During the last few years that I’ve been living in Spain, I’ve noticed that fitness and well-being in general have grown enormously in popularity. People are wearing more lycra and sportswear these days, to the point that it seems to be very much in fashion.
Whether you are a gym bunny yourself or not, there is no escaping that people everywhere are embracing a more active lifestyle. This once again offers us an excellent opportunity to learn a little Spanish in an informal way.
For those of you who are considering the move to Spain or a Spanish speaking country, joining a gym really does make a lot of sense. Many gyms offer group classes alongside the standard array of machines and weights.
Even if you’re just planning a couple of weeks in the sun for your next holiday in a Spanish speaking country, finding a local gym for those few days is something any health-conscious Spanish learner will benefit from greatly.
Crossfit*, Bodypump*, TRX* (*other brands are available)
, Yoga, Pilates and Spinning are all examples of classes that give a great social element to exercise, and a chance to interact with Spanish speakers in an informal way, without focusing too much on Spanish itself. Let’s not forget, most people are there to do something they enjoy, but why can’t we also learn at the same time?
Exercise classes are led by an instructor and require us to only listen and follow said instructions. So, what better way to brush up on some interesting new vocabulary and practice listening to instruction, even if that’s just counting reps, all without the pressure of needing to formulate a response. Equally, if you can’t quite understand the instructions, you will be able to follow the rest of the group which helps enormously when learning new words.
Don’t be surprised too, if a lot of English words and phrases remain in English for exercise terminology. Whilst it’s true that more people speak Spanish than English as their first language, English still remains the “international language”, thus many English words and terms have crept into the vocabulary.
Certainly, if you’re only just starting out in learning Spanish, I can’t think of a better way to practice numbers, as they come up all the time.
The following is a list of useful words and vocabulary you might find useful at the gym. It is by no means a complete list, but a good starting point. Where appropriate, we’ve included an article to help us remember the gender of the word:
Conclusion | En conclusión
|English ||Spanish |
|the body ||el cuerpo |
|the shoulders ||los hombros |
|the arms ||los brazos |
|the hands ||las manos |
|the ass / bum ||el culo |
|the buttocks ||los glúteos |
|the legs ||las piernas |
|the knees ||las rodillas |
|the feet ||los pies |
|the muscules ||los músculos |
|squats ||sentadillas |
|push-ups / press-ups ||flexiones |
|pull-ups ||dominadas |
|crunches / ab-work ||abdominales |
|rest ||descanso |
|warm-up ||calentamiento |
|stretch ||estirar |
|sweat ||sudor |
|exercise ||ejercicio |
|strength ||la fuerza |
|a treadmill ||una cinta (de correr) |
|elliptical trainer ||elíptica |
|stationary bike ||bicicleta estática |
|spinning bike ||bicicleta de spinning |
|weights ||pesos / pesas |
|barbell ||barra |
|dumbbell ||la pesa |
|running / jogging ||correr / el jogging |
|cycling ||el ciclismo |
|swimming ||nadar / la natación |
|triathlon ||triatlón |
|the gym ||el gimnasio |
|"How many sets do you have left?" ||"¿Cuántas series te quedan?" |
|"I'm not in shape" ||"No estoy en forma" |
|"Nice set!" ||"¡Buena serie! |
One of the biggest barriers to attending an exercise class (in any language), is one of feeling worried that you can’t keep up with the rest of the group. Or perhaps a fear of some kind of exercise-based snobbery. However, in my experience, this is rarely the case, and classes will cater for all abilities.
Furthermore, Spanish speakers are inherently social people, and will be extremely welcoming. To the point that, once they realise they have an English speaker in their midst, they will go out of their way to help you, quite possibility with the motive to practice a little of their own English skills!