ITALIAN GYM VOCABULARY: words and expressions for exercising at the gym in Italy

During my lessons, many studens tell me about their progress at the gym, but sometimes it is difficult for them to express themselves because they don’t know the right vocabulary. They might have the same problem if they come to Italy and try to train in a gym. Between six-packs, treadmills and barbells, it’s not so easy to properly express yourself ! So, in this video we’re going to look at a bunch of words and expressions related to the gym world so that language will no longer be an obstacle to your fitness!

Health and fittness vocabulary expressions

Gym activities

  • Allenare (una parte del corpo)/Allenarsi/Fare allenamentoTo train (to exercise one’s body part): workout to keep fit or strengthen a certain part of the body.

  • Definire to define: exercise with the aim of minimising the percentage of body fat and maximising muscle mass.

  • Dimagrire/Perdere pesoto lose weight: is the goal of people who go to the gym to burn calories and fat to slim down, because they probably have a few extra kilos.

  • Fare cardioto do some cardio: it stands for “cardiovascular training“, i.e. a type of physical activity in which the cardiorespiratory system is subjected to training stimulus. This type of training is characterised by aerobic exercises which help to speed up breathing, something which benefits, for example, those who find it difficult to breathe even after small efforts, i.e. who are “out of breath”.

  • Fare pesito lift weights: it means training using weights. It means training using weights. You can use equipment such as dumbbells (metal rods on which you have to attach weights, or into which the weights are permanently welded), or barbells (steel bars that can be loaded at their ends by cast-iron discs) to be lifted and lowered repeatedly with your arms. The difference between dumbbells and weights is that the first ones are held with one hand, as they are smaller, while the second ones are held with both hands.

  • Metter su peso/Metter su massa muscolare Ingrossarsito put on some muscle mass: is the goal of body building, i.e. not to lose weight, but to build up muscle. The most appropriate adjective for someone who does this type of exercise is “muscoloso” (muscular), i.e. a person with strong, firm and clearly visible muscles. However, a person who is exaggeratedly and sometimes excessively muscular is referred to as a “palestrato” (muscle-bound).

  • Mettersi in forma/Rimettersi in formato get (back) into shape: is the goal of most people who go to the gym. It means to lose weight or tone your body, but many people decide to do that to simply feel healthier. The related adjective is 2in forma” (fit), while the opposite is “fuori forma” (out of shape).

  • Riscaldarsi/Fare il riscaldamentoto warm up: it refers to all the preparatory exercises that precede the actual training and aim to prepare the body.

  • Tonificareto tone up: means to strengthen the muscles so that the body is not characterised by “curves”, as the ones that come from fat may be, but by lines. The verb “scolpire” (to sculpt) can also be used and the adjective describing such a body is “tonico” or “scolpito”

Words that refers to the gym

  • Addominaliabs: this word refers both to the muscles of the abdomen, and to the exercises that train that part of the body (in this case, we say “fare gli addominali”).

  • Attrezzogymnastic apparatus: all machines and objects you find in the gym that are used to perform exercises. If you are exercising without any equipment, then you are training “a corpo libero”.

  • Circuitocircuit training: a series of different excercises to do without taking any break, or with very short breaks.

  • Cycletteexercise bicycle: it is a piece of sports equipment which, when stationary, allows you to simulate the use of a bicycle for cardiovascular training as if you were actually using it. Training on an exercise bike is called “spinning“.

  • Dietadiet: in general, it refers to the total amount of food consumed by a person over the course of a day. But in the world of the gym, it is focused on a particular objective (gaining mass, losing weight, etc.): it is essential to achieve real results, because training alone is not enough. The diet can be protein, slimming, etc., but it is not enough.

  • Flessioni/Piegamentipush-ups: are exercises that consist of bending the arms with the hands on the floor while the legs are closed and stretched. Beginners can bend with their knees on the floor to put less strain on their arms.

  • Maniglie dell’amoremuffin top, love handles: this word refers to the excess fat concentrated in the hips. They have this name because they are located in an area that can be grabbed in particularly passionate situations.

  • Panca/Distensione su panca pianabench press: it refers to an exercise involving weights carried out while lying on a bench.

  • Pancettapaunch,pot belly: refers to the abdominal fat that many people try to get rid of through exercise.

  • Personal trainer: personal fittnes instructor.

  • Scheda workout schedule: “tabella di marcia(roadmap) for anyone going to the gym that is specially made for that person by the personal trainer and contains the type and series of exercises to be done in a given period of time.

  • Serieseries: a series consists in a certain number of exercises that have to be done in a pre-established order. In a series, you have to do each exercise more the once, you have to do the “repetitions”.

  • Stretchingstretching exercises: phase of training that consists of performing a series of specific body positions, held for a period varying from a minimum of 15″, which has the function of increasing the flexibility of the body, increasing the capacity of movement and reducing muscle tension.

  • Tapis roulanttreadmill: is a piece of equipment that allows you to run and walk on the spot at different speeds and inclines.

  • Tartarugasix-pack: we’re not talking about the animal here, but about the visual effect that sculpted abs have. In fact, they look just like the shell of a turtle. You can say “avere la tartaruga”.

  • Trazioni (alla sbarra)pull up: bodyweight exercises, which consist of lifting your body while holding onto a bar with your hands.

Hoping you enjoyed this lesson, we recommend you to have a look at our video lesson on means of tranport vocabulary in Italian (essential to organise a perfect trip!).

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