Health & Fitness Terminology

There are a lot of statistics in regards to health and fitness…it can get confusing! Here is some terminology to help better achieve your goals:


  • BMI= Body Mass Index. This is a general measurement that compares your weight against your height. There are equations to measure BMI that are easily accessible online. However, it does not accurately measure body fat percentages because it does not take into account lean body mass (muscle mass). Overweight and obese individuals are at higher risk to develop Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems 🙁

BMI score:   Under 18 = Underweight         18-25 = Normal (weight)

                                           25-30 = Overweight                 30+ = Obese

  • Body Fat/ Lean Mass= Lean body mass is everything from muscle, bones, organs, etc. and body fat, well is…what is left! Lean body/muscle mass not only takes up less space, it burns calories even at rest, while fat mass does nothing productive (and is not very attractive!) Ideally, one wants to maintain, if not increase their muscle mass, while decreasing their body fat. Body fat can be measured by skin calipers, Bio-electrical Impedance using a handheld machine (BIA), or even underwater hydrostatic weighing. These are ideal body fat percentages from ACE:
Description Women Men
Essential fat 10–13% 2–5%
Athletes 14–20% 6–13%
Fitness 21–24% 14–17%
Average 25–31% 18–24%
Obese 32%+ 25%+
  • Waist Circumference: This is another way to measure your health and fitness background. Your waist measurement is a good predictor of not only body fat levels, but if you are at higher risk for developing health issues. Excessive weight around your midsection puts a lot of pressure on your internal organs, spine, and more than likely, visceral (internal) fat has been building up. Best remedy: exercise and clean eating!!!

Healthy waist measurements:     Men = under 40 inches     Women = under 35 inches

  • Aerobic Exercise: This is any type of exercise that uses oxygen as our source for fuel to meet our exercise demands. This is most commonly known as “cardio”; Cardio strengthens your heart and lungs by challenging your body past its resting state. It is lower-moderate intensity that can be sustained over long periods of time. Depending on your fitness level, this can be anything from walking, running, cycling, swimming, the elliptical or stairmaster machines, etc. Anything that increases your heart rate and makes you break a sweat is ideal!
  • Anaerobic Exercise: This is exercise that does not use oxygen as its main source of energy. Since oxygen is not utilized, your muscles are pushed at a high intensity and this exercise cannot be sustained for long periods. Short, fast, powerful exercise such as sprinting, weight lifting, etc are the most common forms. Without oxygen, lactic acid is produced; it is that burning fatigue you feel when you are lifting weights…it means you’re doing it right! Anaerobic exercises help increase our strength, power, speed, and overall muscular endurance.
  • Target Heart Rate: This is in reference to when you are preforming aerobic exercise. One a scale of 1-10 (1 being resting state) You want to keep the intensity level between a “6-8”. You want to challenge your body but without pushing yourself too hard. There is a simple equation to find out how:

Target Heart Rate: 220 – age = Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)

Take your MHR and multiply it by .60 and also by .80

Fitness Zone (Fat Burning) — 60 – 70% of maximum heart rate

Aerobic Zone (Endurance Training) — 70 – 80% of maximum heart rate

Anaerobic Zone (Performance Training) — 80 – 90% of maximum heart rate

These will provide two numbers that will be your low and high “ranges” when preforming aerobic exercise. Keep in mind these are just recommendations and adjust to your body and the form of exercise accordingly.

The simplest way to track your heart rate is checking your carotid artery on your neck. Count for 6 seconds, then add a Zero at the end. Your number should fall between your low and high ranges.

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