Fiddle Fit Middle

Become the star of your own fitness story

Fiddle Fit Middle

Become the star of your own fitness story

21 popular fitness buzzwords explained

The business end of fitness can be really daunting. All those terms! Sometimes you just have to laugh at the fitness buzzwords flying around.
Dictionary definition of jargon overlaid on start of a parkrun

What they mean with those fitness buzzwords - and what we mean

The business end of fitness can be really daunting. There’s the gyms full of gym bunnies, a dizzying array of supplements and price tags that make your eyes water. Sometimes you just have to laugh at the fitness buzzwords flying around.

Funnily enough, while mortals understand athletes well enough, those who were born with athletic gifts don’t seem to be very good at understanding what the world of fitness looks like through our eyes.

I know people for whom these things actually matter, and that’s great. More power to them.

One of my female friends actually cycled the whole of the Tour de France in 2019 as part of a team advocating for more equal treatment in cycling (and as an aside, the ladies cycled further than the men that year, as one of the stages was cancelled). She'd be the first to congratulate me on meeting any of my modest little exercise goals. And I'd be the first to rush out and try and find her any one of the items on this list without any sniggering whatsoever.

But I think it's pretty clear that we move in very different fitness worlds!

And now, without further ado, here are 21 fitness buzzwords in our own terms, in alphabetical order - the juiciest ones are in the middle!

Fitness buzzwords

  • 1

    Abs

    What they think it means
    Muscles you can only see on a highly trained, serious athlete (like me)
    What it really means
    *Sigh* Everyone has abs…..
  • 2

    Barefoot running

    What they think it means
    A way of feeling connected to Mother Earth as you run.
    What it really means
    A way of getting a broken bit of bottle stuck in the sole of your foot, if you’re not careful.
  • 3

    Compression clothing

    What they think it means

    Tightly-fitting gear that compresses your limbs and helps you recover from exercise more efficiently.

    What it really means
    A way of getting you to part with too much money for something which has not yet actually been proven to be beneficial.

    Impossible to get on and off without outside help.

  • 4

    Cycling

    What they think it means
    A performance sport, where marginal gains matter, even to the amateur. For best results, a lightweight racing bike with toe clips and drop handlebars is required.
    What it really means
    A nice way to get some fresh air when it isn’t raining, providing you don’t mind taking your life in your hands occasionally in traffic.
  • 5

    Fartlek training

    What they think it means
    A way of adding bursts of more intense exercise that raise your heartrate into your routine at irregular intervals. Thought to be extremely effective.
    What it really means
    Err…. correct. No sniggering at the back.
  • 6

    Foam roller

    What they think it means
    An essential piece of equipment, used to self-massage muscles to recovery, so that you don’t have to miss a moment’s training
    What it really means
    An instrument of torture you don’t have the patience for which is looking at you accusingly from under the coffee table, where it is gathering dust.
  • 7

    HIIT

    What they think it means
    High intensity interval training - a highly effective way of getting results QUICKLY NOW! Let’s do it!
    What it really means
    A bewildering, and bewilderingly sweaty set of precisely-timed instructions you’ll never remember in a month of Sundays.

    What with all the warming up, resting and cooling down, it takes three times as long as advertised.
  • 8

    Hydration

    What they think it means
    Drinking exactly the right amount of sports drinks and water to encourage peak performance.
    What it really means
    A couple of gulps of water as an afterthought just before you go out and a nice cup of tea when you get in.

    Also: unnecessarily lugging about a litre of water on a short walk or walk-run because you’ve heard hydration is essential. Feeling too daft to actually drink it.
  • 9

    Ice bath

    What they think it means
    The latest in post-exercise recovery
    What it really means
    You have got to be kidding me!!!
  • 10

    Lycra

    What they think it means
    Essential performance fabric.  And don't call me a MAMIL.
    What it really means
    You'll never catch me wearing that, you MAMIL, you!
  • 11

    Nutrition

    What they think it means
    Eating carefully-planned meals and snacks following thoroughly-researched nutritional principles.
    What it really means
    Trying not to eat more than your fair share of those sticky sweets Jackie from accounts brought back from Prague.
  • 12

    parkrun

    What they think it means
    Ooo, a chance to get an official time for my 5k! I’m going for a PB.
    What it really means
    A nice, sociable trot round the park. Aren’t the marshalls great?
  • 13

    Quantifiable me

    What they think it means
    A way of seeing yourself as nothing more than a very complicated Excel spreadsheet.
    What it really means
    Is this what mankind has come to?
  • 14

    Resistance training

    What they think it means
    A highly choreographed gym session, in which particular weights are used for particular movements a tightly specified number of times.
    What it really means
    Where you try and usually fail to do press ups, pull ups, lunges and tricep dips while getting very red in the face, having forgotten how many you’ve already done.
  • 15

    Running

    What they think it means
    Floating along at an impossible-looking pace, from time to time experiencing a “runner’s high”
    What it really means
    An “activity”, akin to shuffling, in which you move forward with both feet very briefly off the ground. Can look like barely moving at all.
  • 16

    Sports bra

    What they think it means
    For women, another chance to adorn your person with branded sportswear.
    What it really means
    An essential, yet mythical item of clothing which no manufacturer has actually ever produced. Many brands claim to make them. They are all wrong.
  • 17

    Sports drink

    What they think it means
    Full of essential electrolytes. I only buy the best.
    What it really means
    Yeuch! Bleargh! Who comes up with this rubbish?!
  • 18

    Strava

    What they think it means
    A brilliant app for testing yourself against the best amateurs. Did I tell you I’ve got 3 King of the Mountains? I did? Oh.
    What it really means
    A way to either
    make you feel completely inadequate or
    Keep track of what you’ve been up to recently without having to do any sums
    Join in with some virtual exercise groups if you feel a bit isolated.
  • 19

    Swimming goggles

    What they think it means
    Eyewear that’s great for keeping water out of your eyes.
    What it really means
    Eyewear that’s great for letting water into your eyes. And trapping your hair painfully in the elastic strap.
  • 20

    Warm down

    What they think it means
    A series of graceful movements, designed to prevent post-exercise stiffness.
    What it really means
    Is this what A load of extra faffing about, most of which you’ve forgotten and are too tired to even think about once you’ve got in.has come to?
  • 21

    Warm up

    What they think it means
    Another series of graceful movements designed to warm up your muscles and ligaments, ready for a tip-top training session. Essential if you’re aiming for a personal best.
    What it really means
    Is this Another load of extra stuff, most of which you’ve forgotten and are too embarrassed to perform in public anyway. A load of extra faffing about, most of which you’ve forgotten and are too tired to even think about once you’ve got in.has come to?

These are the ones I keep coming across - either online or in person. The swimming goggles made it to this very personal list because I'm fed up of mine. You might have other - and better - examples, which I hope you'll share with me using the hashtag #fiddlefitbuzzwords.

Whatever you think of the list and however negatively you might react to any of these words when you come across them in real life, the only purpose is to make you smile. I hope I've done enough to move the corners of your mouth upwards.


Kate

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I take your health and wellbeing very seriously, so this comes from the heart - it's not just covering my backside legally: I'm not a mental or physical health professional of any kind, as I stress in my disclaimer. If you have any doubts about the state of your health, please get an appointment with an appropriate professional. Here's to your best possible health!

Welcome

Me biting a medal
A few years ago, I got scared that I won't be able to tie my own shoelaces when I’m 70, so I started to work on my fitness.

All the advice I found made me feel I was on the outside looking in. I needed something a lot more me-centric.

Now I feel I have more control and hope for the future.

I’m sharing what I’ve learned so that you can star in your own fitness story.
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Lack of confidence holding you back?

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I take your privacy seriously. No spam. Unsubscribe any time. See my privacy policy.

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