Are you a fitness junkie (addict, do a lot of sport)? Do you like spending your spare (extra) time at the gym getting fit? If you do, then you may need some vocabulary when you go to a fitness center: gym English.

It took me a long time to enjoy fitness. I could never find a sport I liked, but I finally have, and I’ve been really enjoying working on my fitness during the week. It’s so satisfying (a good feeling) to see yourself getting stronger (building muscle, losing weight).

Whether you’re already a gym bunny (gym rat, in the gym a lot), or if you need some motivation to sign up for your local gym, here is some gym English.


When you go to the gym, all the activities you do are called your workout. This could be swimming, dancing, running, weight lifting, strength training, or doing yoga or pilates.

Workout can also be split (separated, taken apart) and used as a verb. You can go to the gym to work out. You do your workout while you’re working out.

For example:

  • What is your workout routine? Do you rotate your training schedule?
  • On which days do you work out?


If you are going to work out, you can’t start without a warm-up. Warming up makes sure that you don’t injure yourself during your workout, as it gets your body used to moving. A warm-up can be an easy jog and some stretching, for example. After you have properly warmed up, you can start with the more strenuous (challenging, difficult, intense) exercises.

For example:

  • I like to warm-up with a little bit of yoga before I work out.
  • Running on the treadmill is a great warm-up to get the muscles moving before weight training.


At the end of your workout, you should do a cool-down to keep your body from getting sore. Just like a warm-up, a proper cool-down can keep you healthy and everything working smoothly.

For example:

  • I like to cool-down with a light jog and some stretching.
  • She forgot to do a cool-down the other day and she’s been sore for two days!

In shape / Out of shape

When I started feeling out of shape, I started looking for a new fitness routine to help me get fit again. We use the terms in shape and out of shape to talk about how fit someone is.

If someone is fit, they’re in shape, and if they’re not fit, they’re out of shape. Are you in shape or are you out of shape?

For example:

  • She is so in shape! She goes to the gym 5 times a week and does yoga at night.
  • After climbing those stairs, I feel pretty out of shape.

Running / Swimming / Lifting Weights / Taking a Class

There are all sorts of different exercises you can do at the gym that you’ll need some gym English for. You can swim, run, lift weights, or take a class like kickboxing, or Zumba. I like to swim and take a spinning class when I’m at the gym. What sort of exercises do you like to do?

For example:

  • I’m going to try a swimming class after work. Do you want to come?
  • He started lifting weights at the gym and so far, he really likes it.

Body weight exercises

If you have a trainer at the gym, you may hear them talk about body weight exercises. Body weight exercises are strength training exercises that you just do with your body weight, such as push-ups or planks.

For example:

  • Body weight exercises are tough, but they’re worth it!
  • Push-ups are a body weight exercise that are an excellent way to build strength without a machine.


When you join a gym, you’ll probably have to sign up for a membership (register). A membership means that you can be a part (participant, member) of the gym, and is a contract (written agreement with signature) that usually lasts for a year or two.

For example:

  • My gym membership includes the sauna. I love it!
  • I’m very sorry, but I’m moving and need to cancel my membership.

Are you feeling inspired to hit the gym? What is some gym English that you use? Share with us in the comments!

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Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and definitely needs gym English when she plays Camogie!

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