What’s your fitness IQ?

What’s your fitness IQ?

What’s your fitness IQ?

David Smiedt

Think you know your SIIT from your HIIT? Take our exercise acronym test.  

Photo: iStock

Just when you got your head around the fact that LOL means "laugh out loud" not "lots of love", TBH is "to be honest" and PAW stands for "parents are watching", it seems shorthand has now infiltrated the exercise world, too. And if some of the acronyms leave you SYH (scratching your head) – OK, we may have made that up – rest assured you're not alone.

Here, we decode the most common terms you're likely to hear at the gym.

SIIT – Submaximal Intensity Interval Training

SIIT is basically for those who aren't fans of HIIT. So you might do intervals of one minute working out, then one minute rest and repeat for 10 minutes or so. But instead of going at 100 per cent, which you do in HIIT, you go at about 60 per cent. The idea is that pumping at a bit less than your max still burns fat, but with less pain.

HOW TO USE IT IN A SENTENCE: "I don't feel up to HIIT today, I'll just do SIIT."

LISS – Low Intensity Steady State

We're talking the moderately elevated heart rate that comes with an extended walk or jog – the main point being that it's relaxed enough to sustain a normal conversation. In other words, the idea is that you should still be able to dissect the Game of Thrones finale throughout.


"Even though I had a couple of glasses of chardy last night, I reckon I could still manage some LISS this afternoon."

HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training

Put simply, this means going hard for short bursts with a small period of rest in between each. It's a solid fat burner and will give you a healthy helping of feel-good endorphins.

HOW TO USE IT IN A SENTENCE: "On Mondays I do weights, Tuesdays is stretching and Wednesdays I do HIIT."

EMOM – Every Minute On the Minute

Thank goodness this is not the name of a blog that yet another of your friends has started about her spiritual journey – Eat, Pray, Keep It To Yourself. Rather, it's often used in bootcamp or group exercise scenarios and is dictated by a stopwatch with a second hand. The idea is that you have to complete a certain number of, say, sprints in 60 seconds. Do so in 40 seconds, for example, and you can rest for the remaining 20 seconds before the cycle begins again. Closely related to the EMOM is the AMRAP (As Many Rounds/Reps As Possible) where a circuit – as opposed to a single exercise – is completed within a given time frame and then repeated until the clock runs out.

HOW TO USE IT IN A SENTENCE: "If you only have a short time to train today, you really can't beat an EMOM session."

IGYG – I Go You Go

You've probably read many times about the value of having a workout buddy in terms of accountability, motivation and someone to go Lorna Jane shopping with. This term is purpose-built for two and denotes a shared pattern of rest and exertion. This is how it works: two people start at the same point, one runs to a set distance and back, at which point the other person does exactly the same thing. In this alternating and repeating pattern – which works well with any strength exercises too – one person is in motion while the other rests and breathes in the big ones.

HOW TO USE IT IN A SENTENCE: "What kind of workout do we feel like doing today? AMRAP or IGYG?"

DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

This is shorthand for the pain and discomfort one feels after a particularly gruelling workout session or after not training for some time. We're talking Prince Charles-levels of stiffness. The ironic thing is, the pain should be eased by more gentle exercise and stretching.

HOW TO USE IT IN A SENTENCE: "I worked out for the first time in months and now I've got major DOMS."

RPE – Rate of Perceived Exertion

PTs – as personal trainers love to be known – love this one. And we must admit it's pretty handy as it gives you a guide to the intensity you should be training at on a scale from one to 10.

Yes, the same thing can be achieved with percentages but when you're puffed and struggling for breath, you'll be grateful for the one less syllable that comes with saying "six" instead of "60".

HOW TO USE IT IN A SENTENCE: "My PT wanted me working at an RPE of seven but I told her I could smash eight."

Do you even lift bro?

A favourite saying among those gym goers who use "bench" as a verb, monopolise the mirrors and can't seem to keep their shirts on in social media snaps. Next time a preening pouter bangs on about his PB (personal best) for squats on the phone while hogging two pieces of gym equipment, mutter, "DYEL, bro?" just loud enough to be heard.

Bodyism HIIT WHIMN0:31

Game of Thrones workout by Bodyism’s James Duigan.


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