Jargon Buster on Fitness

Check out my jargon buster on fitness and health:

Bleep Test

Also known as the multi-stage fitness test, the beep test, pacer test, or shuttle run test, the bleep test involves running between two points set at 20 metres apart in time to a soundtrack of ever decreasing beeps.jargon-buster-fitness


This is a measurement which is a comparsion between a persons weight and height. It is often used to identify obesity, but does not indicate body fat percent.

Body fat percentage (%)

This is the total weight of storage and essential fat of a human or animal. It is usually measured by using skinfold callipers and gives a clear indication of how much excess fat a person is storing.

BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)

The amount of energy expended while at rest in a neutrally temperate environment, in the post-absorptive state.



Free Weights

Non-machine weights, such as dumbells, or barbells.

Heart Rate

Usually it is calculated as the number of contractions (heart beats) of the heart in one minute and expressed as “beats per minute” (bpm).

Lactate Threshold (LT)

This is the exercise intensity where lactic acid begins to accumulate in the blood. It starts to accumulate because it s being produced faster than it can be removed. Normally, latic acid is removed from the muscles before it accumulates, but at higher intensities it begins to build up and this is known as the Anaerobic Threshold (AT). The anaerobic threshold is when an individual is working at approximately 8.5-9.5 RPE.

Resting Heart Rate

This is your heart rate whilst at rest. This is usually lower in fitter individuals and atheletes.

Cardiac Output

The amount of blood ejected by the heart per beat

Runner’s Knee

Pain behind the kneecap either during or after a run. The kneecap travels up and down a groove as you run or walk. If you run frequently with poor technique i.e. flat footed, the kneecap can slip off track and rub on the protective cartilage behind it. It can also be caused by overtraining or muscle imbalance. It is important to reduce training if this pain occurs as it can wear away the cartilage by friction. Important to strengthen leg muscles to help keep everything in place.

Stroke Volume

The amount of blood the heart can pump out in one beat. Prolonged aerobic exercise can increase stroke volume, which frequently results in a slower heart rate.

Heart Rate Monitor (HRM)

A heart rate monitor is a piece of equipment that allows you to measure your heart rate in real time. It usually consists of two parts: a chest strap transmitter and a wrist receiver (which usually doubles as a watch).

Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)

This is the expenditure of energy by the muscles. The intensity of this action can be measured by the rate of which oxygen is expended, heat is produced and heart rate. It is a measured via the RPE scale and indicates a quantitive feeling of fatigue.


Cramps are unpleasant, often painful sensations caused by contraction or over shortening, usually of muscles. Cramps can be caused by cold or overexertion. There are three basic causes of cramping. One is when you overflex the calf muscle. One is inadequate oxygenation of muscle, where excess lactic acid, produced by anaerobic respiration, builds up and puts stress on the muscle. The other is lack of water or salt. Cramps from poor oxygenation can be improved by rapid deep breathing, as well as stretching the muscle. Cramps from lack of salt and water can be treated by stretching the muscle, and drinking water and increasing salt intake. Pounding on the muscle can increase soreness. Muscle cramps can be treated by applying a soft massage on the cramped muscle, stretching the muscle and applying heat or cold. Heat improves superficial blood circulation and makes muscles more flexible, so some people find that heat is more soothing for muscle cramps than applying ice.


This pain is felt underneath the ribcage and is caused by the internal organs (like the liver and stomach) pulling downwards on the diaphragm with each step, and at the same time the diaphragm is moving upwards to exhale air. This constant up and down stress may cause a stitch. It is therefore more likely to occur in sports involving up and down actions – like running and jumping. Stitch occurs most often on the right hand side because of the liver being the heaviest organ, and therefore the one stressing the diaphragm the most.The diaphragm is supplied by branches of the phrenic nerve that originates in the neck. This may explain the common association of stitch with shoulder tip pain.To cure a stitch slow down the exercise and allow your breathing to become more regulated. If this doesn’t work try to push (with your fingers) into the painful area and then lean forward (from the waist between 45 and 90 degrees) whilst still running if possible. Do this for 15 metres and the stitch should have gone.

VO2 Max

This is the maximum amount of oxygen an individual can use in one minute per kilogram of body weight.

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