Glossary of Health and Fitness Definitions

Below are links to blogs covering health and fitness topics. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, just contact us! We’re always adding to our definitions and we would love to have your input.




Aerobic respiration is when you’re running or doing another exercise at an intensity that’s sufficiently easy for your respiratory and cardiovascular systems to deliver all or most of the oxygen required by your muscles, and slow enough that lactic acid doesn’t appreciably build up in your muscles. With enough endurance, a slow aerobic pace can be sustained over long distances.


Anaerobic respiration is when you are exercising at an intensity that makes it impossible for your respiratory and cardiovascular systems to deliver all or most of the oxygen required by your muscles, and fast enough that lactic acid begins to build up in your muscles. The build up of lactic acid quickly leaves muscles feeling tired and heavy, and as a result, anaerobic running is difficult to sustain. 

Anaerobic Threshold (AT)

This is the transition phase from aerobic and anaerobic running. You can increase AT by training your muscles to use oxygen more efficiently, and as a result, produce less lactic acid. Also sometimes known as “lactate threshold.”



Bodypump involves a mixture of aerobic and weight training, all based around ‘The Rep Effect’. The theory is that light weightlifting, with a lot of repetitions, will lead to leaner, more athletic muscle.

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Bike Tyre Pressure

Bike tyre pressure is the amount of air pumped into a bike tyre’s inner tube. This air pressure is measured in PSI (pounds per square inch) and is essential to get the right PSI in your tyres for various reasons

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BMI stands for ‘Body Mass Index’. It uses your height and weight to calculate where you are on a scale, with the ideal BMI for most adults being in the range of 18.5 to 24.9. 

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BMR stands for Basal Metabolic Rate. This is the number of calories your body needs to accomplish anything, even lying down causes your body to burn energy.

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Bursitis is an inflamed joint, when the fluid-filled sac (synovial fluid) that surrounds your knee joint becomes inflamed, it’ll push against the joint and this is what causes the swelling and pain associated with it. 

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Chi Walking

Think of chi walking as a cross between a walk and meditation. This form of walking incorporates the principles of t’ai chi and emphasises the importance of using your core. 

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Chip Time

At many organised events, you will be given a chip with a unique ID that records your time. It’s a much more accurate way to measure times and can help to deal with the issue of several participants finishing a race all at once. You attach the chip to your shoelace and it sends a signal to an electronic reading device when you cross the start line and again when you cross the finish line

Cool Down

A slow run, jog or walk done after a run to loosen your muscles and rid the body of lactic acid. Cooling down is important for avoiding injuries

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Continuous Training

Continuous training is exactly what it sounds like! During your workout, instead of taking short breaks between exercises, you do one exercise at the same intensity for a set period, without stopping.

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Circuit Training

Circuit training involves doing several different exercises at different ‘stations’, one after the other, with little to no period of rest in between. A single circuit is completed once you’ve exercised at all of the stations.

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Crossfit Training

CrossFit is a type of strength and conditioning workout, based around movements like squats, push-ups, and weightlifting. Unlike other workout types, it’s not based on doing a certain number of repetitions.

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Usually comprising of a distance run, cycle race and a final sprint at the end, duathlons often take place on race track circuits for safe, traffic-free racing. Cross-country duathlons offer a more challenging off-road setting, perfect for cyclists who prefer trail runs and mountain biking.

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Delayed onset muscle soreness. You typically experience this type of muscle soreness around 24-48 hours after completing a particularly intense or long distance run



Ectomorphs tend to be thinner with naturally lean bodies, long limbs, a narrow waist, and a body composition that has lower amounts of both body fat and muscle mass. They have a naturally fast metabolism and may struggle compared to other body types to gain weight or gain muscle.

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Endomorphs are at the other end of the scale. They tend to have a larger bone structure and have a stockier build with broad shoulders, and a naturally slower metabolism. They may struggle more than other body types with weight loss and shifting body fat, and can gain weight more easily.

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Endorphins are neurochemicals which are released by our bodies. The name comes from joining the words “endogenous”, which means from within the body, and “morphine” which you may recognise as being an opioid pain reliever.

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Fartlek Training

Fartlek is a Swedish term meaning ‘speed play’. The fartlek technique involves alternating segments of fast and slow jogging, though it can be applied to other fitness routines too.

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Flexibility Training

Flexibility training isn’t one specific workout. It’s an umbrella term that covers all sorts of exercises that help to improve your flexibility.

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Fuel is all about getting the right nutrition to sustain your run. Fuel for running comes in all kinds of forms, such as energy gels, chews, bars, and even jelly beans. We recommend that you try to eat around 100 calories after an hour of running.


Gait Analysis

Runners often talk of gait analysis and how it helped them and their technique improve. There are five phases to each stride you run – and how you place your foot on the ground and lift it back up during each stride, is called your gait.

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Heart Rate Zone

There are two ends of the heart rate scale – your resting heart rate, and your maximum heart rate. Between these two extremes, there are different ‘zones’, with each one having a different intensity and benefits. 

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HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. This involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by another period, or interval, that’s less intense. 

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Interval Training

Interval training is one of the most popular – and adaptable – modern workouts.  It’s based around the concept of alternating periods, or intervals, of high-intensity exercise with intervals of rest.

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Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is the acid that is produced in the muscles as a result of the incomplete breakdown of glucose, usually during anaerobic respiration. Lactic acid causes muscles to feel sore and heavy

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Maximum Heart Rate

Your maximum heart rate is the highest number of beats per minute your heart can pump whilst under maximum stress.

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Meniscus Tear

The meniscus are little bits of cartilage inside your knee and act like shock absorbers in your knee so if you do get a tear, it can lead to other problems. 

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Mesomorphs sit in the middle, with a body type that is athletic looking with a medium frame. They naturally have a body composition that includes moderate muscle mass, moderate levels of body fat, and average metabolism.

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Nordic Walking

Nordic Walking originated in Scandinavia as skiers use poles to help glide through the snow as efficiently as possible

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Negative Splits

Running the second half of a race faster than the first half.


Out and Back

A course that entails running out to a turnaround spot, and then returning back to the starting point.



The number of minutes it takes you to cover a mile or kilometre.

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Pilates is an exercise programme involving movements that boost core strength. It can be done on a mat, similar to yoga, or involve specialized equipment like the Reformer

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Plyometric Training

The key to plyometric training is stretch and contraction.  Your ability to move your muscles quickly from one state to the other is known as ‘explosive power’

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Point to Point

A run or race that starts and ends in different places.

Power Meter

Power meters are a popular accessory in the cycling world with many professional and casual cyclists alike. Once the accessory of the elite cyclist, they are now mainstream and affordable. Put simply, a power meter measures the power output of a cyclist during a ride. 

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Power Walking

Power walking is when you walk faster than normal, with an element of focus on your posture and technique (exaggerated arm movements and stride length) but you don’t do it competitively. Most people engage in power walking to stay fit, not to compete.

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Recumbent Bike

Recumbent bikes are exercise bikes best for those who may have back issues as the supportive backrest will help them keep their back straight when working out.

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Runners High

Runners often discuss the runner’s high which can occur during or after a long or intense run. Your brain releases chemicals called endorphins that get released into your body that will help with that feel-good feeling. 

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Runners Knee

It’s a broader term used for a common complaint in the knee found in runners called patellofemoral pain syndrome (which is not nearly as catchy as runner’s knee). 

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Shin Splints

The main symptom of shin splints is pain that runs down the front of your lower leg (your shin), and you are likely to experience it whilst doing a high impact exercise such as running. The pain experienced with shin splints is caused by inflammation of the connective tissue that joins your bones and muscle in your lower leg.

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Unlike stationary bikes, indoor cycling workouts like Spin are designed to mimic the feel of a real-life bike ride. You can adjust your own resistance, which means that in an instant you can go from cycling a straight road to going up a steep mountain.

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Your times at a mile or kilometre markers or other pre-planned checkpoints along the way to the finish line of a race.


A sportive, more formally known as a cyclosportive, is a cycling event becoming increasingly popular, not just in the UK, but internationally in the US, Australia and Europe. The race is also known in some places as a Gran Fondo.

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Sports Massage

Sports massage is just one of a number of massage styles that can be used, others include Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Hot Stone Massage and Aromatherapy Massage.

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Strides – also known as accelerations – are running drills. This type of interval training is useful to up your pace and gradually build up your stamina to be able to run further and faster.

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Tabata Training

Named for its creator, Japanese doctor Izumi Tabata, Tabata training involves between 6 and 8 high-intensity intervals. Each of these involves 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest.

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Before big races, runners usually cut back their mileage (known as tapering) to help their muscles rest so that they are ready for peak performance on race day. Depending on the race distance runners can start tapering from a day up to a few weeks before their race.

Target Heart Rate

A range of heart rate reached during aerobic training, which enables an athlete to gain maximum benefit.

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Tempo Runs

Tempo runs are sustained effort training runs. They are usually 20 to 30 minutes in length and run at 10 to 15 seconds per mile slower than your 10-K race pace. When doing tempo run training you should aim for a pace about midway between short-interval training speed and your easy running pace.


After a knee injury, your tendon can become inflamed and swollen. This can cause it to stiffen and become sore and painful and also affects how your tendon moves.

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The Wall

The wall is a mental and physical blocker experienced by runners that makes you feel like you can’t possibly move another step. It is, however, usually possible to fight through and find your second wind.

Threshold Runs

Threshold runs consist of 5 to 20 minutes at a pace just a little slower than your 10K racing pace, a pace that is roughly equivalent to being at your lactate threshold. This is the point just before your muscles start to burn energy anaerobically, producing lactic acid. Running at or near the lactate threshold is believed to raise your lactate threshold, which should allow you to run faster in the future.


VO2 Max

The maximum amount of oxygen that a person can extract from the atmosphere and then transport and use in the body’s tissues.


Warm Up

A warm-up is an important pre-workout to raise your heart rate so that your body (and its muscles) are looser before a tough workout begins.

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Weighted Vests

A large vest (think of a police officer’s body armour) with small weights secured into it. They come in various sizes, styles and weights so you can make sure it fits you and your needs. They distribute the weight evenly across your torso and back and can help with resistance training, running, CrossFit and even hiking. 

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