Let me translate some of the most common terms you’re probably hearing/seeing, and what they mean for you when it comes to an exercise routine.
Anaerobic exercise: A high-intensity activity (like sprinting or heavy weight lifting), usually performed for less than two minutes, that uses phosphates and glycogen (instead of oxygen) as fuel. It ups speed, power, strength and endurance while torching calories.
Circuit training: Performing a series of exercises, one after the other, with minimal rest. This is a great way to train if you have limited time or you want to alter your body composition—reducing fat and adding lean muscle.
Compound exercise: A movement that occurs at several joints, working multiple muscle groups. Think squats, which involve bending the ankles, knees, and hips to target the hamstrings, quads and glutes.
Drop sets: A technique that involves starting an exercise with the heaviest weight you can lift, then decreasing the load with each set. For example, bicep curls using 20lb dumb bells for the first set, 15lb bells for the second set and 12lb bells for the last set.
High-intensity interval training: Alternating short bursts of exercise at a very challenging effort level with periods of recovery at a moderate one. It boosts endurance and burns the most calories in the least amount of time than other types of training. According to a new study in the Journal of Physiology, people who do HIIT just 15 to 20 minutes three times per week see improvements in their heart function and blood vessels similar to those who work out at a steady, moderate pace for 30 minutes five times a week. Previous research has also shown that interval training can lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Try it with this calorie-torching cardio routine.
Plyometrics: Quick, explosive moves—such as jumping—that increase muscle strength and power while blasting calories. A few of my favorite plyo moves include: jump squats, power step-up and tuck jumps.
Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE): A scale from 1 to 10 that provides a standard means for evaluating a your perception of exercise effort. Walking at a pace that you feel is moderate would be given a rating of 3. Running would be given a rating of 8 or 9. When you follow one of my cardio circuits, I use RPE to help you understand what level you should be working at.
Superset: A set of two exercises done back-to-back, without rest in between. These moves can work opposing muscle groups like biceps curls and triceps kickbacks, or the same body part like pushups and an incline chest press. This is a great way to keep your gym visits or workouts short and sweet. It will bump up the intensity of your workout and help you build lean muscle. P.S., this is the technique I use in my 8-week challenge workouts to keep them challenging and effective. And even better, it keeps them under 35 minutes each.
Target heart rate: The beats per minute you should aim for during cardio exercise, based on your intended exertion level. For low-intensity exercise, shoot for 65 – 75% of your heart rate max, for moderate, 76 – 85% and at a high-intensity, between 86 – 95%. Subtract your age from 220 to get your estimated heart rate maximum—the most beats per minute your heart can safely reach during exertion.
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