Walking into the gym for the first time can be intimidating. Between navigating the layout and deciding what equipment to use it can all be a little overwhelming. Especially as women, it can be intimidating to head on over to the free-weight section which in the past tended to predominantly be men.
Do not ever let a feeling like you do not belong in the gym stop you from going. Every single person, no matter where they are on their fitness journey, not only belongs in the gym, but should feel comfortable and at ease there.
Remember, everyone was a beginner at one point. Everyone felt a little lost and confused. Everyone felt at some point like they did not belong there.
Then you throw the gym jargon into the mix and it may make you think you should just stay on the treadmill. I am here to help! In order to make those first few workouts a little easier, I am going to break down some of the most common gym terms. Let’s get started with a little gym 101!
A repetition is one complete movement of an exercise. Performing 15 repetitions of bicep curls involves curling the weight upward for a total of 15 times. Generally, the heavier the load, the lower number of repetitions can be achieved. Repetitions can be categorized by low (1 to 5), moderate (6 to 12), and high (12+).
A set is a group of consecutive repetitions. The number of sets completed depends on fitness level, repetitions, and training intensity.
Training intensity refers to an individual’s level of effort compared with their maximal effort. It is usually expressed as a percentage. Some argue that this is the single most important exercise variable for stimulating muscle mass.
A client’s physical capabilities, fitness level, nutritional status, and goals determine the quantity of repetitions, sets, and training intensity.NASM
Repetition tempo refers to the rate (speed) at which each repetition is performed. Slower tempos are generally used for the development of stabilization and muscular endurance as well as to stimulate muscle hypertrophy (growth). Faster speeds are typically employed to develop power and strength. A repetition tempo is a four-number system. Each number corresponds to the length of time, in seconds, to perform a specific muscle action (eccentric, isometric, concentric).
A certain amount of rest is needed throughout a resistance training session to optimize recovery between sets. The rest interval is the time taken to recuperate between sets. Depending on the type of training (muscular endurance, muscle hypertrophy, maximal strength adaptations, or power adaptations) rest intervals can range from 30 seconds to five minutes.
Training volume is the sum of the repetitions performed in a given set during each training session multiplied by the resistance used.
Training frequency usually describes the total number of weekly training sessions. Frequency is directly related to duration and intensity of training and can vary depending on the individual’s goals, preferences, and time limitations.
Training duration describes the length of a training session. In most cases, a training session typically last from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. Key factors involved with duration include intensity of session, health status, training level, and program goals.
The superset uses two exercises performed in rapid succession, one after the other. One variation includes performing two exercises for the same muscle group back to back. The second variation consists of performing two exercises back to back that involve opposing muscle groups. Any number of repetitions can be used but typically involves sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.
Giant sets are comprised of three or more exercises completed in succession. A giant set generally focuses on one muscle group.
Of course these are not the only fitness terms involved in training but they are the most common ones you hear. I hope this little bit of knowledge gives you the boost of confidence to walk into the gym like you belong there, because you do! Fitness is for every single body at every single level. Start where you are and push yourself a little more each time. You’ve got this!