Key Terms

Entering the fitness world can be tough because there is a lot to know and an abundance of information on the internet which isn’t always true. I know first hand how frustrating it can be to want to learn but not be able to trust what you’re reading. That’s why I have compiled a list of key terms to hopefully get you started!

Fitness: the state of being mentally, spiritually and physically healthy. 

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training): short intervals of high intensity cardio (ie. sprinting) broken up by short intervals of low intensity cardio (ie. walking) or even a rest. This exercise helps keep your heart rate up and you burn more calories!

LISS (Low Intensity Steady State): any form of low intensity cardio in which you maintain the same pace for a set period of time. Kayla Itsines says this exercise is perfect for the “after-burn” affect where your body continues to burn extra calories even after exercise is completed!

Cross Training: mixing in different workouts and training methods rather than focusing on just one type of workout.

Strength Training: any exercise where you use resistance to work your muscles. Used to create muscle mass. 

Resistance: this is how much weight your body is working against to complete a workout. This could simply mean your body weight or it could mean 10lb dumbbells. 

Recovery: the period after training where you allow your body to rest. 

Reps: this is short form for repetitions. Ten reps means repeating that exercise ten times. 

Sets: this refers to how many times you repeat a given number of reps. Two sets of ten means you complete the exercise for ten reps, twice. 

Super set: pairing two exercises and performing them back-to-back without rest. 

Foam Rolling: this is used for self-myofascial release (SMR) which is a fancy term for self-massaging. The foam roller itself is a tool to help massage overactive muscles. 

Isometrics: any exercise where you hold a position under tension for a set period of time. (ie. planks)

Plyometrics: usually referred to for any exercises that require a lot of jumping. (ie. burpees, squat jumps). Purpose is to increase power in your movements. 

Supplements: a product intended for ingestion that contains a dietary ingredient meant to add additional nutritional value to a diet. Common supplements are included below:

     Protein: most commonly in the form of protein powders (whey protein, soy protein,       plant-based protein) and is used to help increase your protein intake and build muscles. 

BCAA (Branched Chain Amino Acids): leucine, isoleucine and valine. Known for improving prolonged performance and for aiding in recovery. 

Glutamine: this supplement helps promote muscle growth, reduced muscle catabolism, normal, healthy immune system function and gut health.

Creatine: boosts maximal strength and energy output during exercise, allowing you to lift heavier, longer. It also acts as a “cell volumizer,” making muscles fuller.

Fish Oils: support cognitive function, normal, healthy immune system function, heart health, healthy skin, vision and joint health.

Metabolism: the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. Each person’s metabolism is different and many factors play into it including age, gender, weight and body composition. 

Body composition: the amount of fat vs. lean muscle tissue in the body. 

Body Mass Index (BMI): a measurement of body fat based on height and weight. Indicates if you are overweight, underweight or normal. 

Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR): the amount of energy you would use if you stayed in bed all day. A lot of people refer to this as the number of calories you should be eating in a day. 

Superfoods: a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. Most superfoods are rich in nutrients such as antioxidants, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and/or fibre. Some common superfoods are indicated below (from Kayla Itsines website): 


Matcha: Matcha tea is the dried leaf of green tea that has been ground into a powder. Before the leaves are harvested, they are shaded for 30 days to increase their chlorophyll production. Matcha is an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, amino acids as well as chlorophyll. It can help boost your energy and improve your overall health. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine that can help to enhance your brainpower. Matcha green tea powder can be used as a brewed tea, but can also be added to baked goods, smoothies or sprinkled through your salad. If you want to get creative check out my healthy green tea cookies here.

Turmeric: This spice is what gives curry its unique taste. Turmeric is known for its antioxidant, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and was used in ancient medical traditions in India and China. Turmeric gets its gorgeous deep golden colour from a compound called curcumin. Studies have found that curcumin may improve circulation, prevent blood clotting, help indigestion and subdue a variety of pains. You can add turmeric to your quinoa or oat porridge, sprinkle in rice dishes and sprinkle over vegetables or meat when cooking to boost flavour.

Sprouted seeds: Sprouting seeds is a process where seeds are grown until they begin to sprout and develop small shoots, which are then removed and eaten either raw or cooked. Generally, sprouted seeds have a higher protein, vitamin and mineral content than the raw vegetables you eat. They also contain more enzymes, which are molecules that allow your body to absorb and effectively use the foods that you eat. An easy way to get an added nutrient boost is to add sprouted seeds to your salad, stir-fry or in your favourite vegetable-based juice.

Ancient Grains: The word ancient grains doesn’t just refer to a 4000-year-old grain, it refers to the ancient grains that have been used in the traditional diets of nomadic communities across the world. However, these grains have only recently been ‘discovered’ and talked about in the Western world. Most ancient grains provide a wheat-free and/or gluten-free alternative to the modern grains available now. Nutritionally, ancient grains are wholegrains that have more protein, more fibre and provide greater amounts of vitamins and minerals. Some of the more well known grains are quinoa, chia and millet, but there are many others, including amaranth, wild rice, freekeh, spelt, buckwheat and sorghum. Try adding these ancient grains to your favourite salads or use their flours when baking!

Fermented Foods: Within your intestine there are trillions of good, live bacteria called probiotics. These little microorganisms are responsible for a healthy digestive system and boosting overall immune function, which is important for a healthy body. How can you increase the amounts of good bacteria in your digestive system? One of the best ways is to eat foods that are full of probiotics, which can be found in fermented foods. What are fermented foods, you ask? Some examples of fermented foods include: Kefir, Kombucha, Miso, Tempeh, Sauerkraut, Kimchi (the spicy version of sauerkraut) and yoghurt. When buying yoghurt, it is important to look for yoghurts that say “Live & Active Cultures” as these are the ones that contain the benefits. 


Vegetarianism: the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat. 

Veganism: in addition to being a vegetarian, vegans also do not eat other animal products and by-products such as eggs and dairy. 


These are just some of the many definitions out there! More coming soon!