Abduction -- Movement of a limb away from middle axis of the body, such as extending arms outward at shoulder height from a hanging-down position.
Abs -- Slang for abdominal muscles.
Absolute Strength -- Developed through heavy weight training, typically involving above the 80-85% of maximum effort for each lift. Its 3 components are concentric, eccentric and static strength. No ergogenic aids (e.g., drugs, therapies or nutritional products) are used in training for absolute strength, whereas such ergogens are used to acquire limit strength.
1. Concentric strength refers to the one-rep maximum for a movement.
2. Eccentric is the one-rep maximum lowering a weight under control (usually 40% more than concentric).
3. Static is the maximum holding strength in a given position (20% more than concentric).
Acclimation -- A program undertaken to induce acclimatization to new environmental
conditions such as changes in temperature or altitude.
Acclimatization -- The body's gradual adaptation to a changed environment, such as higher
temperatures or lower pressures (from high altitude).
Accommodating Resistance -- A weight training machine which, through the use of air, fluid or clutch plates in tandem with a flywheel, controls the speed with which you are able to move. By controlling speed, the exertion you are able to deliver is always at maximum throughout the entire range of motion of an exercise. This technology is very useful during rehabilitation, when injuries are present, and also in sports training for speed-strength. (See Isokinetic Resistance, Variable Resistance and Constant Resistance.)
Acetyl Coenzyme A -- Acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl CoA) is a chief precursor of lipids. It is formed by an acetyl group attaching itself to coenzyme A (CoA) during the oxidation of amino acids, fatty acids, or pyruvate.
Acid-Base Balance -- The acid-base balance refers to the condition in which the pH of the blood is kept at a constant level of 7.35 to 7.45. The acidity of blood is kept from becoming too acidic or alkaline through respiration, buffers, and work done by the kidney.
Acromegaly -- Acromegaly is a chronic pituitary gland disorder developing in adult life characterized by increased massiveness of the bones, organs and other body parts and elongation and enlargement of the bones.
Actin -- Actin is one of the fibrous protein constituents of the protein complex actomyosin. It is a protein which, when combined with myosin forms actomyosin, the contractile constituent of muscle.
Actomyosin -- Actomyosin is the system involved in muscle contraction and relaxation which is composed of actin and myosin protein filaments.
Acute -- Sudden, short-term, sharp or severe. Cf. chronic
Adaptation -- The adjustment of the body (or mind) to achieve a greater degree of
fitness to its environment. Adaptations are more persistent than an
immediate response to the new stimuli of the environment. Cf. response.
Additives -- Substances other than a foodstuff present in food as a result of production, processing, storage or packaging. Examples: preservatives, coloring, thickeners (gums), excipients and binders.
Adduction -- Movement of a limb toward middle axis of the body. Returning arms to the side from extended position at shoulders.
Adherence -- Sticking to something. Used to describe a person's continuation in an
exercise program. Cf. compliance.
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) -- The body's energizer, an organic compound present in muscle fibers that is broken down through a variety of enzymatic processes. The resultant spark of energy released stimulates hundreds of microscopic filaments within each cell, triggering muscle contraction.
Adhesion -- Fibrous tissue holding muscles or other parts together that have been altered or damaged through trauma.
Aerobic activities -- Activities using large muscle groups at moderate intensities that permit
the body to use oxygen to supply energy and to maintain a steady state for
more than a few minutes. Cf. steady state.
Aerobic -- Using oxygen.
Aerobic exercise -- Activities in which oxygen from the blood is required to fuel the energy-producing mechanisms of muscle fibers. Examples are running, cycling and skiing over distance. Aerobic means "with oxygen."
Aerobic endurance -- The ability to continue aerobic activity over a period of time.
Aerobic power -- See maximal oxygen uptake.
Aerobic strength endurance -- Force produced footfall-per footfall (or movement-per-movement) in the face of massive oxygen debt, such as that incurred in long distance training or competition (see cardiovascular/ cardiorespiratory endurance). While many factors contribute to aerobic strength endurance, there are at least 9 critical components:
1. Cardiovascular endurance relates to the efficiency in getting oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood to the working muscles, and "spent" blood back to the heart.
2. Cardiorespiratory endurance involves the efficiency of the "loop" where the blood goes from the heart to the lungs, gets rid of water and carbon dioxide, picks up oxygen, and returns to the heart for delivery to the body.
3. Max VO2 Uptake: Maximum Volume of Oxygen Taken up by the working muscles, expressed in milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of bodyweight per minute (ml/kg/min).
4. Stroke Volume: The volume of blood pushed out of the left ventricle with each beat
5. Ejection Fraction: The percentage of the total volume of blood in the left ventricle that's pushed out with each beat
6. Heart Rate: The number of times your heart beats during each minute.
7. Willingness to endure pain (especially from lactic acid accumulation)
8. Skill (at running, etc.)
9. Total Body Limit Strength: The 8 factors above being equal, the strongest will win
Agonist -- A muscle which directly engages in an action around a joint which has
another muscle that can provide an opposing action (antagonist).
Albumin -- Albumin is a type of simple protein widely distributed throughout the tissues and fluids of plants and animals. Varieties of albumin are found in blood, milk, egg white, wheat, barley and muscle.
Aldosterone -- Aldosterone is a mineralocorticoid which functions as the primary electrolyte-regulatory steroid hormone. It is secreted by the adrenal cortex.
Allergen -- A substance that causes an allergy or hypersensitivity.
Alpha Ketoisocaproate (KIC) -- KIC is an alpha-ketoacid of L-leucine. It is well supported in the research literature as a stimulant of lymphocyte blastogenesis and antibody response, and it can also increase muscle growth and decrease fat deposition.
Recently, KIC has been used extensively in fat loss preparations and in high-protein supplements used clinically to retard muscle-wasting.
Amino acids -- The building blocks of protein. There are 24 amino acids, which form countless number of different proteins. They all contain nitrogen, oxygen, carbon and hydrogen.
Amino acids are either essential or nonessential. The "L" isomer of the amino acids has greater biological value, and is distinguished from the "molecular mirror image" isomer which is called the "D" form. Thus, references to the individual amino acids often begin with the prefix "L."
Essential aminos must be derived from food. There are eight of them: L-isoleucine, L-leucine, L-lysine, L-methionine, L-phenylalanine, L-tryptophan, L-threonine, and L-valine. Two others, L-arginine and L-histidine, are essential for children.
Nonessential aminos are manufactured internally in the quantities the body requires. Their names are: L-alanine, L-asparagine, L-aspartic acid, L-citrulline, L-cysteine, L-cystine, L-glutamine, L-glutamic acid, glycine, L-ornithine, L-proline, L-serine, taurine, and L-tyrosine. Some of their roles are:
L-arginine -- An essential amino for prepubescent children, arginine is converted to ornithine in the adult body. It's usually used in supplement form by adults in combination with ornithine (another amino) for growth hormone stimulation, a practice of unproven efficacy.
L-alanine -- An energy producer and regulator of blood sugar.
L-asparagine -- An important factor in the metabolic processes of the nervous system.
L-aspartic acid -- Involved in the conversion of carbohydrates to muscle energy. A building block of immune system immunoglobulins and antibodies.
L-citrulline -- Helps detoxify ammonia, a byproduct of protein metabolism.
L-cysteine -- Performs detoxification duties in combination with L-aspartic acid and L-citrulline. Helps prevent damage from alcohol and cigarette smoke. Stimulates hair growth.
L-cystine -- A major partner in tissue anti-oxidant mechanisms. Contributes to improved healing, diminished pain from inflammation, and strong connective tissue.
L-glutamine -- Lymphocytes and other white blood cells, front-line fighters in the immune system, are strongly dependent on glutamine. Glutamine also helps memory and concentration, and aids in neutralizing the catabolic effects of cortisol which is released upon strenuous exercise.
L-glutamic acid -- An important metabolic factor in energy production, brain function and the immune system. In combination with vitamin B-6, glutamic acid is converted to L-glutamine in the liver, scavenging ammonia in the process.
Glycine -- Vital for the manufacture of amino acids in the body and in the structure of red blood cells. Glucose and creatine phosphate (CP), two substances pivotal to energy production, require glycine in their synthesis process.
L-histidine -- Along with growth hormone and certain other amino acids, vital to tissue growth. Important in the production of red and white blood cells.
L-isoleucine -- One of the three branched chain aminos, so-named because of its branching molecular configuration. The other two are leucine and valine. Together, they are indispensible for muscle growth and recovery. See Branched Chaim Amino Acids (BCAAs).
L-leucine -- See L-isoleucine.
L-lysine -- Low levels can slow down protein synthesis, affecting muscle and connective tissue. Has inhibitory affect against viruses and used in treatment of herpes simplex.
L-ornithine -- see L-arginine.
L-methionine -- Removes poisonous wastes from your liver and assists in the regeneration of liver and kidney tissue.
L-phenylalanine -- Enhances learning, memory and alertness. A major element in the production of collagen, the main fibrous protein tissue in the body. Very useful for pain reduction in its modified D,L,-phenylalanine form.
L-proline -- A major ingredient in the formation of connective tissue.
L-serine -- Important for the production of cellular energy and the formation of acetylcholine, a paramount brain chemical that aids memory and nervous system function.
L-threonine -- One of the amino detoxifiers. Prevents fatty buildup in the liver. Important component of collagen.
L-tryptophan -- Stimulates secretion of serotonin, a brain chemical that has a calming effect on the body. Used in the treatment of insomnia, stress and migraines. This essential amino acid was placed in the "drug" category by the FDA in 1988, an action which rendered virtually all commercially available essential amino acid mixtures worthless. Without any one of the 8 essentials present, none of the others can function.
L-tyrosine -- Important to the function of adrenal, pituitary and thyroid glands. Elevates mood and is used in the treatment of anxiety, depression and insomnia.
L-valine -- See L-isoleucine.
Amino acids are one of the three major sources of energy in the human body, the other two being fatty acids, and monosaccharides such as glucose.
Amino acids are linked together in construction of the body's proteins. Most amino acids are incorporated into proteins which are either structural or regulatory in nature. Structural proteins such as collagen and elastin, make up the muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones. Regulatory proteins, called enzymes, control the function of all of the metabolic pathways within the cells of the body. Some enzymes are general in their activity and help break down food. Class-specific enzymes regulate larger-scale processes.
Ammonia scavengers -- Combinations of certain amino acids (especially glutamic acid in combination with vitamin B-6) and minerals that help remove ammonia from the blood. Ammonia is a toxic by-product of intense training (caused by the breakdown of amino acids for energy) and endurance events which can accumulate to cause severe fatigue.
Anabolic -- Pertaining to the putting together of complex substances from simpler ones, especially to the building of body proteins from amino acids.
Anabolism -- The metabolic processes which build up living body substances, that is, the synthesis of complex substances from simple ones. Example: muscle-building by combining amino acids together. Anabolism uses the available energy generated by catabolic processes to form the chemical bonds which unite the components of increasingly complex molecules. Anabolism is the opposite of catabolism.
Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids (AAS) -- A group of synthetic, testosterone-like hormones that promote anabolism, including muscle hypertrophy. Medical uses include promotion of tissue repair in severely debilitated patients, but their use in athletics is illegal in the USA and many other countries, and is considered unethical and therefore banned by almost all international sports governing bodies. Abuse and misuse of this potent class of drugs carry numerous health risks.
Anaerobic exercise -- Short-term activities (usually highly intense) in which muscle fibers derive contractile energy from stored internal compounds without the use of oxygen from the blood. These compounds include ATP, CP and Glycogen. Short bursts of "all-out" effort, such as sprinting or weightlifting are examples of anaerobic activities. Anaerobic activities, then, are activities using muscle groups at high intensities that exceed the body's capacity to use oxygen to supply energy and which create an oxygen debt by using energy produced without oxygen.
Anaerobic means "without oxygen." Cf. oxygen.
Anaerobic Strength Endurance comes principally from the glycolytic pathway. The emphasis is on repetitive muscular capacity such as required in boxing, wrestling, tug-o-war and high repetition training (more than 20 reps) without entering the aerobic phase of muscular energetics, and which involves the development of severe oxygen debt. There are two general types of anaerobic strength endurance:
1. Speed endurance involves maintaining maximum speed over times lower than 3-4 minutes (e.g., 100, 400, 800 meter dashes in track & field).
2. Strength endurance is exerting maximum muscular effort time after time with no appreciable decline in force output. Football linemen display this quality play-after-play for four quarters.
Two other forms of anaerobic strength are limit strength and speed-strength, both of which derive energy from the ATP/CP pathway of muscular energetics.
Anaerobic threshold -- The point where increasing energy demands of exercise cannot be met by the use of oxygen, and an oxygen debt begins to be incurred.
Anatomy -- The science of the structure of the human body.
Anemia - A subnormal number or hemoglobin content of red blood cells caused when
blood loss exceeds blood production. Symptoms may include fatigue, pale
complexion, light headedness, palpitations, and loss of appetite.
Angina -- A gripping, choking, or suffocating pain in the chest (angina pectoris), caused most often by insufficient flow of oxygen to the heart muscle during exercise or excitement. Exercise should stop, and medical attention should be obtained.
Anorexia -- Anorexia is a condition where a person experiences a loss of appetite; it is distinguished from anorexia nervosa (below).
Anorexia Nervosa -- Anorexia nervosa is a psychological and physiological condition (most commonly among young women) characterized by inability or refusal to eat, or an extreme aversion to food, leading to severe weight loss, malnutrition, hormone imbalances, and other potentially life-threatening biological changes.
Antagonist -- A muscle that can provide an opposing action to the action of another muscle (the agonist) around a joint.
Antioxidants -- Certain nutrients, substances and vitamins and minerals that protect against free-radicals, highly unstable molecular fragments unleashed by strenuous exercise, chemicals, polluted air, and other factors, that can cause extensive damage to the body. Free radicals are involved in emphysema, wrinkled skin, cancer, blood clots, damage to cellular components and DNA, as well as muscle pains, cramps, and fatigue, and a host of other ailments and diseases normally associated with ageing.
Free-radical "scavengers" (another term for antioxidants) include vitamins A, C, E, selenium, zinc, many different botanical preparations such as pycnogenol and nordihydroguairetic acid (NDGA), glutathione, superoxide dimutase, and others. (See free radicals.)
Anthropometry -- The science dealing with the measurement (size, weight, proportions) of
the human body.
Aquatics -- Exercise or sports activities in or on the water.
Arrhythmia -- Any abnormal rhythm of the heart beat. Since some causes of arrythmia may
have serious health consequences, exercisers experiencing irregular heart
beats should be referred for medical evaluation.
Arteriosclerosis -- Thickening and hardening of the artery walls by one of several diseases.
Artery -- Vessel which carries blood away from the heart to the tissues of the body.
Arthritis -- Inflammation of the joints which causes pain, stiffness and limitation of motion. May be symptomatic of a systemic disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, which can affect all age groups. Cf. osteoarthritis.
Atherosclerosis -- A very common form of arteriosclerosis, in which the arteries are narrowed
by deposits of cholesterol and other material in the inner walls of the
artery. Cf. arteriosclerosis.
Atrophy -- Withering away, a decrease in size and functional ability of bodily tissues or organs, typically resulting from disuse or disease. Cf. hypertrophy.
ATP -- The organic compound found in muscle which, upon being broken down enzymatically, yields energy for muscle contraction.
ATPase -- The enzyme which acts to split the ATP molecule. Three major isoforms of ATPase exist, and correspond to Type I, Type IIa and Type IIb muscle fibers. ATPase is released from the knobby ends of the cross-bridges located on the myosin myofilaments.
ATP/CP Sports -- Explosive strength sports with movement lasting a second or two at most (examples: shot put, powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, vertical jump).
Ballistic Movement -- An exercise or sports-related movement in which part of the body is "thrown" against the resistance of antagonist muscles or against the limits of a joint. The latter, especially, is considered dangerous to the integrity of ligaments and tendons.
Ballistic Training -- Life -- and especially sports -- is full of ballistic episodes, and it’s important to 1) prevent such episodes from causing injury (microtrauma or macrotrauma), and, paradoxically, 2) make your movements more ballistic in sports where such will provide an advantage (e.g., throwing a 100 mph fastball). Following a carefully periodized, highly specialized training, nutritional and supplementation regimen will accomplish these goals.
Basal metabolic rate -- The minimum energy required to maintain the body's life function at rest.
Usually expressed in calories per hour per square meter of body surface. Cf. met.
Biofeedback -- A process which permits a person to see or hear indicators of
physiological variables, such as blood pressure, skin temperature, or heart
rate, which may allow the person to exert some control over those
variables. Often used to teach relaxation techniques.
Blood pressure -- The pressure exerted by the blood on the wall of the arteries. Maximum and
minimum measures are used: The systolic pressure reaches a maximum just before the end of the pumping phase of the heart; the diastolic pressure (minimum) occurs late in the refilling phase of the heart. Measures are in the millimeters of mercury (as 120/80). Cf. hypertension.
Body composition -- The proportions of fat, muscle, and bone making up the body. Usually
expressed as percent of body fat and percent of lean body mass.
Body density -- The specific gravity of the body, which can be tested by underwater weighing. Compares the weight of the body to the weight of the same volume of water. Result can be used to estimate the percentage of body fat.
Bradycardia -- Slow heart beat. A well-conditioned heart will often deliver a pulse rate
of less than 60 beats per minute at rest, which would be considered bradycrotic by standard definitions. Cf. tachycardia.
Bursa -- A cushioning sac filled with a lubricating fluid that alleviates friction where there is movement between muscles, between tendon and bone, or between bone and skin.
Bursitis -- The inflammation of a bursa, sometimes with calcification in underlying tendon.
Back-cycling -- Cutting back on either numbers of sets, repetitions, amount of weight or (especially) the "negative" contraction (eccentric contraction) used during an exercise session in order to fully recover. An archaic phrase. A more contemporary -- and useful -- phrase is "periodization."
Barbell -- Weight used for exercise, consisting of a rigid handle 5-7' long, with detachable metal discs at each end.
Beta-carotene -- A carotenoid (pigment) found in yellow, orange and deep green vegetables which provides a source of vitamin A when ingested. This substance has been found to have antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.
Biceps brachii -- The prominent muscle on the front of upper arm.
Bilberry -- The active component of bilberries are the anthocyanosides. During WWII, bilberry jam became very popular among the Allied Forces pilots because it promoted superior visual acuity, especially while flying at night. Both folklore and studies show that bilberry extract 1) protects blood capillaries, 2) protects the heart, 3) shows excellent anti-inflammatory action, 4) inhibits cholesterol-induced atherosclerosis, 5) inhibits serum platelet aggregation (clotting). Its chief action as an antioxidant is its powerful synergy with Vitamin E.
Bile -- Bile is a thick, sticky fluid secreted by the liver via the bile duct into the small intestine where it aids in the emulsification of fats, increases peristalsis and restores putrefaction. Normally the ejection of bile only occurs during duodenal digestion. The normal adult secretes about 800 to 1,000 milliliters daily.
Bioflavonoids (Vitamin P) -- Water-soluble substances that appear in fruits and vegetables as companions to vitamin C. By name, they are: citrin, rutin, hesperidin, flavone and flavonols. They increase the strength of capillaries and regulate their permeability for the countless biochemical transfers that occur between blood and tissue. No RDA. Dietary sources: Citrus fruit pulp, apricots, buckwheat, berries.
Biological Value -- While the methods used to determine a protein source’s biological value ("BV") are not entirely standardized, the one legitimate scientists use is described as the efficiency with which that protein furnishes the proper proportions and amounts of the essential or indispensable amino acids needed for the synthesis of body proteins in humans or animals.
Thus, BV is defined as: Nitrogen Retained divided by Nitrogen absorbed X 100. = (dietary N) - (F - Fm) + (U - Ue) divided by (dietary N) + (F - Fm) X 100, where F equals the fecal nitrogen during the testing of a protein; Fm equals the fecal nitrogen on a protein-free diet (endogenous fecal nitrogen); U equals urinary nitrogen excreted during the testing of a protein; Ue equals urinary nitrogen excreted on a protein-free diet (endogenous urinary nitrogen excretion).
Biomechanics -- The study of the mechanical aspects of physical movement, such as torque, drag, and posture, that is used to enhance athletic technique.
Biotin -- A member of the B complex vitamin family essential for metabolism of fat, protein, and vitamins C and B-12. It helps alleviate muscle pains, eczema, dermatitis. No RDA. Dietary sources: egg yolk, liver, whole rice, brewer's yeast.
Blood Glucose -- Blood glucose (blood sugar) refers to sugar in the form of glucose. The blood sugar level in humans is normally 60 to 100 milligrams per 100 milliliter of blood; it rises after a meal to as much as 150 milligrams per 100 milliliter of blood but this may vary.
Blood pressure -- A measurement of the force with which blood presses against the wall of a blood vessel. Blood pressure, as popularly used, is the pressure determined indirectly, existing in the large arteries at the height of the pulse wave.
When a blood pressure reading is taken, the systolic over diastolic value is determined. Systolic pressure is primarily caused by the heartbeat or contraction. The diastolic pressure is taken when the heart is filling with blood between beats. Blood pressure values vary appreciably depending on age, coïtus, and ethnicity. A typical adult reading may be 120mm Hg over 80mm Hg, stated 120 over 80.
Blood -- Blood is the fluid which circulates through the heart, arteries, veins and capillaries. It is composed of red blood cells, white blood cells and blood platelets, and an interstitial fluid called plasma. It derives its reddish color from the iron within the hemoglobin.
Blood functions to provide nutrition and respiration for tissues located far from food and air supplies. it also transports waste from the tissues to the excretory organs. Blood provides chemical and thermal regulation to the body and helps in preventing infection by transporting antibodies.
BMR (Basal metabolic rate) -- The rate at which the body burns calories while at complete rest -- lying down but not sleeping -- over a 24 hour period.
Bodybuilding -- The application of training sciences -- particularly nutrition and weight training -- to enhance musculature and physical appearance.
Body Fat -- The percentage of fat in the body. In bodybuilding, the lower the percentage, the more muscular the physique appears.
Boron -- Boron is a non-metallic earth element. It is required by some plants as a trace element and occurs as a hard crystalline solid or as brown powder. Boron forms compounds such as boric acid or borax. Taken as a supplement (3 mg./day), it shows decidedly favorable anti-osteoporosis activity in middle aged women. Despite its widespread use as a bodybuilding supplement, there is no evidence that it has anabolic properties among otherwise healthy bodybuilders.
Branched chain amino acids (BCAA) -- The amino acids L-leucine, L-isoleucine and L-valine, which have a particular molecular structure that gives them their name, comprise 35 percent of muscle tissue. The BCAAs, particularly L-leucine, help increase work capacity by stimulating production of insulin, the hormone that opens muscle cells to glucose. BCAAs are burned as fuel during highly intense training, and at the end of long-distance events, when the body recruits protein for as much as 20 percent of its energy needs.
Brewer's yeast -- A non-leavening yeast used as a nutritional supplement for its rich content of vitamins (particularly B complex), minerals and amino acids.
Brindall Berry -- Fruit from the Garcinia Cambogia plant (See Hydroxycitrate)
Bromelain -- A protein-splitting enzyme in pineapple juice. Used to reduce inflammation and edema and accelerate tissue repair. Pineapple eaten fresh is the best source.
Buffed -- Slang for good muscle size and definition.
Bulimia -- Bulimia is the abnormal and unhealthful intake of large amounts of food. It is often followed by the use of laxatives and/or self-induced vomiting.
Bulking up -- Gaining body weight by adding muscle, bodyfat or both.
Bursitis -- Bursitis is an inflammation of a bursa, the fluid sac located between joints for padding and lubrication.
Caffeine -- A chemical occurring in coffee, black tea and cola drinks with an ability to stimulate the nervous system. In small amounts, it can create mental alertness. In larger amounts, it can cause nervousness, anxiety, sleeplessness, and is used medicinally as a diuretic and headache remedy.
Calcium -- The most abundant mineral in the body, a vital factor for bones, teeth, muscle growth, muscle contraction, the regulation of nutrient passage in and out of cells, and nerve transmissions. RDA: 800-1,400 mg. Dose increases with age. Dietary sources: milk and dairy, soybeans, sardines, salmon, peanuts, beans, green vegetables.
Calisthenics -- A system of exercise movements, without equipment, for the building of the
strength, flexibility and physical grace. The Greeks formed the word from "kalos" (beautiful) and "sthenos" (strength).
Calorie -- The Calorie used as a unit of metabolism (as in diet and energy expenditure) equals 1,000 small calories, and is often spelled with a capital C to make that distinction. It is the energy required to raise the
temperature of one kilogram of water one degree Celsius. Also called a
Calorie cost -- The number of Calories burned to produce the energy for a task. Usually
measured in Calories (kcal) per minute.
Capillary -- the tiny blood vessels that receive blood flow from the arteries, interchange substances between the blood and the tissues, and return the blood to the veins.
Carbohydrate -- Chemical compound of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen, usually with the hydrogen and oxygen in the right proportions to form water. Common formsare starches, sugars, cellulose, and gums. Carbohydrates are more readily used for energy production than are fats and proteins. One of the three basic foodstuffs (proteins and fat are the others). Carbohydrates are a group of chemical substances including sugars, glycogen, starches, dextrins, and cellulose. They comprise the body's main source of raw material for energy. They contain only carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. Usually the ratio of hydrogen to oxygen is 2:1. Carbohydrates can be classified as either a simple carbohydrate or a complex carbohydrate.
Digested carbohydrate enters the circulatory system in the form of monosaccharides, primarily glucose. Lesser amounts of fructose and galactose are also absorbed, but these are eventually converted to glucose in the liver. Before they can be absorbed into the bloodstream, polysaccharides and disaccharides must be broken down into monosaccharides by specific enzymes during the digestive process.
There are several types of carbohydrates, some better than others. Starch, sugar, dextrose, are all types of carbohydrates. The three main categories of carbohydrates are:
Monosaccharides (one-sugar molecule)
Disaccharides (two-sugar molecules)
Polysaccharides (three or more sugar molecules)
Monosaccharides and disaccharides are commonly called sugars, while polysaccharides are called complex carbohydrates or glucose polymers. Some of the more commonly encountered carbohydrates in these three categories include the following:
Polysaccharides: Starch, dextrin, cellulose, and glycogen; all of which are made of chains of glucose (glucose polymers, maltodextrins).
Fibers: Fibers are mainly the indigestible complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides) that make up plants cell walls; cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, and a variety of gums, mucilages, and algal polysaccarides.
Carbohydrate loading -- An eating and exercise technique used to build up ultra high reserves of glycogen in muscle fibers for maximum endurance in long-distance athletic events. Benefits only events over 60 minutes long, where glycogen can become depleted to inhibit work capacity.
Carbon dioxide -- A colorless, odorless gas that is formed in the tissues by the oxidation
of carbon, and is eliminated by the lungs. Its presence in the lungs stimulates breathing.
Cardiac -- Pertaining to the heart.
Cardiac muscle -- One of the body's 3 types of muscle, found only in the heart.
Cardiac output -- The volume of blood pumped out by the heart in a given unit of time. It
equals the stroke volume times the heart rate.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) -- A first-aid method to restore breathing and heart action through mouth-to-mouth breathing and rhythmic chest compressions. CPR instruction is offered by local Heart Association and Red Cross units, and is a minimum requirement for most fitness-instruction certifications.
Cardiorespiratory endurance -- See aerobic endurance.
Cardiovascular -- Pertaining to the heart and blood vessels.
Carotid Artery -- The principal artery in both sides of the neck. A convenient place to
detect a pulse.
Catabolism -- The breaking down aspect of metabolism, including all processes in which complex substances are progressively broken down into simpler ones. Example: the catabolism of protein in muscle tissue into component amino acids, such as occurs in intense training. Another common example is breaking down carbohydrates or fats for use in energy expenditure. Both anabolism and catabolism usually involve the release of energy, and together constitute metabolism.
Cellulite -- A commercially created name for lumpy fat deposits. Actually this fat behaves no differently from other fat; it is just straining against irregular bands of connective tissue.
Chelate -- A chelate is a complex formation of a metal ion and two or more charged molecule groups. An ion is an atom or molecule which carries an electric charge; it can be either a cation or an anion.
Cholesterol --A steroid alcohol found in animal fats. This pearly, fatlike substance is implicated in the narrowing of the arteries in atherosclerosis. Plasma levels of cholesterol are considered normal between 180 and 230 milligrams per 100 milliliters. Higher levels are thought to pose risks to the arteries.
Choline -- A B complex vitamin associated with utilization of fats and cholesterol in the body. A constituent of lecithin, which helps prevent fats from building up in the liver and blood. Essential for health of myelin sheath, a principle component of nervous tissue, and plays important role in transmission of nerve impulses. No RDA. Dietary sources: lecithin, egg yolk, liver, wheat germ.
Chromium -- Along with niacin, this essential micronutrient activates insulin for vital functions relating to blood sugar, muscle growth and energy, and helps control cholesterol. Chromium deficiency is widespread. Exercise and high consumption of sugar causes depletion. No RDA. Average adult intake should be 50 to 200 micrograms. Dietary sources: brewer's yeast. shellfish, chicken liver, oysters.
Commercially available chromium supplements include picolinate (chromium bound to zinc) and polynicotinate (chromium bound to niacin) varieties. Research is unclear as to their respective "anabolic" activities, but both appear to act as glucose tolerance factor (GTF) regulators. That is, they aid in regulating your blood sugar (and therefore insulin) levels.
Chronic -- Continuing over time.
Circuit training -- A series of exercises, performed one after the other, with little rest between. Resistance training in this manner increases strength while making some contribution to cardiovascular endurance as well. (It remainscontroversial as to whether a significant cardiovascular benefit will be achieved in the absence of very consistent motivation or close supervision of the sessions).
Coenzyme Q10 -- Also called "Ubiquinone," it is a naturally occuring biochemical within the cells' mitochondria. Specifically, it acts as an electron carrier in the production of ATP. As a supplement, it is believed to be 1) a potent antioxidant, 2) an immune system booster, 3) energy enhancer, 4) an aid in preventing cardiac arrhythmias and high blood pressure, and 5) a performance enhancer for aerobic athletes, particularly if the athlete is in less than peak condition.
Collagen -- The most abundant type of protein in the body. Forms tough connective tissue, the scaffolding holding a muscle in place which becomes the tendons that tie muscles to bones. Connective tissue literally keeps your body together -- skin, bones, ligaments, cartilage and organs.
Collateral circulation -- Blood circulation through small side branches that can supplement (or
substitute for) the main vessel's delivery of blood to certain tissues.
Colostrum -- The IGF-I and IGF-II found in colostrum are known to be critical "in vivo" for promoting growth. That's why it exists in mothers' milk during the critical first few days of lactation. "IGF" stands for "insulin-like growth factor." The effectiveness of colostrum is measured by its "IGg" (immunoglobulin) value.
Compensatory acceleration training -- A weight lifting technique used to develop explosive strength whereby you accelerate the bar as leverage improves through the movement.
Complete protein -- Refers to protein which contains all essential amino acids in sufficient quantity and in the right ratio to maintain a positive nitrogen balance. The egg is the most complete protein food in nature, with an assimilability ratio of 94-96 percent. That is, up to 96 percent of the protein in eggs will be used as protein. In contrast, about 60-70 percent of the protein in milk, meat or fish can be used as protein (see essential amino acids).
Complex carbohydrates -- Foods of plant origin consisting of 3 or more simple sugars bound together. Also known as polysaccharides. The starch in grains is an example. Compared to monosaccharides (refined carbohydrates such as table sugar and white flour products), complex carbs require a prolonged enzymatic process for digestion and thus provide a slow, even and ideal flow of energy. This avoids fluctuations in glucose (blood sugar) levels which can affect energy. Complex carbs contain fiber and many nutrients.
Complex Training -- This form of training targets limit strength, explosive strength and starting strength / amortization in one "set" of exercises. The exercises are done back-to-back and include jumping exercises, bar exercises, and depth jumps -- in that order. The function of the complex method is to peak an athlete, which it does far better than simple bar exercises or plyometric exercises alone.
Compliance -- Staying with a prescribed exercise program. (Often used in a medical
setting.) Cf. adherence.
Concentric contraction -- Muscle action in which the muscle is shortening under its own power. This action is commonly called "positive" work, or, redundantly, "concentric contraction." Cf. eccentric action, isometric action.
Concussion -- An injury from a severe blow or jar. A brain concussion may result in temporary loss of consciousness and memory loss, if mild. Severe concussion causes prolonged loss of consciousness and may impair breathing, dilate the pupils and disrupt other regulatory functions of the brain.
Conditioning -- Long-term physical training, typically used in reference to sports preparation.
Connective tissue -- A fibrous tissue that binds together and supports the structures of the
Connective tissue -- Tissue, primarily formed of collagen, that binds, supports, and provides a protective packing medium around organs and muscles.
Constant Resistance -- Weight training technology wherein the weight you are lifting always remains the same, regardless of changing leverage throughout a given exercise movement. The standing example of constant resistance training is lifting a dumbbell or a barbell. (See Accommodating Resistance and Variable Resistance.)
Contraction -- The shortening of a muscle caused by the full contraction of individual muscle fibers.
Contraindication -- Any condition which indicates that a particular course of action (or
exercise) would be inadvisable.
Cool down -- A gradual reduction of the intensity of exercise to allow physiological processes to return to normal. Helps avoid blood pooling in the legs and may reduce muscular soreness.
Copper -- A mineral that helps convert the body's iron into hemoglobin for oxygen transportation through the bloodstream. Essential for utilization of vitamin C. No RDA. Dietary sources: legumes, whole wheat, prunes, liver, seafood.
Coronary arteries -- The arteries, circling the heart like a crown, that supply blood to the
Coronary heart disease (CHD) -- Atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries.
Cortisone -- Cortisone is a hormone isolated from the cortex of the adrenal gland and also prepared synthetically. It is believed to be both a precursor and metabolite of cortisol (hydrocortisone). Prior to this conversion to cortisol it is largely inactive. Cortisol, however, is highly catabolic.
Cortisone is important for its regulatory action in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, sodium, and potassium. Pharmacologically as an anti-inflammatory in various conditions, including allergies, collagen diseases and adrenocortisol replacement therapy. Disadvantages may include temporary relief and also potential toxicity.
Creatine Monohydrate -- Creatine monohydrate has been clinically used in improving plasma creatine concentrations by as much as 50 percent. Research shows this substance to be effective in improving training intensity and recovery. It is able to pass through the gut wall and into the bloodstream intact, and upon entering the muscle cells, is converted into creatine phosphate (CP), (See creatine phosphate.)
Creatine Phosphate (CP) -- An organic compound in muscle fibers that is fractured enzymatically for the production of ATP, the body's basic fuel that generates contractions.
Cross bridges -- Projections of myosin molecules that link with actin filaments to create a grabbing, pulling effect, resulting in contraction.
Cross-sectional study -- A study made at one point in time. Cf. longitudinal study.
Crunches -- An abdominal exercise which isolates the abdominals while, at the same time, eliminating unwanted action from the iliopsoas muscles (hip flexors).
Cutting up -- Reducing bodyfat and water retention to increase muscular definition.
Deadlift-- One of three powerlifting events. A maximum (1-RM) barbell is lifted off the floor until the lifter is standing erect.
Defribrillator -- A device used to stop weak, uncoordinated beating (fibrillation) of the heart and allow restoration of a normal heart beat. Part of the "crash cart" at cardiac rehabilitation program sites.
Dehydration -- The condition resulting from the excessive loss of body water.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) -- Ruled a drug (hormone) by the FDA, DHEA is the second most abundant steroid molecule in humans. The ruling is controversial because whereas hormones tend to be held in reserve in the gland which produced them, and liberated as needed, DHEA is produced by the adrenal gland and immediately released into the bloodstream for cellular metabolism. Research tends to support its anti-obesity, anti-aging, energizing, memory-enhancing, immune boosting, cardiotonic and anti-carcinogenic activities. Nowadays its widely available outside the USA as a nutritional supplement. However, DHEA is apparently legal without a script here in the USA as well. The studies were done on older men. DHEA is produced in the body until age 25 then ceases. It appears to have few side effects, but some (notably, mild androgenic properties) have been recorded. It is banned by virtually all sport governing bodies.
Deltoids-- The large triangular muscles of the shoulder which raise the arm away from the body and is a prime mover in all arm elevation movements.
Depletion -- Exhaustion following a workout before the body has fully recuperated. Never train when feeling depleted.
Detraining -- The process of losing the benefits of training by returning to a sedentary life.
Diastole -- Relaxation phase of the heart. Cf. systole.
Diastolic blood pressure -- The minimum blood pressure that occurs during the refilling of the heart.
Cf. blood pressure.
Diet -- The food one eats. May or may not be a selection of foods to accomplish a particular health or fitness objective.
Diuretic -- Any agent which increases the flow of urine. Used inadvisedly for quick weight loss, diuretics can cause dehydration.
Dry-bulb thermometer -- An ordinary instrument for indicating temperature. Does not take into
account humidity and other factors that combine to determine the heat stress experienced by the body. Cf. wet-bulb thermometer, wet-globe temperature.
dl-Phenylalanine -- DLPA is a mixture consisting of equal parts of the D- and L-forms of phenylalanine. Phenylalanine is a naturally occurring amino acid, discovered in 1879, essential for optimal growth in infants and for nitrogen equilibrium in human adults. DLPA is used in the control of pain, through a mechanism believed to involve a sparing effect on opiate-like substances naturally secreted by the brain (i.e., endorphins and enkephalins).
DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) -- A complex protein present in the nuclei of cells. The chemical basis of heredity and carrier of genetic programming for the organism.
Double split training -- Working out twice a day to allow for shorter, more intense workouts. (See Variable split).
Dumbbell -- Weight used for exercising, consisting of rigid handle about 14" long with sometimes detachable metal discs at each end.
Duration -- The time spent in a single exercise session. Duration, along with frequency and intensity, are factors affecting the effectiveness of exercise.
Eccentric action -- Muscle action in which the muscle resists while it is forced to lengthen.
This action is commonly called "negative" work, or "eccentric contraction," but, since the muscle is lengthening the word "contraction" is misapplied. Cf. concentric action, isometric action.
Ectomorph -- A thin person with a lean physique and light musculature.
Efficiency -- The ratio of energy consumed to the work accomplished. Exercisers utilizing the same amounts of oxygen may differ in their speed or amount of weight moved in a given time because of differing efficiencies.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) -- A fatty acid found in fish and fish oils which is believed to lower cholesterol, especially cholesterol bound to low density lipoproteins (LDL).
Ejection fraction -- The percentage of blood inside the heart's left ventricle that is pushed out into the body after contraction. The average training athlete, working at 80 percent maximum, ejects about 75%. This factor is positively effected by either anaerobic or aerobic training.
Electrocardiogram (EKG, ECG) -- A graph of the electrical activity caused by the stimulation of the heart muscle. The millivolts of electricity are detected by electrodes on the body surface and are recorded by an electrocardiograph.
Electrolytes -- Minerals such as sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and magnesium that provide conductivity functions for fluid passage (osmosis) through cellular membranes.
Electron microscope -- A microscope that uses electrons instead of visible light to produce powerfully-magnified images of objects smaller than the wavelengths of visible light. Electron microscopy has greatly advanced sports science by unfolding the subcellular dynamics of energy and contractile processes, and how they are effected by specific types of training. This has allowed athletes to develop greater strength, endurance or hypertrophy based on precise applications of training stress.
Endocrine -- Endocrine refers to a secretion that flows directly into the bloodstream. It is the opposite of exocrine.
Endocrine glands -- Organs which secrete hormones into the blood or lymph systems to regulate or influence general chemical changes in the body or the activities of other organs. Major glands are the thyroid, adrenal, pituitary, parathyroid, pancreas, ovaries and testicles.
Endomorph -- A heavyset person with a predominantly round and soft physique.
Endorphins -- Brain chemicals that ease or suppress pain. D,L-phenylalanine, an amino acid, intensifies and prolongs the effects of these natural painkillers.
Endurance -- The capacity to continue a physical performance over a period of time.
Cf. aerobic endurance, anaerobic endurance.
Energy -- The capacity to produce work.
Energy transfer systems efficiency -- The ability of your body to continually synthesize ATP under aerobic or anaerobic conditions.
Enzymes -- Enzymes are a type of chemical ferment-protein secreted by or contained within cells, which act as catalysts to induce chemical changes in other substances without being changed themselves. Enzymes are specific in their actions, acting only on specific substances called substrates. They are present in the digestive fluids and in many of the tissues, and are capable of producing in small amount the transformation on a large scale of various compounds. They are divided into six main groups: oxidoreductases, transferases, hydrolases, lyases, isomerases and ligases.
Proteases such as renin and pepsin aid in breaking down the bonds between amino acids and proteins.
Lipase is a fat-splitting enzyme which causes the hydrolysis of fats into glycerin and fatty acids.
Bromelain, another protease found in abundance in the pineapple plant, is a milk-clotting enzyme.
Papain is a mixture of enzymes. Its chief function is in digesting protein, and is often referred to as "vegetable pepsin" because it contains enzymes similar to pepsin.
Betaine hydrochloride is a complex of betaine and hydrochloride. Betaine is a chemical used in the manufacture of several products. But betaine hydrochloride is used by humans as a gastric acidifier, important in digestion.
Amylase is an enzyme responsible for aiding in the digestion of starches, glycogen and other simple carbohydrates into glucose and maltose.
Cellulase breaks down the tough fiberous cell walls of plant foods, thereby allowing you to digest, absorb and assimilate the contents of the plant cells more efficiently and completely. An added benefit is that there will be less undigested food entering your colon where they would be subject to attack by putrefactive bacteria.
Epidemiological studies -- Statistical study of the relationships between various factors that
determine the frequency and distribution of disease. For example, such studies have linked exercise to reduced mortality.
Epiphyseal plates -- The sites of new bone growth, separated from the main bone by cartilage
during the growth period. This is a potential injury site to be avoided in prescribing exercise to prepubescent individuals.
Epiphyses -- The ends of long bones, usually wider than the shaft of the bone.
Ergogenesis -- Substances and practices that improve sports performance are called ergogenic aids. Ergogenesis is a word coined by Dr. Fred Hatfield in the mid 80s which refers to a "genesis" (new beginning) for athletes attempting to divorce themselves of steroid use by utilizing nutritional, psychological, training, and biomechanical technologies.
Ergogens -- Athletes strive for maximal performance, endurance, strength, and stamina. In the process, they stumble upon barriers that minimize these factors and often face more difficulty in achieving maximal sports potential. In an effort to augment performance, it is becoming more common for sports participants, to use some form of ergogenic aid. Ergogenic refers to the "work-generating " or "power-generating" potential of the aid. Ergogenic aids comprise a host of substances or treatments that may improve a person's physiological performance or remove the psychological barriers associated with more intense activity , and can be nutritional, physiological, psychological, mechanical, physical, environmental or pharmacological in nature. Many of the pharmacological aids have been banned by official sports bodies because of the unfair advantage some substances give athletes during competition and because of the deleterious side effects that can occur.
Ergometer -- A device that can measure work consistently and reliably. Stationary exercise cycles were the first widely available devices equipped with ergometers, but a wide variety of endurance-training machines now have ergometric capacity.
Essential amino acids -- Those amino acids that the body cannot make for itself. They are:
isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, and valine.
Essential Fatty Acids -- Fatty acids aid in oxygen transport through blood to all cells, tissues, and organs. They help maintain resilience and lubrication of all cells, and combine with protein and cholesterol to form living membranes that hold body cells together. They break up cholesterol deposits on arterial walls, thereby preventing arteriosclerosis. Fatty acids are necessary for the function of the thyroid and adrenal glands. Three are referred to as "essential fatty acids" because they are vital for sustaining optimal health.
LINOLEIC ACID: Linoleic acid is an unsaturated fatty acid which brings oxygen to all cells, tissues and organs through the blood. It maintains the resilience and lubrication of all cells, and combines with protein and cholesterol to form living membranes which hold the body cells together. It also helps regulate the rate of blood coagulation, and breaks up cholesterol
deposited on arterial walls. Linoleic acid cannot be synthesized in many species and therefore must be provided in the diet. It is one of the "nutritionally essential fatty
LINOLENIC ACID: Linolenic acid is an essential fatty acid found in vegetables, peanut oil, and other plants. A linolenic acid deficiency will result in hair loss, poor wound healing, and scaly dermatitis. Linolenic acid is used in the manufacture of paints, coatings, and vitamins. Linolenic acid is also used therapeutically as some vitamins.
ARACHIDONIC ACID: Arachidonic acid, an essential fatty acid found in the liver, brain, and other organs. It is the biosynthetic precursor of prostaglandins. In experiments with mice, the deprivation of all fat intake caused scaly skin, kidney lesions, bloody urine, and early death. These conditions were cured by the administration of arachidonic acid, linoleic acid, and linolenic acid. Arachidonic acid is used therapeutically as a nutrient.
Essential hypertension -- Hypertension without a discoverable cause. Also called primary
hypertension. Cf. hypertension.
Estrogen -- The coïtus hormone that predominates in the female, but also has functions in the male, is a generic term for estrus-producing steroid compounds which are formed by the ovaries, placenta, testes, and adrenal cortex. They can also be isolated from plants or produced synthetically.
Besides stimulation of female secondary coïtusual characteristics, they exert systemic effects, such as growth and maturation of long bones and female responses to exercise. Estrogens are used therapeutically in any disorder attributable to estrogen deficiency, to prevent or stop lactation, to suppress ovulation, and to ameliorate carcinoma of the breast and of the prostate. Estrone and estradiol, both estrogens, induce the growth of female genital organs and stimulate the changes characteristic of the estrus cycle.
Fascia -- Connective tissue which surrounds muscles and various organs of the body.
Fast-twitch fibers -- Muscle fiber type that contracts quickly and is used most in intensive,
short-duration exercises, such as weightlifting or sprints. Cf. slow-twitch fibres.
Fat -- 1. A white or yellowish tissue which stores reserve energy, provides padding for organs, and smooths body contours. 2. A compound of glycerol and various fatty acids.
Dietary fat is not as readily converted to energy as are carbohydrates. One of the three basic foodstuffs (along with carbohydrates and protein). The most concentrated source of energy in the diet, furnishing twice the calories of carbs or proteins. The components of fat are fatty acids -- saturated or unsaturated. Saturated fatty acids are generally solid at room temperature and are derived primarily from animal sources. Unsaturated fatty acids, on the other hand, are usually liquid and come from vegetable, nut, or seed sources.
Fat deposits surround and protect organs such as the kidneys, heart and liver. Fats are the primary substance of adipose tissue. A layer of fat beneath the skin, known as subcutaneous fat, insulates the body from environmental temperature changes thereby preserving body heat.
Fat-free weight -- Lean body mass.
Fatigue -- A loss of ability to continue a given level of physical workload or performance.
Fat-Soluble Vitamins -- The fat-soluble vitamins are vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K. They are vitamins which can be dissolved in fats or fatty tissue.
Fat (total) -- Total fat describes the fat consumed from both saturated and unsaturated sources, High intake of total dietary fat increases risk of obesity, some types of cancer, and possibly gallbladder disease.
Fatty acid -- One of the building blocks of fat. Used as fuel for muscle contractions. Fatty acids aid in oxygen transport through blood to all cells, tissues, and organs. They help maintain resilience and lubrication of all cells, and combine with protein and cholesterol to form living membranes that hold body cells together. They break up cholesterol deposits on arterial walls, thereby preventing arteriosclerosis. Fatty acids are necessary for the function of the thyroid and adrenal glands (see Essential Fatty Acids).
Fiber (muscle) -- The long and string-like muscle cells which contract to produce strength. They range from microscopic size to one foot long. There are several hundred to several thousand individual groups (fasciculi) of fibers in each major muscle structure. These groups are something like pieces of string bound tightly together inside a protective sheath.
Fiber (dietary) -- The part of plant food that is not digested by the human body, such as the husk of whole grains and the skin of an apple. Healthy intestines and regular elimination require adequate fiber, generally provided by complex carbohydrates. A diet low in fiber is associated with constipation, intestinal disorders, varicose veins, obesity and heart disease.
Fitness -- A layman's definition of fitness may be as follows: "Your ability to meet the exigencies of your lifestyle with ease -- and room to spare for life's little emergencies." Thus, what constitutes "fitness" for one person isn't necessarily fitness for another. Laborers need a different level of fitness than do office secretaries because the demands of their lifestyles are different. Coaches need not be as fit as the athletes they train, generals needn't be as fit as the soldiers they command, and older adults (past middle-age) require a different set of standards for lifestyle fitness than do younger adults.
Another definition is, the state of well-being consisting of optimum levels of strength, flexibility, weight control, cardiovascular capacity and positive physical and mental health behaviors, that prepare a person to participate fully in life, to be free from controllable health risk factors and to achieve physical objectives consistent with his/her potential. Cf. wellness.
Listed below are the traditionally identified components of fitness and a down-to-Earth definition of each. The best methods for augmenting each fitness component are also mentioned. No single technology works best alone. An "integrated" approach which incorporates several (or all) of the available technologies is best.
Limit Strength: How much musculoskeletal force you can generate for one all-out effort. The most effective means of increasing limit strength is through progressive resistance training -- weight training. Research indicates that 3-8 repetitions with 80-90 percent of maximum load works best. "Periodizing" your training intensity bodypart-per-bodypart (i.e., exercise-per-exercise) is essential because of the high likelihood of overtraining (cumulative microtrauma). Various therapeutic modalities as well as psychological techniques and supplements also have shown effectiveness in improving limit strength.
Starting Strength: Your ability to "turn on" as many muscle fibers (muscle cells) as possible instantaneously. A combination of weight training and light resistance training works best for improving starting strength. Weights should be in the 55-75 percent of maximum range, and the exercises should gradually (over a predetermined "period") become more and more ballistic. Light resistance techniques include plyometric training, overspeed training and various forms of running and agility drills. Various therapeutic modalities as well as psychological techniques also have shown effectiveness in improving starting strength.
Explosive Strength: Once your muscle fibers are turned on, your ability to LEAVE them turned on for a measurable period is referred to as "explosiveness." A combination of weight training and light resistance training works best for improving explosive strength. Weights should be in the 70-80 percent of maximum range, and the exercises should gradually (over a predetermined "period") become more and more explosive. Light resistance techniques include plyometric training, overspeed training and various forms of running and agility drills. Various therapeutic modalities as well as psychological techniques also have shown effectiveness in improving explosive strength.
Agility: Your ability to combine limit strength, starting strength, explosive strength and dynamic balance in performing a series of directional changes in rapid succession. "Zigzag" running is an example of agile movement. As indicated in the definition, agility training should include the technologies as described in all of the above-listed fitness components. Adding to these forms of training such light resistance techniques as agility drills and dynamic balance drills will ensure maximum progress toward your goal of improved agility.
Flexibility: Your ability to flex, extend or circumduct your body's joints through their full intended range of motion without substantial decrement in limit strength. Stretching is overemphasized typically, and having a good level of strength while in a stretched position is more important than merely having the ability to assume an extremely stretched position. The most effective means of improving flexibility is called "resistance streetching". It's a special form of light resistance training wherein strength is improved while you are in the stretched position. There is no point to improving your joints' ranges of motion unless you are also capable of strong contraction while in an extremely stretched position. Static and dynamic stretching techniques are also ok providing they're accompanied with a sound strength training program. Various therapeutic modalities as well as psychological techniques such as yoga also have shown effectiveness in improving flexibility.
Static Balance: Your ability to maintain control of your body's center of gravity over the center of your base of support. Nothing works better at improving static balance than practice! Assuming that you have sufficient strength, flexibility and stamina to both assume and hold the desired position, distributed practice (many short practice sessions per day) is recommended.
Dynamic Balance: Your ability to maintain control of your body's center of gravity while moving or in-flight. A combination of limit strength, starting strength, explosive strength and agility training techniques (described above) prepare you for practicing your dynamic balance skills. In other words, lay a foundation first, and then practice your specific skills. Distributed practice is best, with short practice sessions at least twice daily.
Strength Endurance: Your ability to maintain limit strength output time after time without fatigue limiting force output. Pushing back the anaerobic threshold is the name of the game here. Forcing yourself to continue contracting your muscles at maximum or near-maximum intensity while under conditions of extreme fatigue facilitates enzymatic changes within your muscles. Special forms of both weight training and ("light") resistance training, coupled with careful dietary and supplementation habits are the technologies which work best. Psychological techniques also can be significant.
Local Muscular Endurance: A muscle’s ability to perform sustained, sub-maximum force output over an extended period. LME is identical to strength endurance (see strength endurance), with the exception that LME is muscle-specific, while strength endurance is a phrase used to describe a complex sports activity or movement.
Speed Endurance: Your ability to maintain absolute maximum speed while sprinting requires both starting strength and the ability to display it time after time after time. Operating within the ATP/CP pathway of muscle energetics is the name of the game here. Forcing yourself to continue contracting your muscles at maximum intensity while under conditions of rapid ATP/CP (energy substrate) depletion facilitates positive enzymatic changes within your muscles. Special forms of resistance training which emphasize maximum-output linear movement (e.g., running is "linear"), coupled with careful dietary and supplementation habits are the technologies which work best. Psychological techniques also can be effective.
Cardiovascular/Cardiorespiratory Endurance: The efficiency with which you get oxygen to your working muscles while, at the same time, removing metabolic wastes. Repetitive submaximal applications of muscular exertion (force), linear or non-linear in nature, forces your muscles to operate while in severe oxygen debt. While CRE and CVE are the conventional phrases to describe this attribute, a more accurate phrase would be "aerobic strength endurance" (see aerobic strength endurance). Your training (which must include resistance training, dietary practices, supplementation, therapeutic modalities and psychological techniques) must emphasize this oxygen debt factor, ever-pushing the limits at which the debt becomes too great and you are forced to stop. Simple jogging or other such "aerobic" forms of exercise can reverse disuse effects, but a far more strenuous approach is necessary to up your max VO2 uptake past 60 ml/kg/min.
Muscle Mass: For bodybuilders, muscle mass is critical. It's the point of the sport. But for fitness enthusiasts, strength-to-weight ratio is more important than sheer mass for its own sake. Certainly, it's "normal" to have each muscle in your body optimally developed. And, it's "abnormal" not to be. What does that make the average sedentary person? Abnormal! The best method ever conceived to improve muscle mass is through a "holistic" approach. That is, optimally developing each and every cellular organelle and component maximally through employing a variety of training stresses. This is best accomplished through a carefully planned, integrative multiple variable split training system.
Percent Bodyfat: The percentage of your total bodyweight that is comprised of fat. Most fitness experts agree that 10-14% is "good" for men, and 14-18% is "good" for women. Clinical obesity is defined as 20 and 28 percent for men and women, respectively, while chronic obesity (the point at which your overweight condition is considered a "disease") is 28 and 32 percent for men and women, respectively. Dietary practices and nutritional supplementation are obviously the most important technologies involved in reducing bodyfat levels. However, without some form of exercise -- especially some form of resistance exerrcise -- your task is greatly magnified. This is because bigger muscles burn fat more efficiently than little muscles. Simply reversing the effects of disuse in your muscles will ensure that your dietary efforts pay far greater dividends for you. Medical support, therapeutic modalities and psychological techniques are often called for in extreme cases of obesity or when there are other health considerations involved. By far the most important consideration is prevention -- don't let yourself get fat in the first place.
Freedom From Stress: Many psychologists say that "stress" should be measured by how well you are able to "control" outcomes in your life. Removing yourself from the stressful elements in your life is best. However, that's not always possible. Simple lifestyle changes, psychological assistance, medical support and (more effective than heretofore recognized) exercise all stand out as significant stress-controlling technologies.
Freedom From Disease or Injury: Years of living in a toxic environment, poor eating habits, inactivity and the myriad complications stemming therefrom can cause or exacerbate otherwise preventable disease and injury. One can certainly not consider himself/herself "fit" if disease or injury is present. Think of the word disease as "the absence of ease" or "dis-ease." Not so coincidentally, people who are happy and "at ease" are also generally more healthy and fit. Medical support will go far in ensuring good health. That's not enough, however. Careful and regular diet, supplementation and exercise over a lifetime is by far more important in maintaining health than occasional visits to your family doctor. Your diet and supplementation schedules must include an abundance of antioxidants (see ageing section in Unit Eleven), and your exercise must be both regular and of sufficient intensity that your muscles and cardiovascular systems are taxed.
Preventive Past Lifestyle: Everything from wrinkles to osteoporosis, from arthritis to atherosclerosis, and from dental cares to dermatoses are signs of premature ageing. Most are preventable to a far larger extent than heretofore thought possible. Higher levels of "dis-ease" are suffered by those who have, over a lifetime, cast caution to the wind in regards to nutritionally sound health and fitness practices, than among those who have lived a fitness lifestyle. Medical support will go far in ensuring good health. That's not enough, however. Careful and regular diet, supplementation and exercise over a lifetime is by far more important in maintaining health than occasional visits to your family doctor. Your diet and supplementation schedules must include an abundance of antioxidants , and your exercise must be both regular and of sufficient intensity that your muscles and cardiovascular systems are taxed.
The Mirror & Photo Tests: Strip naked and look into a full-length mirror. What do you see? Do you like what you see? Remember, a mirror doesn't lie. Take many "before and after" photos -- several times yearly. These photos are your best chronicle of progress, lack of it, or extent of "deterioration" from disuse, misuse or abuse. Wear a very revealing bathing suit when these photos are taken -- wouldn't want to miss anything! Of course, the most important elements involved in your appearance are diet and weight training, as they have the most profound effect on physical (outwardly visible) appearance. As you can guess, looking good and feeling good are hand-and-glove.
Fitness testing -- Measuring the indicators of the various aspects of fitness. Cf. graded
exercise test, physical work capacity.
Flex -- Contracting a muscle (or muscles) isometrically, as in bodybuilding competition. It can also refer to joint movement (see Flexion).
Flexibility -- The range of motion around a joint.
Flexion -- A movement which moves the two ends of a jointed body part closer to each other, as in bending the arm. Cf. extension.
Flush -- Cleansing a muscle of metabolic toxins by increasing the blood supply to it through exertion.
Folic acid -- A B-complex vitamin essential in formation of red blood cells and metabolism of protein. Important for proper brain function, mental and emotional health, appetite, and production of hydrochloric acid. Very often deficient in diets. RDA: 400 micrograms. Dietary sources: green leafy vegetables, liver, brewer's yeast.
Food allergies -- Sensitivities to certain foods which can cause both mental and physical symptoms.
Foot-pound -- The amount of work required to lift one pound one foot.
Forced repetitions -- Assistance to perform additional repetitions of an exercise when muscles can no longer complete movement on their own.
Free Radicals -- Free radicals are highly reactive molecules which target your tissues' protein bonds, the DNA in your cells' nuclei and the important polyunsaturated fatty acids within your cells' membranes. Once initiated, a chain reaction begins that ultimately results in the total destruction of that cell. Scientists have determined that over 60 age-related maladies are a direct result of long-term damage resulting from free radical activity. There are seven different "species" of free radicals.
SPECIES OF FREE RADICALS CORRESPONDING ANTIOXIDANTS
Freestyle training -- Training all body parts in one workout (obsolete phrase).
Frequency -- How often a person repeats a complete exercise session (e.g. 3 times per week). Frequency, along with duration and intensity, affect the effectiveness of exercise.
Functional capacity -- See maximal oxygen uptake.
Gamma oryzanol -- A substance extracted from rice bran oil which some athletes believe has non-steroidal, growth-promoting properties when taken as a supplement. It allegedly helps increase lean body mass and strength, decreases fatty tissue, improves recovery from workouts, and reduces post-workout muscle soreness, particularly among female athletes. Recently, in preliminary testing, the active ingredient -- ferulic acid (aka "trans-ferulic acid") -- was reported to exert an even more pronounced effect than Gamma Oryzanol.
Ginkgo Biloba -- Native to China and Japan, the ginkgo tree lives over 1000 years! The active component of ginkgo leaves are quercetin and the flavoglycosides. Ginkgo extract is shown to 1) reduce clots or thrombi formation in the veins and arteries, 2) increases cellular energy by increasing cellular glucose and ATP, 3) scavenges free radicals, 4) prevents the formation of free radicals, 5) reduce high blood pressure, and 6) promotes peripheral blood flow (especially to the brain), and ameliorates inner ear problems. Ginkgo also has been shown to improve alertness, short-term memory and various other cognitive disorders.
Glucagon -- Glucagon is a hormone secreted by the alpha cells of the pancreas, which stimulates the breakdown of glycogen and the release of glucose by the liver thereby causing an increase in blood sugar levels.
It works in direct opposition to insulin. Liver glucose is freed when the blood sugar level drops to around 70 milligrams/100 milligrams of blood. Exercise and starvation both increase glucagon levels, as does the presence of amino acids in the blood after a high protein meal. Glucagon produces smooth muscle relaxation when administered parenterally.
Gluconeogenesis -- When glycogen (sugar stored in muscles) stores are low, glucose for emergency energy is synthesized from protein and the glycerol portion of fat molecules. This is one important reason that ATP/CP athletes and glycolytic athletes are warned to stay away from undue aerobic exercise -- it’s muscle-wasting.
Glucose -- Blood sugar. The transportable form of carbohydrate, which reaches the cells.
Glycogen -- The storage form of carbohydrate. Glycogen is used in the muscles for the
production of energy.
Glucosamine -- There are several types of connective tissues. Cartilage, tendons, ligaments, intervertebral discs, pads between joints, and cellular membranes all are comprised of connective tissue. All connective tissues have two common components, chief of which is collagen. One third of your body’s total protein volume is comprised of collagen, making it the most common protein in the body. The other component is proteoglycans (PGs). PGs form the "framework" for collagenous tissue. These huge structural "macromolecules" are comprised mainly of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) -- long chains of modified sugars. The principal sugar in PGs is called hyaluronic acid, of which 50 percent is comprised of glucosamine. The principal amino acids forming collagen are proline, glycine and lysine.
Collagen and PGs must somehow "get together" during the production of new connective tissue. Of the multitude of biochemical reactions which must take place during the synthesis of connective tissue, there is one critical "rate-limiting" step, which once reached guarantees that new connective tissue is being successfully synthesized. That rate-limiting step is the conversion of glucose to glucosamine. Glucosamine, then, is the single most important substance in the synthesis of connective tissue.
Over thirty years of research has gone into understanding how glucosamine acts as the precursor of GAG synthesis. Scientists have long known that simply ingesting purified glucosamine from connective tissue allows the body to by-pass the critical rate-limiting step of converting glucose to glucosamine. Here are some of the findings from these studies:
Glucosamine is 95% absorbed intact through the gut wall;
Thirty percent of all orally administered glucosamine is retained (stored) for later use by the body in synthesizing more connective tissue;
In human clinical trials, glucosamine sulfate, given orally in doses of 750-1500 milligrams daily was observed to initiate a reversal of degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee after two months. Normalization of cartilage was documented by taking biopsies of the tissue and scrutinizing them with an electron microscope;
Of greater concern to athletes, glucosamine aids in feeding your injured connective tissues the most critical precursor for rebuilding the collagenous matrix which forms connective tissue;
Glucosamine is the preferred substance in synthesizing PGs -- your connective tissue’s framework;
In vitro research demonstrated that glucosamine increases the production of GAGs (the most important molecules in your PGs) by 170 percent.
Glucosamine as a supplement clearly aids in connective tissue synthesis. All athletes need such a substance, as the repair and growth of connective tissue is never-ending.
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