progress through your workout.

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6. 1RM

One Repetition Maximum

1RM, often referred to as One Rep Max, is associated with weight training. It is the amount of weight a person can successfully lift once, and once only. At the 1RM weight, the muscles are exhausted after a single repetition.  An attempt at a second repetition would result in failure.

1RM is often used to set a program of weights at a percentage of the maximum. For example, 5 sets of 10 repetitions at 80% of 1RM. Therefore, the lifter is not exerting themselves to lift at maximum intensity.  Rather, they are lifting at a level that allows them to complete a set of repetitions.  Various programs can be developed using 1RM as a tool to build muscle, increase strength or improve power.  

1RM - One Rep Max

There are many terms, phrases and acronyms that are used in the fitness industry that may be unfamiliar to a new participant. Talk to your instructor or other gym participants if there is anything you do not understand. We were all new once and there is no such thing as a dumb question if all you are trying to do is expand your knowledge and improve your understanding. The more you learn about your chosen method of exercise, the more familiar you will become and the more likely it is that it will form part of your routine. Once an exercise regime is entrenched as part of your life you are well on your way to enjoying the rewards of health, happiness and well-being.