photo from Birchbox, commentary my own

My earliest exercise memories involve the fitness room at my grandmother’s apartment in Florida. I remember as kids playing (unattended of course) on the treadmill, stationary bike and that vibrating belt thingy (always our favorite). I joined a gym for the first time in high school. This gateway membership paved the way for step classes, powerstrike, personal training sessions, marathons and can I get a shout out for the completely underrated Reebok slide?
With every type of workout, there’s corresponding lingo. Some of it is straight forward, other times mean or simply words you would never understand if you’re among the exercise averse.
Anatomical Lingo
Abs in– maybe it’s a soft spot but if an instructor tells says “tighten your core” or “abs in” and looks in my direction, it’s enough to ruin my day. After my first son, a trainer said this to me and poked my midsection. Her “abs in” request was met with “this is in” barked in return.
Soften your knees-one of those phrases that’s counterintuitive, after all knees are hard if nothing else. Soften your knees really means don’t lock your knees (again vague) or bend your knees slightly.
Knit your ribs- when I started barre classes this one escaped me. The ballerina-ish teachers have a field day with me when it comes to posture. My shoulders are never relaxed enough and my pelvis is constantly in the wrong place. It’s a wonder I have 2 children. It’s been years but to knit ones ribs you do the opposite of sticking your ribs out; when you contract your lower stomach “knitting” is easier.
Inspirational Lingo
Set Your Intention as Carla our nutrition nerd extraordinaire said, “when you’re 40 minutes in to spin class, everything seems really profound. Then you think about it later and you’re like, wait, actually all they said was you can do it”.
Takes change to see change- I am a sucker for some profundity when I am oxygen deprived, I like motivational clichés.
Workout Specific
Fartleks when I initially heard a running coach use this term for speed work I thought she said fart leg and logically assumed it meant running so fast you…turns out it’s a Swedish term for a certain type of an interval run.
Abbreviations are especially annoying when you’re out of the loop. In running there’s PR/PB, personal relations, peanut butter? No personal record, personal best which refers to the shortest amount of time you have run a certain distance in under race conditions. I liked a friend’s abbreviation after a race better “PW” (personal worst).
Yoga- don’t get me started on Sanskrit pretentiousness asana, basana whatever. Or the bird poses crow, pigeon and eagle not to mention the “dogs” and warrior #’s. The first 6 months I did yoga, my neck was a mess as I contorted to see what the heck all of this meant. Once I felt I was in the know I’ll admit there’s a little smugness that went along with it.
Carolyn added, “I do love being reminded to inhale to lengthen or exhale to relax 
but inhale love, exhale fear, seriously?”
We get so accustom to our workouts that we forget how silly some of the fitness lingo is. Next time you’re in a class or at the gym, listen like a newbie and see if you catch anything giggle-worthy.
What types of workouts do you do? Any phrases that either motivate you or bug you? Are you knitting your ribs right now?


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