Top 10 Fitness Terms/Phrases ALL Bariatric Patients Need to Learn!

It was honestly hard to pick just 10 so I'll probably have to do a part 2 of this but here are the top 10 fitness terms/phrases that I think every bariatric patient should learn when starting to add exercise into their lifestyle!

#1: Body Composition - This refers to the percentage of fat, bone, and muscle in your body. This means two people could WEIGH the same but have a completely different BODY COMPOSITION. The scale does not tell you your body composition.

#2 The After Burn Effect - Scientifically known as EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) Many people like to track how many calories they burn DURING a workout, but what you should be mindful of is also how many calories you burn AFTER a workout. You may burn more calories during a run, but your calorie burn slows down once your run is over. But after a resistance training workout (lifting weights) your body continues burning calories at a pretty high rate! Over time, this makes ALL the difference.

#3: Cardio Training: Exercise that works your heart and lungs to deliver oxygen & nutrients to your muscles. ANY exercise that boosts your heart rate & breathing rate counts!!

#4: Resistance Training: Exercise that challenges your muscles to work against some kind of resistance. This can be any kind of exercise equipment OR your own body weight (like push-ups or squats).

#5: Compound Exercises: Exercises that challenge multiple muscles at once.

#6: Isolation Exercises: Exercises that challenge one muscle/muscle group at once.


Isolation Exercise - Bicep Curls

Compound Exercise - Squat + Bicep Curl

#7: Workout Intensity - How hard you’re working during any physical activity. 3 levels: Low, Moderate, and High. Complete a pre-exercise screening w/ your doctor, surgeon, and dietitian to determine what exercise intensity you should aim for. Intensity is subjective and will be different for each person. Exercise intensity should coincide with the stage of your bariatric journey. The sooner out from surgery you are, the lower your workout intensity should be. If you’re further out from surgery, you can increase the intensity.

You can measure intensity in a few ways: monitoring your heart rate, using the Talk Test, or using the Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale.

#8: “Feeling the Burn!” - This is another way to measure the intensity of your workouts! Your muscles will “feel the burn” when you use them! What you’re feeling is called acidosis which is a change in your blood acidity. When your muscles experience an accumulation of metabolic waste, they get fatigued and you start to feel that burn!

#9: Sets/Reps/Load - Set: How many times you will repeat a particular number of repetitions of a given exercise(s). Rep: Short for repetition, or the number of times you perform any given exercise in your workout. Load: The amount of weight or resistance you apply to each exercise.


Exercise: Bicep Curls

Sets: 2 sets

Reps: 8-12 reps

Load: 3-5 pound dumbbells

#10: Circuit - Think of a circuit as a round of exercises. You’ll move from one exercise to the next with minimal to no rest in between. Circuits can include 2-10 different exercises.

Example: Complete the circuit below 3 times.

  • 10 Squats

  • 20 Jumping Jacks

  • 10 Push-Ups

  • 20 Lunges

  • 30 second High Plank

So you would start at the top of the list with 10 squats, move right into 20 jumping jacks, right into 10 push-ups, and so on. Of course, if you need to rest between each exercise, go ahead! Do what YOU can. Once you've gone through the entire circuit. Rest, grab some water, and do it allll over again starting with the squats! The faster you go through the circuit, the higher the intensity of the workout will be.

I hope you found this helpful! Reach out if you have any questions about a specific topic/term! :)