Say What? Those Mind Boggling Fitspo Acronyms Decoded

From Fitness and Crossfit a lot of acronyms are emerging
Helen Foster

May 03, 2017

Recently I was looking at pictures of people running the London Marathon and the same two letters kept coming up on their posts BQ – some with a smiley face, others with a weepy one.

Now I run long distance and thought I was up on my runner’s lingo but I didn’t know what this meant so I looked it up – Boston Qualifier was the answer. Ah, no wonder it was new to me – the Boston Marathon is one of the fastest marathons in the world and therefore has a speed at which you need to run to qualify to even potentially get a place.

For me a BQ time would mean running a marathon in less than 3 hours and 55 minutes (the qualifying time set for my age group), my marathon time is closer to 5 hours and 30 minutes (on a fast day) so it wasn’t something that had therefore entered my consciousness.

My mystery was solved but BQ is not the only fitness acronym out there sent to potentially confuse – there are also AMRAP, EMOM, WOD and more.

Lucky for you, we’re here to translate them:

AMRAP – As Many Rounds (or reps) As Possible. This comes from Crossfit and it does what it says on the tin – you do as many rounds of a set of exercises (i.e. 5 deadlifts, 10 squats, 10 pull ups) as you can in a set number of minutes – and try and beat it next time.

WOD – Another one from Crossfit. It means Workout of the Day and it’s the set of exercises picked for you that day by your instructor.

EMOM – Every Minute on the Minute. They do love acronyms in Crossfit, as this comes from there too – in this workout you pick a set of moves and a number of reps (say 5 squats, 5 star jumps, 5 press ups) and a time to do them for. As the second hand on a clock hits 12, do your plan as fast as you can (with good form). Rest for the rest of the minute and when the second hand hits 12, start again. Repeat until your time is up.

PB – Personal Best. Used when someone has run their fastest, cycled their furthest, lifted their heaviest. You get the gist.

DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness – the aches you get after exercise (usually accompanied with the hashtag legsday)

IIFYM – If It Fits Your Macros. Macros is short for macronutrients, the scientific name for carbohydrates, protein and fat. Eating to fit your macros means deciding which percentage of kilojoules you want to consume from each type of food – and sticking to it. It’s also known as flexible dieting as when you’re doing it no food is banned (IIFYM that is).

DNF, DLF or DNS – Did Not Finish, Dead Last Finish or Did Not Start  – refers to entering an event like a marathon or triathlon and achieving possibly not the best outcome – although always remember this: DLF beats DNF, which greatly trumps DNS.


By Helen Foster

Helen Foster is The Carousel’s Health Editor. She is a highly regarded health journalist and author of multiple books. Originally from the UK, she has worked for every major British newspaper and women's magazine in Britain. She was also a member of the Guild of Health Writers and the Medical Journalists Association. Helen is a regular contributor for the Daily Mail newspaper, Stella at the Sunday Telegraph, Fabulous magazine, Sainsbury's magazine and UK Glamour. She is also author 12 health and wellness books and has just finished No13 and she writes about fitness and health trends on her award-winning blog NotYourNormalHealthBlog.com.


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