Learning Vocabulary: At the Gym
In this week's Premier Skills English Podcast, Rich goes to a gym for the first time and talks about the experience. In the roleplay, Jack is a gym instructor and Rich is trying out some of the equipment. The language focus is on the words and phrases we use when talking about exercise and fitness. Your task is to complete our fitness challenge and tell us all about it. As always, we also have a new football phrase for you to guess at the end of the podcast. Enjoy!
Jack: So, did you go to the gym yesterday?
Rich: I did. I went to a gym for the first ever time. I was really nervous and a little bit embarrassed, to be honest.
Jack: But there was someone there to tell you what to do?
Rich: Yeah, it was really good. The guy who was there asked me about my overall fitness and asked me why I was there.
Jack: What did you tell him?
Rich: I said I wanted a six-pack for the beach!
Jack: You didn’t?
Rich: No, I said I wanted to get fit and lose a bit of weight.
Jack: And he showed you around?
Rich: Yeah, but I didn’t know what any of the machines were called. I said I think I want to start on the running machine.
Jack: You mean the treadmill.
Rich: Yep, he corrected me. And when I had a go I think I was walking or jogging rather than running so treadmill is probably a better name.
Jack: What else did you go on?
Rich: I then went on the cycling machine.
Jack: You mean the exercise bikes.
Rich: Yep. That was good. A bit easier. I think I had it on the lowest setting. It was like going downhill!
Jack: That might not get you where you want to be.
Rich: No, they don’t take you anywhere. Sorry. And the last thing I went on was the rowing machine. What do you call them?
Jack: You mean the rower! You’re OK, you can call this one a rowing machine too if you want.
Welcome - At the gym
Rich: Hello my name’s Rich
Jack: and I’m Jack
Rich: and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast
Jack: Where we talk about football and help you with your English.
Jack: What’s happening this week, Rich?
Rich: In this week’s podcast, we’re going to concentrate on vocabulary and we’re going to help you with some of the words and phrases you need at the gym.
Jack: That’s right. Whether you are fifteen or fifty we all need to do some exercise. That can be in the gym, in the park or even at home.
Rich: Football clubs have strength and conditioning coaches these days. Their job is to make footballers stronger and prepare them for matches so they are in the best possible shape.
Jack: A lot of their work is done in the gym and in this podcast we’re going to do a roleplay - a practice conversation. I’m going to be the strength and conditioning coach and Rich is going to be … Rich.
Rich: Remember that the focus is on the language we use and not the training routines we are talking about. It’s probably better to ask for advice from a fitness instructor than follow our routines!
Topic Focus - At the gym
Rich: While you are listening to the roleplay we want you to decide if you think Jack would be a good strength and conditioning coach or not.
Jack: So, this is your first day?
Rich: Yep, I think it would be good to take things slowly.
Jack: We’ll see. Let’s start with the warm-up. OK, let’s start with a bit of stretching. Can you touch your toes?
Rich: This is tough. I can touch my knees.
Jack: You can do better than that. Can you feel the muscles stretching in your calves - the back of your legs?
Rich: Yep, getting closer.
Jack: No, don’t bounce. Stretch.
Rich: Alright, but I’m not getting to my toes.
Jack: No problem - you’ll get better with practice. Let’s move on to the equipment. We’ll start in the weight room. Grab one of those dumbbells over there. Let’s start with the 5kg weights.
Jack: Those weights. The short ones. It’s got the weight on the side, see. It says 5kg.
Rich: Oh yeah - OK.
Jack: Let’s do a few bicep curls. Like this. One, two, three I want to see 10 reps on each arm.
Jack: Repetitions come on … one, two ...
Rich: Eight, nine, ten. Pffff ...
Jack: OK - switch arms.
Rich: Ugh - one, two, three, ... nine, ten.
Jack: That’s a good start. Two more sets to go.
Jack: Yeah, you don’t just do 10. You do 10 reps on each arm three times. Three sets.
Rich: OK. One, two, three...
Jack: Good job. Take a break and rest. Right, let’s move on to the rower. Twenty minutes.
Rich: The rower?
Jack: The rowing machine.
Rich: Ah. I see.
Jack: Not like that. Keep your back straight. Use your legs not just your arms.
Rich: Like this.
Jack: Perfect. Have fun. I’ll be back in twenty.
Jack: Finished. Good.
Rich: Finished? Brilliant.
Jack: No, we’ve not finished your workout yet. Let’s move onto the treadmill. Let’s set the incline to six and the speed to six miles per hour. Thirty minutes.
Rich: That’s fast.
Jack: You can do it. No, don’t hold the handles. Swing your arms. I’ll be back in a bit.
Rich: OK, right. How do you turn this off? I think it’s time to cool down in the pool.
Rich: You’ve just listened to a roleplay and we asked you if you think Jack would be a good fitness coach. Well, I don’t think he would. In the roleplay, he was a bit strict and I ran away before the end of the session. Maybe, he would be better suited to more experienced gym goers than me!
Jack: Ha! Yes, maybe. Right, in this section we’re going to look at some of the language connected to gyms. We are going to start by looking at some of the words and phrases we use to say why we go to the gym.
Rich: And then, we’re going to look at some of the words to describe equipment we find in the gym and actions we perform there.
Jack: So, in the opening conversation Rich gave three reasons for wanting to go to the gym. He said that he wanted to get fit, lose weight and I think jokingly said he wanted to get a six-pack.
Rich: The first two are probably the most common answers to the question ‘Why do you go to the gym?’ To get fit means to be healthier and stronger because of doing regular exercise and to lose weight is to become lighter - to go from 90 kilos to 80 kilos for example.
Jack: A six-pack is a phrase we use to describe very strong stomach muscles that you can see easily on the body.
Rich: Some other phrases we might use when telling people why we go to the gym are: to keep in shape, to tone up or to bulk up.
Jack: To keep in shape means to remain fit and strong, to tone up means to get yourself looking athletic and to bulk up means to get bigger by adding muscle to your body.
Rich: Oh and some people go to the gym because they enjoy it. I don’t believe these people!
Jack: Let’s look at some of the words we used to describe the equipment in the gym.
Rich: In the opening conversation, we explained that a treadmill is a machine we run on.
Jack: They usually have two main functions which you can set or change: the speed and the incline. The speed is obvious; the higher you set the speed, the faster you have to run.
Rich: The incline is the slope of the treadmill. You can usually set different levels of difficulty. No incline means you are running on a flat surface but by setting the incline to a higher level it becomes more difficult to run and is like running uphill.
Jack: We also spoke about the exercise bike for cycling and the rower or rowing machine. These machines also have different levels of difficulty.
Rich: In the roleplay, we also spoke about weights. Weights are pieces of sports equipment that are usually a bar with a piece of metal at each end. They are used in a gym to make your muscles stronger but there is also a sport called weightlifting.
Jack: There are two main types of weights. In the roleplay, I used dumbbells which are small weights used to make your arms stronger. In weightlifting, the athletes use barbells which you lift above your head.
Jack: Let’s move on to some of the actions we use in a gym. Sticking with weights, I asked Rich to do some bicep curls with the dumbbells. Your biceps are the muscles in the top of your arm and to curl means to bend or move your arm so it’s not straight.
Rich: In the roleplay, we also mentioned calf muscles. These are the muscles at the back of our legs between the ankle and the knee.
Jack: You might also hear people talk about pecs which are pectoral muscles in the chest, triceps which are the tops of your arms at the back, hamstrings which are the backs of your legs between the knee and your bottom and finally abs.
Rich: Abs are your abdominal muscles which you work on if you want a six-pack like me.
Jack: Mmm … Anyway, in the gym, we work on these muscles. Before we start on the machines, we warm-up which is light exercise or stretching which pulls the muscles lightly to prepare us for more vigorous activity.
Rich: While we are in the gym, we might do reps and sets. A rep is short for repetition and is the number of times you do the same exercise. A set is the number of times you repeat the same or set number of reps.
Jack: In the roleplay, when Rich was doing bicep curls I asked Rich to do three sets of ten reps on each arm. That’s 60 reps in total. He does one set, rests the next set, rests and continues like that.
Rich: Yeah, thanks for that!
Jack: You also have all the different floor exercises you can do; press ups, push ups, sit ups. Squats, pull-ups, chest and shoulder presses etc.
Rich: If you’re not sure what they mean we’re going to look at these in this week’s task in the next section of the podcast.
Jack: And when you finish your exercise don’t forget to cool down. That’s a phrasal verb and it means to do some light exercise or stretching before you finish your workout.
Jack: How are you feeling Rich?
Rich: Erm... I’m good. Why?
Jack: Well, the task this week is to describe a fitness challenge. I’m going to describe a challenge and if you want, you can have a go at it and tell us what you think or you can set us a challenge and we’ll try to complete it, but Rich, guess what?
Jack: You are going to do it first!
Rich: Oh no!
Jack: So here is my fitness challenge. Are you ready Rich?
Rich: Bring it on.
Jack: Number one: Jumping jacks - do two sets of fifty reps and rest for 30 seconds between sets.
Rich: What are jumping jacks?
Jack: You jump in the air an push out your arms and legs to make a star.
Rich: Did you make them up?
Jack: No, they are real exercises.
Rich: OK, got it.
Jack: Number two: Twenty-five pushups.
Rich: Pushups are those when you lie on your front and push your body up with your arms.
Jack: That’s right. Keep your hands close together when you do them - shoulder-width apart. Number three: Twenty-five burpees.
Jack: Burpees are a great full body exercise. Start standing up, squat down, lean forward, put your hands down and kick your legs back into a plank position. Then immediately bring your feet back under your body and jump into the air with your arms above your head and shout ‘burpee’.
Rich: I have to shout ‘burpee’?
Jack: No. Not really. The shouting bit is optional. Exercise number four: Twenty crunches.
Rich: What are crunches?
Jack: Sometimes they’re called sit-ups. You lie on your back and put your hands behind your head. Then, lift your body forwards. Crunch is a better name than sit up because you don’t have to sit all the way up, you just have to raise your head and shoulders.
Rich: Ah yes, I know.
Jack: Good. Number five: Twenty squats.
Rich: What’s a squat?
Jack: You start by standing up and put your hands behind your head. Then, lower yourself down keeping your back straight and bending your knees.
Rich: OK, I’ve got it. So, that’s a hundred jumping jacks, twenty-five pushups, twenty-five burpees, twenty crunches and twenty squats.
Jack: That’s it! Do it today and let us know how it goes in the comments section.
Rich: Please, we want other people to do this, too. Don’t let me be the only one!
Jack: You can tell us whether you completed it, which exercises you found difficult and how long it took in the comments section.
Rich: You can also, or instead if you prefer, devise another workout for our listeners and write it in the comments section.
Rich: Have you got a football phrase for us this week?
Jack: Yes, I have, but first, last week’s football phrase. The phrase was title contender. This phrase is used to describe the teams that have a chance of winning the league.
Rich: Well done to Ahmed Adam from Sudan, Sabanoleg and Liubomyr from Ukraine, Kwesimanifest from Ghana, Zaid from India and Lakerwang from China. You all got the phrase right! What’s this week’s football phrase?
Jack: This week’s football phrase is just a word and is connected to what we’ve been talking about today: fitness. The word is ******. When a player gets injured on the pitch, the first person to run on to the pitch is usually the ****** whose job it is to assess and treat injuries to players.
Rich: I think that’s a bit easier than last week’s phrase.
Jack: Right, that’s all we have time for this week! Don’t forget to take part in our fitness challenge and make a guess at our football phrase in the comments below.
Rich: Bye for now and enjoy your football!
How much did you understand?
In the podcast, Rich and Jack used some words and phrases that might be new for you. Do you know the words in bold?
The guy who was there asked me about my overall fitness.
Let's start with the warm-up.
No, don’t bounce. Stretch.
No, we’ve not finished your workout yet!
There were a few tricky words in the podcast. Do you know what they all mean? Try the activity below, then, listen to the podcast again to hear how we used the words.
Why do we go the gym?
Many people go to a gym. But why? Jack and Rich spoke about some of the reasons why we go to gyms and the language we use. Do you go to the gym? Have a look at the sentences below. Why do you go to the gym?
I want to get fit and lose a bit of weight.
I want to get a six-pack.
I want to tone up.
I want to bulk up.
All the words in bold were used in the podcast. If you are not sure what they mean, have a listen to the podcast again or check your understanding in this exercise:
Jack and Rich spoke about some of the equipment that can be found in the gym.
Let’s move onto the treadmill. Let’s set the incline to six and the speed to six miles per hour.
Grab one of those dumbbells over there. Let’s start with the 5kg weights.
When you go to the gym, what equipment do you use?
In this exercise, match the gym equipment to the definition:
What do we do in the gym?
Jack and Rich also used lots of words and phrases to talk about what we do in the gym. Have a look at these sentences. Do you understand the words in bold?
Can you feel the muscles stretching in your calves?
Let’s do a few bicep curls. Like this. One, two, three I want to see 10 reps on each arm.
You do 10 reps on each arm three times. Three sets.
I think it’s time to cool down in the pool.
Which muscles do you like to work on in the gym? Your biceps, triceps, hamstrings, calves or your abs? Or, do you work on your overall fitness?
In this activity, take a look at some of the key words and phrases we used in this podcast.
The Premier Skills English Fitness Challenge
Your task this week is to complete our fitness challenge. We want you to do the Premier Skills English daily workout and tell us all about it! This is what you need to do:
- 100 jumping jacks (2 sets of 50 reps)
- 25 push-ups
- 25 burpees
- 20 crunches
- 20 squats
Answer these questions in the comments section:
- Did you manage to complete the routine?
- How long did it take?
- Did you change the routine?
- How did you feel?
- What changes would you make to this routine?
If you are not able to do the Premier Skills English Challenge, you can design a daily workout for other listeners to follow!