Glossary of Training and Nutrition Terms – A to K

Frederick C. Hatfield, Ph.D., MSS


A to K,
L to Z

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 0% 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.

Adipose tissue — Fat tissue.

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.

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 Endurancecomes 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:

    • Speed endurance involves maintaining maximum speed over times lower than 3-4 minutes (e.g., 100, 400, 800 meter dashes in track & field).
    • 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.
      • Monosaccharides (one-sugar molecule)
      • Disaccharides (two-sugar molecules)
      • Polysaccharides (three or more sugar molecules)
      • isoleucine
      • leucine
      • lysine
      • methionine
      • phenylalanine
      • tryptophan
      • valine.
      • 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 acids.”
      • 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.
      • Superoxide Anion Radical Green Tea (GTA)
      • Vitamin E
      • Vitamin C
      • Glutathione (GSH)
      • Maria Thistle (assists GSH)
      • Ginkgo Biloba
      • Hydrogen Peroxide Green Tea (GTA)
      • Glutathione (GSH)
      • Maria Thistle (assists GSH)
      • Ginkgo Biloba
      • Hydroxyl Radical Vitamin C
      • Ginkgo Biloba
      • Singlet Oxygen Vitamin A
      • Vitamin E
      • Glutathione (GSH)
      • Maria Thistle (assists GSH)
      • Selenium & Bilberry (assists Vit. E)
      • Ginkgo Biloba
      • Polyunsaturated
      • Fatty Acid Radical Vitamin A
      • Vitamin E
      • Selenium & Bilberry (assists Vit. E)
      • Maria Thistle
      • Organic /Fatty Acid
      • Hydroperoxides Glutathione (GSH)
      • Maria Thistle (assists GSH)
      • Ginkgo Biloba
      • Oxidized Protein Glutathione (GSH)
      • Maria Thistle (assists GSH)
      • Ginkgo Biloba
      • 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.
      • Herbs can cleanse your body. Many herbs contain powerful antioxidants whose ability to slow the aging process as well as aid in recovery has been well documented;
      • Herbs can have a normalizing effect, allowing the body to both recuperate from and adapt to the intense stresses of workouts and competition;
      • Herbs can have great nutritional value. Many herbs are high in vitamins and minerals which you as an athlete need at higher levels due to your extremely active lifestyle or dietary limitations;
      • Herbs can raise your energy levels;
      • Herbs can stimulate your immune system;
      • Herbs can also stimulate other systems such as your endocrine system, which plays a part in ALL bodily functions, including muscle tissue repair an growth;
      • Herbs can add seasoning to bland, low fat food.
      • amplification of mental effort — getting “psyched”
      • approaching a game or training movement with maximum mental focus
      • approaching your training or competition with a burning passion, as though it were your LIFE
      • adding reps
      • adding weight
      • decreasing rest between reps
      • decreasing rest between sets
      • increasing the number of exercises per bodypart
      • increasing the total number of exercises or bodyparts trained at one session
      • increasing the number of training sessions per day
      • increasing the speed of movement
      • increasing the amount of work done at the anaerobic threshold (maximum pain tolerance)
      • increasing the amount of eccentric work your muscles are required to perform.
      • increasing the “ballistic” nature of the transition portion of the lift or movement. (For example, quickly rearing back to throw (activating the muscle spindles and Golgi tendon organs while at the same time violently pre-stretching the tissues of the shoulder such that you avail yourself of the natural viscoelasticity of the tissues surrounding the shoulder) and then reversing the direction (throwing) involves increased “ballistic” stress).
      • Cartilage is a firm, elastic, flexible white material. It is found at the ends of ribs, between vertebrae (discs), at joint surfaces, and in the nose and ears. Cartilage provides shock absorption, a smooth surface between adjacent bones, and structure.
      • Ligaments are relatively inelastic bands of white, fibrous tissue. They connect one bone to another at a joint.
      • Tendons are extensions of the muscle fibers. They are slightly more elastic than ligaments, but cannot shorten as muscles do. they connect muscle to bone.
      • Bursa are fluid-filled pads that absorb shock and provide a smooth surface upon which tendons move over bone.
      • Synovial fluid is a very viscous material that lubricates the working parts of a joint.

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. Cf. atherosclerosis.

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, sex, 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 kilocalorie (kcal).

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 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:

Monosaccharides:Glucose, fructose, sorbitol, galactose, mannitol, mannose.

Disaccharides:Sucrose = glucose + fructose, Maltose = glucose + glucose, Lactose = glucose + galactose

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
 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 body. Cf. fascia, joint capsules, ligament, tendon.

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 heart muscle.

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.

Dyspnea — Difficult or labored breathing.

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:


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.

Essential hypertension — Hypertension without a discoverable cause. Also called primary hypertension. Cf. hypertension.

Estrogen — The sex 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 sexual 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.

Exercise — Physical exertion of sufficient intensity, duration, and frequency to achieve or maintain fitness, or other health or athletic objectives.

Exercise prescription — A recommendation for a course of exercise to meet desirable individual objectives for fitness. Includes activity types, duration, intensity, and frequency of exercise.

Expiration — Breathing air out of the lungs. Cf. inspiration, respiration.

Extension — A movement which moves the two ends of a jointed body part away from each other, as in straightening the arm. Cf. flexion.

Extensor — A muscle that extends a jointed body part.

Exertional headaches — Pain triggered by a variety of exercise activities ranging from weightlifting to jogging, and including sexual intercourse.

Faint — See syncope.

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.


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 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.

Glucose (blood sugar) — A simple sugar, the breakdown product of carbohydrates that becomes the raw material for energy production inside cells.

Glucose-lactate cycle (Cori cycle) — The metabolic partnership between muscles and liver to support active muscle work. Refers to the sequence involving breakdown of carbohydrates, glycogen storage in liver, passage of glucose into the bloodstream and subsequent storage in muscle fibers as glycogen, the breakdown of glycogen during muscle activity, the production of lactic acid in this process, and the conversion of lactic acid to glycogen again.

Glucose polymers — A low glycemic carbohydrate supplement that delivers a steady source of energy for workouts and restoration. “Branching” glucose polymers (i.e., glucose molecules comprised of differing glycemic indexes due to their structural complexity) are available as drinks, powders and tablets.

Glucose Tolerance — Glucose tolerance refers to an individual’s ability to metabolize glucose.

Gluteals — Abbreviation for gluteus maximus, medius and minimus; the hip extensor muscles. Also called buttocks or glutes.

Glycemic index — A rating system that indicates the different speed with which carbohydrates are processed into glucose by the body. In general, complex carbohydrates are broken down slower, providing a slow infusion of glucose for steady energy. Refined, simple carbohydrates usually are absorbed quickly, causing energy-disturbing fluctuations of glucose.

Glycogen — The common storage form of glucose in the liver and muscles that is biochemically processed as part of the energy-producing cycle. Glycogen, a polysaccharide commonly called animal starch, is readily converted into glucose as the energy needs of the body require.

Glycogenolysis — The cellular breakdown of stored glycogen for energy, which is regulated by the enzyme phosphorylase.

Glycolysis — The metabolic process that creates energy via splitting a molecule of glucose to form either pyruvic acid or lactic acid and produce ATP molecules. Glycolysis in an important part of anaerobic metabolism.

Glycolytic Sports — Sports such as wrestling, boxing, 200 meter dash and other long sprint or mid-distance sprints wherein the glycolytic pathway of muscle energy production (the breakdown of muscle sugar, glycogen, in order to produce more CP and ATP) is involved (see glycogen, ATP and CP).

Golgi tendon organs — Nerve sensors (“proprioceptors”), located at the junction of muscles and tendons, that pick up messages of excess stress on the muscle and cause the brain to shut off muscle contraction. The purpose may be to protect against separating the tendon from bone when a contraction is too great. Called “the feedback loop,” this shut-off threshold can be pushed back or delayed (e.g., toward one’s maximum strength potential) through “jerk training,” where you carefully perform repeated submaximum jerks with weights. Cf. muscle spindle, proprioceptor.

Graded exercise test (GXT) — A treadmill, or cycle-ergometer, test that delivers heart rate, ECG, and other data. Workload is gradually increased until an increase in workload is not followed by an increase in oxygen consumption; this identifies the individual’s maximal oxygen uptake. Allows the prescribing of exercise to the individual’s actual, rather than estimated, heart rate or aerobic capacity. Requires medical supervision. Cf. physical work capacity.

Green Tea — Green tea, also known as GTA (green tea antioxidant) or GTE (green tea extract), has been clinically shown to be as much as 200 times more effective than vitamin E at scavenging hydrogen peroxide and superoxide anion radicals (see Free radicals). As such, it is perhaps the most potent antioxidant kknown to man in its ability to prevent 1) antibacterial and antiviral activity, 2) anti-platelet and hyocholesterolemic activity, 3) lung cancer due to smoking, 4) skin damage and skin cancer due to radiation, 5) a host of other age-related maladies. The active ingredients of green tea are called polyphenol catechins, with (-)-Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCg) being by far the most important. Green tea is unprocessed; black tea is the same plant but highly processed; Oolong tea, also from the same plant, is partially processed tea.

Growth hormone (GH) — A growth hormone is any substance that stimulates growth, especially one secreted by the pituitary (somatotropin) which exerts a direct effect on protein, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, and controls the rate of skeletal, connective (collagenous) tissue and visceral growth.

Hamstring — The big muscle along the back of your upper leg which extend from above the hip to below the knee.

Health risk appraisal — A procedure that gathers information about a person’s behaviors, family history, and other characteristics known to be associated with the incidence of serious disease, and uses that information to compare the individual’s present risks with the lower risks that could be achieved by changing certain behaviors.

Heart attack — An acute episode of any kind of heart disease.

Heart rate — The number of times your heart beats in one minute.

Heart rate reserve — The difference between the resting heart rate and the maximal heart rate.

Heat cramps — Muscle twitching or painful cramping, usually following heavy exercise with profuse sweating. The legs, arms, and abdominal muscles are the most often affected.

Heat stroke — A life threatening illness when the body’s temperature-regulating mechanisms fail. Body temperature may rise to over 104 degrees F, skin appears red, dry, and warm to the touch. The victim has chills, sometimes nausea and dizziness, and may be confused or irrational. Seizures and coma may follow unless temperature is brought down to 102 degrees within an hour.

Heat syncope — Fainting from the heat. When a lot of blood is sent to the skin for cooling, and the person becomes inactive enough to allow blood to pool in the legs, the heart may not receive enough blood to supply the brain. Once the person is in a horizontal position, consciousness is regained quickly.

Hemoglobin — Hemoglobin is a crystallizable, conjugated protein consisting of an iron-containing pigment called heme and a simple protein, globin. It is the pigment of red blood cells. Hemoglobin carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissues.

Herbs — An often-used definition of herbs is any part of a plant which can be used as a medical treatment, nutrient, food seasoning or dye. However, this definition is too shortsighted to be relevant to the needs of otherwise healthy athletes whose major objective in life is to excel in their respective sports. You can use herbs to enhance your performance in many ways:

While the list of herbs is far too extensive to include in this glossary of training and nutrition terms (only a few of the more popular herbs are mentioned), It is nonetheless useful to list the types of herbs. The following classes of herbs are traditionally used by trained herbalists to distinguish the multvariate uses of herbs:


Adaptogens help the body cope with stress through biochemical support of the adrenal glands. The term “adaptogen” was coined by researchers to describe the action of a substance that helps to increase resistance to adverse influences, both physical and environmental; a cure – all. To be a true adaptogen the substance must be 1) safe for daily use, 2) increase the body’s resistance to a wide variety of factors, and 3) have a normalizing action in the body. Adaptogens are useful for otherwise healthy individuals to help adapt to stresses such as an increasing work load, as well as illness or injury. Adaptogens provide both a tonic support to help the body normalize (return to homeostasis) as well as providing primary medical treatment.

Adaptogens work best over time. Adaptogenic herbs gently and efficiently “coax” your body into a far more strategic position for maintaining improved growth, recovery and repair for the months of hard training you are about to enter. The first step is to prepare your body for better use of supplements and dietary intake. This is done through a “cleansing” formula for your kidneys, liver, colon, and blood. Step two is to improve your body’s wound-healing (restorative and recovery) ability. The final step is to maximize your body’s adaptive responses to the stresses of training, a part of which involves boosting immune function. One of the most well – known adaptogens is Siberian ginseng. Other herbs such as chaparral, dandelion root, aloe vera, echinacea, yellow dock, and golden seal also have adaptogenic properties.


Alteratives work by gradually restoring the proper functioning of the body. One main function of alteratives is neutralizing toxins in the blood. Indeed, an alternative name for alteratives is “blood cleansers.” But because alteratives also help the kidneys, liver, lungs skin and other systems remove toxins with their restorative properties, the term “blood cleanser” is not complete. Some herbs with alterative properties include nettles, cleavers, burdock, dandelion, yellow dock, red clover, chaparral and Oregon grapes.


Anti-catarrhals help your body get rid of excess mucous from the lungs, sinuses and throat. Athletes engaged in severe aerobic activities or challenged by extreme bouts against the anaerobic threshold (to the point where further movement is impossible without more oxygen being available) are clearly aided by anti-catarrhal herbs such as golden rod, elder tree, and eyebright.


Anti-inflammatories reduce swelling in various bodily tissues. Most herbs with anti-inflammatory properties contain volatile oils. These herbs can work by relaxing the nervous system and muscle spasms, attacking bacteria or by increasing blood flow to the affected area. In doing so, the herb may also relieve pain. This is clearly a category of herbs of extreme interest to athletes. Remember, no healing or recovery is possible until you first reduce swelling and inflammation. Some herbs with anti-inflammatory properties include chamomile, lemon balm, peppermint, meadowsweet, willow bark, bogbean and wild yams.

Anti-microbials / anti-bacterials.

Micro-organisms and bacteria can disrupt the body’s systems and cause illness. By stimulating the body’s immune system, or by direct attack, anti-microbials and anti-bacterials keep these pathogens at bay. Chaparral, echinacea, garlic and goldenseal are herbs with excellent anti-microbial and anti-bacterial actions.


Ant-spasmodics relieve muscle cramps by either alleviating muscular tension, nervous tension, or psychological tension. Another class of herbs offering great benefit for athletes. Black haw, grindelia, lobelia, angelica and peppermint all have anti-spasmodic properties.


Astringents tighten or bond tissues together by binding protein molecules. This causes contraction and firming of tissues. This effect is useful for cuts or abrasions (common problems with all athletes), sinusitis and diarrhea. Herbs with an astringent property include white oak, pipsissewa, horse chestnut, witch hazel, agramony and cranesbill.


This classification of herbs got it’s name not by what they do, but how they taste. Yet it is the taste itself which helps the body detoxify itself! The bitter sensation triggers a hormonal response in the digestive system which leads to the production of digestive juices and bile, as well as detoxifying the liver. Athletes having a hard time gaining weight because of poor appetite or poor digestion can benefit greatly from the use of bitters before each of their 5-6 daily meals. Bitters can also stimulate intestinal healing. Herbs with bitter properties include gentian, citrus peel, angelica, barberry, burdock, dandelion, mugwort, whorehound, eleecampane, tumeric and ginseng.

Calmatives / Carminatives

The aromatic volatile oils found in calmatives reduce inflammation in the intestinal walls. By doing this, they promote proper functioning of the digestive system as well as relieve intestinal pain and removing gas. Calmatives’ effects on the digestive system will promote better absorbtion of the nutrients you need as well as help relieve the upset stomach you have before competition. Fennel and rosemary are a couple of herbs that have calmative effects.

Like calmatives, carminatives have strong effects on the digestive system. They ease gas, indigestion, intestinal cramping, and can also stimulate your appetite. Cumin, fennel, ginger and peppermint are a few carminatives.


Demulcents have an anti-inflammatory and soothing effect on the kidneys, urinary bladder and mucus membranes. They also help moisten these tissues. When the kidneys and urinary bladder become irritated, proper waste elimination is compromised. The mucus membranes found in the throat and nasal capacity also can become inflamed as well as dry and irritated, which effects breathing. Comfrey, licorice, marshmallow, slippery elm are all demulcents.


Diaphoretics cause you to perspire, thus eliminating toxins through the skin. By dilating capillaries near the skin’s surface (which also improves overall blood circulation) or relaxing pores toxins more easily pass into sweat glands where they are discarded once you shower. Athletes who have problems sweating may benefit from such herbs. Diaphoretics also support kidney function, where toxins are separated from the blood and discarded in the urine. Some herbs with a diaphoretic action include basil, chrysanthemum, ginger, lemon balm, and peppermint.


By increasing the production and removal of urine, diuretics also eliminate toxins and waste from the body. Ancient herbal tradition has it that diuretics include any herb which is beneficial to the urinary system’s overall health. Many herbs including parsley root, uva ursi, corn silk, alfalfa, juniper berries, artichokes, asparagus, astragalus, buchu, burdock, celery, chaparral, dandelion, kava kava and sarsaparilla are known to have diuretic properties. Diuretics should not be used long term and definitely not during intense exercise as they can rob you of several minerals as well as bodily fluids (especially from your blood), both of which are vital during exercise.


Expectorants are commonly referred to as herbs that help the lungs. While they do indeed help your lungs, they do so by removing phlegm and excess fluid from them as well as the throat. Expectorants are also useful for bronchitis and ashram. Such herbs included coltsfoot, elecampane and mullein.

In addition to expectorants, other herbs can help optimize your lungs health. Mullein, besides being an expectorant, also serves as a lung tonic and anti-inflammatory. Other herbs include sundew, wild cherry bark, skunk cabbage and bloodroot.


Hepatics aid liver function. The liver is an important organ for many reasons; among them is waste removal. Athletes experience ammonia toxicity resulting from the breakdown of protein for energy. The liver eliminates ammonia. Athletes suffer from a buildup of lactic acid resulting from the breakdown of glycogen during exercise. The liver eliminates lactic acid. Some ill-advised athletes sometimes resort to the use of illegal anabolic steroids, which are potentially harmful to the liver. You get the picture. Athletes definitely need a peak performing liver! Hepatics can help increase bile production and waste removal as well as detoxifying the liver. Barberry, dandelion root, Oregon grapes, milk thistle, balmony and gentian are some useful hepatics.


Hypotensives help to normalize blood pressure. Obviously, this is an important category for those who have high blood pressure. Hawthorn, linden blossoms, ginkgo biloba, garlic and motherwort are all excellent hypotensives.


Do not be misled by the term “hypnotic”; you will not be put into a trance, put to sleep for hours or begin to hallucinate. Hypnotics gently help you fall asleep quicker and improve the quality of sleep. Proper sleep patterns are hard to come by for some — traveling to games, the stress of performing well, the stress student athletes have as a result of balancing academics and athletics, and numerous other causes can keep you awake at night. Obviously, energy levels are negatively affected from lack of adequate sleep, but it also affects growth hormone output and recovery from workouts and injuries. Herbs such as valerian, California poppy, lobelia, skullcap, lemon balm, peppermint and Siberian ginseng can all calm you down for a night’s rest!


Laxatives are a multi-million dollar business for the pharmaceutical industry. Many herbs also serve as laxatives and are much gentler on the body than commercial brands. They’re also a lot less expensive. By stimulating bowel movement, wastes and toxins are removed from the body. With them, however, bodily fluids and vital minerals are also lost. So, as it is with diuretics, caution should be taken when taking laxative herbs. Do not prolong your use of laxatives. Some natural laxatives include cascara sagrada, dandelion root, psyllium seeds, aloe vera, boneset and damiana.

Male and Female Reproductive.

Proper functioning of your reproductive system will do far more for your athletic career than continue your legacy of athletic achievement! By normalizing your hormonal balance an array of health benefits can be gained. Take strong note of this: your hormonal balance is strongly effected by your reproductive system, and hormones affect all functions and systems of the body! Therefore, herbs that benefit the reproductive system can ease menopause, moodiness, sexual dysfunction as well as promote proper hormonal balance, which in turn may 1) enhance tissue repair, 2) improve hepatic function (liver), 3) provide more efficient digestion and assimilation, 4 amplify energy levels, metabolic functions and brain activity.

CAUTION! When dealing with the hormonal balance of your body, great care should be taken. Even a slight change of this balance can cause an array of problems. Chasteberry, for example, contains phytochemicals that promote progesterone and estrogen balance (normally regarded as female hormones). This should not be taken by adolescent males, but can be useful for females and older men.

For Males: Wild yams, black cohosh, saw palmetto, damiana, chasteberry, St. John’s wort, wild oats (did you see this one coming!), and those herbs with bitter properties have positive effects on the male reproductive system.

For Females: Chasteberry, blue cohosh, black cohosh and bitter herbs have a positive effect on the female reproductive system.


Nervines have beneficial effects on the nervous system — the brain, central nervous system, neuromuscular system, as well as the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems (those that bring impulses to and from your bodies organs and systems). Herbs that can help your nervous system include oats, skullcap, St. John’s wort, motherwort, lobelia and valerian.


Rubefacients stimulate blood flow near the skin when applied topically. Because of this action, rubefacients are useful for most athletes because they promote healing and reduce the symptoms of arthritis, joint and muscle pain. Black pepper, cayenne and mustard are listed among the many known rubefacients.


Tonics vitalize and nourish either one organ of the body or the entire body itself. The term “tonic” may bring visions of “snake oils” sold out of the back of covered wagons by peddlers traveling from town to town in the old west. While many such tonics may have been worthless, many weren’t. Chances are, people back in the old west were as eager for a quick solution to their ailments as they are today. Still, many herbs work remarkably well over time by gently coaxing your body back to good health or by aiding in maintaining it.

Unlike chemical drugs of today, tonics help prevent health problems and can be taken with very little worry of side effects or overdose. While tonics should be used in times of good health, they can be especially helpful if signs of illness start to show up, but the illness has not yet come on. As you can imagine, many herbs can be considered tonics.


This is a category of herbs that those of you involved in contact sports will definitely want to check out! Vulneraries promote healing of cuts, abrasions and bruises, relieves tissue irritations, and can also have promote blood flow to areas affected by bruises and inflamed tissues. Arica, calendula and chickweed are known vulneraries.

High blood pressure — See hypertension.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) — A type of lipoprotein that seems to provide protection against the buildup of athersclerotic fat deposits in the arteries. Exercise seems to increase the HDL fraction of total cholesterol. HDL contains high levels of protein and low levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. Cf. lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein.

Homeostasis — The tendency of the body to maintain its internal systems in balance. Example: A buildup of carbon dioxide increases the respiration rate to eliminate it and draw in more oxygen.

Hormones — Hormones are chemical substances which originate in an organ, gland, or body part, and are conveyed by the blood to affect functions in other parts of the body.

Horsepower — A workrate measure equal to 746 watts, or about 550 foot-pounds per second.

Human Growth Hormone (hGH) — A hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary gland in response to various stressful stimuli such as heat, starvation and intense physical stress (e.g., exercise), as well as by an innate pulsatile periodicity. The principal functions of hGH are to stimulate anabolism and to mobilize stored fat (triglyceruides) for energy, thus sparing muscle glycogen.

Hydroxycitrate (HCA) — HCA (sometimes referred to as hydroxycitric acid) is a natural fruit acid found in abundance in the Brindall berry, the fruit of the Garcinia Cambogia plant (found in India primarily). HCA is cited in the research as able to inhibit lipid (fat) synthesis. Possible mechanisms for this effect may be 1) an appetite suppressant response due to enhanced gluconeogenesis which would promote a feeling of satiety, and 2) inhibition of certain enzymes necessary for biosynthesizing fat.

Hyperglycemia — Abnormally high level of glucose in the blood (high blood sugar). The clinical hallmark of diabetes mellitus. Usually defined as a blood sugar value exceeding 140 mg/dl.

Hyperplasia (muscle splitting) — A controversial subject among sports scientists regarding the possibility of muscle fibers to actually split, giving more strength from increased contractile potential and/or connective tissue.

Hypertension — Persistent high blood pressure. Readings as low as 140/90 millimeters of mercury are considered a threshold for high blood pressure by some authorities. Cf. blood pressure.

Hyperthermia — Body temperatures exceeding normal. See heat cramps, exhaustion, heat

stroke, heat syncope. Cf. hypothermia.

Hypertonic — Describes a solution concentrated enough to draw water out of body cells. Cf. osmolarity.

An enlargement of a body part or organ by the increase in size of the cells that make it up. Cf. atrophy.

Hypertrophy (muscle)– Increase in both gross muscle size as well as individual muscle cell size resulting from training (especially weight training); due to the adaptive process whereby the muscles add more mitochondria, sarcoplasm, myofibrils, interstitial substances such as water, fat, satellite cells, etc. in response to highly specific forms of stress.

Hypervitaminosis — Undesirable symptoms caused by an excess of certain (typically fat soluble) vitamins.

Hypoglycemia — Hypoglycemia literally means “low blood glucose level”. There are two general categories of this disorder: fasting (or spontaneous) and reactive.
In fasting hypoglycemia, serum glucose levels are low in the fasting state (for example, before breakfast). This form of hypoglycemia is relatively uncommon and is not what most people generally refer to when they claim to have “hypoglycemic symptoms”.
In reactive hypoglycemia, fasting glucose levels are normal. They become abnormally low only in reaction to the increased serum levels of glucose which follow the ingestion of a meal.

Hypothermia — Body temperature below normal. Usually due to exposure to cold temperatures, especially after exhausting ready energy supplies. Cf. hyperthermia.

Hypotonic — Describes a solution dilute enough to allow its water to be absorbed by body cells. Cf. osmolarity.

Hypoxia — Insufficient oxygen flow to the tissues, even though blood flow is adequate. Cf. ischemia.

Hypnotherapy — An effective method to shed accumulated negativity and self-doubt that can limit confidence and performance potential.

Iliac crest — The upper, wide portion of the hip bone.

Impulse-inertial training — A system originally designed for NASA space stations (where there’s no gravity — dumbells and barbells would be useless in space) whereby a moving, weighted sled is alternately moved very rapidly back and forth on a set of tracks in order to effectively improve starting strength (see starting strength).

Infarction — Death of a section of tissue from the obstruction of blood flow (ischemia) to the area. Cf. myocardial infarction.

Inflammation — Body’s local response to injury. Acute inflammation is characterized by pain, with heat, redness, swelling and loss of function. Uncontrolled swelling may cause further damage to tissues at the injury site.

Informed consent — A procedure for obtaining a client’s signed consent to a fitness center’s prescription and leadership of his/her program. Includes a description of the objectives and procedures, with associated benefits and risks, stated in plain language, with a consent statement and signature line in a single document.

Inertia — The tendency of an object to remain in its current state (in motion or at rest).

Inosine — Inosine is a naturally-occurring compound found in the body that contributes to strong heart muscle contraction and blood flow in the coronary arteries. As a supplement taken before and during workouts and competition, it stimulates enzyme activity in both cardiac and skeletal muscle cells for improved regeneration of ATP. What this means in training terms is that you’ll be able to get a rep or two more out of yourself in each set. It means that you’ll be able to do your wind sprints with greater stamina. Better workouts equals better gains.

Inositol — A B complex vitamin. Combines with choline to form lecithin, protecting against the fatty hardening of arteries and cholesterol buildup. Important in the nutrition of brain cells. Promotes healthy hair. No RDA. Dietary sources: liver, brewer’s yeast, dried lima beans, beef brains and heart, cantaloupe.

Insertion — The attachment of a muscle to the more moveable or distal (farther from the center of the body) structure.

Insulin — Insulin is a peptide hormone made of two polypeptide chains, and is secreted from the beta cells of the pancreas. The function of insulin is to increase the ability of certain organs, such as muscles and the liver, to utilize glucose and amino acids. Insulin also increases the total quantity of protein in the body by increasing the flow of amino acids into cells, accelerating messenger RNA translation, and increasing DNA transcription to form more RNA.
Insulin is essential for the proper metabolism and proper maintenance level of blood sugar. Secretion is primarily dependent upon the concentration of blood glucose, an increase of blood sugar bringing about an increase in the secretion of insulin. Inadequate secretion of insulin results in improper metabolism or carbohydrates and fats and brings on diabetes characterized by glucose accumulating in the blood and wastefully excreting in the urine. Various forms of insulin may be prepared and administered to temporarily treat a diabetic individual.

Insulin-like Growth Factors (IGF-I & IGF-II) — IGF-I and IGF-II are theorized to be liberated into the interstitial spaces surrounding muscle cells (especially Type IIb fibers) damaged by severe stress (especially eccentric contractions). Their collective function is to ensure fusion between the nearby satellite cells with the damaged fiber, thereby decreasing that fiber’s proneness to injury. It is theorized to be the single most contributory factor in muscle hypertrophy.

Insulinomimetics — There are several herbs that have been widely used for centuries for their apparent insulinomimetic value:

Pterocarpus marsupium, long used by Ayurvedic medical practitioners in India for treating diabetes, is believed to be capable of regenerating damaged cells in the pancreas (where insulin is synthesized).

Momordica charantia contains insulin-like polypeptides which have been shown to help reduce high blood sugar.
 foenum-graecum (also known as fenugreek seeds) as well as vaccinum myrtillus (blueberry leaves) are both regarded as anti-hyperglycemic agents as well.

Allium cepa and allium sativum — specially prepared extracts from the common onion and garlic plants — have been clinically shown to reduce blood glucose by competing with insulin for insulin-inactivating compounds, thereby increasing free insulin in your body. These powerful botanicals are reported to 1) have antihypertensive effects (lower blood pressure), 2) be capable of reducing blood lipids (e.g., cholesterol), and 3) provide general cardiovascular benefits.
Not all garlic is the same, however. It has to be aged in a specific manner. One special method of ageing garlic, developed by Wakunaga of America Company (known as Kyolic garlic), preserves a compound called S-allyl-cystein. This compound has been well-researched and shown to have potent lowering effects on both blood lipids (fat) and blood glucose, while at the same time increasing insulin.

Intensity — The rate of performing work; power. A function of energy output per unit of time. Examples: Aerobic exercise may be measured in o(V,.)O2, METs, or heart rate; short-duration anaerobic exercise may be measured in foot-pounds per minute or other units of work measurement. Intensity, along with duration and frequency, affect the effectiveness of exercise. In gym parlance, intensity refers to the difficulty of a workout or workout schedule. Intensity is often erroneously defined as how close you are to your maximum limit strength level in the amount of weight you are using in a given exercise movement. But to athletes other than bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts, intensity is defined as “psych.” There is a need for a clear definition. (See related concepts, “Periodization” and “Recovery.”) One’s training “intensity” may be (but not necessarily) increased by:

Interval training — An exercise session in which the intensity and duration of exercise are consciously alternated between harder and easier work. Often used to improve aerobic capacity and/or anaerobic endurance in exercisers who already have a base of endurance training.

Intramuscular\Intracellular friction — The natural friction between and within muscle fibers caused by contraction (especially eccentric contraction). Leads to some reduction in strength output. The greatest amount of friction occurs in eccentric movements, such as the lowering of weights, where the muscle lengthens against resistance. This can be very damaging to contractile components inside fibers, and to the fibers themselves (called “microtrauma”).

Iodine — An essential element for the function of the thyroid gland, which regulates metabolism and energy. RDA: 150 micrograms. Dietary sources: All seafood, kelp.

Ion — An ion is an atom or molecule which carries an electric charge; it can be either a cation or an anion. The most important cations in the body are sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium (the electrolytes). The most important anions in the body are bicarbonate, chloride, phosphate and sulfate.

Iron — Combines with protein and copper to make hemoglobin, a pigment that colors the blood red and which carries oxygen through the bloodstream from the lungs to all bodily tissue. Also forms myoglobin, which transports oxygen in muscle tissue for use in fueling contractions. Deficiency is common in athletes. Without enough iron, you cannot train. Iron is easily lost through sweat, urine, feces and menstrual flow. Runners in particular are suspected of inefficient absorption of dietary iron. RDA: 10 mg. (men), 18 mg. (women). Dietary sources: liver, oysters, lean meat, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, dried fruits, legumes.

Ischemia — Inadequate blood flow to a body part, caused by constriction or obstruction of a blood vessel. Cf. hypoxia.

Isokinetic contraction — A muscle contraction against a resistance that moves at a constant velocity, so that the maximum force of which the muscle is capable throughout the range of motion may be applied. Cf. isotonic contraction.

Isokinetic exercise — Exercise equipment using accommodating resistance technology. For example, Keiser equipment uses compressed air to provide accomodating resistance. With this form of isokinetic movement, the harder you push the harder the machine resists, providing the net effect of controlling the speed of movement (see Accomodating Resistance).

Isometric Contraction — A muscular contraction in which the muscle retains its length while increasing in tension, but no movement occurs. Also called static contraction.

Isotonic Contraction — A concentric muscular contraction in which the load remains constant but the tension varies with the joint angle. Also called dynamic contraction.

Jerk — The part of the Olympic lift known as the “clean and jerk,” where the lifter drives the barbell from his or her shoulders overhead to a locked position.

Jerk training — A training technique involving carefully applied repetitive ballistic-type movements to the tissues surrounding a joint for the purpose of “deinhibition” — preventing the protective cessation of muscle contraction. The Golgi tendon organ is, in theory, prevented from sending an inhibitory signal to the central nervous system upon being maximally stimulated by repetitive jerky stress. Adaptive changes in surrounding connective tissues is theorized to occur in order to prervent injury to the tissues being stressed.

Joints — A joint is formed where two bones come together. Not all joints have the same range of motion, and some joints don’t move at all. The range of motion of a joint is limited by the structure of the bone and the attachment of muscle to bone. Described below are some important structures found in a joint.

Joint capsules — A sac-like enclosure around a joint that holds synovial fluid to lubricate the joint.

Ketone — Keytone bodies are produced as intermediate products of fat metabolism. they are normally created in limited amounts when fat is oxidized. However, in drastic conditions where carbohydrate is insufficient or unavailable for energy needs such as starvation or untreated diabetes, excessive amounts of fat are oxidized and ketone bodies accumulate. This condition is known as ketosis.

Ketosis — An elevated level of ketone bodies in the tissues. Seen in sufferers of starvation or diabetes, and a symptom brought about in dieters on very low carbohydrate diets.

Kilocalorie — Kilocalorie (kcal) is a unit of measurement used in metabolic studies, being the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius at a pressure of 1 atmosphere. It is 1,000 times larger than the small calorie used in chemistry and physics. The term is used in nutrition to express the fuel or energy value of food.

Kilogram (kg) — A unit of weight equal to 2.204623 pounds; 1,000 grams (g).

Kilogram-meters (kgm) — The amount of work required to lift one kilogram one meter.

Kilopond-meters (kpm) — Equivalent to kilogram-meters, in normal gravity.

Kinesiology — Study of human musculoskeletal movement, also referred to as biomechanics.

Kinematics and Kinetics — Kinematics is defined as the geometry of motion, which includes displacement, velocity, and acceleration without regard for the forces acting on a body. Kinetics, however, concerns itself with understanding the dynamics of the forces acting on a body.

Knee wraps — Elastic strips used to wrap knees for better support when performing squats and dead lifts.

Krebs Cycle — Krebs cycle (citric acid cycle) refers to a complicated series of reactions by which fragments from any of the energy nutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) are completely broken down to carbon dioxide and water, releasing energy for the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). It is the final common pathway for all nutrient metabolites involved in energy production, and provides more than 90% of the body’s energy. This is the oxidative portion of energy production where short carbon chains from the breakdown of glucose, fatty acids, and protein are broken down and the energy is used to form more ATP. Oxygen is involved in this phase of metabolism where they combine with hydrogen atoms to form water. This takes place in the mitochondria.

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