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Foundation of Nutrition

Have you ever found yourself reading through a fitness or nutrition post thinking to yourself, what language are these people speaking?!
We have put together a small dictionary of common nutrition and fitness terminology for your reference.
If there are any terms that were not described that you would like to know more about, please feel free to email us back and our nutritionist and kinesiologist will be happy to provide some definitions and explanations.


Energy balance / maintenance = the amount of calories you need to consume to maintain your weight with your current activity levels

Calorie deficit = decreasing your maintenance calories in order to promote fat loss
Calorie surplus = increasing your calories beyond maintenance in order to gain muscle mass or store extra fat

RMR = resting metabolic rate = amount of energy your body needs at rest in order to survive
TEF = thermic effect of food = amount of energy required to break down that consumed food
NEAT = non exercise activity thermogenesis = amount of energy you expend in the day partaking in non-exercise activity (typing, scratching your head, dishes, tapping your foot etc.)
EAT = exercise activity thermogenesis = energy expended through formal exercise
TDEE = total daily energy expenditure = combination of RMR, TEF, NEAT, EAT

Reverse diet = the process of slowing increasing your calories from a cut back to maintenance
Body recomposition = changing the composition of your weight without changing total mass, usually being an increase in muscle mass and a decrease in fat mass
Cutting phase = a phase where you intentionally decrease calorie below maintenance and increase activity in order to promote fat loss
Bulking phase = a phase where you intentionally increase calories and total volume and intensity of your workouts in order to build muscle
Mini cut = a shorter period of time when you decrease calories a little more than a cut in order to increase the rate of fat loss (done for a shorter period of time than a normal cutting phase)
Diet break = a period of time when you take a break from cutting calories and you go back to maintenance
Refeed days = 1-2 days where you take a break from cutting calories

Fat oxidation = the body utilizing fat as energy in the body
Muscle protein synthesis = a process in which your body is rebuilding and growing muscle tissue
Muscle protein balance = the net of muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein breakdown is equal, meaning no new muscle is built

Macro = macro nutrients that come from our foods that are the building blocks and energy for us to survive. The three macros are fat, protein and carbohydrates
Glycogen = storage form of carbohydrates in the body (liver and muscle glycogen)
Amino acid = building blocks of protein
Simple sugars = glucose, galactose, and fructose
Net carbs = amount of carbs in a food subtracting the grams of fiber (carbs – fiber = net carbs)


Anaerobic = exercise that breaks down glucose for energy without the use of oxygen
Aerobic = exercise that uses oxygen to break down either glucose or fatty acids for energy
Lactate threshold = the point in which the body cannot clear lactate as fast as it is being accumulated
VO2 max = maximum amount of oxygen you can utilize during exercise

Hypertrophy = growth of muscle mass
Strength = ability to produce force

Reps = one full concentric and eccentric movement
Sets = a group of reps before a rest

RPE = rate of perceived exertion (measure of personal intensity)
RIR = reps in reserve (reps left before you hit muscular failure)
Failure = you are unable to complete another repetition
1 RM = 1 reputation max (maximum effort for 1 rep)
PB or PR = personal best/record

Microcycle = one week of training
Mesocycle = typically 4-12 weeks before you change the individual microcyles again
Macrocycle = typically a season of training, usually annually adding up all the mesocycles
Deload = a rest period where you decrease intensity or volume

Volume = reps x sets x weights

ROM = range of motion
TUT = time under tension
Tempo = speed at which you are performing the movement
Super sets = doing two movements back-to-back
AMRAP = as many reps/rounds as possible (usually in a given period of time)
Progressive Overload = slowly increasing volume (reps, sets, weight, TUT etc.)

Eccentric = the muscle is lengthening under tension
Concentric = the muscle is shortening under tension
Isometric = the muscle is neither lengthening or shortening under tension

Negatives = training the eccentric portion of the movement in order to build muscle and strength enough to achieve the concentric portion
Isolation = single joint and single muscle focused exercise
Compound = multiple joint and multiple muscle groups are targeted via a certain movement pattern

Unilateral = one side at a time
Bilateral = both sides at the same time
Isolateral = both sides at the same time, however each side has its own weight

Supinated = palms up
Pronated = palms down
Neutral = thumbs up


Sugar alcohols contain 1.5-3 calories per gram, versus sugar which contains 4 calories per gram